Trunks were used instead of suitcases for generations, up until about 1920. Women traveled with large trunks to store their full length gowns, petticoats and bonnets. Gentlemen often traveled with trunks full of clothes, hats, and a complete set of toiletries. Many times trunks are dated somewhere on the metal strappings. Trunks come in many shapes and sizes, some of them even small enough for children. The term “Steamer” trunk, came into being when travel aboard steam ships was in vogue. A Steamer trunk has a flat top, which made it easier to stack in great numbers. Some trunks have rounded tops, they are “Round Top” trunks, which may have been more popular for use on carriages, wagons or coaches. Originally trunks were decorated with ornate metal, decorative paper,simple leather or canvas covering the wood. Because the wood was never intended to be seen, manufacturers tended to use soft woods such as fir for the trunks. When the old tattered coverings are removed, the wood is usually in great shape, and is beautiful.
My mother came to visit for my birthday yesterday, this is what she brought me. She did most of the hard work, scrapping away the outside coverings, and washing the trunk under the hose. You have no idea how dirty these things can be. Don’t be afraid to scrub the wood, it won’t hurt it.
The inside in this case was the worst part, someone had painted over the paper coverings. It was very messy to remove. After your trunk has been cleaned, let it dry completely. It may need a light sanding with some fine sandpaper.
I decided to finish it with this Mahogany stain from Minwax. I love it because it’s stain and poly-eurathane all in one easy to apply product.
The trunk was very bland in color before.
I much prefer the deep rich color. Don’t you? It only needed one coat inside and out.
I am using it as a coffee table in our living room. Inside is plenty of storage for all those quilts and blankets needed to cuddle up with before the fire in the winter time.
There is also plenty of room on top for games and important things, like candles and good books. I can’t imagine our home without a good trunk.
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