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My New Project Trunk

We went on vacation to Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. We stayed right in Hershey. It was a great fall vacation. The weather was perfect.

We usually try to hit a few antique stores while we are away. Pennsylvania is famous for antiques. And bargains are still there for those willing to look.

And of course I saw many trunks that I would like to have brought home, but obviously space is a concern. Maybe I should have taken my trailer! LOL.

We have a Buick Enclave and it does have a lot of room. But with all of our luggage, and other purchases, I decided that I only had room for one trunk.

Since I could only pick one I had to pick one that was unique. Unlike any that I already have. At the third antique shop I saw it! The inside will be fine just the way it is. I just have to reattach one of the compartment doors that is off. The outside is really in good shape. It is all metal, except for the slats. I think that this will be an easy project!

I paid $107 total for this trunk. I did not mind though because of the shape that it is in! Can’t wait to get started.

Restore Antique Trunks

The only parts that will be needed are new straps. I have only bought one trunk that did not need new straps, so this is no big deal.

Restore Antique Trunks, The new project

I guess that if you were on a trip and using this as luggage, these compartments would be nice. But for me they are not useful at all and just take up space. But for this trunk I have to leave them because they are in such good shape. The blue compartment door goes over the open compartment on the left in the tray. Just needs a little glue.

Restore Antique Trunks, The Inside

This trunk is unbelievably clean inside! And the lock is not torn up. I wish that it had a key, but I will disable the lock so that no one will lock it by accident.

Restore Antique Trunks, the bottom

I did also see a trunk for $20 that was not in too bad of shape. If I had the room I probably would have bought it just because it was so cheap.

If you see any trunks for less than a hundred dollars, just buy them. You can always resell them for that later if you change your mind!

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Roy Collett June 27, 2012, 3:17 pm

    I stumbled on an old steamer truck and bought it cause I thought it was really cool. I was going to leave it alone but I found this site and refinishing it is way more fun. I’ve never refinished a trunk before. I have done some old furniture and really enjoyed it. Any tips on refinishing my first trunk? Is it possible to find a key for a Corbin lock? Its locked open right now but I would like to get it to work if possible. Thanks Roy

    • Bob June 27, 2012, 3:34 pm

      Congratulations on your decision. You are in for a whole lot of fun. Just read through the posts on the site and you will get some pointers. Just remember that it will not be perfect. And it was never meant to be shown “naked”.

      Not sure why you would want to lock it. I usually just disable the lock. The problem that I see is the same one from long ago. The key gets lost and someone has to break in to find if there is a treasure inside. Then you have a broken trunk. But if you really want it to lock, I am sure that you can do a search on the internet and find a key.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.


  • Glenda March 28, 2013, 11:23 am

    I found and old camelback or humpback trunk that was thrown out for garbage that looked intact but when I went to put it in my car I found that the whole bottom of the trunk was rotted away, I guess from water damage. All that was there was the top still attached and all 4 sides although the very bottom around where the sides would have attached are kind of rough and parts of the wood rotted too. I have no saws except for a scroll saw & am a single woman with no woodworking skills but would like to restore this trunk. It’s beautiful because someone had painted it an off lime green color many years ago which has since faded into a wonderful patina. Most of the hardware is there but not all . I’m trying to figure out how to make another bottom an attach it too the sides. At first I thought of just buying a large plastic tub and try to fit it into the inside and punch holes in the bottom for an outside planter but havent decided. Do you have any ideas? Thanks

    • Bob March 28, 2013, 3:35 pm

      Without seeing the damage it would be hard to say. Right off the top of my head I would say that you could possibly attach a strip of wood all the way around the inside. Then cut a piece of wood to drop into the bottom. If the entire bottom is gone you may want to have the strip hang down past the sides a little, for the weight of the trunk to rest on.
      Hope that helps.

  • betty January 16, 2014, 6:38 pm

    my husband gave me a humpback trunk. it is pressed tin & wood slats. I had to strip the wall paper off and the original paper. that was easy because the glue had dried eons ago.
    I have to sand of the original green paint that chipped, and do something to the metal edges on the rim etc, how do I clean the pressed tin that was also green. I am a green to all this
    trunk stuff.

    • Bob January 16, 2014, 8:02 pm


      I am just getting ready to start on my first metal trunk.

      I would just use steel wool and paint thinner. Then paint it a color, or black and put polyurethane over it. Of course without actually seeing it, it would be hard to say. If it has a pattern, you could actually have 2 different colors.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


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