To restore antique trunks it is always better to start with a good trunk. Look for one that has all of the parts and is sturdy. Of course if you have access to extra parts this is not as crucial. If you can find a person who likes to restore antique trunks they may be willing to share extra parts with you. I have made a few exchanges and even purchased some odds and ends.
And remember that parts don’t always have to be “exact matches”. My antique dealer calls parts that are close “cousins”! The chances that someone will examine your trunk so close as to notice are slim and none. Most people will just look at it and marvel at your talent!
It is good to study trunks a little before you start destroying one. I bought a leather trunk with a few very small tears in the leather that could have been repaired. But I just had the thought of that wood look and took all of the leather off. I now realize that this would have been a much better looking and more valuable of a trunk had I just repaired the leather and restored it. Tough lesson learned for me!
Some parts can be made if you are a little handy. The trunk that I am working on now had a slat on the side missing and I made one. Now is is not an exact match, but if you didn’t know what I did, you probably would not notice.
If you are thinking about doing more than one, NEVER throw anything away. Even a little scrap of wood may come in handy. When you want to restore antique trunks, you will always want to have as many spare parts as possible available!
Antique trunks with keys are a little rare. Most of the time the keys get lost and them someone breaks into the trunk to see if there is anything of value in there. I usually disable the lock so that there is no chance of it getting locked. You will probably not have a need to lock it.
Pricing is important, unless you have an endless supply of money. Some people have a funny idea about what their trunks are worth! Shop around and know what you will be willing to pay, based on how much work you have to do. And of course it makes a difference where you live. Antique trunks bring higher prices in the city. So you may want to keep your eyes open when you travel. Also look in the classifieds and yard sales. There are still bargains to be had for those that wait.
So if you want to restore antique trunks, your first mission is to find one. Hopefully yours will not be in as bad of shape as the one that I am about to restore! Here is a peek at it: