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Large Leather Covered Trunk - Need Restoration Advice

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Drill's loves442 of 525Stage Coach Trunk ??Restored Dome Top Trunk
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    Posted 7 years ago

    (53 items)

    Large dome top leather covered trunk, it measures 37 inches wide by 22 and it is 28 at the tallest point. I've had this one for about 30 years. It was a gift from my mom, she ran an antique shop for years, she would restore items for sale as well as give items to family members. The leather on this one she left intact because it was in very nice condition. She painted the metal bands black, the nail heads yellow and wallpapered the interior as well as the original tray. Over the years the leather has dried out so looking for advice on which leather conditioner to use. Also need advice on replacing the torn sections, should I leave as is or get some leather and replace it? Need advice on where to get leather, what glue to use stuff like that. All of my restoration projects to date have been to remove the leather, this would be my first attempt at saving it.

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    1. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
      KathyKay, another great trunk! I love the old barrel top trunks like this. This one is probably from about 1885 to the late 1890's. I have personally tried a variety of leather conditions and one that is very good is called Bickmore Bick 4 leather condition, which you can find online. I also use mink oil polish on some leather trunks and it works very well also. Most leather conditioners will make the leather darker, but often with a little time they lighten up to the original color. But it is good to preserve the old tooled leather if possible. A couple good sources for leather are Tandy Leather which you can find online and they have retail stores in some areas. Also Brettuns Village online has a lot of leather. They can advise you on some good glues for leather also. I've used some good wood glue and also epoxy with success, but you may want to get something else. Since it is your trunk, I think you should decide if you want to replace the leather, or leave it as is, or to remove some of it and refinish the wood. I have done a couple trunks where I left the good pieces and removed part of it and it looked good because I finished the wood to match the color of the leather. Just an idea. Enjoy your trunk! Marvin
    2. trunkman trunkman, 7 years ago
      KathyKay my last post shows a very similar trunk and I took an alternative shortcut route -- I took off two pieces from the back and refitted them to the top -- who looks at the back anyway? As Marvin stated I will stain those pieces out anyway. (bear in mind I am a bit of a hack) I used wood glue and then mink oiled the leather -- seems to have worked well.
    3. jscott0363 jscott0363, 7 years ago
      What a beautiful trunk!! Given it's age, it looks absolutely remarkable as is.
    4. KathyKay, 7 years ago
      Marvin, thanks for the advice I will get some of the conditioner that you recommended. Once I clean up the leather I will decide if I want to remove the torn sections then stain the wood or replace the leather.
    5. KathyKay, 7 years ago
      Trunkman - I've seen your trunks they look great they are not the work of a hack. Like you recommended I might take some off the back use that on the top so the leather looks the same and place new leather on the back.
    6. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      Hi Kathy ,Wonderful trunk and great advise from all. Just one thought,everyone does them a little different,and all have different skills. I have in the past replaced bad leather with new ,matched the stain perfect to blend the new with the old. The embossments can be burned in using a $19.00 wood burner with the small
      tip . I draw the matching design first with pencil and ruler, and then do the burn.
      Note: Always good to practice first on a scrap piece. It is relatively easy to do outside.
      Good luck with whatever you choose I'm sure it will be great.
    7. KathyKay, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the advice Drill. I will get some leather and give it a try. I purchased the conditioner Marvin recommended once that is done I will try and replace one piece of leather to see how it goes. I will update the posting when I get that done, which may take sometime given the snow that is on the ground and expected to fall over the next few days.
    8. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      Awesome Kathy, Yeah the weather sure screws me up too ,as almost all of my Trunking is done outside(under a large overhang).Except for the interior cloth work, then my wife lets me bring em inside. (Ha! She just wants them all gone. No chance).I'll look forward to your post -take your time.

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