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Deciding if I should refinish

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    Posted 9 years ago

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    I was given this the last time my parents moved. It would of been my great grandmothers, who was born in Wyoming, but whose parents were from Sweden. Our best guess is that it would be ikder than 1900, but that is only a guess. I am deciding whether I should refinish it myself, or have somebody else to do it. Can anybody help me with a rough idea on age and origin of the trunk. I live in Alberta, Canada, so i would like to have an idea before i contact too many restoration specialists. Thank you for looking.

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    1. trunkman trunkman, 9 years ago
      Your trunk looks to be about the 1890's era. The crystalized finish and the cast iron hardware places it around that time. Unfortunately that original finish is hard to duplicate -- the art of that is somewhat lost -- or at least access to the dangerous chemicals used. If I had this trunk I would simply clean it up well with a soapy cloth and refinish the wood slats to brighten it up somewhat -- and take fine steel wool to the lock. I would also put some gun oil on the metal parts. A complete "refinish" would probably involve repainting it which changes the look entirely. Well -- only one person's advice -- I hope other chime in to give other options... lovely trunk -- most likely North American made -- thanks for the post fellow Canadian -- and welcome to Collector's Weekly.
    2. fortapache fortapache, 9 years ago
      trunkman Johnson is right, do not refinish it. Does it have the inserts? It is a fine trunk.
    3. cmastel83, 9 years ago
      Thanks guys. I am not sure if the pictures show it but i have a question on what to do regarding slats on top. They have either shrunk with time, or the tin has shifted but there are places where there is a gap between tin and slats. What would a person do in this situation
    4. trunkman trunkman, 9 years ago
      In regards to the tin shifting... not many options -- other than taking the tin off altogether. My philosophy in working with trunks is to accept their age and imperfections and enjoy them as they are. I have refinished many trunks and I never try to make them look pristine or new. The amount of effort and patience to do that to me is not worth the investment -- and I do not like the look. I rarely re-paint a trunk's metal as an example -- and just treat it with gun oil instead. So to fix those gaps would require a major effort that to me would not be worth the return. I would not have noticed them if you had not pointed them out.
    5. Drill Drill, 9 years ago
      Hello -Regarding the gaps under the slats. Sometimes the slats do shrink over the years.You will too when you hit a hundred years old. Many times nails do come loose some may even be broken . Nails can be re-cinched using a tack hammer and a piece of steel or( another hammer head)to re tighten the nails.It is not that hard to do, (once body contortion skills are learned) .I have had good luck in tightening them down this way .
      If there are broken or missing (cinched) nails those could be replaced. This I would not do if the interior was in good condition, I.E. paper lithographs etc.As you could do damage to original interior paper. much luck thanks for the post.

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