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Trunk Still Full of Life 100 Years Later

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Trunks1285 of 25761890 - 1900's chest:???Martin Maier -Oak Slat (Bevel top) Trunk
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    Posted 6 years ago

    (1 item)

    The pictured trunk was a gift to my Great Grandmother (born 1897), from her father. Lillie, my Great Grandmother, died in late 1925, 9 months after child birth at the young age of 28. After Lillie's death, this trunk was given to one of her four children...her only daughter Susie (my grandfathers' sister). When Suzie passed, it was given to her daughter Kaye. In recent years Kaye gave the trunk to her cousin (my mother) and my mother gave it to me....someday I'll pass it to my only daughter, hopefully she will continue it on. 5 generations owned so far...

    My conundrum is... Mostly obvious. The bottom of the trunk is toast, looking like once upon a time- termites ate very well for a couple weeks. The pressed tin in Star and Moon pattern is rusted but intact, I have already removed the top portion and started cleaning it (which may take my lifetime)... I have decided to remove the non patterned tin pieces and not replace them (I prefer the natural wood that is underneath and can be beautiful again) am only removing what I have to...these non patterned pieces were torn, rusted, and brittle. Luckily the Star and Moon tin's were all intact. Under the gold overspray and under the rust, the Star and Moon Tin looks like it was originally cream colored with blue Stars and Moons- does that sound original? So far, all of the other wood looks like with a little love will be salvageable. Latches covered in a thick, thick rust, lock too...and no key. Hinges and everything else will be fine once I get the rust cleaned off.

    Anyway. Sorry to ramble on. I usually refinish vintage furniture... So I guess I'm just looking for ideas or beware's before I go any further. This will hopefully never be sold (at least not by my doing) I just want to restore what I can, and refinish what I have to. I'd like to use it in my home, and not shove it away in a closet because it's "falling apart". Oh and of course I'd love to know the manufacture and date. I'm guessing 1895-1905?

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    1. davekelejian, 6 years ago
      Nice looking chest! Have 4 old chests, Love them. My oldest has a newspaper lining from 1842. The other 3 I have no clue other then old. You would think that they would sign there work so others would know what company to either buy from or ignore.
    2. FatBoy64, 6 years ago
      What a great family heirloom. It's too bad it wasn't kept up better but I'm sure you'll be able to do something with it. Look around online and there are some tips and tricks on how to go about working on trunks as well as replacement parts, etc.
    3. trunkman trunkman, 6 years ago
      Nice project trunk -- it is amazing how these can bounce back into something quite lovely with a little tlc. I cut away tin from my old trunks with a circular drill bit as pictured here:
      A wire brush brass drill bit can shine up the star-moon tin if you are brave. Good luck and make sure to post the results!
    4. trader44, 6 years ago
      I used a dremel tool bit that was made of multiple layers of sandpaper to clean the embossed metal on my trunk. It didn't dig into the pattern and left a shadow that added to the depth of the metal. I cleaned with a wire brush and barkeepers friend(found at Home Depot) cleaner before polishing. Wish I had pictures to show you. It turned out beautiful.

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