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Fantastic Nail Work

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JonB's loves13 of 161My first restorationMartin Maier trunk 1880's
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (2 items)

    When I saw this advertised on Facebook marketplace I knew I had to have it. I borrowed a truck and drove 2 hours to pick it up. Nicest trunk I've ever owned. The leather is too rotten-taking it all off. What fascinated me about this trunk is the workmanship involving the nails. First, they used washers behind many of the nailheads. Secondly, the designs are outlined in nails and the shapes look hand cut. Third, so many nails!
    I read about the star lock on several of the posts on this site. Great source of information. Thanks. I've never seen anything like this trunk. Mostly I buy low end trunks and give them away to friends and relatives. I will not be giving this one away. Any thoughts?

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    1. greendog greendog, 5 years ago
      Absolutely beautiful trunk and will be a stunner when done, can't wait to see it, great find David, greendog.
    2. Drill Drill, 5 years ago
      Really good find, Always wonderful to have the label of the maker.A desirable star ???? lock as well. Should finish out well.
    3. DavidP, 5 years ago
      Thanks. I started painting the metal today with black Rustoleum. Can't decide on gold or silver for hardware.
    4. DavidP, 5 years ago
      Anyone have an idea about age?
    5. Im4anythingOld, 5 years ago
      By the looks of the leather straps its old. This is a snip-it from HMS antique trunks site regarding metal latches and leather straps. hope it has certainly helped me. Jim has a great deal of helpful trunk dating tips on his site under his "Trunk FAQs & Trunk Myths" section.
      Latches or leather straps.
      Trunk latches were not in general use until 1872. Any trunk with latches was made after 1872. The strap, and dowel pin method (a leather strap, and buckle like a belt, and a dowel pin used to keep the lid from shifting side to side) was used prior to 1872, and even a little while after. (probably to deplete inventory)
    6. DavidP, 5 years ago
      Thanks for the info.
    7. greendog greendog, 5 years ago
      It's up to you what you do, but all your hardware on this trunk was black, it was never silver or gold, and this is just me, don't paint it gold, it would look good all black with silver nail heads, but it's your trunk, as for age I say around early 1870's, does it have a metal lid stay or any evidence of having one at anytime, if so no earlier then 1870, or does it have self supporting rear corners, greendog.
    8. DavidP, 5 years ago
      Greendog: About the gold or silver, I was reading one of your comments about the original colors on a trunk and you said the "cast hardware was silver". I even saved the post. I had assumed they would be brass or gold color. Were they all silver? I started my trunk mania 3 years ago with flat top trunks covered with canvas. I stripped off the canvas and couldn't believe how beautiful the wood was when cleaned, stained with natural stain and covered with polyurethane. I painted the hardware gold on all 15 or so of them. I liked how they looked. Then I found Collectors Weekly recently and saw the amazing silver hardware trunks, many of them yours. Just striking! I am going to try the silver nails against the black. Should take a lot of time with so many nails. But that's OK--I'm addicted--just finished a vulcanized trunk with 600 nails. Thanks for your input.
      As for the date, the star lock has 1870 patent date. It does not have the self supporting back corners, but I have another barrel top that does. Does that mean it is older than 1870?
    9. Mike78, 5 years ago
      Great trunk, really cool. Love double locks. I think I have a steamer made by the same company in Bmore. Wonderful find.
    10. DavidP, 5 years ago
      Thanks Mike78. I usually tear into a trunk, but I hated taking off the leather so I did it slowly and reluctantly over a week.
    11. trunkman trunkman, 5 years ago
      Beautiful piece of craftsmanship... great find!
    12. greendog greendog, 5 years ago
      The only silver hardware was when they dipped cast iron hardware in hot tin, this gave the hardware a bright silver color and protected it from rust, when you clean tin dipped hardware you can bring back the bright finish of the tin, but you can clean it to much and remove the tin coating, not all hardware was dipped in tin, some hardware was black, especially older hardware, I have never seen a trunk where its hardware was solid brass, other than locks, to expensive at the time, hardware on later trunks was brass plated, they do reproduce and sell solid brass hardware today. I use a krylon sliver leafing Pen on my nail heads, works well for me, if you use one make sure its made by Krylon, I have tried other pens and they run when you put a clear finish on, some guys use tape dots and tape every nail head, after they paint they remove them and clear coat. If you like the gold go for it, its all a matter of personal taste, good luck with it, can't wait to see it, greendog.
    13. DavidP, 5 years ago
      Thanks Greendog. That is a great tip. I have been using a very small paint brush and it takes so much time but I do love the look. The pen should make it go faster. Just ordered. You are a fantastic source for trunk knowledge and tips. Again, thank you.
    14. DavidP, 5 years ago
      Thanks Trunkman. It's finds like this that have me checking online sources twice a day.
    15. DavidP, 5 years ago
      I'm4anythingOld: Didn't have time to properly reply to your important information. This helps me date another barrel top I have. And Hopefully I will find other trunks now hiding in basements or attics where I can use your info. Thanks again.
    16. greendog greendog, 5 years ago
      Appreciate it DavidP, I have learned from two of the best , Jim Cardoza, at HMS antique trunks, and Ben Brown out of New York, but a lot of learning comes from just doing it, over time you learn what works and what doesn't, good luck , greendog.

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