Steamer Trunk Restoration


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The leather covered steamer found in Bruce's relatives attic, ended up in Bruce's basement. A typical story for many items found-just to be reburied again. The closest date we found was about 1898 on a pattened stamp on the lock. The interior was to be left alone and not repapered. The handles had disintegrated along with all the other 43 panels of leather. The panels were of a thinner vegetable tanned leather. Most vegetable tanned leather is very thick, not the thinner upholstery weight used originally on this steamer trunk. Most steamer trunks, I normally see here at our Wood Doctors shop, are mainly exposed wood and metal parts. This trunk maker wanted to show off! Not only were there leather panels, but there were designs burned into each. Some of the original leather was turning to powder if touched, so we carefully photographed, logged the location on the trunk and attached each piece with a light duty spray adhesive to a paper to allow for handling. Then after cleaning and painting the metal parts and wood slats black, removing handle holder brackets and lower rotted straps and buckles, we proceded with creating the very unique leather panels. After the panels (43) were created then we burned the designs in each to closely resemble the original pattern. Then each panel was adhered the old fashion way; and they fit perfectly.  Bruce was delighted and so were we. This time around, the trunk has found a cozy spot next to his fireplace in the Highlands area of Louisville, Kentucky.

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