I finally got the Jenny Lind trunk done! I got this trunk last April and had done another one to sell and then just set it aside for a while because there was just so much stuff going on. Since I have no plans to sell this one, I took my time 😀
I am going to say right off the bat this is my favoritest trunk so far! I love everything about it. The size is perfect, the shape is unique. The style has the history that goes with it. It’s also the oldest trunk I have worked on – from the 1850s. That’s some serious age.
Back story: I got this trunk from a gentleman who used to restore trunks, but it has gotten too hard for him as he has gotten older, so he was selling off his stock. I asked if he had a Jenny Lind on an off chance, and it turns out he did! He had already started the restoration process on it, but then you can see the trunk sat in the elements or somewhere after most of the canvas had been removed. This was the day I brought it home:
Really, really dirty. The hinges are there, but they weren’t attached to the bottom half of the trunk. That actually made it easier to work on.
Whenever you see a trunk that has been refurbished and it is bare wood, just know that the trunk maker never intended that wood to see the light of day. Trunk boxes were always covered in something, whether that was canvas, leather or metal. It’s just too hard to try to replace a cloth covering without taking the entire trunk apart and putting it back together. It would have been neat to do that, but so difficult and this trunk is actually quite valuable, so I didn’t want to risk destroying it LOL! Plus I kind of like the stained wood.
I spent a lot of time just cleaning it up. Getting the rest of the canvas off of it, scrubbing and cleaning it. 150+ years of dirt and grime. The metal straps are actually copper – which was a bonus. I have a thing for copper, so that got me excited! I used sandpaper and brasso to shine it up as much as I could.
I hand sanded all the wood down, but still couldn’t quite get the grayish color out. I even tried deck cleaner, which helped, but at 150+ years old, I guess it will never look new. Now the wood was all dry and thirsty. I put some wood conditioner on it and stained it. Originally, my thought was to just polyurethane the trunk, but because of the splotchy color of the wood, I decided to go with a dark stain. The color is Minwax bombay mahogany. I love that color. It’s deep and rich with a reddish tint to it. Kind of like mahogany 😀
I didn’t add much new to this trunk. I could have replaced more of the missing buttons and such, but I couldn’t really match them as the ones on this trunk are copper and the replacements I can get would be brass. I didn’t want that to stick out. I bought most of my parts from Brettuns Village. I bought new leather handles appropriate to the Jenny Lind style and a lid lifter. I finally finished it all Saturday afternoon.
All lined inside. You can see the lid stay on the right so you can keep the trunk open without the lid falling down or back. Pretty handy!
I am going to get a little dark brown piping to go around the seams of the fabric in the trunk to hide those a little better. The fabric is in place with tiny tacks and spray adhesive.
You never know exactly how these are going to turn out. I really do love this one, though. At first I wasn’t sure about the dark color, but I think it brings out the copper.
If only I could do this for a living. 😀 Now to finish another trunk to make some money LOL!