Map Trunk Refurbish pt. 1

Map Trunk Before and After

I found this trunk at the usual place, an estate sale. It looked pretty terrible, but it was really sound structurally. It was sturdy, the latches worked really well and lined up perfectly. Excellent candidate for a project. First, to prep the trunk, was the usual sanding process. You can see the difference here, from where the top is sanded and the bottom wasn’t..

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Then the whole thing. The interior panels were just plywood, so not really worth sanding down.

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When I was re-doing the Dome Top Steamer Trunk, I was thinking of different ways I could re-finish its interior. Ultimately, leaving the bare wood the way it was won out on that trunk, but one of the ideas I came up with was using some of these maps I had as a covering. These maps weren’t super old and full of character. They were from the era just before GPS and Google maps, so they were kind of ugly and obnoxious. I used some different stains and paint on a test piece to see what I could come up with. Two different stains and some dark brownish paint later, and this was the result…

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I was pretty excited with how it turned out! It kind of had an old leather map look. Huge improvement! The next step was to cut the map pieces down to size.

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I ALMOST cut the piece too small because I didn’t take into account that I was going to scrunch it up for texture. That shrunk it down quite a bit, but thankfully it still worked out. Next, I tried to stick the map to the trunk using 3M Spray adhesive. As soon as I applied the stain to the paper, it completely detached from the wood. Time to break out the Mod Podge! Worked like a charm.

I applied the lighter stain to the whole map…

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Then I worked the darker stain around the outside and then lightly through the middle. The final touch was the dark brown paint only around the edges. I used the same old rag that applied the stain to blend in the edges of the paint with the stain.

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Tada!! Lastly was a coat of polyurethane and it was finished! My favorite part about the maps is that both sections have locations in them that have been major parts of my life.

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I’m still toying with the idea of using something to line the map and make the edges cleaner, but we’ll see. There are also big plans for the interior, but they’re still in progress. I’ll keep you posted!!

Dome Top Trunk part 2

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It’s finished!! I already did the first post on the exterior, and now the interior is done. I’m so happy with it! This is how the inside started…

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It was covered with several layers of awful greenish grey paper. Surprisingly, all it took to scrape that off was wetting it with a sponge and scraping. Lots of scraping..

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I didn’t really have a plan for the interior. Well, actually I had several plans, but I wanted to wait and see what exactly I had to work with when I was done with the scraping. I toyed with the idea of modpodging an old map on the underside of the top, or using some of these sheets from Home Depot..

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But the wood was looking pretty decent on it’s own..

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Not too shabby! I thought I’d try a little stain and see how it turned out…

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I always think that natural wood is prettier than any painting or paper. Also, the curvature of the inside of the top would make covering it with any paper or vinyl tiles very tricky (ain’t nobody got time for that). Natural wood it is! Lastly, I added the side bars back on, where they were previously, and made a box for the interior.

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(I’ll do a separate tutorial on making the box, don’t want to cram too much in one post.)

…and the finished product…

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A few side notes….

The wood in the top of the trunk was definitely different from what was used to make the rest of it. Before I stained the interior all the wood looked the same, but after the stain, the top turned a yellowish brown while the rest was reddish. So, if you look at the tray insert in comparison to the top, it won’t quite match, while it does still match the rest of the trunk.

It took three coats of two different stains to get the new wood on the tray and sidebars to match the trunk. There could have been a stain that matched it identically, but who wants to buy more cans of stain when I already have so many sitting in the garage? One coat of Sedona Red and too coats of English Chestnut, both by Minwax, and it matched almost perfectly. Close enough for me!

It looks fantastic in the office where it’s sitting. Once that room is complete, I’ll post pictures of it in all of it’s pirate-y glory.

Dome Top Steamer Trunk Repair

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First, let me start by saying, “What a lot of work!” Especially compared to the first trunk I refinished. Secondly, I am so excited to write this post. I’ve had this thing for months and I’ve only been able to work on it a little bit at a time. Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? You can see the original in the before and after picture. Apparently someone thought they would try their hand at refinishing it by painting those awful green stripes and white accents. First I tried to see if I could get the paint off by sanding, scraping and paint thinner…

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After a good hour of that nonsense, I gave up and decided that painting over it would be the next best option. In the picture above, you can see I’d already given up on getting the green off and started filling in holes and taping off the wood areas. That pretty much covers the next step in the refinishing. I used regular spackling past to fill the holes and larger dents. I left the old leather on the trunk until after I painted it and covered the areas where it had already crumbled off with newspaper and tape. This part was the most tedious. Not only does it take a long time, but it doesn’t get any prettier while you’re doing it…

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Things started looking up after the first coat of spray paint, though…

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Finally, no more ugly green…

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Few things are more satisfying than peeling back clean paint lines. Look at that, what an improvement already. The paper peeled off really easily, but I had to use a box cutter and screw driver to get the leather off. There was also some glue residue left, but a little sanding and scrubbing with a wire brush took it off pretty easily.

Next came the stain. Minwax, Colonial Maple…

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Even better, but it needed more shine. I found a gallon of polyurethane for floors at the Home Depot in the secret little scratch and dent section in the back for $9. I googled as much as I could about it, and I couldn’t find anything about using floor polyurethane on projects other than floors. I figured, “What’s the worst that could happen?” It could look absolutely fantastic, that’s what!

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After the first coat, some of the edges and knots soaked up the shine, but the second coat took care of that. The last thing that needed to be fixed on the exterior was the feet. I got a 50 cent piece of wood from the scrap section in Home depot and some furniture sliders.

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I also used more power tools on this project than I ever have before. First it was my miter saw to cut the scrap wood down to the right size, then electric drills to attach the wood and sliders to the bottom of the trunk. I was pretty proud of myself…

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The reason I had to make a new base was because one of the metal feet was missing and I have no clue at this point about how to replace it…

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Also, I can’t imagine the trunk sliding around on those metal knobs would be good for anyone’s floors. I thought about adding wheels instead of sliders, but they were all ugly. It seemed like it would just look awkward. This covers everything that I did to the outside. I have some ideas for the inside that I’m really excited about, but that’s for another post…

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What project isn’t complete without some help from the cat…

Vintage Steamer Trunk Repair

I found this steamer trunk at an estate sale a few months ago. I really liked the dark green and brass colors, but it had this big glob of tape residue on the top and a water ring.

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I thought I could get the white stuff of with some Goo Be Gone, but apparently the tape residue was as vintage as the trunk and it would not come off. It didn’t even think about coming off. It was pretty discouraging, actually. I didn’t originally want to sand it, because I was worried about messing up the finish that was still good. At this point though, the rest of the finish didn’t matter if there was a huge white chunk of ugly on the top. I had pretty much given up on restoring it, so the whole thing turned into more of an experiment. After a lot of sanding and scraping most of it was gone and the top was still really smooth. Unfortunately I slacked on taking a picture of this step. I found a paint color at Home Depot that was almost an exact match to the green, so painting was the next step. I wanted to paint the bottom side of the trunk first, so I could see how close of a match it actually was and if I would still like it.

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The bottom had some wear too, so I sanded it a bit and then painted. I thought the color was great, so I set about doing the most annoying part of this whole project, taping off EVERYTHING. UGH! So tedious.

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This is the bottom again. I used a little bit of filler to get rid of a few scratches and dents. Again, it’s always best to experiment on the side where no one will see it if you’re displaying it in your house. I did this same thing on my dresser though, so I figured it would turn out fine.

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Much better right? I intentionally didn’t want the paint to be 100% perfect, because I like the worn look. After I repeated this whole process 5 MORE TIMES, to finish all the other sides, It was a huge improvement. Something was still missing for me though. I decided to try something I’ve seen on Domestic Imperfection, she calls it the “Dirty Cowboy Treatment.” Basically, you just add some stain or glaze to it, to give it the nice worn look. I put it across all of the painted surfaces, with extra in the edges and corners. I think it’s perfect now!

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Somehow I wrote this whole post without noticing the cat in the picture below… it’s so nice to have company when I’m working outside! You can also see Keen ears poking up on the right side of the box… silly animals…

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Right now it’s just stacked in my room as a make shift end table. I’m not sure where it will end up, or if I’ll even keep it, but it was a good learning experience!