Our Most Memorable Repairs: Leather steamer trunk

We love antiques at Wood Doctors, and there is something especially fascinating about old trunks. Most children and even adults have daydreamed about finding an old trunk in the attic. We’ve imagined it sitting there, enticing you to open it and see if there are any treasures left inside. Trunks evoke so many questions! What was stored inside them? Where have they been in their lifetime? Who where they with?


This fantastic old trunk is one of our most memorable repairs in the shop. The leather covered steamer had been found in an attic by our customer's relatives and it had then traveled from the attic into a basement before finally traveling to our shop. It was going to be its final journey if it could'nt be restored.



The trunk, possibly made in 1898, was the most intricate trunk we had ever seen. Most of the trunks we see come through our shop are usually exposed wood with metal hardware, occasionally a leather covered one comes through, but never anything like this! This trunk was made to show off!



There were 43 amazing, leather panels in all! Each one with dramatic designs burned into the leather. The panels were of vegetable tanned leather which is normally quite thick, but not in the case of these panels. Unfortunately, the years of use and neglect had destroyed the thin leather beyond repair. The handles had completely disintegrated, and the panels turned to powder when they were handled or touched.



It’s these kinds of challenges we love! Each leather panel was carefully photographed, and it's position on the trunk carefully documented. We then attached each panel to sheets of paper using a light duty, spray adhesive to allow us to handle them without destroying them. Once each panel had been removed, the metal parts and pieces were carefully cleaned and repaired, and the wooden frame was given a fresh, black finish. Each leather panel was carefully recreated, the unique designs of the original meticulously duplicated and then adhered to the frame.


They were all a perfect fit, and this gorgeous old trunk was ready to travel once again.


If you have a fabulous antique you would like restored, give us a call! We'd be happy to answer any questions you might have!

(502) 599- 0020