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Camelback trunk restoration

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Project by jasonborthwick posted 12-23-2016 06:55 AM 1342 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Project was a full restoration of this late 1800s camel back trunk. It was at 30 hours of work from start to finish. Restoration materials used were black enamel paint, oak veneer, custom oak strips steamed for patching slats, duck mouth cotton fabric, cork sheets, leather for handles, brass knurled thumb screws, and a replacement lock among other materials. Finish is 3 coats of black enamel paint on all metal surfaces and poly on the slats. Wax applies on all surfaces.

Steps to restore.
Rebuilt replacement tray from destroyed parts, restored all lithographed lids and stable listed with 3mil Baltic birch covered with cork and cotton. Made new handle for all lids in the inter tray with brass knurled thumb screws and let her straps made from a belt found in the trunk. The same leather was used to fashion replacement handles on the exterior also.

Lined entire inside of the trunk with 3/8 particleboard covered with duck mouth cotton on interior. Added inter tray supports to hide seamed between panels for a cleaner finished look.

Lined barrel lid with cotton adhered to poster board and cork sheet stock on barrel dividers in the lid.

On exterior of the trunk stripped all metal and wood surfaces back to 80 grit. Sanded up to 180 and finished all slats with poly. Steam bent patches to slats on lid and inlayed all patches and hand planed flush. Painted the lid slats due to patch work on all rotted and destroyed slats. Made a veneer pint stripe to contrast the paint.

Replaced Morticed non working lock with a 10 dollar restoration lock. The exact copy was 100 and a different form. Once the original was removed I found out it was not the original. The mortise did not match the lock. The replacement was the same size a the one on the trunk and I like the form of it better. Plus saved 90 dollars.

If you get the chance find a weathered trunk and restore it. The parts bought only came to 57 dollars. Just tell the people at the fabric you are a woodworker and they will show you mercy to find the fabrics to use. The majority of replacement parts will need to be fabricated from raw items or reworked for use. It is a very rewarding project that gives you first hand knowledge of how things were built from the 1840s to the 1930s. The hand forged cinch nail was the only mechanical fastener used. All cinch nails removed were replaced in the same fashion for the restoration. You will be very proud of the craftsman of that era and proud of yourself for carrying on tradition to recreate the prlacement parts and add your own mark. Just be prepared for a lot of hours of work. Sort of like your first roubo bench which I am getting ready to build next.

Please leave me any comments or questions below. Also Let me know if you would like a link to the restoration hardware site where you I found the lock.





14 comments so far

View bushmaster's profile (online now)

bushmaster

2524 posts in 2123 days


#1 posted 12-23-2016 02:17 PM

Very nice restoration project. You said 30 hours work, maybe you meant 30 days, an incredible amount of work to be done in that short of time, well done.. Beautiful and it has history.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

5068 posts in 2105 days


#2 posted 12-23-2016 03:48 PM

I agree that’s a really nice restoration you did. Where did you get the replacement lock. My daughter has a trunk that needs a lock.

View ralbuck's profile

ralbuck

3729 posts in 2106 days


#3 posted 12-23-2016 05:48 PM

WELL done and always like to see old things kept going.

Probably selfish like that; hope to keep this old thing going for at least a few decades yet!

-- SAWDUST is THERAPY without a couch! just rjR

View jasonborthwick's profile

jasonborthwick

106 posts in 1479 days


#4 posted 12-23-2016 06:44 PM


I agree that s a really nice restoration you did. Where did you get the replacement lock. My daughter has a trunk that needs a lock.

- BurlyBob


BurlyBob, thanks for the comments. Here is a link to the place I got the lock. http://www.brettunsvillage.com/trunks/howto/parts/

Also the link below was a was of a guy name Matt. He is in the business of restoring trunks and is a wealth of knowledge on the subject. He also made easy to understand and follow videos on each detail of restoration.
http://www.antiquetrunksandchests.com/how-to-restore-an-antique-trunk/

View jasonborthwick's profile

jasonborthwick

106 posts in 1479 days


#5 posted 12-23-2016 06:47 PM



Very nice restoration project. You said 30 hours work, maybe you meant 30 days, an incredible amount of work to be done in that short of time, well done.. Beautiful and it has history.

- bushmaster


Thanks. Come to think of it 30 days is more correct. Had to be done by Christmas and I had 6 consecutive projects at the same time. It has been a busy year.

View jasonborthwick's profile

jasonborthwick

106 posts in 1479 days


#6 posted 12-23-2016 06:50 PM



WELL done and always like to see old things kept going. Probably selfish like that; hope to keep this old thing going for at least a few decades yet!

- ralbuck


Ralbuck, old things like this restore my faith in humanity. Proves it wasn’t always a throw away society. Thanks for the nice comment.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

6435 posts in 3208 days


#7 posted 12-23-2016 07:07 PM

I have one of those trunk, about the same age, just haven’t gotten around to restoring it.
After seeing yours, with the amount of effort you put into the restoration, it may take a long time before I tackle that project.

You did a real nice job restoring that “time traveler”!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View shawnn's profile

shawnn

70 posts in 1205 days


#8 posted 12-24-2016 12:08 AM

If anyone reading is interested (not trying to hijack) a hard rubber ink roller is perfect for painting a second color on the embossed tin. Here’s before & after painting pics of one I’m working on.

View shawnn's profile

shawnn

70 posts in 1205 days


#9 posted 12-24-2016 12:11 AM

Also, you can take a trunk to a locksmith and have a key made pretty reasonably, and retain the original latch if still functional.

View shawnn's profile

shawnn

70 posts in 1205 days


#10 posted 12-24-2016 12:16 AM

Here are pics of the base paint color. The ink roller method required some touch up with a brush.

View jasonborthwick's profile

jasonborthwick

106 posts in 1479 days


#11 posted 12-24-2016 05:13 AM



If anyone reading is interested (not trying to hijack) a hard rubber ink roller is perfect for painting a second color on the embossed tin. Here s before & after painting pics of one I m working on.

- shawnn

Shawn thanks for the the comments and pictures. I used steel wool to cut back the enamel paint on the embossed tin sector one. That is a great tip to paint the top surface a second color.

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

11231 posts in 2707 days


#12 posted 12-24-2016 08:29 AM

Wonderfull job indeed!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View shawnn's profile

shawnn

70 posts in 1205 days


#13 posted 12-24-2016 07:03 PM

Jason, thank you for the reply. I hoped you didn’t feel l like I hijacked your thread I just wanted to share. Most of the embossed tin trunks I’ve seen have two colors (those not coated with chalk or milk paint, or barnyard scene!). Gold and a mint green color seem to be two popular base colors.

I used a wire wheel (brass I think) to clean most the rust off. I painted the black metal with Rustoleum and used enamel sign paint for the embossed tin. I’m going to coat the entire trunk with clear shellac, I think this will give an authentic look to it, and add some sheen to the flat black.

View jasonborthwick's profile

jasonborthwick

106 posts in 1479 days


#14 posted 12-25-2016 09:14 PM



Jason, thank you for the reply. I hoped you didn t feel l like I hijacked your thread I just wanted to share. Most of the embossed tin trunks I ve seen have two colors (those not coated with chalk or milk paint, or barnyard scene!). Gold and a mint green color seem to be two popular base colors.

I used a wire wheel (brass I think) to clean most the rust off. I painted the black metal with Rustoleum and used enamel sign paint for the embossed tin. I m going to coat the entire trunk with clear shellac, I think this will give an authentic look to it, and add some sheen to the flat black.

- shawnn

Shawnn, no worries this is a place to learn and when things are shared it sparks creatity in others. This site has been a go to place for me for many years. Keep sharing. If I had it to do again I would have used off white paint and topped the high points of the embossed tin with black. I just changed the sheen of the black to mat with steel wool.

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