August 29, 2014


Steamer Trunk Restoration

Steamer Trunk Restoration – A Quick Walk-through

Steamer trunks were built to last and with a little TLC they can often be revitalized and used for many years to come. Although some may opt for having a professional refinish their piece, below are some helpful tips for those who choose to take on the task themselves. There are a couple major things you want to be aware of when starting a steamer trunk restoration so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do some research before you start any project.

Begin with a good cleaning

Depending on where and how your trunk was stored it may have layers of dust and dirt to remove in order to reveal its true condition. Clean wooden areas with an oil-based wood cleaner, tin parts using a little dish washing liquid and water, and leather areas with saddle soap or a leather cleaner followed by a leather conditioner. Be sure to dry off all areas after cleaning.

Assess the condition

Decide how you would like the trunk to look once it’s finished then look it over to assess what type of condition it’s currently in. Are the leather handles falling apart? Does the tin contain minimal rust or is it rusted beyond repair? How does the wood look; should it be stained? Would you like to change the color? Will any parts have to be ordered?

Removing rust

If the tin is not rusted through try removing the rust using a wire wheel, wire brush or sandpaper followed by a fine steel wool for a smooth surface. Paint the surface using a satin or gloss paint followed by an oil based

Steamer Trunk Restoration

Steamer Trunk Restoration

sealer for protection.

If new parts are required

Some parts of the trunk may be deemed damaged beyond repair in which case you may decide to remove and replace the part. Materials can be found through vendors that specialize in trunk restoration. Keep any pieces that are removed as a template for replacements. Parts on steamer trunks were often attached using nails. Removing nails from an old steamer trunk should be done cautiously so as not to cause unnecessary damage to the piece and more work for yourself. Before pulling on a nail from the outside locate it on the interior where it has likely been curved over back into the trunk. Lift the curved portion up using a tack puller or try to cut it with nippers then gently pull out the nail from the outside with a tack puller and pliers. When purchasing antique parts you usually have two options. You can purchase actual antique parts from sites such as eBay or you can purchase Steamer Trunk hardware that has an antique look but is brand new from Amazon.

What about the inside

To remove the lining on the inside slice along the bottom edges and try to pull up the lining from the corners. Then use a scraper to remove any pieces that do not come up easily. While the lining is up you can check the condition of the wood and clean the inside with a mix of bleach and water to remove any undesirable odors. Reline the inside using your choice of attractive paper or wallpaper. Keep in mind that what you do to the inside could affect the value. So, if you are planning to sell the trunk you may be better off leaving the original wood rather than adding a wallpaper. However if you only want it for personal use then you are free to personalize it all that you want.

Steamer Trunk Restoration – More Information

If you are thinking about making money on the side by restoring steamer trunks then you may want to do a little more research. The book listed below, Antique Trunks: Refinish, Repair, Restore-Revised and Expanded comes highly recommended for its 360 degree overview of steamer trunk restoration. The book includes beautiful color photos as a through process that will help you identify the manufacturer of your trunk and guides you through which parts to select. One reviewer had these kind words to say about the book, “(I) have restored, refinished and sold many antique and vintage trunks. A big part of my success has been “Antique Trunks” because of the excellent historical background, trunk information and pictures.” The book also received 13 of 16 five star ratings with the lowest rating coming from someone that purchased it because they wanted to restore a quilt but it contained no information about quilts which left them disappointed.



Steamer Trunk Restoration

Steamer Trunk Restoration


There are other books about steamer trunk restoration but he majority of them are out of print therefore they cost well over a hundred dollars. If you are looking for a more general book about antique restoration you may want to check out Antique Furniture – How to Find it and Fix it. This product is not available on Amazon and includes three videos that teach you how to reupholster antique chairs.

August 29, 2014


Seward Trunk

Purchasing a Seward Trunk

The Seward Trunk Company was founded in 1878 by Simon Seward. For years they were the worlds largest trunk manufacturer, in 1967 they were sold off to the Dayco Corp and later became a part of the Mercury Luggage Co. While there are some smaller companies that sell Seward Trunks the majority of them are sold by the Mercury Luggage Co.

They were invented to provide a way to store and protect personal belongings when travel was slightly more strenuous than it is today. Nowadays, they are the perfect piece of furniture to send with your college student. They are relatively inexpensive, take up a smaPink Seward Trunkll amount of space and provide storage in a secure location.

You can purchase them in a variety of colors and styles. Some models are over-sized while others have wheels and a handle to save your back on moving day. The one shown on the right has a small metal loop at the center of the trunk. This allows you to add a lock so your children can protect their most precious belongings. Other colors including black, blue and even orange are available.

Mercury even makes trunks that have the names and logos of major universities. If you scroll down through the chart below you will see some for The University of Texas and LSU.

Pricing Chart

$: 0-50.00

$$: 50.01 – 100.00

$$$: 100.01 – 150.00

$$$$: 150.01+

Mercury Seward Trunk Footlocker, Black, College and Camp - 30-Inch x 15.75-Inch x 12.25-InchThis trunk is made by Mercury and comes in six different colors.$$4 Stars 65+ Reviews
Seward Trunk By Mercury Luggage - The Collegiate 30 Footlocker W/ WheelsThis trunk is also made by Mercury but for about the same price it includes wheels.$3.5 Stars 10+ Reviews
The Collegiate "I" Collection with Wheels - Black (Black) (12.25"H x 15.75"W x 30"D)Built specifically for you college student this trunk comes in three different colors and is made of heavy duty materials.$$4.0 Stars 100+ Reviews
Seward Trunk Base Oversized Trunk -, Blue, Vinyl, MediumThis over-sized blue Seward trunk is perfect for your college student and it even comes with wheels.$$$4.0 Stars 15+ Reviews
Barracks Footlocker TrunkA barracks footlocker trunk is the perfect gift for a friend of family member that is joining the military.$$4.0 Stars 25+ Reviews
The 1878 Collection with Tray (Black) (15.25"H x 17"W x 31"D)This trunk is designed to look like an antique trunk from the late 1800s.$$$$5.0 Stars 2+ Reviews
Mercury Seward Trunk University Of Texas Wheeled Footlocker, Brown, 30-Inch x 15.75-Inch x 12.25-InchThis trunk is made specifically for fans of Texas or teens headed there for college.$$N/A
Garrison Oversize TrunkThis over-sized garrison trunk will give you even more space than the normal model. $$$2.5 Stars 5+Reviews
Mercury Seward Trunk LSU Wheeled Footlocker, Purple, 30-Inch x 15.75-Inch x 12.25-InchThis trunk is specifically designed for any LSU fans.$$N/A
Embossed Steel Storage Trunk with LockerThis trunk is made of steel but has a beautiful silver look to it.$$$5.0 Stars 2+ Reviews
Under the Bed Storage Trunk with WheelsAn under the bed trunk saves even more space than a normal Seward trunk.$$$4.5 Stars 3+ Reviews
Collegiate 30" Footlocker - BLACKThis collection comes in multiple colors and is made by the company collegiate.$$4.5 Stars 10+ Reviews
The Collegiate "II" Collection - Purple (Purple) (12.25"H x 15.75"W x 30"D)The comes from the collegiate 2 collection and is available in purple.$$4.0 Stars 10+ Reviews
Embossed Steel Tall Cube Storage TrunkThis trunk is shaped like a cube and is taller than the other trunks available. $$$N/A
Seward Trunk Classic Silver Trunk in Silver with Black Binding 53-3 Size: 30" x 16" x 12.25"This silver trunk is part of the Seward classic collection.$$N/A
Seward 30" Storage Trunk, PINK HoundstoothPink houndstooth Seward 30" decorative trunk.$$N/A
Mercury Seward Trunk Kent State Wheeled Footlocker, Blue, 30-Inch x 15.75-Inch x 12.25-InchThis trunk is the perfect gift for anyone who has a family member headed off to Kent State.$$$N/A
Mercury Luggage Academy Green Trunk - Olive Green, Green, WoodThis trunk comes in olive green is made in the USA and includes a storage tray inside.$$$5 Stars 1+ Reviews
Cork Laminated - Storage Trunk (Cork) (30"H x 16"W x 12"D)This trunk has a unique laminated cork design that makes it one of a kind. $$N/A
Seward Trunk ACU Camo Barracks 30", Green, Vinyl, MediumThis trunk has a rugged green camo look making it a great gift for someone who loves the military.$$N/A

Under The Bed Trunk


Another style available is the under the bed trunk. The one pictured includes two keys and a built in locking mechanism. It’s constructed from a combination of wood steel and vinyl to make it durable. One reviewer said that she purchased it for her grandson who was heading off to college. She claimed that it was perfect for him and the he loved it.



Seward Trunk Locks

When purchasing a Seward trunk for a college student, of course security is an important aspect. Not all of the trunk featured above include Word Padlockbuilt in locking mechanisms. The all do include a way to lock them if you are willing to purchase a lock and key combination or a lock with a dial.

The lock that is featured on the right is available in four different colors: black, white, red and pink. The word combinations make it easier to remember. The lock is easy to set and is very durable so it will protect the belongings of your child for a long time.

Number LockIf the word lock isn’t your style then you can always select a standard number lock. The one pictured to the left comes in four different colors. You can purchase them in packs of one, two and seven. Most importantly, they are eligible for Amazon prime so you can save on your shipping costs.