I found a “trunk of a lifetime” at the Gaithersburg Habitat for Humanity Restore. They were having a 50%off sale for Memorial Day and I paid $40. I was assured that it had “good bones” and an interesting lock. I agreed and brought it home to be my first project with my new Mother’s Day sander.
The inside was covered in wall paper and it was the old stuff that sticks like cement. The outside was covered in layers of paint of various colors. It was supposed to be antiquing but it was a dark blackish purple color. Not a pretty color at all and I could only hope the wood beneath was beautiful.
I started with a stripping agent.
I put it on and one layer of paint came off (the ugly purplish black layer). I repeated the process and parts of the second layer came off and this one was bright pink. Next, I used a cleaner to remove any residue from the shipping agent. Now at least I could see wood and it was time to break out the sander.
I taped all of the metal on the trunk with blue painters tape. Then, I started sanding with a 60 grit sand paper and the caution that it could remove a lot of wood quickly. My problem was I had a lot of pink paint to remove and the wood seemed a little soft. I was concerned that another dose of the stripping agent would cause more harm than good. So, I started sanding.
I was beginning to see the beauty in the wood below and before long I switched the sandpaper to 120 grit. I did not want to cause harm and I was beginning to fall in love with my first project. I then moved to finishing the sanding by hand. I cleaned all of the wood with a vacuum cleaner and canned air. I followed with Murphy’s Oil Soap.
Now it was time to tackle the wall paper on the inside. I bought wall paper remover and sprayed the inside twice. I scraped and I sprayed. Then I repeated the process three more times. When the wall paper was removed I gave the trunk another good vacuum. I think the stripping was by far the messiest part of the job but it was followed by the wall paper removal as a close second.
I used Tung Oil for the finishing of the wood inside and out. Using this brought out the personality and character of the wood. I used four coats and waited the suggested 12 hours between coats. The result was spectacular.
My next step was to cover the wood and spray paint the metal. However, when I removed the painters tape I found the metal to be in pretty good shape and the blemished only added to the uniqueness of the trunk. I was done!!!