VILLAGE TRUNK SHOP
This is where we
show off some of the projects that our customers have taken on.
Many of them used
our trunk handles, some bought a challenge from our Compost Pile.
Some curse the day
they decided to take on a project of such magnitude. Take a look
and see what you think:
Hi Brettuns Village!
First off I want to thank
you from here to the moon for your very informative website as well as
the extensive inventory of trunk parts and awesome prices. I have
now completed two trunks and have enjoyed every minute of it. I could not
have done it without your site. The first trunk was a big, ugly trunk
my neighbor just gave to me because they couldn't stand the sight of it
any longer. I will send pictures of that one later on. Lets just say they
are sorry they gave it to me now because it turned out so nicely.
The next trunk(s) I acquired is my great grandmother and grandfather's.
We found both in a barn rotting away. They are the old zinc covered ones
with the rounded top. It was heartbreaking to see them in the shape we
found them in. I finished the first one because it was in the best shape,
and the other which looks very similar in design is taking a bit more work
then the other because the top was caved in and it was covered in rust.
Normally I would likely have walked away, but these are priceless family
heirlooms that were not properly cared for until now. I am including
the first because I am still replacing slats and rebuilding the hump on
the second and I can only hope in the end it will look as beautiful as
this one. I can't tell you how excited I was when the parts we ordered
from you came in the mail today! I'm including the after shots, as
well as the before one from when we found them. I'm sure you'll be able
to see which is which. :D I hope.
Thanks again! I can't wait
to get the other finished as well as get pics of the first so I can share!
We finally finished the second
trunk that we believe was my great grandfather's. We found the first I'd
already sent you and this one together. Whether or not they were originally
a set, we do not know but in a way they matched and in other ways they
did not. This one has flat sheet metal instead of the line pattern mixed
with the same pressed pattern. They were not the same colors either and
their sizes seem slightly different. We had to rebuild the hump in this
one and it was very bad shape when found. Basically solid rust. We had
to patch many rust holes and deal with dents that we could. All the hardware
on the slats was replaced using your parts as well as the lid stay and
handles too. I'm glad to know I have somewhere to go with the next trunk
I find in my possession! You always seem to have exactly what we need!
This trunk work can be habit
forming - here's Crystal's next project:
From Neil Moschel!
Just wanted to show you
how I put to good use your handles and handle end caps! I chose a satin
finish on this metal clad trunk. Thanks, Neil
More projects from Neil:
Keeping the Original Look
I finally finished
my Steamer Trunk project and wanted to send you a few pictures. This
was a great project to do, though also a really big project. It took
70+ hours to complete. Learned many interesting things along the
way and tried several new skills. The trunk was built about 100 years
ago. Based on the stickers the trunk traveled across the Atlantic
ocean a couple times and had the opportunity to visit a couple posh hotels
in Europe: Paris, Rhein Valley, and Black Forest. At some point the
trunk was refurbished in Boston, the refurbisher’s emblem was on the inside
lid. Sadly when it was refurbished it was painted a solid brown and
the lock on the front was replaced. So to get it back to working
condition I did the following:
Replaced missing or loose nails and rivets
Refinished the wood with stain and 5 -6 coats of Tung Oil. There
was dry rot and splitting going on
Patched up small holes in the canvas and painted it green
Polished the old brass hardware and antiqued the new brass lock (so they
would look similar)
Reconditioned the leather and replaced the leather handles
Repainted the metal bands and steel sheeting on the bottom
The reproduction stickers have added the extra detail
Replaced the inner lining with wallpaper
We are now happily using
the trunk as our coffee table. Thanks for all of your advice.
for a Brave Soul? Laura Balliet is One!!
We often pass up these old
metal covered trunks that have been painted. For some odd reason
we just don't get much of a kick out of using paint stripper.
Laura Balliet braced herself
and went for it. Nice work! An unsolicited quote is always
nice at a time like this:
Thank you for the awesome
supplies and advice from Brettuns Village to get me through this project.
It's my first attempt
at giving new life to these trunks. I picked this trunk up for $10 and
since it was in pretty rough shape, I figured I should try and tackle it
as my first. That way, if I messed up,
I knew I couldn't make
it worse than the condition I purchased it. The tray I built new
because, although included, the original didn't seem repairable. Because
the canvas was pretty
much intact, I chose
to strip the old blue and brown paint and repaint it with a couple coats
of white. The leather, lock, hinges, feet, and clinch nails
all came courtesy of your site. All in all, I spent
about 40-60 hours on
it with time dedicated here and there since last October. I'm looking
forward to getting better at this with each "new" trunk I can find around
town. This one definitely had a lot of lessons learned.
Get a Load of What Ray
Arcoleo is Open for Business!
Fine work that has been performed
by someone who obviously takes great care to do impressive work.
Angelo is thinking about selling
some of his masterpieces, so you may want to drop him an e-mail if you're
in the market for a trunk!
purchased all my parts through you. I started with bare bones and
created a pirate chest almost 400 copper nails.
is my first attempt at a chest and I will be a faithful customer for years
obeyed the rules... No screws!.
John Cunningham Took a Painted Trunk
and Brought it Back to Life!
Here's another from John
are a couple of pictures of my trunk. I did use a wire brush on a
drill for a couple of hours. This trunk was in very bad shape and
I did the best that I could to restore it. Thanks for your help and
the parts. Linda Hursh
Coss Works Miracles!
I know when we place
orders, I always tell you I will e mail a photo of a“before”
and “after” of one of the trunks we refurbish.
Well, I am sending one
for you now (hopefully, it will go through). We would like your opinion
on the finished product.
Will be calling soon
with order. Thanks again,
Randy and Joyce Coss
213 Pine St
Waynesburg PA 15370
David Stacy's Project:
I wanted to thank you
very much for the very entertaining guidance you provided online concerning
restoration of old trunks.
I thoroughly enjoyed
it and felt it was 100% helpful. The parts I ordered were also top
notch, especially the leather.
My wife is definitely
thankful as the trunk belonged to her long dead Uncle. I thought
you might like to see before and after photos of an amateur attempt.
Jerry Landsman Can Work
for us Anytime!
Jerry runs Boonsboro Trunks
in Boonsboro, Maryland. Exellent work, in our opinion!
Contact Jerry by e-mail
Carl Freeman Gave His Trunk a Makeover!
Churchill, These are
some pictures of the trunk I restored for my Grand Daughter. I bought all
the parts to restore it from you.
The Grand Daughter was
brought to tears with joy, she really loved it; was a moment for me to
cherish for the rest of my life.
Here's a Before/After
Pic from Adam
$20 steamer trunk I found
on Craigslist. Lots of scrubbing and finished in tung oil. All new leather
A couple more from Adam:
From Sarah Ludwig:
Hi Brettuns Village!
I just wanted to say
thank you for all the help you've given me over the past six months either
through your website or in e-mails.
I've really appreciated
it and it definitely helped. Here are a few pictures of my finished trunk,
Tung Oil finish and all!
Jensen Does Nice Work!
I am sending along before
and after photos of my trunk. Genealogy research shows it likely
Minnnesota to Oklahoma,
then to Kansas between 1878 and 1890. My great-grandmother, grandmother,
all stored family photographs
in it. I guess I may as well carry on the tradition now that it looks
a little better.
I spray painted the embossed
tin base coat then repainted the flowers by hand with an artist's brush.
I decided to let the
bright brass develop it's own patina with time rather than paint it.
While you've been sitting
around thinking about maybe trying to work on that trunk that's out in
the garage, Sally Weeks has been BUSY!
Here are three of her trunks,
in their original form on the left, refinished on the right. Nice
work, Sally! Here's her note:
It was hard work but,
I enjoyed doing it. The end results were well worth it. The
pink trunk belonged to my
grandmother and had a
date of 1880 on it . My mother had "antiqued" it 2 times. The
first time, it was red!
It had about 4 different
coats of paint on it. Who knew it would turn out to be so pretty
underneath all that ugly paint.
The lock on it is beautiful.
I did it for my mother who is 83 and I told her when I gave it to her that
I wanted to be sure I got it back one day!
Thanks again for you
wonderful web site. I learned everything from ya'll.....I couldn't
have done it without you and your great guidance.
Also, great parts department
Custom built trunks that
you've got to see to believe
Chuck’s Woodbarn is owned
and operated by Charlie and Sherry Zeller. Specializing in the lost
art of steam bending wood to create beautiful hand crafted trunks
and wood chests. A true family heirloom. A unique work of art,
no two alike. Emphasis is put on fine craftsmanship and quality construction.
We personally design and construct everything from the beginning jigs to
finalizing with finishing the interiors.
Chuck's Woodbarn by Clicking Here
As promised, here is the trunk I just refinished. This is my first try.
Thank you for all the trunk parts.
Here is my 2nd trunk.
It was in a friend's basement went she bought her home over forty
years ago. The old
trunk had a metal exterior. Thank you for your trunk supplies. All
Robert Tyler, in California
What Stan Gardner Did!
(on the left) My first
trunk project, someone had painted it all red at one time. I had
to replace a board in the top and I also replaced all the slats and connectors,
found a working key and
lined the entire inside. I used brown shoe polish to stain the new
It reeked of mold
before I started. Now I have four more to do, to give to my granddaughters.
On the Right: My
latest project. It took lots of time to paint the embossed metal, but well
worth it. It is the original color,
as I discovered when
removing the old handles. Built a new tray and lined it all with
cedar. Hopefully the oldest grandaughter will have it for many years.
Thanks for the the help
I have enclosed before
and after pictures of my first trunk project.
Thanks for the excellent
service and all the help. You have been wonderful to deal with.
The grandmother of the
bride was happy and I hope the bride will be also.
From Rodney Herring:
Thanks for having everything
I needed to finish these and also for your great prices and advice......Rodney
Painter Proves the Old Black Fiber Trunks Have Potential!
At long last the project
is done. It took six weeks and more forearm strength than I thought
As you can see, all the
metal was cleaned and shined.
The disgusting vulcanite
covering was shaved off and then the paper underneath was attacked with
all manner of tools.
The oak slats were custom
cut by yours truly and then added to the sides and top.
The edge clamps and the
top clamps are from Brettuns Village, as well as the new handles,
but the rest is original
New Jersey steel. Not a bad way to spend 6 weeks. I wonder
if I still have a job.
Thanks for all the free
advice on the website, without which this would not have been possible,
your prompt answers to
my inquiries, and your prompt shipment of my repeated orders.
From Christopher Rollston
The dark brown straps and
tabs look great (we think!)
Here's my first attempt.
It's a large wine box that I sanded all of the logo's off of (the bottom
half) and then I made the top from scratch.
I made the slat ends
from brass slabs, the slats are maple. Those are your leather handles
on the sides and I used your leather for the belts too.
No screws anywhere on
this one. Tung oil finish (of course).
Another Trunk by Randall:
Charles Wright took care
of business on his Grandmother's trunk:
He even made a new tray
out of oak! Nice work, Chas!
Nice work by Donald Guss
Larry Larson's Miracle
I would like to thank
Brettuns Village Trunk Shop for the advice you gave me on refinishing my
trunk and also the parts you had shipped me to do the job.
I had bought my trunk
at an antique place in Michigan for $22.50. I cleaned it up, little
paint, removed the paint from the wood and tung oiled everything else.
I put on some new handles,
hinge, and some embossed metal where I had a lot of damage and I now have
a beautiful trunk. Thank you, Larry Larson
Built From Scratch by Dave Lackey
Just wanted to say THANKS
for the orders you filled and the questions you answered. Also, attached
a photo of the completed trunk.
First attempt at anything
like this and it was so much fun! Best regards, Dave Lackey
Here's a winner
from Jennifer Edwards:
Sir, May I introduce
myself, i'm Thierry Vermeulen from Belgium (Europe) and i'm a professional
and graphic designer.
Me and and my lady are active in the re-enactment scene (1833 - 1899),
and after buying a real
1890's fieldcamera with tripod there was the need for a photographic toolbox.
I never did this before, and the toolbox is made out of scratch,
all by hand and i did
not use any screws at all. Using no screws is something i learned
from You, i'm very pleased to have found your site on the internet.
Buying almost all the
necessary stuff at Your shop, made it a lot easyer to achieve my goal.
Again thanks for the
support, and hereby You will find 2 pictures of our new/old toolbox.
Jim Theriault's Jenny Lind-Keyhole-Saratoga-Loaf of
(Pick the name you like best)
Covered in new leather.
Don't the guys over at Brettuns
Village Leather just love to see this type of restoration work!
after several hundred man hours of work and a couple hundred dollars in
parts and supplies -- the trunk is completed!
Hopefully, the efforts
of this family trunk restoration project are reflected in the attached
photos -- along with photos of what I started with.
I do want to thank you
again, for not just being a valuable source for parts, etc., but for answering
my novices's questions and offering sound advice.
I stayed strictly to
your philosophy of “keep it original” (no paint or screws, etc.)
-- even to the point of replacing the canvas--
and of modifying the
strap holders to conform to the originals. I think my wife’s grandfather
would be pleased.
Best wishes for your
James L. “Jim” Zartman
San Antonio, Texas
Frank Hayes Performed a Miracle!
This was my fathers trunk,
sat in the garage for 54 years that I can vouch for, not sure how many
before. So, I tried to make it look cleaned up but not redone as
you can see.
We are extremely pleased
with how it turned out, couldn't have done it without your expert advice,
beautiful leather pieces,
nails and once again, your expert advice!
I would like to say for
any other novices that want to take a project on like this- no matter how
many nails you think you need, you will need more!
It does cause a break
in the momentum waiting for them to arrive. However, it does give one time
to reflect and reconsider 'hmmmm, maybe I should ???'.
That's what I did, and
I love the result!
Thanks again, hope to
find a trunk in the neighborhood that wants to follow me home!
Frank Hayes, Grass Valley,
Take a Look at
What Becky Prince Did
I always enjoy your newletters
and your website. Your website alone is like a reference book for
refinishing a smelly old trunk and I appreciate all of your tips and advice.
I refinished the trunk
using your shared knowledge from your website, as well as Brettuns Village's
handles, leather straps and stays.
The tung oil and golden
oak stain formula is great too and it took several applications to soak
in the dry wood.
I'm planning to begin
working on another trunk this week. Best regards, Becky Prince
From Seaton Reed
Hi Churchill, I
thought you might like to see the finished product. Your helpful suggestions
provided me with guidance I would not have otherwise had and the
parts and supplies made
it a fun project. And we now have a usable trunk. You will note I
was able to find suitable trim strips which were 1/4 " Aspen
(inexpensive from Home
Depot) which I tacked on with the short clinch nails so as not to protrude
through the sides. By using 1/4" inch the original tray rails remained
The original tray disappeared
long ago so I made a replacement using 1/2" Aspen (glued and nailed) lined
with aromatic cedar which came out very nice.
The original interior
was lined with a brown paper on the sides and paper cover cardboard like
pieces on the bottom and top all glued in. This was in very poor
Thanks again for
your help. Seaton Reed
Here's one from Debra
Tom & Pat Gaber Worked a Minor Miracle
Hi: We ordered
a hide from you in November 2004. We covered an old Majestic Mighty
Monarch radio with the hide. You mentioned that you would be interested
in seeing the finished
product. Here are some pictures of what your hides covered up.
It was a lot of work, but the finished radio is beautiful.
But here are the pictures
- hope you enjoy them. Tom & Pat Gaber
From George Bernheimer
This trunk is one I made,
with your parts, for my wife to use in pre Civil War Territorial Kansas
and Civil War era living history presentations that she and I do.
Thanks again for looking out for us! Best regards, George Bernheimer
To all you good folks
at Brettuns Village, Thanks to your help and wonderful website, I finally
refinished my first trunk (first photo, above).
It belonged to my great-grandfather
and got passed down through the years. I took the "before' pictures
a little late
(after I started tearing
it down), but overall I was very pleased with the final outcome (even though
I broke a cardinal rule and painted the metal!!).
I hope this one is good
enough to make your "Customer's Gallery". Thanks again for all the
North Branch, Michigan
Well, you've got me good
and hooked now, a hopeless basket case. I just finished my second
trunk (my first is on your Customer's Gallery, and I have four more in
I bought this one off
of George McConnell, whose name I discovered from your website- he
is only about an hour away from me here in Michigan. I attached some
before and after pictures.
All hardware was purchased
through Brettun's village (advice was free!). You're website should
come with a warning- "this hobby can be hopelessly addicting, and
involves vast amounts of hard, dirty, detail work.
Enter into it at your
own risk!" Once again, thanks for the advice.
North Branch, Michigan
The blue one was a real
challenge- my first all-metal trunk, and the first one I papered
(and the first one that had mothballs in it, hooo-weeee!!!-
'm still trying to get
the smell out of my nosehairs!). I used pre-primed house trim aluminum
coil stock to replace the metal on the bottom that was rusted away.
It worked out real nice.
I pre-papered the inside with the thick white paper material used for "rough"
surfaces, then put the finish paper over it. M
akes the inside smooth
as a baby's bottom, and "mighty purdee" to boot. Of course, the Brettuns
Village handles, caps, nails, lid stay, and bottom corners add the final
Thanks Again for your
advice and help. The Handles, Straps and hardware were perfect.
The information on your web site was really helpful to me.
I decided to keep the
original worn look, but removed the black paint that was in big runs all
over the place. I scraped this thing with a dental pick carefully
chipping of the paint and
other crud from years
of neglect. I sanded and used brass wire brushes to clean the embossed
tin then used flat black paint. After it was dry I lightly sanded
the tin to reveal the canvas
like embossed pattern.
A light scraping and sanding of the wood slats and some red mahogany stain
(that maple don't take stain well) did the trick.
Followed all that up
with two coats of thinned Tung oil. I think its safe to say that
this will someday go to my kids. Les
From Mike Vitetta - Custom Built for
his 1930 Model A Ford
Mike used our handles, straps,
and some spare pieces of matching leather to do the corners of his trunk.
They may not build cars
like they used to, but Mike knows how to make the trunks. E-mail
him your questions here.
This is my first project
but not my last. Thanks to Brettuns Village for the advice and parts i
used!! I also used the tung oil and golden oak with a little added secret
John in SC.
Check out this one that John built from scratch using parts from Brettuns Village:
several steamer trunks I decided to make one from scratch, after spending
several days in my workshop I ended up with this replica of an 1880's steamer
The trunk is made from
one inch pine boards which I planed down to a half inch just like the original
trunks, then added the oak wood slats and brass plated hardware.
There are no screws in
this trunk, the main trunk is nailed with small nails and all the oak slats
and hardware were attached with solid brass tacks. The trunk has some small
hammer marks here and
there, but thats from being hand made and not machine manufactured! It
is made of 100% solid wood,
no particle board or
plywood in this one! Its stained with golden oak and a touch of cherry
and mahogany stains.
the Compost Pile...
This guy has vision.
Mike has bought a couple of trunks from our Compost Pile - but he manages
to breathe new life into them, as you can see. We weren't about to
mess with that weird paint, but it didn't bother Mike at all. Or
maybe he's just not admitting to it. Turned out to be a nice Christmas
present for his wife. What a guy!
For the Back of the Buggy
Robert Fisher of Virginia
used some of our handles and tacks to complete this trunk for the back
of his 1930 Ford Coupe. Although the trunk may not be the best looking
part of the car, it still looks pretty snappy.
Alan Mills in Carlisle, PA
Alan must be the bravest
guy in Pennsylvania. Can you imagine taking on this project?
Even mice wouldn't live in that trunk the way it looked before. They
all moved out. Nice work, Alan. The word 'miraculous' comes
Federico used our cast iron
chest handles to finish off this trunk that he made from scratch.
FROM SCRATCH! Very nice work, Federico has created an heirloom that
will last for generations. Here's another of his creations, added
in May 2006:
This is George McConnell's
handiwork. George lives in Brighton, Michigan. George used
our handles on his trunks. They're wicked smart in Michigan.
An actual quote from a real
Dear Brettuns Village
I have used your trunk
handles many times...and visit your witty web page often...keep up the
fantastic work! I am attaching a couple of pictures of my handy work...
since my recent retirement
I will have more time to devote to restoring the approx. 120 trunks I have
stored in a nearby barn. Should keep me busy for some time. Thanks again
for being such a great resource.
George Mc Connell
I am including some before
and after pictures of my latest Trunk project. I was contacted by a nice
lady about undertaking the job of restoring her mother's Antique Trunk.
Karen got my name from
your website where I have some of my previous restored trunks in your Customer
gallery section. The trunk belonged to her mother and
has been in the family
for generations. Karen wanted it restored in time to present it to her
mom for her 89th birthday. I accepted the challenge after seeing some pictures...
it was a basket case
in need of a ton of work. The lid had been detached from the body for many
years with many areas completely rusted thru...it also had a busted slat.
The challenge was to
have the trunk completed by Sept. 24th....that is Karen's mother's birthday.
Her mom will be celebrating #89 with her 4 siblings...all of them are over
They will be gathering
at her home to view the newly restored heirloom trunk. I have restored
many trunks over the last 30 years....this one was most satisfying.
Of course, all the parts
needed for the job came from Brettuns Village...thank you!
George Mc Connell