Recently I blogged about making fence rails out of old bleacher boards. Trash to treasure is one of my hobby. While I was there picking up the old bleacher boards, my friend stumbled across an old steamer chest that he had found at a yard sale years ago. When he asked if I had a use for it, I could not bring myself to say no! This antique steamer chest he guessed dated back to early 1900s.
I was very excited to load it onto the truck that was about 3/4 of the way loaded with boards. When I got it home, I unloaded it and put it on a blanket so I would not scratch my wood floors (A blog about my pallet floor really is coming) and started cleaning. The inside liner was peeling off the wood liner. So I started sanding, and gently scraping as the fabric backed paper peeled away. It took me a couple days and even though I did not get all of it off, I got most of the old liner peeled away from the wood.
The beautiful trunk smelled old and musty and I consulted several friends on ideas on how to remove the smell. My carpenter friend came and evaluated the broken board in the bottom of the chest. I ended up taking the advice of the guy I got the chest from, he told me to put apples in a pan and leave them for a couple weeks. I could not believe that it actually worked! The old musty smell is gone, and the chest smells fresh.
Upon closer examination, the outside of the chest was totally encased in metal. Some of it was embossed and while other was not. I used a product to remove tarnish from it, and I could not believe the difference! It brought the old chest back to life!
When I was sure the musty smell was out of the chest, I relined it. My friend was nice enough to give me some felt type upholstery fabric with the chest. I cut it to size and used spray adhesive to put it in the chest. My carpenter friend told me that the broken board in the bottom was left as it is, so I had no reservations about going ahead and securing the lining. The beautiful dusty rose fabric compliments the dark color of the metal shell wonderfully.
Now the chest is ready for years more of storage and use!