Thursday, September 07, 2006

Psssst ~ Wanna Buy a Trunk?


I found this trunk in my mom's basement. It had been there for years; she bought it thinking that she would restore it to its former glory, but she got ill before she had the chance. Since, as you know, I have a hard time getting rid of anything, it has been here for 20 years. I haven't done anything with it either. It was used for storage of silk flowers for a while, but when they took on the distinctly "old" smell of the trunk, I had to toss them out. A whole bottle of Febreeze has been sprayed in the trunk in the last month or so, but it is holding on to the aroma of old wallpaper. I placed charcoal bricks in it for about a month, because they are supposed to absorb odors, but that didn't work either. It is propped partially open, in the hope that it will "air out", but I don't hold out much hope for that. Got any ideas how to get rid of the smell?

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20 comments:

Tracie said...

I wish I had a good idea.....maybe a couple boxes of baking soda??
Even if the smells not great, it looks great and is a treasure!
Michele sent me!

tommy said...

Can you take the lining out? that is the most likely culprit in the bad smelling dilemma (the other one is if it is made of basswood, which is why some really old furniture has that funny smell, it's the wood). If so, start with that, give it some time to see if the smell goes away and maybe a spray on lacquer or waterbased polyurethaneon the inside. If you really wanna get fancy try lining it with spanish cedar.

I do some woodworking and have done some refinishing restoration projects and one of my pet peeves is someone painting everything like they did there. It's such a pain to remove and repair. Good luck, feel free to drop me a line if you want.

We found one of my great grandmother's trunks and she'd saved every one of her poll tax reciepts. I don't have any idea why, but I always found that kinda neat.

Shephard said...

I used to use saw dust flakes that were sprayed with roof freshen first. You have to make sure the saw dust isn't too "wet" with it though. It would work on trunks that carried that really strong lacquer smell, but it took a year for the smell to subside (maybe lacquer is stronger than "old).

Great trunk.

~S

srp said...

I'd love a trunk like this, but you are going to try and keep it aren't you? It sounds like Tommy's idea is pretty good. I must say from experience that damp and wet cedar can really smell bad as well.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Gee Judy, it sure is a pretty looking trunk, especialkly inside.
I have a trunk of the same shape in storage. I found it in a Thrift shop in the desert...(Cathedral City/Palm Desert) back in 1969...This must have been a very popular trunk shape back in the days before 'the day', if you know what I mean....I do love my old trunk but haven't got a clue what to do with it, either...and, I don't have any ideas about how to get rid of that musty smell...Sorry.

Seamus said...

OMG! That's beautiful and would be stunning restored!

h&b said...

What Tommy said, really.
Strip it, then seal.

Good luck, would be lovely with a bit of elbow-grease ...

Michele sent me :)

Karen said...

Well I am definitely the wrong person to ask, but I admire your efforts. It looks like it has a lot of potential.

Michele sent me here today Judy! Hope you're well!

dena said...

That's a gorgeous trunk! Is it sold yet?

Jean-Luc Picard said...

That is a great trunk; it could be tricky going on vacation and putting it in an plane!

Michele sent me.

kenju said...

Tommy, I can't find a link to your email. I think the paper inside is what makes the trunk - so I hate the idea of having to remove the old paper. I don't know what kind of wood it is.

Shephard said...

Kenju, I used room freshener spray that I got from BAth & Body Works. They have about 15 different fragrances, and some should be strong enough. Heck, you may even be able to use one of those without the sawdust flakes (flakes, not powder).
Bath & Bodyworks. :)

~S

trinamick said...

My mother swears by kitty litter to get the smell out of musty old books or damp basements. It may work in your case.

She has two trunks like that in their original condition. I'll ask her if she wants another. :P

Pickalish said...

Soak some crumpled paper towels in strong vinegar water....then put them in the trunk (sealed) and wait a few days. Remove the paper towels, and let it air out for a couple more days. SHould work!

vicki said...

I already have one of those. Oh my dear friend, you ARE going to be in pain the day you have to move. I'll come help you.

Terri said...

As I think you know, I also love old trunks. I think each one tells a story of it's own. (or of my imagination)
Such a shame you can't get that odor out....but, the musty scent of time still lingers, I guess.

Carolyn said...

Neat! It looks exactly like one we had growing up, which was painted kind of a milky pink color. Dad moved ours to the barn though, adn from there I don't know where it ended up. I've heard something about shutting newspaper up in a trunk to remove odor. If you have a Rainbow Vac, and the paper's on good & strong, you might try closing lid over vac hose and reversing the Vac to pull air out of the truck, then blow back in the scent of your choice thru the hose. Or call your local antique restorer! Good luck :)

Anonymous said...

I HAVE OWNED 6 STINKY TRUNKS AND THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO IS SHELLAC I USE AMBER FOR AN AGED LOOK DONT USE FOAM SPONGES OR LATEX GLOVES THEY GET EATEN UP, IT WILL TAKE 2 COATS LEAVE LID ALL THE WAY OPEN FOR 1 WEEK, WORKS FOR ME, I EVEN PUT QUILTS IN THEM

Anonymous said...

here's my 2 cents worth
what an amazing trunk!
my advice; buy a case of the lovely scented Caress bars of your choice (they have 'em at Sams Warehouse pretty cheap if you're close to one.)
(Unwrap, remove from each box and put the whole lot in there. Set it on a tray so it doesn't damage the trunk, and leave it in there closed a few days -longer if needed 'til it does the job.)
You'll have the advantage that some of the oils will dry in the soap, making it last longer when you use it.

Elmer Ploetz ... aka Mister E said...

Did you ever get something that worked on this? I'm about to try de-odorizing a pair of trunks from my father's house. ... That and a whole lot of books and magazines!