Are Old Trunks Worth Money

Are old trunks worth money is a common question that I am asked often. Short answer is some are and some are not. Lets start with what is very valuable.

Louis Vuitton Trunks ($5,000 – $25,000)

These are the mother of all trunks when value is considered. They can fetch up to $25,000 at a large auction but average sales hover around $10,000. You can easily spot a Louis Vuitton trunk by looking for the LV initials on the fabric of the trunk. Be very careful though as many fake Vuitton trunks are floating around on the market.

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Goyard Trunks ($2,000 –  $15,000)

Goyard trunks was started in 1792 and is still in business today.  They are based in Paris, France and their older trunks also bring in a good bit a money at auction. Their trunks have a special cloth lining called Goyardine.

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Other French Made Trunks ($1,500 – $5,000)

Chances are if you have a trunk that was made in France it will be worth a good chunk of change. Trunks produced in France always seem to fair well at auction when compared to American made trunks.

Martin Maier trunk showing Are old trunks worth moneyMartin Maier Trunks ($500 – $3,500)

Martin Maier trunk company was located in Detroit, MI and was in business from 1865 to an unknown date but around 1910. Much of the hardware he used on his trunks had the initials MM cast into them. Many of his trunk models were made of thin wooden slats as pictured. These trunks are highly sought after by many collectors and trunk enthusiasts in the US. It is unknown how many of these trunks exist today.

 

 

Picture of old trunk - Are old trunks worth moneyOther American Made Trunks ($25 – $1,200)

Values can range greatly depending on condition and style. Some American made trunks can bring much as much as $3,000 but it is extremely rare. You may want to learn how to appraise trunks.

 

 

 

I hope this answers your question as to whether old trunks are worth money. If you have any other questions please contact me.

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Recommended Restoration Tools – Wonderful tools that can make a restoration much easier

Pictures of Restored Trunk – See some of the work we have done

Trunk Restoration Tips – Useful tips tp help refinish your trunk

How To Replace Trunk Handles (Video) – Easy to follow video about handle replacement

How to Clean Out The Inside Of A Trunk (Video) – How to remove paper and refinish the inside of your trunk

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Antique Trunk Inormation

View Trunk Catalogs From The 1800’s – Real catalogs showing trunks for sale from the late 1800’s

Antique Trunk Values – Find how much trunks are really worth

FAQ About Antique Trunks – You have questions, we have answers

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Hand Crafted Trunks For Sale – Check out our trunks we make by hand

 

 

 

 

 

Steam Bending Wood… and the fire in the kitchen

Steam Bending Wood… And The Fire In The Kitchen

 

Steam bending woodOne of my biggest challenges when building my trunks is the lid because it is dome shaped. If you look at the top of the trunk you will notice there are wooden slats that arc over the top. Obviously I couldn’t just bend them with mechanical force or they would crack. I did a lot of research online and found that I needed to build a stream box and buy a steam generator in order to steam bend wood.. I lacked the time and money to build a good steam box so I had to improvise a bit.

What I did was get a cheap but heavy roasting pan that would fit over two burners on my electric stove. I would then fill the pan with water and turn the burners on high, set my wood on top of the roasting pan then cover it with aluminum foil.

The wooden slats I needed to steam bend  are about 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. I found that about 45 minutes of steam would get them pliable enough to bend. Tip: when steaming them flip the wood over about half way through your steam time.

The downside to this is burning your house down, one day I was bending slats on the stove and I was preoccupied doing some other work out in the shop. I was walking back and forth from the shop to the kitchen to “keep an eye on everything.” Well, I was out in the shop and I hear this beeping coming from the house and I thought what in the ____ is that. Then my mind raced to fire, to smoke alarm to my other half is going to kill me, I entered the house and was greeted with the unique smell of a wood fire and melting plastic. The smoke was not too thick but definitely present. I made it to the kitchen and found that a portion of the wooden slat was or I should say had been hanging over the edge of the roasting pan and had caught on fire from being exposed over the burner.I pulled the burning slat off of the roasting pan and tossed it elegantly into the kitchen sink. No serious damage occurred but the house smelled for about three days and my wife was not very happy to say the least.

So lesson learned, stay in the kitchen when steam bending wood, right? No. Don’t be cheap and just go buy a steam box, my wife made sure that I understood that lesson very well!

Thanks hunny!

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Where to buy antique trunks

Buying antique trunks

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I thought I would let you guys in on where to buy the antique trunks that I use for restoration products. Their are many different outlets you can use but some are much better than others when comparing price, style or rarity. Many people selling trunks are often asking too much, way too much. It is not uncommon for me to see someone asking $300 to $1200 dollars for a trunk that is worth all of $75. On the other hand I have purchased trunks valued at $2500 for $150. It does not happen as often as I would like but it is sure nice when it happens.

Craigslist

The hot spot for buying antique trunks, the place of all places. Craigslist often gets a bad rap but I have had over 100 transactions with people through Craigslist both as a buyer and a seller. I have never had any issues with the people I have met or dealt with. I do meet in public places when possible but when dealing with someone that is buying or selling something as large as a trunk that is not always possible. Safety first please! I would not want to see any of you wonderful trunk loving people get hurt over a trunk.

The thing about trunks and Craigslist is this, 80% of the time they are asking too much, 15 % of the time they are asking too little and 5% of the time they are right on the money. Most people that price too high, say over $200 will never sell their trunk. Email them and give them a lower number and chances are they will say no and give you a story that sounds like this.

I bought this trunk in this tiny little town in ________ (Fill in your favorite state, country, providence, etc) from an antique dealer. This is your first hint of trouble, the words antique dealer usually mean someone that sells old stuff and makes up a lot of stories in order to justify their over inflated crazy prices.  Anyways I digress, the dealer told me that this trunk was on the Titanic, floated to shore and found by Abraham Lincoln.

Buying Antique Trunks

Yes I know that Abraham Lincoln came way before the Titanic but that is the point of my story. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is. Anyway if you wait a couple months I promise you that they will lower their price. just keep an eye on it. I generally do not pay more than $75 dollars for a trunk.

Other Places To Buy Antique Trunks

Antique stores, flea markets and estate sales; rarely do I ever find a deal at any of these places but sometimes I find a super deal, like a deal of a lifetime, almost like wining the lottery but not nearly that good. Okay so what do I really mean? What I am saying is 99% of the time their trunks are not a rare styles and are overpriced. The 1% of the time is when you are a winner, they have a trunk that is very rare but have no clue as to what they have so they price it way too low.

Buying Antique trunks

Now you’re probably wondering which trunks are worth all the money? Sorry can’t tell you that, its a trade secret and I would be shot on site if I told you. Well not really…. maybe my teeth would be pulled. Okay you want the truth… You really want to know why I can’t tell you right now? I am tired of typing so I will continue this in my next blog post, I know riveting. Right?

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What Is Wood Veneer

What is wood Veneer?

 

Solid wood is so much better than veneer right? Well its really not that simple, there are many different types of wood, grades of veneer and backing applied to veneer. I want to try and break down all of the misconceptions, myths, pros and cons about veneered furniture.

[hr] What is veneer? Quality veneer is a sliced sheet (about 1/42” thick) of wood taken from the entire length of a log. It is sliced, dried and glued together to make 4×8 sheets. Some veneer sheets can be much thicker depending on their intended use and some much thinner (1/128”). The very thin veneer is used for mass produced furniture and should be avoided at all costs. The veneer may be backed with several different types of backing from no backing, paper in 10 or 20 mil thicknesses or PSA which is basically a peel and stick backing like a big sticker.

 

Wood veneer for furniture
Veneer Rolls

Generally speaking veneer sheets are applied to a piece of solid wood or high quality plywood. The wood or plywood is coated in very strong glue and then the veneer is placed on the glue and pressure is applied for up to 24 hours until the glue has hardened.

There are many different grades of veneer available on the market today ranging from AA, A, B, C, D & E with AA being the best grade of veneer. There are also backer grades which are meant for unseen or rarely seen parts or sides of furniture.

Veneered furniture may be a little more expensive than solid wood furniture but it is better in quality and appearance. It is cost prohibitive to use high grade lumber to build furniture and you get a much larger selection of quality cuts when using veneer.

Another reason to use veneer is because solid wood can be unstable. This is especially true when talking about some exacting woods and different burls or crotch cuts. The great thing about having quality plywood under veneer is that it is much more stable than solid wood. The plywood and veneer do not move as much during seasonal changes in humidity and weather. Another advantage of veneer is that it is light and bends easily without causing stress within the wood.

[pb] Most furniture pieces that are veneered are really a combination of veneer and solid wood construction. The proper use of veneer and solid wood are the key when purchasing or making furniture. High traffic areas should not be veneered such as a chair, but low or no traffic areas such as a table top or chest should be.