We’ve all seen (and gawked at) steamer trunks around the blogosphere and pinterest; they’re so old-world, glamorous and rustic all at the same time, how can you blame us! They’re great for storage or just as a home accessory. One big problem? They stink! These true antiques have, um, that antique smell if you know what I mean. (That smell you get when you walk into a thrift shop x100. Musky, pungent, not fun to cuddle with.)
Folksy husband and I recently came into a few of these trunks when his grandparents’ old house was being cleaned out last year. This trunk was used by one of his great grandparents either in their travel from Ireland to Canada or Canada to the US. How cool is that??
We wanted to use one of them for blanket storage in our living room, but, caveat: this gorgeous trunk featured that authentic smell. This trunk needed some hygiene help. No trunk B-O allowed on my blankets, thank you. We started by cleaning up the outside (it had been sitting in an attic for god knows how long) by sanding the wood and scouring the tin to remove the rust. Here it is after the first clean up:
Murphy oil soap came to the rescue in cleaning the wood, and then we used some Watco Teak Oil to freshen up the slats. There, much better!
Then it was time for the inside, which was lined in disintegrating kraft paper. After removing the paper and scrubbing, the smell persisted. No bueno. FH came up with the idea of lining it in cedar using a packet of tongue and groove planks usually used to line closet walls. (Note: This was done a while a go so there aren’t many pics ) The plan was genius, I tell you! Genius!
He measured it out and made miter cuts so that the planks would fit in there and kind of hold themselves apart. No glue necessary!
He did the same for the vertical edge of the top.
See how the angle of the cuts forces them all to push against each other? He also cut a divet in one plank for the hinge to hide behind:
We left the top unlined to show off the the sultry lady in the picture that is original to the trunk (we preserved the paper on the top when taking off the rest of it). How come-hither is that woman’s look?
The cedar worked like a charm to mask
soak up the musk, and our blankets come out smelling fresh and clean. Originally, they were overwhelmingly cedary, but now they smell neutral and perfect for couch cuddling. With a puppy on your lap, of course.
So, moral of the story: Don’t disregard that trunk ’cause of the funk! Get some plank to cover that stank!
Thank you, thank you very much.