This Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, begins here.
The original leather handle was removed as it was terribly degraded:
we will use this as a pattern to create three new handles,
as the handles on each side are missing.
The strapping leather for the handles is hand-dyed:
Three to four layers will be sewn together to create each handle.
EDIT: Though we created strap leather for the trunk we are not using it.
This leather will not be wasted — it is a color that is often found in many chairs and other pieces. However, the leather we are using for the handles replacement will
be matched to the cleaned leather, which is much lighter in color.
Note the color difference in the front of the trunk and the bottom —
the front and sides once showed off this lovely patterning!
We hope to remove enough grime that we can again see the patterning.
We test cleaned the left-facing outside back of the trunk, beginning with the least
invasive to the most invasive. The trunk is covered with a type of oil cloth; because of this, we decided not to test Vulpex because of its tremendous ability to remove oils — it might damage the oil cloth. We always start with distilled water. Neither distilled water nor Orvus really had any impact. We finally tried a mild solution of Borax and organic unscented dishwashing detergent, followed by rinsing. This moved the grime!
Tests are made, and we are ready to begin.
The oilcloth and the leather will be treated after cleaning to add oils.
Examples of sticker and labels we will attempt to preserve.
Next step, cleaning, creating and reassembling.
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Written by Kate Powell ©MPF Conservation.
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