Tag Archives: paint

Trunk and Bookcase Resto: Intro

With my grandparents moving out of their house and downsizing to a condominium, lots of furniture and goodies came out of the rooms and crawlspaces of their large back-split that had to be sold or given away. My grandfather’s old medical equipment ( he was a surgeon and GP ) along with the Pharmacist’s shelves where they sat, and his “Steamer Trunk” from the Old Country are now in my charge.

The neat sliding glass and stacking Pharmacist’s shelves are in original condition; they are still wearing their original white oil (lead?) paint from the 1940s, and almost exude the atmosphere of sterility of a doctor’s office. The base shelf has a broken wooden front panel with cracked glass – when this is removed, the wide shelf makes for a perfect place to store my record collection. Now it’s down to finding an oil-based paint to paint the unit; since strict VOC regulations came into place in 2010, it’s been tough to find any oil paints, and putting latex over aged oil paint makes for a poor finish.

Edit: Turns out its not a pharmacy shelving unit after all! Despite being sold to my grandfather from a pharmacy, it turns out it is in fact a barrister’s bookcase. This particular stacking model has 3 levels, and is manufactured by Macey’s Canada Furniture Company, giving it a much higher value than I originally thought. Now knowing that it is made of quarter-cut oak planks, I will be removing all the paint and restoring it with wood stain instead.

The metal steamer trunk is an interesting find from the crawlspace. It still bears my grandparent’s waybill from Yugoslavia to Canada – dated May 10th 1959, showing that they rode the SS Saxonia, and were destined for Montreal. It’s an interesting piece of family history, and it should be a great conversation piece once refinished. Since I value the stickers and stamps attached to the chest, I’ll be trying to preserve the original finish of the metal chest, while also trying to clean the brass fittings and repair the metal edging which has come loose. For this it looks like a thorough cleaning and then laquering of the exterior metal should do the trick. For the interior, I’ll be using a steamer to do away with the smelly and tattered wallpaper lining, and then sanding and refinishing the exposed wood.