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Antique Trunk Refinishing ServiceFixing up an old trunk
A couple of 'before and after' examples

You might get a boot out of our Before and After page and you'll get an idea of how our work shapes up.  Go ahead, it'll only take a minute.

We do our best to redo trunks to our customers' liking, and we don't charge an arm and a leg.  Just read the following actual customer testimonials:

From Jo & Tenny:  "Hi Churchill-  So excited to see and ooooh and aaaah over the new "trunk" back home in NC!  You and all your crew are truly remarkable craftsmen, artists.......we LOVE your workmanship and send our thanks again to ya'll.

BW of Spokane, WA writes:  "My trunk was a goner until I sent it to Brettun's Village Trunk Shop.  Thanks for the great work and nice way of doing business."

GS of Phoenix, AZ writes:  "Thanks for the great work and fair pricing.  We wanted to keep our family trunk, but we were worried it was too far deteriorated to save.  It looks wonderful now.  We'll recommend Brettun's Village to others!"

AC of Ft Lauderdale, FL writes:  "Trunks?  I thought you said trucks!!  I just shipped a 1940 Ford to you by accident!" (editor's note - we actually noticed it was a truck after we stripped the paint off it and nailed leather handles to the doors, it just sounded sort of tinny for a trunk)

HH of Storm Lake, IA writes:  "Don't ever send me your trunk newsletter again.  It's too hokey, you hayseed!"

KM of Spring, TX rubs this in my face:  Hi Churchill,    We went sailing in the British Virgin Islands for the last week and just got back yesterday.  Doug brought the trunk home today from the office and it looks great.  You were right that it has character.  Thanks for all your efforts. (ed. note:  This is cruel and unusual punishment when it's 16 degrees up here.)

Here are Some Other Places to Check With:

by Randall Barbera, Palm Springs, CA

Randall's Work:

historic preservation of vintage and antique steamer and Vuitton trunks


Or Check with Connie:

Refinished antique trunks for sale, made in Maine
Check out Connie's Trunks!
What started out to be a hobby has turned into a full time labor of love. At Connie's Trunks, we get a great deal of satisfaction giving tired, old trunks and antique
trunks new life. We're convinced that each antique trunk we complete is about to become a family treasure to be handed down from one generation to the next.
During the past three years we have restored and sold approximately 300 antique trunks and vintage trunks . . .  and we have a workshop
full of old trunks just waiting their turn. Our goal is to offer a variety of styles and sizes so you can find your "perfect antique trunk."

Here's our pricing structure for working on your trunk, and a general sequence of events:
Mission:  Refinishing

Step 1:  You e-mail us to let us know your intentions, and we'll let you know our schedule.  We try to get trunks done as quickly as possible, but you should allow  between 1 to 3 months - somewhere in there - for us to get through the various steps.  We seem to average a few trunks in the line-up at any given time, and we like to be sure we pay proper attention to each one.  We also like to point out that the workshop is about 10 degrees F during December, January, and February, so it can be difficult to get motivated to do a lot of work out there at that time of the year (don't forget we're in Maine).

Step 2:  You ship the trunk to us, using UPS or some other carrier.  UPS charges from $25 to $200 to ship trunks from most USA locations to our shop in Maine.  Cheaper if you live closer to the Northeast.  If your trunk is too big (girth plus length are more than 130 inches) you should expect to pay toward the high end of that range, due to UPS' oversize surcharges.  If you take your trunk to one of those mailbox stores you might pay a little more, but they're accountable if there's a problem in shipping (like a forklift runner making a new vent in your trunk).  Packing is easy, just get a couple of big boxes and put one over each end, then tape it all up.  No duct tape.  Slap our address on it and let er rip. Here's the street address for shipping your trunk:

Brettuns Village
557 Lincoln Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
This is a business address and is for UPS, Airborne, DHL, freight truck, or Fedex shipping only.  This is also our mailing address.

Don't forget that you get to pay for shipping twice, so's we can get your trunk back home to you.

Step 3:  As of June 25, 2014 we charge a basic refinishing fee of $500.  Get up off the floor, Winnifred.  Seems like a lot of money, doesn't it?  Used to be cheaper, but we got buried in trunks from all over the world.  We've increased our fee to be more in line with the amount of time we spend on your trunks, so now we're almost up to making minimum wage.  What do you get for this fee?  You get the outside cleaned up and any unwanted canvas stripped off, the inside cleaned out and deodorized; we remove rust, polish up brass or tin, put on new handles, tighten the parts, and stain and finish the inside and outside.  This is the basic charge for refinishing a common, canvas-covered or tin trunk, start to finish.  Buy an old trunk, send it to us, we redo it, poof, you're the new owner of a nice piece of furniture.  You can pay us in installments while we're working on it; we ship it back to you when we're paid in full.

Additional costs - Some tasks will require an additional fee - these are outlined below:

Styrofoam Packing Peanuts Fee - This one is very important - when you ship your trunk to us, whether you pack it yourself or take it somewhere to get it packed, please DO NOT use styrofoam 'peanuts' or 'worms' or any other sort of small, lightweight packing material.  If we receive your trunk and the box is jammed full of this stuff there is an additional $100 fee to cover the amount of time we spend chasing that miserable rubbish across central Maine once we open the box.  If you don't mind paying the $100 fee, then go ahead and use them.  If you'd rather not pay this fee, then use newspaper, kraft paper, or something else that stays put in a mild breeze.

Paint Stripping - Don't we just love using that smelly goo to remove the paint your Dad put on the trunk back in the 60s, when everything just had to be that weird shade of green?  This costs an extra $250.  Seem like a lot?  Feel free to do the paint stripping yourself and save the money for your own hospital bills.  Check your trunk closely - if it has a layer of varnish on it, that's just as bad as any other paint - it has to come off before we can do anything else.

Replacing Boards - Sometimes trunks need entire boards removed from the body of the trunk, or a slat replaced on the outside.  The number of nails that need to be removed and replaced, and the amount of hardware that has to be removed/replaced will dictate the actual cost of board replacement.  Range is from $25 on up (we have built entire new boxes for well composted old trunks, when we were able to save only the metal pieces).

Having Keys Made - Once we have your trunk here we can usually find or make a key to work the lock.  We include this at no extra charge.  If you want more than one they're $25 each.

Replacing Parts - We can find or make replacement parts for most any trunk, and the price varies according to the part itself.  Ranges from $1 per piece on up to as much as $90 for a replacement lock to match an early 1800s trunk.  We cannot find all parts - we'll let you know.

Lining With Cedar - Lots of folks want their trunk lined in cedar, then they try to lift it and throw their back out for a week.  Adds a lot of weight.  Cedar boards aren't light weight or cheap, so we usually recommend just lining the bottom, or just the top, or a border around the lip of the trunk body.  Better yet - get one of our lift-out cedar panels.  All the aroma, very little weight gain.  Cost for a cedar border is about $50 (depends on size of trunk), cedar bottom is about $100, cedar lining for entire trunk is about $250, depending on size of trunk and market price of cedar at the time.  We get ours milled locally, and it smells great, just like a hamster cage.

Lining with Wallpaper - We do not offer this service - the paper will begin peeling in a year or two, and we don't like to make you have to send it back and go to all that trouble.  This is not a good choice for your trunk, in our opinion.

Lining with Fabric - We do not offer this service.  Looks great the day you get it; looks like heck a year later.

Covering with New Leather - If your old saratoga or hide-covered trunk needs new leather all over the outside, please keep in mind that we have to remove every single piece/part from the trunk in order to do this.  Some trunks have about a million tiny nails along the corners - so we will not replace leather on this type of trunk.  For a typical sized trunk that was originally covered in leather (not fake stuff) we can remove all the parts, put on new leather in the color/shade of your choice, and then put all the parts back on again.  This task adds a minimum of $450 to the total bill.

Steamer or Wardrobe Trunks - If you have a nice old steamer trunk or wardrobe (opens like a closet), and you want the old composite exterior to look like something else or be painted, and you want the inside completely redone, drawers and all, we recommend that you find an upholstery shop to work on it for you.  We can't do much to help and will not accept these trunks for refinishing.  Sorry.

Step 4:  We receive your trunk, look it over, and e-mail you a hard price for the work. That's what you'll pay, no more.  If you want to cut some things out to save money, that's fine by us.

Step 5:  After we work on it we send you some digital photos of the trunk, showing the work we did.  You squeal (we hope).

Step 6:  You pay us for the work and return shipping, then we squeal, and off it goes to your farm.

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?  We also try to keep you posted along the way, give you notes on progress, let you know if we find anything interesting in the trunk, that sort of thing.  We send digital photos if that's OK with you.  Very high tech.

How Long Will it Take? This is the number one question we get about refinishing.  Count on nine months, then, if we manage to finish it in 6 weeks you'll be wicked pleased.  Average turn-around time for a typical trunk is about nine months, start to finish.  We do our best, but sometimes things get backed up, just like Grandpa.  We'll keep you posted along the way.  Just to repeat something you may have missed up above - we don't do much trunk work during the winter months (November thru March), so please don't expect us to crank through your project quickly during that time of the year.  It's a bit frosty hereabouts.

Things We Will Not Do - This is important - there are some tasks that Brettuns Village will NOT perform on your trunk, for a variety of reasons ranging from basic decency to bad taste - we will NOT do the following:

-  We will not spray paint or brush paint your trunk with any type of paint at all, period.  Not one drop.  Again:  NO PAINT!
-  We will not perform any type of work on wardrobe trunks (drawers on one side, hangers on the other, lots of fabric)
-  We will not magically make your old 1930s-era black trunk look like a priceless piece of furniture.  It'll be cleaner and brighter, but it'll still be black.
-  We will not line your trunk with fabric or wallpaper
-  Did we mention that we don't use paint?  No black paint on the metal, no gold paint on the lock, no paint, no paint, no paint.
-  Would you like your trunk painted?  We won't do it, but ask your local antique dealer - they'll probably be happy to slather on the Rustoleum for you.

Ready?  Start with Step 1, send an e-mail

Louis Vuitton Trunk Restoration
Yes, we can recondition your Louis Vuitton trunk too.
Louis Vuitton Trunk Restoration Service

Take me back to Brettuns Village Trunk Shop!