|Refinished For Our Friend Rochelle
Vintage Shwayder SAMSON Trunk
|A large vintage Shwayder Bros. Samson trunk I believe to be from around the 1915's or so. Jesse
Shwayder rolled the dice with his last $3500 and started making trunks in Denver around 1910.
Soon members of his family joined in the effort forming Shwayder Bros. Trunk Co.
One of their early trunk lines was named "Samson" as a marketing strategy to promote the strength
of the trunk. Later products are the more commonly known Samsonite Luggage and soon the small
company grew to become the largest travel bag and case producer in the world. This is one of their
early trunks marked "SAMSON" and "Pat App'd For" on the hardware.
It was passed down from a family member to Rochelle and she wanted it refinished for safekeeping
of personal family items. It has a metal exterior and trim which we offered to paint, however, the
bottom metal was mostly rusted away and it was decided that we would finish removing it to expose
the 3 ply wood construction and see what kind of look could be create. Rochelle thought a wood
style trunk with rustic hardware was more appropriate for her home. After working with the trunk
bottom just a bit to give her the basic idea, photo's were sent and it was requested that all the metal
covering be removed and we give the hardware a nice rustic look.
|When the metal was removed, we found different types of the old 3 ply wood as it was called back
then. Most likely the woods were specifically selected based on the known stress points of a travel
trunk. This worked fine for me as I wish to return to Rochelle a trunk with a nice range of colors and
After sanding the wood, I applied some custom mixed stain and allowed to dry for a couple days, it
was then lightly sanded and another light coat was applied as ply is known to draw in the stain
quite a bit. Once this dried, a couple finish coats were applied to get complete the outside other than
installing the stitched leather handles.
The trunk took on a very nice look and is bright and colorful with nice graining in full light and then
very strong and handsome with a more subtle look when the lights go down. Not to be missed here
is that this is a HUGE vintage trunk, approaching antique, and now a very substantial item for the
|Somewhere, many hours before the outside was done, I addressed the inside to get it ready. It had a
paper lining as well as the original tray. The paper was not too bad but it was decided to remove it
and see what we could come up with. It was understood that this trunk would be used for
safekeeping of important personal items so after the paper was removed the wood was cleaned up
as best I could.
|With the outside completed, I revisited the inside. For the bottom storage section, we decided on
some aromatic cedar which was installed and pictured below. For the huge divided tray, it was
necessary to replace the cardboard bottom and hinged top section which was partially missing. The
original part of the tray was just lightly coated with a wood oil and stain mix to give it some color
while the new bottom will be left natural. The top part of the tray and trunk lid were covered in a nice
stripped fabric that looks very nice and neat when opened and you step back to view the trunk as a
|A couple floor protectors were added to the bottom and that about completes the work on this