DIY: Tack Trunk Restoration

When I first got my horse I became obsessed with buying and having everything horse related, essential and nonessential. Though I probably could have gone without, at the time I absolutely needed a large tack trunk. Where else would I put all my new horse gear and goodies?!

Tack trunks typically retail for $200 (for a plastic one) to over $1500 (for high end wooden or customized trunks). I lucked out and happened to have a friend trying to unload a bunch of very old, wood trunks collecting dust in the attic of her barn. Covered in dust, dirt, and cobwebs, she helped me drag it from the barn home for my first ever restoration project.

Before

The trunk was in pretty great shape when I bought it. The wood was not rotted or damaged. I could have easily gotten away with a simple clean up. However, I wanted to improve on it as much as possible. The first step was to sand down the exterior wood surfaces to prepare for some fresh paint. I used an electric sander with course sandpaper. After the first sanding, I applied wood filler to the cracks and chips in the wood and allowed it to dry before sanding over it with course paper and then a fine sanding paper.

This wood filler was highly recommended but I did find it difficult to use. The product needed to be mixed with a hardener before application. I found it to harden very fast making it difficult to spread. Regardless of this difficulty, it did work very well.

Ready for paint!

I purchased Behr Premium paint with built in primer at Home Depot and had them match it to a Benjamin Moore color, Classic Burgundy. This was the first time I used a paint with primer built in. Truly I was not impressed. It required two coats with about 8-12 hours in between to fully dry. I was careful to do thin coats of paint and allowed amply time to dry, yet even a few days after both coats were applied, the paint felt tacky. I did do the painting outdoors, but during these days there was little to no humidity. However, the color did come out wonderful!

After painting, I cleaned up the inside of the trunk using a wood soap before applying wax.

As the bottom of the tack trunk is wood and it will be residing in a damp barn, I decided to lift it off the ground on wheels to protect the bottom from water damage as well as making it easier to move about. After a discussion with my Grandfather, a man who built his own house from the ground up and can fix/make pretty much anything, I went with his method for attaching the wheels. The wheels would be attached to wood blocks. These wood blocks would attach to the bottom of the trunk by screwing through a metal plate on the inside of the trunk. Little confusing. Check out the pics!

Metal plate on the inside of the trunk

Someone had cut the lock on the trunk, but my mother managed to find an identical piece of hardware on a trunk restoration website. The lock is solid brass covered in chrome.

I cleaned the vinyl with Armor All and wiped down the chrome with Brasso. Armor All is wonderful. It cleaned the vinyl perfectly and left a layer of protection. I found the Brasso to be relatively ineffective. I was hoping it would remove some of the discoloration and paint splatters left from the previous owner. Sadly it did not, but it did provide a decent sheen to the chrome.

The finished product:

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