By Chris Wantuck
Before covering your project trunk, apply a good sanding sealer. Plan on several coats to ensure the fillers smooth over the flat head screws and seams in the wood so they don't show through the outer covering.
There are several options when covering the trunk. One supplier, Brettuns Village offers thin leather material in assorted colors, grains and thicknesses. Or you could consider using book binding covering material from suppliers such as Gane Brothers. The book binding material is rather thin, has the appearance of leather, and wraps & folds well onto corners and mates well to overlapped surfaces. Design your seam points so they are concealed in rear areas such as under the vent channels or strips. If possible, obtain swatches of the material so you can assess how well the material can be applied. This is especially important for inside corners. After you have selected the covering material make a template out of brown paper. This is used as a guide as to where to make your cuts in the material as well as giving you an opportunity to practice how to cover your project. The template should not be glued in place, it can be held with light duty plastic clamps. Photos 40 through 64 offer step by step information on covering your trunk. Determine how you will cover and attach the front and lid. You will be using outer material to conceal the inside holes. This will involve covering, apply a hinge, tightening it, and then continuing to cover. You may need to enlist a helper for attaching such pieces like the front panel and the lid.
Photo 40 — Brown paper is used to make a template around the front panel. Small plastic clamps hold it in place. The template helps you decide where to make transitions between the outer covering and your choice for inner covering detail.
Photo 41 — A benefit of making the template helps resolve how certain details are handled. Here the template is folded into the inside edges and held by clamps. This helps resolve your method for folding and gluing the outer material.
Photo 42 — The covering around the outer edge is fine, but the bottom edge is more complicated. Cut the material so that the seam is to the inside (furthest away from the weather).
Photo 43 — Choose your cutting instruments carefully. Here angled scissors found at a flea market (probably medical surplus) allows fine cuts in tight corners. Exacto brand knifes offer pointed and curved shape blades. Here a carpet cutter handle and blade can cut into inside edges quite well, usually in a single pass.
Photo 44 — When it becomes time to apply your outer covering material contact adhesives such as the liquid from Weldwood with disposable foam brushes provide good adhesion, but you must follow the instructions (incuding temperature requirements) carefully. Multiple coats may be necessary. Not all spray adhesives are alike. The Loctrite #200 provides a nice mist spray which allows a uniform coat of adhesive. Spray adhesive onto both the material and the wood. We tried a couple other products from Loctite (#100 and #300) which sprayed in a stream which left bumps and ridges in the material, which you want to avoid. As with any chemical sprays, be sure to use a respirator. When stretching or forming the material around corners, a hot air gun comes in handy.