This is one of my most favorite refinishing jobs ever. I love my little desk. And the Nate Berkus show liked it as well. Isn’t it a shame that the show got canceled. I love Nate and the show! But now I can watch it again on OWN, yay! They had it posted on their website. After that they called me up one day to feature it on one of their shows but I didn’t get to see it. Bummer! The show got canceled! I originally purchased the desk at an auction. It took me a while to find a very small desk that could fit the designated area in our living room. I also really wanted claw feet. And here it is before I stripped it. Isn’t that an ugly orange stain? Some of the hardware was missing too.
I started by removing all the hardware and the insert with all the slots and small drawers. I still have it in my attic and might end up using it one day but I feel like it visually clutters the small desk. I also needed room for my laptop. The hinged desk surface was already off and the hinges were bent. I had to hammer them straight again. Here are the products that I used:
I used wood filler to fill all the holes and then I was ready to strip it. I mostly sanded with fine sand paper for this project to get out a lot of dents and scratches, because I wanted a smooth surface. For the detailed areas like the claw feet and molding I used furniture stripper, steel wool and an old toothbrush. For this job I was able to use a gentler stripper since it was only a stain. For heavy painted pieces of furniture I usually use a knock-out chemical stripper. I’m sorry that I don’t have a picture of the stripped desk but when I work on a project I get so excited and into it that I forget to take a lot of pictures. And I didn’t really ever think about submitting it to a show or to post this stuff on a blog. I wanted a really dark stain since most of the furniture in my living room is very light. I decided to go with a red mahogany stain after trying several different stains out on a scrap piece of wood. To get the really dark finish I stained the desk evenly without wiping the stain off which is what I usually do. It took a really, really long time for the stain to dry this way. Before staining wipe the piece of furniture with a tack cloth to remove all the dust and dirt. After the desk finally dried and YES the waiting period is always killing me! I just want to finish a project so badly that I have screwed up a project or two due to my lack of patience during drying time. So the last step was to apply two coats of polyurethane. I used Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss. After the first thin coat is dry you can use a very fine grid sandpaper to lightly sand out any raised bumps and bubbles. Use a tack cloth again to remove the sanding dust and dirt before putting on the second coat of polyurethane.
I got lucky when I found the hardware at the Restoration Hardware outlet store. They were only $2 each. And they also had the wallpaper (cheap) that I used in the back of the desk and on the work surface. I simply used a clear desk surface protector over a piece of wallpaper. I’m on the hunt for a new wallpaper or wrapping paper for the desk but haven’t found one to replace it with. I’m thinking graphic pattern with grey and a little color. Haven’t come across one. Have you?