My first furniture rehab: The blue desk

I’d been making a lot of noises about crafting and snazzing up my garage and I guess my little sister caught on because for Christmas, she got me an awesome book on rehabbing furniture (amazon affiliate link ahoy). That week, I set off to our huge local Goodwill with my cousin. When I spotted a 1960s desk I saw all the potential the book had taught me to look for. We pulled the drawers out one by one to make sure they were working (clean and dove-tailed), and found a bunch of letters from the 70s and 80s inside.  (I accidentally forgot them when we left, and I’m pretty bummed about that. They included a pen pal letter from a child, bills, and a doctor’s office sign-in sheet on notebook paper.)

desk_before

desk_before2

I haggled gently with an employee and ended up getting the desk for $30. A total steal, if you ask me. It had some bumps and light mold on the outside, and one small peeling veneer spot on a drawer, but other than that it was in awesome shape. I loaded it into the back of my car and took it home. My mom advised me to note how much time and money I’d spend on it when I mentioned how cheap it was. I didn’t, but I’d estimate it took me four weekends, a few week days, and about $160. But that included many tools I’ll use again for future projects.

To complete the desk, I did this over the span of about a month:

  • Removed all hardware
  • Washed the desk with a mold remover.
  • Glued the peeling veneer down and let it dry with a clamp.
  • Sanded the desk with an orbital sander.
  • Vacuumed the surface and drawers and wiped with a damp shop towel.
  • Drilled new holes for hardware.
  • Filled the old hardware holes with wood putty.
  • Painted the desk with a tinted primer.
  • Painted the desk with flat paint.
  • Sealed the desk with clear poly-acrylic.
  • Refreshed the legs with Danish oil.
  • Replaced the hardware with white enamel knobs.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed getting to say wood, hole and knob a lot.

desk_new_holes

desk_primerdesk_coats

painting_desk

The putty part was definitely the most fascinating since I had no idea what I was doing. It didn’t come out totally perfect but I don’t think you can see the holes unless you’re really looking and feeling for them. Drilling was very fun. The polyacrylic was a total nightmare and I’ll be much more careful next time I do it, especially if I’m planning on giving a piece away or selling it. The drips made me crazy. But the kids will be using the desk as a homework and busy-time desk in my home office so I really needed it decently sealed. (It could have used one or two more coats of the sealant but I rage quit the entire project at that point, threw the knobs on and carried it into my office like The Hulk.)

I was going to paper the drawers, but NOPE.

idgaf

The final result is just wonderful. I couldn’t be happier with it. Every time I glance over it at it I’m thrilled with how cute it is and how cool it is that I did it all by myself. (With the assistance of a cool book, lots of blog posts on how to paint and use polyacrylic, and my best friend wandering over from next door to chatter at me while I swore about paint drips, so many paint drips, we hates them, precious.)

Stuff I used:

  • Ryobi 18-Volt Drill (the only thing I already owned)
  • Drill bits (Christmas present from my brother)
  • Ryobi orbital sander
  • A shop-vac with a brush attachment (borrowed it from my dad)
  • Shop towels
  • Painter’s tape
  • Tons of latex gloves and a plastic drop cloth
  • Fine and medium grit sanding blocks
  • Minwax Polyacrylic
  • Minwax Wood Filler
  • Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer in Sea Exposure
  • Kilz Latex tinted to close to my paint color
  • Watco Danish Oil
  • Wooster Pro synthetic brushes
  • Foam brushes
  • Small foam roller and 3 rolls
  • Plastic tray

photo(2)photo(1)

 Finished product!

desk_finished

Some day I’ll take a nice picture of it!

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Comments

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