Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another desk!

    This desk is so pretty.  Another military mahogany desk, this one is a bit newer and smaller than some I have done.  It was in pretty good condition when I got it, without any major repairs needed.  It was quite scratched though, and I did forget to take before pictures.  It was also missing part of one handle.  Fortunately I had one that was a very close match, can you tell which is the replacement handle?  After a light sanding I applied a couple of coats of Minwax Poly Shades in mahogany.  The top is the laminate type which is nice for easy care but is really not refinishable.  I have found that by rubbing a bit of Old English Scratch Guard on it you can at least darken any scratches and they blend right in. in. It only takes a tiny amount, wipe off any remaining excess.  I am delivering this today! 


Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Behemoth is done and delivered!

    This great old desk is finally finished.  It is larger than it looks in the picture and very, very heavy.  I think it is possible that it is a combination of two or three desks.  It is so deep that I couldn't even come close to reaching the the back when the drawers were removed.  The backs of the drawers themselves had some interesting metal stops, but still it did not prevent them from being an inch or more recessed when pushed all the way in.  I added stops to the inside of the drawer spaces, so the drawers were even with the desk front when shut.
    The legs/feet seem to be made of oak with bolts that go through the bottom of the desk on each side and adjustable metal feet on each end of the oak slabs.  I redrilled the hole on one spot on the bottom of the desk because it didn't line up with the bolts to attach it.  The legs were painted black and the black paint was so darkly pigmented it resembled soot when removed.  I used wipe on polyacrylic on them after removing the paint.
     Removing the old finish was really challenging and difficult.  The finish and at least some of the veneer was mahogany.  I usually really enjoy working with mahogany, but this desk was an old inhabitant of the home and was going back in its place in the newly remodeled kitchen.  The new cabinets were beautiful light colored hickory, so the owners wanted it to be as light as possible.  I tried every trick I knew, including bleach, but light was not really possible....Just evening out the color was challenging.
 
    The above pictures are from before.  Once all the old finish was removed and the desk sanded and the whole desk bleached I stained the desk in the oak stain that the owners chose.  I did some blending and used a few tricks to try to get even color throughout.  With a piece like this you do have to work carefully so that you do not damage the veneer.  Vigorous machine sanding would be quite damaging.  This desk did have some chipping and loss of the veneer particularly on the side.  I added a piece of wood to each side to cover the edges.
    Isn't the grain of the wood beautiful?  Today's veneer is not the same......
    I learned a lot from this project and I am so glad to report that the owners are very happy with the transformation.
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