My first big furniture project was a Federal style desk I found on my number one source for all dilapidated furniture: Craigslist! The truth is that Desk (see my tendency to name furniture here) looked MUCH better in the picture than in person, I had yet to understand the limitations of veneer, and once I showed up with cash in hand, I felt obligated to buy the darn thing. She was rough (her drawers existed, but had been removed before this picture):
My original intention was to just refinish the wood (strip, sand, re-stain). However, once I got Desk home, I entertained delusions of re-doing the veneer on the top, where it was the worst. After I gouged the crap out of the top while trying to remove the old veneer, I decided to paint Desk instead.
I could not use the old top, so I had to improvise. I found fairly inexpensive strips of red oak at Home Depot, and used these to make a top surface for Desk. I spent many evenings in the back bedroom and garage, using dowels, clamps, and wood glue to create one solid board. Then, I sanded it for hours to get all of the pieces level. This job is usually done in 15 seconds using a planer, but since I didn’t have a planer, I listened to music and sanded my little heart out. Finally, The Boy used a router to make neat beveled edges all the way around (I am a little spastic with a router, and didn’t trust my skills – yet).
I used the same wood to make new drawer fronts. I sanded the base of Desk, just to scuff it up a bit, and then applied 2 (or 3) coats of paint with primer. I like to put a little personal touch, and add a little pizzazz, so I used wallpaper to line the drawers. The final touch was making drawer pulls for the big center drawer, to bring everything together. Here is Desk, in all of her glory:
The Boy decreed that I could not start on my next furniture project until I sold Desk (“there is no room at the Inn!”). So I listed her on Craigslist, and crossed my fingers that she would find a good home. And she did!! The very sweet girl who took Desk home promised to love her forever. Although I often think of the good times Desk and I had, letting go meant finding my next love. It is a vicious cycle. Sigh.
(PSST – I entered this project in a DIY contest at Not Just A Housewife – check it out!)