Thursday, August 20, 2015

Something old.....something new

I’ve been waiting to show you all this beauty for a while now. A couple of years ago, my dad and I found this poor thing sitting on the side of the road.

Please ignore the messy garage. They had just moved.
It was obvious from the dirt and apparent termite damage that it had been sitting in the barn on the property for a long (read: looooooong) time. But it was a beautiful old secretary, and I begged Dad to turn around and let me get a better look at it. Even though it was starting to rain, the desk seemed sturdy and didn’t appear to have any water damage, so we crammed it in the back of the Corolla and drove it to my parents’ house.

Seriously, my mom will probably kill me for posting these photos.

I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it, but I didn’t have the space in my current apartment for the extra piece of furniture. So, my parents kindly allowed me to leave it in their garage until I could fix it up.

I decided to not use the drawer because it was completely unattached.
 Well, I finally moved into a larger apartment earlier this year, so it was time to tackle this redo. I had tried sanding on the piece earlier, but I realized that any remaining stain had completely worn off the piece. What it really needed was cleaning.

It looked 100% better after just the initial cleaning with a T.S.P. Cleaner substitute. After it dried completely, I repeated the process once more before doing some spot sanding.

Still wet from the first cleaning, but already looks amazing!
 One of the legs had been replaced at some point because it was slightly different from the others, and the table wobbled a bit. Dad helped me lay the beast on its side, and we discovered that leg was slightly shorter. However, the bottom of one of the other legs had been damaged, so we decided to cut them all off to the same length. Remember I said there was apparent termite damage to the legs? Well, when Dad sawed off the legs, he discovered that the termites had given up because the Oak wood was so hard. None of the holes were anything but superficial, and the center of the legs was still so hard that his circular saw was smoking trying to cut through.

Fully dry and ready to be filled in and painted.
Now, the only problem left to address before painting was the hole that ran across the center of the desk top. I’m not sure what caused it or if it was built that way, but I wanted to fill it in. Dad was going to try stripping a board down to the correct width to fill it in, but I found a much easier solution. I bought 2 36”-long square dowels that were the correct width. The width of the desk inside was 38”, so I used one dowel as it was and cut the other for pieces. Here’s a diagram of the inside of the desk.


I doubled the dowel so it could be glued into place to be flush with the desk and still be supported by the frame. The small 1” pieces on the ends are glued to the inside and outside of the frame as extra support. After the glue dried, I used wood filler to fill in the gaps around the dowel and smooth out some of the imperfections in the rest of the desk.

Finally, I started painting. I used a spray paint because I wanted a glossy finish without brush strokes, but I realized after the first 2 coats that I had to use a brush to fill in the grain more evenly. Luckily, I was able to get the exact shade in a pint and did 2 coats (well, one full coat and spot touch-ups) with that before finishing off with the spray paint again.

Love me some Kelly Green!
Already looking beautiful!
You can see how well the gap filled in.
All her gorgeousness!

The end result is just loverly!

It was a long time coming, but I’m quite happy and proud with how this project turned out!