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Desk Part 2: In Which the Naked Desk Gets His New Clothes

Yes, my desk is male. Yes, he likes frills and corner details and gilding. Do you have a problem with that?

So when we left off my desk had gone from this to this after a couple of very hot weeks in late august.

You can see its progress in Part 0 and Part 1

After that I wasn’t particularly sure what I wanted to do with the beast. Originally I was going to refinish the top with an ebony stain and paint the base with a grey chalk paint. Then I had planned to go over it with a dark finishing wax to give the carved elements dimension. However, after getting the whole thing sanded down I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to cover up that beautiful wood. So after some convincing and seeing what the top looked like stained I decided it would be worth the little extra work to stain the whole thing with a light ebony stain.

The top with its ebony stain.

I know light ebony sounds like an oxymoron … what I mean is just one light coat of an ebony stain to darken up the wood without adding any additional red since the wood was already reading as red (I’ve no idea what kind of wood it is but it’s very red).

I did some additional sanding over the whole piece with some fine grain sandpaper prior to staining then used a lint free cloth to remove any dust from the desk before actually applying the stain.

Before and after staining on the back panels and drawer fronts

I found it quite hard to get sawdust and lint out of the corners and carved detail no matter what I did. I finally hunted in the bathroom for a bulb syringe to blow air into these areas  and that turned out to be the perfect tool. It was far more efficient than a dust cloth or for that matter my lungs when it came to the crevices.

After all the staining was done it was a matter of protecting the finish I had just worked so hard to get. I originally purchased a can of polyurethane just assuming that’s how you finish things. After doing some research I decided to forego the ungodly coats of poly for just a couple coats of Tung oil. Tung Oil is pretty interesting stuff. If you’re thinking of refinishing furniture any time soon you should consider it as an alternative to poly. It was really easy to work with, a very quick process, and as far as I can tell quite durable. The only prep involved for the Tung oil was a quick buffing with a fine steel wool followed by dusting.

A couple of freshly stained drawer fronts getting the steel wool treatment before Tung oil.

In the end I’m really glad I went with staining the whole thing versus painting.

Tung oil really brings out the grain of the wood without being overly glossy.

Oh and remember that broken foot. It didn’t take stain luckily I had some paint handy, at least it’s an improvement.

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3 thoughts on “Desk Part 2: In Which the Naked Desk Gets His New Clothes

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