I really want, and honestly need, a sewing desk...some place I can store and use my sewing machine without having to set it up on my dining room table. I found this sewing desk in a thrift store and man-oh-man was this thing seriously ugly!
I knew this desk could be a little treasure after the cruddy paint job was stripped away!
And even to my surprise, what a treasure it is...what I found under two layers of paint was beautiful mahogany. Initially someone had painted it a really disgusting green and then I guess they tried to improve it by painting it a flat black.
This is a prime example of hurting a piece in a failed attempt to "enhance" it! Truth be told, I felt a little guilty painting the base and drawers white. But I could never live with myself had I not restored the top to it's prior glory!
Before I started refinishing, I cut the opening a little bigger to accomodate my sewing machine. TIP ALERT: when cutting veneer mark the cut with a pencil and then score the veneer with a utility knife. Then use a jig saw with a very sharp blade to cut "inside" the score...if you don't, the veneer with split and splinter and you will make quite a mess!
Normally I use Formby's Furniture Refinisher to strip latex paint and old varnish...but two layers of paint needed a little more muscle....so I used a citrus stripper. I will not use anything stronger on veneer (always use any stripper per the instructions and in a VERY well ventilated area!) This piece didn't have a single chip in the veneer and I didn't want to risk hurting the piece by using industrial strength stripper! Took a little more time and more than one application but it was worth it.
After removing all the old paint, I took 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits and gave the wood a "bath." When stripping wood, regardless of what you use to strip it, always "wash" the piece with mineral spirits to remove all the "crumbs." After it dries, take VERY fine sand paper or 0000 steel wool and sand lightly before applying stain or a finish.
TIP ALERT...keep old toothbrushes on hand to get into groves and corners when stripping furniture. DIYers never throw away old toothbrushes, coffee cans, socks, old tshirts or towels...trust me, you will need them!
Since I knew I was painting the base and the drawers, I didn't strip them but I did sand and prime well before painting.
And again...ALWAYS USE TACK CLOTH BEFORE PAINTING OR APPLYING FINISH...AND BETWEEN EVERY COAT!! I seriously can not stress this enough! So many DIY tutorials tell you to "wipe down"...again, I challenge you...wipe down your piece with a clean cloth, and even some mineral spirits...then wipe it with a tack cloth! You will be shocked at how much crud was still there!
Two coats of gloss white paint on the base and drawers. A light coat of walnut brown stain on the wood to even out the color and give it a little more depth....4 coats of my favorite Formby's Tung Oil. New crystal knobs. Total awesomeness!
I can not stress how beautiful this wood is....I wish I was a better photographer. And I wonder if I should have stripped and stained the drawer on the right...but then again, I kind of like the paint/stain contrast...I think I would love it either way!
I REALLY love tung oil.... it allows the grain of any wood to just shine! And it is sooo easy to take care of and touch up when needed! (Now I know why my father refused to use polyurethane) I think so many use polyurethane because they are concerned about durability....that is honestly not an issue with tung oil! Try it...it is almost impossible to mess up the application (unlike poly) and it is extremely easy to touch up scratches in the future if necessary!
This project was pure joy! Anytime I can take something that has been so abused and turn it into a treasure it just makes me happy!
Maybe now I will enjoy sewing just a little more!