Saturday, March 24, 2012

Secretary Desk Redo

red mahogany stained secretary with claw feet before and after

This is one of my most favorite refinishing jobs ever. I love my little desk. And the Nate Berkus show liked it as well. Isn't it a shame that the show got canceled. I love Nate and the show! But now I can watch it again on OWN, yay!

They had it posted on their website. After that they called me up one day to feature it on one of their shows but I didn't get to see it. Bummer! Show got canceled!

And it was recently featured on Centsational Girl's BOTB!

I originally purchased the desk at an auction. It took me a while to find a very small desk that could fit the designated area in our living room. I also really wanted claw feet.

And here it is before I stripped it. Isn't that an ugly orange stain? Some of the hardware was missing too.
the before of the claw foot secretary desk


I started by removing all the hardware and the insert with all the slots and small drawers. I still have it in my attic and might end up using it one day but I feel like it visually clutters the small desk. I also needed room for my laptop.
The hinged desk surface was already off and the hinges were bent. I had to hammer them straight again.

Here are the products that I used:


I used wood filler to fill all the holes and then I was ready to strip it. I mostly sanded with fine sand paper for this project to get out a lot of dents and scratches, because I wanted a smooth surface. For the detailed areas like the claw feet and molding I used furniture stripper, steel wool and an old toothbrush. For this job I was able to use a gentler stripper since it was only a stain. For heavy painted pieces of furniture I usually use a knock-out chemical stripper.

I'm sorry that I don't have a picture of the stripped desk but when I work on a project I get so excited and into it that I forget to take a lot of pictures. And I didn't really ever think about submitting it to a show or to post this stuff on a blog.

I wanted a really dark stain since most of the furniture in my living room is very light. I decided to go with a red mahogany stain after trying several different stains out on a scrap piece of wood. To get the really dark finish I stained the desk evenly without wiping the stain off which is what I usually do. It took a really, really long time for the stain to dry this way. Before staining wipe the piece of furniture with a tack cloth to remove all the dust and dirt.

After the desk finally dried and YES the waiting period is always killing me! I just want to finish a project so badly that I have screwed up a project or two due to my lack of patience during drying time.
So the last step was to apply two coats of polyurethane. I used Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss. After the first thin coat is dry you can use a very fine grid sandpaper to lightly sand out any raised bumps and bubbles. Use a tack cloth again to remove the sanding dust and dirt before putting on the second coat of polyurethane.

I got lucky when I found the hardware at the Restoration Hardware outlet store. They were only $2 each. And they also had the wallpaper (cheap) that I used in the back of the desk and on the work surface. I simply used a clear desk surface protector over a piece of wallpaper.
I'm on the hunt for a new wallpaper or wrapping paper for the desk but haven't found one to replace it with. I'm thinking graphic pattern with grey and a little color. Haven't come across one. Have you?




This was the desk before I painted the walls grey and added my DIY horizontal striped curtains.
refinished red mahogany stained secretary with claw feet

Guten Tag fellow webbers and thanks for stopping by!


27 comments :

  1. Hi! I have a similar desk but with a hutch how did you remove all the slots on yours! I would love to be able to take mine out without damaging the piece. Thanks for your help!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I was able to take the entire piece out without damaging it and I have it in my attic in case I ever change my mind and want to use it. All I had to do is take out a couple of nails and screws in the back. that attached the piece to the thin back side of the desk. After that I was able to slide the piece out.
      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
      Julia

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  2. Hi, visiting from over at Centsational Girl's blog where this project was mentioned. I'm a lurker over there. :) Just wanted to tell you how beautiful your restoration job is. I LOVE deep red stain like that. I love that little detail touch of the striped wallpaper for the back of the hutch area, too. Your little desk looks very expensive now! Great job!

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  3. Saw your feature at Centsational Girl - LOVE your style!

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  4. OMG!!! SO GORGEOUS!! I love that whole corner with all your stripes:)

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    Replies
    1. LOL, I know I have a lot of stripes. I just can't help myself!
      Thank you!

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. OMG this is awesome too! Love it paired with that lucite chair.

    Smiles!
    Sammy ~ Renew Redo

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  7. I googled "how do I remove the slots on an antique secretary desk" and yours was the first post. I have a huge secretary and I can only find one small screw that attaches the slots to the desk. The screw is at the top. I have looked on the back of the piece and there are no nails or screws. I am sure there is more than one small screw attaching the slots, but I can't find them. I'm trying to remove it so it would be easier to paint and I don't want to damage it because I want to reinstall it. I'll get a flashlight out and reinvestigate, but if anyone knows where they may have hidden the screws, please let me know:) Thank you!
    Julia, you did a great job on your desk!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks and good luck finding your screws. I think mine was also attached with tiny finishing nails in the back

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  8. What a lovely piece you reinvented. How nice of you to share the items you used for that successful project. That desk simply rocks! :)

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  9. You did well on that transformation. That desk looks good as new. Kudos for a job well done! :)

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  10. Thanks for publishing this. I have a desk very similar to this that was handed down to me by my aging mother. Unfortunately, it was involved in a jack knifed trailor accident many years ago and slid across the road which sheared off everything below the last drawer. Since I am woodworker I wanted to replace the bottom section and restore it to it's original condition. After showing this picture to my mother I now have confirmation of what the bottom portion looks like. Thanks again. Great job on the design.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for publishing this. I have a desk very similar to this that was handed down to me by my aging mother. Unfortunately, it was involved in a jack knifed trailor accident many years ago and slid across the road which sheared off everything below the last drawer. Since I am woodworker I wanted to replace the bottom section and restore it to it's original condition. After showing this picture to my mother I now have confirmation of what the bottom portion looks like. Thanks again. Great job on the design.

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  12. Good luck with your project...sounds like it'll be a lot of work!

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  13. Hello.
    Gorgeous desk! I've done some searching on your blog looking for how you did your striped wall behind the desk (it's so fun!) but can't seem to find anything. Do you have a tutorial or paint colors used anywhere? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary,

      Sorry but I don't have a tutorial. I should though, since painting stripes is my favorite ;)
      This project was pre blogging times.
      Shoot me an email if you are interested in the colors and I'll see if I can find them.

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  14. Just gorgeous! The stain and the hardware are perfect. Great project.

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  15. Beautiful piece and awesome refinish job! How long did you leave the stain on before wiping it off? I'm always impatient to finish the job but the piece I am working on, I really want a beautiful deep red.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, I actually didn't wipe the stain off at all.

      Delete
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  17. you should have your own TV show - this is one of the most amazing redo's i've seen on the internet
    Really Impressed! so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww thanks so much for the sweet words Grace. You just made my day.

      Delete

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