Sunday, October 23, 2011


I'm the first to admit that I'm ruled by OCD (CDO with the letters in proper alphabetical order... as they should be) and ADD. Anything can set one or both of them off, and then, Lord help anyone caught in the way. Someone hell bent to get something done and done correctly should always be handled with kid gloves.

So, we're in the middle of packing and moving. This also means we have several things that need to be done at the new home before we move in. You know, painting and such. Well, in the process of all this, we began moving the old roll-top desk I got from my parents. I started working on it two years ago and never finished it. Wanting my new writing area at the house to be 'da bomb,' I decided it was time to 'git er done.'

Gluing the desk back together
First, I kidnapped my dad (Mom dug her heals in and wouldn't come) and brought him down to Taylorsville for a night. In the morning we went over and assessed the work on the desk. A subject matter expert is always a good thing to have and this ended up saving me a LOT of time and money. My dad was able to point out the right direction to take the restoration process. Not to mention, he was able to point out that I didn't have enough clamps. And the ones I did have weren't big enough for pulling together the sides of the desk during the gluing process. Fortunately, he had two five foot ones I could borrow.

After I got everything glued back together, we (I have two teenagers with nothing to do) began the long process of stripping the old varnish off the desk. Let me just say, the gluing part of the process was fun. With something like that, you're building something. But with stripping (i.e. removing paint or varnish) you're cleaning.

Eww... Chemicals and brown syrupy paste... Scrubbing out tiny nooks and crannies...

I know, I know. Beyond this valley of woe lies the promised land. But it's at this point that my OCD and ADD start to wain. Now I just want it done.

Soon to be as famous as Hemingway's desk
To get myself more hyped about the finished project, I began to think of what varnish I wanted to use. Light or dark? Clear maybe? And then I saw something that gave me an idea.

A wonderful, awful idea.

Seeing one of the drawer sections partially together, I wondered about two-toning it. Using both light and dark. Kind of a parquet look. The wife thinks I'm crazy and between the glue and stripping fumes I may be...

What do you think?


  1. Having taken on lots of furniture re-finishing projects myself, I'd say you're crazy to go for the two tone. Yeah, it would look great, but do you really want to deal with the pain in the ass it would be? Think of all the taping you'd have to do... and then there's always the risk of the stain seeping under the tape...

    Don't do it man.

  2. Yeah, Charlie. We're moving about a block away from where I currently am, so it should be a pretty easy move. If any move is easy...

    I think you're right, Jordan. This desk is 100+ years old and is very prone to seeping. Even with tape I can imagine it would be a mess. Stripping it has been a party since I'll be stripping one side and the stain will run out a tiny crack on the other side. Right now I just want it done and I still need to finish stripping and sanding.


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