Writing Desk Rescue

January 4th, 2012 in member junk     
JunkAlley JunkAlley, member
3 users recommend

Here it is, fresh from an alley a few blocks from my home. Note the something crusted onto the writing surface and down the front. 
And here it is, about an hour later. 

I have rescued and restored -- or otherwise repurposed -- innumerable objects from the alleys near my home during our hard junk collection times. But I always jump right in without taking before and after pics. And I always regret it.

Not this time.

I found this old writing desk over the weekend and brought it home. I really liked the compact design and the way the front and back legs were completely different. I also liked that it had obvious age to it -- not really a drop of metal to be found, except where someone tried to re-secure a back leg. It had one knob on it, a glass one attached with a wing nut inside the drawer. There was a deep gouge in the wood where the other knob should have been.

With the plan to re-paint it, I walked around and assessed the piece. And I was immediately overcome by two things:

1. Laziness. It was New Year's Day.

2. The red paint peeking out from beneath the white.

So, knowing that I had a sanding job ahead of me for the unidentified brown goo on the surface, I set about doing a little prospecting. With 100 grit. I liked what I saw, so I decided to try my hand at aging it myself. I knew that -- at the very least -- I could still re-paint if I wanted to.

There were at least three layers of paint. White on top, cream below it, red beneath that, and maybe a dark brown at the bottom. I used the sander to create "wear" marks in the places where I thought they'd be: where a right arm of the writer might rest and where the legs or knees might rub. Then I hit the high parts where paint would be knocked off with years of moves and bumping around.

As I worked, I noticed that the white and cream paint easily flaked off the red. That gave me the idea to take out my trusty pocketknife and scrape. That did it. I was really enjoying what I was seeing, and was able to use the blade in different ways to achieve a variety of effects.

After about an hour of work, I was satisfied. I went into the house and grabbed a couple of old porcelain pulls that I salvaged from another alley find and called it quits.

Now the fight begins. Will it wind up in my daughter's room or as an accent piece for my wife? Or, will I finally have a piece that can find its way into my office? 


Pattern or design used: My own design
posted in: member junk, wood, cottage, furniture, country, white, kitchen, bedroom, entry, bathroom, office, beachy, Desk

Comments (4)

NDJunkGirl writes: Great save! Great story!

-Andrea Posted: 9:01 am on January 8th
suewhitney writes: Great Save and even better story!

Be Well,
Sue Posted: 7:19 am on January 7th
JunkAlley writes: Wow, that's cool! Thanks for the tip. I'll have to pick up a copy. Posted: 6:52 pm on January 4th
MakinItHappen writes: Ohmygosh! There is one just like that in the back of the February Country Living magazine (p. 127). But it sure isn't FREE. Nice going! I've fixed up a couple of those writing desks, but I never see them available around here any more. Posted: 6:19 pm on January 4th
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