Antique Writing Desk with Folding Top

I have searched high and low for an antique writing desk like this for months, so when it popped up on Offer Up I hauled booty to North Phoenix (about 30 miles) and paid way too much for something so water damaged.  Check out that back leg LOL!


The guy said in the ad that it MIGHT need a little bit of work, but it was also nice as is.  Mmm hmm…

I didn’t even get to see the full extent of the damage until I actually got down to business.  The top veneer was destroyed and needed to be removed instead of patching, as well as the actual pull-out writing area and the drawers above it.  It took me over 3 grueling hours to remove it all.  My garage has been super muggy and hot- on average 108, so that combined with standing over a hot iron, chipping off veneer inch by inch was making me so crabby! I was cursing myself for buying the thing and was praying that it would turn out as I had envisioned.

Forgot to mention that although it may be hard to tell in the picture it was painted/stained brown.  I’ve never seen paint like that, it penetrated the wood like a stain, but was solid in color like paint, but had no texture.  Maybe it’s just so old that all the texture was gone?  It felt like I was just touching a piece of wood!  This was only done on the sides and legs whereas the rest was stained.

Did I mention that I’m also keeping this pretty little thing?  She’s going to be my new crap collector.  I would typically opt for a bright and obnoxious color, but this is going in the sitting room right next to my blue kitchen island and green end table.  There will be big bright chairs added to the space shortly too!

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  • When you have this much water damage, you have to start by removing all of that rotten veneer.  Pull as much off as you can and then what I like to do is use a wet towel and clothes iron combo.  I put a wet towel over the area for an hour or so while I’m doing other things- in this case I put it on first thing in the AM before I took the kids to school and went to the gym.  Some peeled off on its own and then I took the hot iron and let it sit for a few minutes.  I shoved the putty knife under and just dug out as much as I could piece by piece.  It took hours!
  • Then its time to break out the sander!  This part went quickly until it got time to do those legs.  I removed each one and hand sanded them with just a piece of 180 grit and then 400 real quick when I was done with that.  I had intended on staining them, but they were just so perfect!
  • Almost forgot, there were some moldy looking areas which could be 100 years old, but I sprayed it with this mold be gone spray anyways just in case and let it dry.
  • Painter’s tape along the edges
  • This white paint takes like 3-4 coats, but it is just the perfect color!  It has a light gray cast to it and always chips in just the right places.
  • I sealed the paint with hemp oil because I don’t like the look/feel of top coats, but hemp oil penetrates wood and really brings out the richness of it, so I opted for a matte top coat to keep that raw look.  Since this was a last minute decision I ran to my local paint shop -Wood Creations in Mesa to see what they had.  I scooped up the last Flat on Flat by General Finishes and was very impressed with the final result.  No color change to the wood and you can barely feel any texture!
  • The last piece of the puzzle was adding paper to the drawer.  I actually picked this out for another project, but felt like it would be perfect with this antique writing desk.

I am so excited to finally add this antique writing desk to my sitting room!  If you have any questions, just let me know… I am writing this while my kids are doing their homework and interrupting every 2 minutes so I wouldn’t be surprised if I skipped something LOL

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