Crackled Desk Story

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This desk was a serious undertaking, it took me 3 months to finish! I know- f.o.r.e.v.e.r!
But the finished product made the process completely worth it. 
It was brought to me by a client who said she just wanted it painted black- that I could not do. I could not cover the layers or existing paint and call it good. This baby had originally been painted yellow, then white, then a country blue, then last it was crackled with a white finish. Not good. 
The previous paint jobs were very thick and very poorly done.  It was a nightmare to say the least.
I knew under all that paint was a nice piece of wood furniture- it took some serious elbow grease and a lot of paint stripper (4+ layers) to get it down to the original wood. 

Here is what she originally looked like when I first got her- the entire thing (front, sides, back) was in this thick crackle finish! There were missing knobs and broken drawers as well- it was kinda sad. 

Here is what she originally looked like when I first got her- the entire thing (front, sides, back) was in this thick crackle finish! There were missing knobs and broken drawers as well- it was kinda sad. 

The drawers were terrible- see how before the sides were even gooped up?! They didn't close very tight and a few were almost completely falling apart. 
I had to do a lot of gluing and nailing them tightly together- then after a lot of sanding and sanding and stripper and more sanding. I was able to get all the drawers back to their original state! Check out those dove tails!!

After sanding... 

 That step took me a month. No Joke. I would sit and sand while the kids ran around outside, I do NOT enjoy sanding! But it was very rewarding when they all were done. 

I then did the same thing to the top. 

It took me another month! 
(At this point I almost gave up, I hated this thing!) 
I ended up using more stripper on the top and it is not a fun thing to use. You have to wear gloves and protective eye/face wear. If you get any of it on your skin it stings terribly and burns! (This happened a few times.) It's also very strong smelling so I could only do it with the garage open- which means tiny humans kept coming around- which means I kept having to get after the tiny humans to get away! Maybe that is why it took me so long?! 

 Finally- the worst part was done. Prep-work is not fun.
I then gave the sides/back/and center a really good sanding, I was mainly trying to get the crackle finish off, which felt close to impossible. It was smooth to the touch it just looked crackly still. 
I then covered the top and was finally able to spray the base black. 

I used a enamel base paint on this one- it is a water base paint that actually dries harder than laytex (kind of like oil base paint without the mess). I loved the sheen it gave and the durability. Once I had sanded the piece so many times the wood was pretty soft, this helped bring back the strength- it turned out fantastic. 

 Then I took off my protective covering! There was NO WAY I was going to paint that top after all that hard work! I called the client and begged her to let me stain the top in a dark walnut- she said she couldn't visualize it, but trusted me! (Phew!) The wood looked so great in this state, to paint it might have caused me to "accidentally" set it on fire!! (It was a little bit of a pain in my...) Anyway, I was very relieved and got right to staining. 

 I covered it in 3 coats of Dark Walnut stain. 

I loved the imperfections and how smooth it came out. 
I then did a quick sanding on the drawers only- to give them depth, and then added new metal hardware. Finally a thick coat of polyurethane to make it nice and shinny. 

Like I said- 3 months! It was defiantly a battle I wanted to quit a few times, but I'm glad I stuck it out. I took a lot of my frustrations out on this little lady- she handled it all very nicely. You would never know she was once a country crackled hot mess!

 As a extra little reward I lined her drawers with some dainty coated paper. She deserved it after all she had been through. 

 She turned out to be a stunner- even her backside. 

Even though this one was difficult Im always up for the challenge! I think that is why I love doing this so much, the end result is so rewarding! 

Do you have something you would like refinished? Just shoot me a text with a image or an email! Id love to help!

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