If you wish to place a desk in your home to use in an office or for your child to do homework on, but you do not have the funds to buy a new piece of furniture at the time, consider looking for an old one to refinish. It is possible to find an old wood desk for a cheap price at a yard sale, flea market, or through private sales listed online. When you find one to purchase, refinishing can be done on your own with some household tools and the following tips.
Prepping The Wood
First, remove all the hardware from your desk so it does not get stained when you are adding color to the wood. Use a screwdriver to remove the pieces and set them aside. Place your desk on top of a tarp so you do not get chemicals on your flooring.
When mineral spirits are applied to wood, they will help show you areas where blemishes are present. Use a paintbrush to glide mineral spirits over the entire wood desk. The flaws will stay visible until the mineral spirits dry. Take pictures of each side of the desk so you will know which spots to give individualized attention when making repairs.
To remove water spots on your desk, use petroleum jelly to fade them. This can be applied by hand and left on the wood overnight so it seeps into the grain. Use a piece of non-abrasive cloth to remove the petroleum jelly from the surface the next day. The water marks will be less intense or perhaps even unnoticeable.
For dried-on paint, use a razor blade to scrape it from the surface. To avoid scraping the wood, place some painter's tape on each edge of the blade. This will lift the blade up a bit from the surface, taking away paint but saving the wood from getting scratched.
Cracks and chips can be filled in using a wood filler. Roll a small piece of wood filler in your hands to make it soft and push it into any crevices using a screwdriver. Once it hardens, use a piece of sandpaper to smooth the filler until it is uniform with the rest of the desk.
Before staining your desk, use a piece of medium-grit sandpaper to remove any previous paint or stain from the wood. Switch to a piece of fine-grit sandpaper to make the wood completely smooth. Dip a piece of cloth into stain of your desired coloring. Rub into the wood with the grain. If you apply too much, use mineral spirits to remove any excess.
Allow the stain to dry overnight. You can now add a coating of polyurethane to give your desk a clear protective coating. Paint the polyurethane over the stained surfaces and allow to dry. Replace the desk hardware and enjoy the desk's new look!