How to Refurbish Old Wooden Desks

Written by eric mack
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They just don't make them like they used to. If you prefer an old fashioned wooden desk with lots of drawers to the modern equivalent made in China and out of a box, then you have some searching to do. But once you find the desk you want, you may have to do some work to fix it up, especially if you bought it at a bargain price. Follow these simple steps to making that old desk new again.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • sander or sand paper, wood filler, screwdriver, primer, paint

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  1. 1

    First remove all drawers and drawer hardware from the desk.

  2. 2

    Next sand the body of the desk with either an electric sander or sandpaper. If you use an electric sander, you will have to get the harder to reach ornate places on your desk with sandpaper. Sand until any finish that was there is removed or at least the surface is gritty enough to take primer.

  3. 3

    If there are any holes or blemishes on your desk, use wood filler to fill them in. Choose a wood filler that is similar in colour to your desk and follow the directions. This is also a good time to do any necessary repairs to your desk or desk drawers.

  4. 4

    Next, use a good wood primer as the first coat of paint on your desk. One coat is usually enough unless you are painting over a darker surface.

  5. 5

    After choosing the colour you want your desk to be, paint the desk with a glossy finish paint which is easier to clean and looks better than flat paint on furniture. If your desk started out unfinished and in fairly good condition, you can use a varnish. But beware, varnish will show the wood's imperfections.

  6. 6

    Once the paint has dried, you can return the drawers and hardware to their place. You can buy new hardware if you'd like for a more updated version of your old desk. Enjoy!

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with different styles for your desk. Line drawers with wallpaper or paint them a different colour from the rest of the desk. Furniture pieces that might not have been originally meant for use as desk can be converted to one such as a side table or sewing table.
  • Paint in a well ventilated room.

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