Monthly Archives: November 2014

Salvaged Secretary Dresser

We’ve finally finished our secretary! To remind you, we bought this at the Raleigh flea market from some guy who said he cleans out old barns for people, and he found this in one of them. It was pretty rough to start out (with lots of icky spiders inside it!):

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Our strategy was to strip and sand the drawer fronts,the top of the desk, and the very top shelf. We sanded these down as much as possible and stained these parts with 3 different shades of stain. The rest, including the cubby insert, was sanded, primed, and painted many times over since red from the wood kept leeching through. Nik added a cut piece of wood to replace a chunk that was missing out of one of the front feet. Nik then stenciled a design into the front fold up panel to add some texture. I sealed the whole thing was sealed with water-based polyurethane. Then I spray painted the old hardware (admittedly this is one thing we’re still working on…our first spray coat was done in very humid weather and they dried sticky so I’m going to redo this…but they were good enough for pictures!).

Here is the final product:

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And here are some closeups on the hardware, the keyhole on the front, and the inside hinges:

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Sorry to overload you with pictures, but I think this piece has a lot of interesting details to show! So, with all the stripping, sanding, the different stains we used, the new sheet of backing we put on, and the primer/paint/polyurethane and spray paint, I think we’re about $75-80 into this piece including the $50 we paid for it, so we’ll see what we get out of it!

Nik is working on a new eclectic project that he dug out of the dumpster – as a teaser, its a big old chair, and there will be lots of belts involved with the final product. I need to get some pictures of his progress from his phone, but I’ll post about that next week! Also, we’re going to my parents for Thanksgiving and they’ve decided to put us to work this weekend (not a bad idea with all the calories that will need to be burned off) redoing 2 little pieces of furniture they picked up last week from an unfinished wood store. So there will be a lot to look forward to next week!

Almost finished…

As I’ve done in the past, I’m going to make a post to put pressure on us to finish a project…namely this secretary that has been dragging on for weeks (months perhaps?). We made great progress with it, and now we’re at the point that it just needs to be sealed up and posted on craigslist, but somehow its those finishing touches that we seem to love to procrastinate on.

Last post, I left you with the body that had just gotten the first coat or two of off-white paint, and the ombre style drawers that each had a different stain:

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Since then we’ve put about 5 more coats of paint on the body and the cubby compartments, and we got excited and put the whole thing together to see what it would look like with the ombre drawers:

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First reaction?? I love the drawers, and I love it without the flip-down desk part attached, but with that flap of wood there, I can’t help but think there is TOO much white! Ideas to fix this situation were repaint the whole thing with a creamier less-stark-white color (ugh lots of work), or try to affix a painted wood applique that would simply break up some of the monotonous white (kind of like this, as an example), or simply paint some sort of alternate-color pattern onto the flap. The last option is what we tried first since it was the easiest, and I think it will work!

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Just that subtle gray stripe breaks up the monotony of the white, so I think it did the trick. Nik also shaped a replacement foot for the front left foot that was missing a chunk of wood, and that looks perfect, so we added that and gave it a few coats of paint. We’re currently working on applying 3 coats of water-based polyurethane (again, we used the water based since it dries clear and we’re working with a very light colored paint), and then we need to attach the hardware and the backing and this will be good to go! I’m setting a deadline for this…so by this time next week, I plan to have a finished product to show you!