I needed a desk. Badly. I’m an elementary school teacher, so I require a large surface for the seemingly endless stacks of papers. One afternoon, the leg of my teacher desk popped right off, leaving me with the options of using a too small student desk or a rickety eyesore that had collected dust for the better part of a decade. No thanks. I’ll pass.
As if placed by the heavens themselves, I came across a solid wood desk on the side of the road while walking my dog one evening. The sign taped to the front said, “Free”. I sprinted home to get the car. In flip-flops. In 90 degree heat. Like I said, I needed it, badly.
This desk weighed at least 150 pounds. I was able to end-over-end it from the sidewalk to my car. Then came the task of lifting this monstrosity into my SUV. I successfully lifted one side over the bumper and into the cargo hold, but that was about all my little muscles could muster. Luckily (or embarrassingly, I’m still not sure), a neighbor was watching this whole ordeal through his front window. He and his wife graciously offered to help me load up the desk. We spent the next 20 minutes chatting away before I drove off with my latest trash pick. Reason #4 to repurpose: You make new friends.
The desk was an easy refinish. It was kept in flawless condition and required nothing more than a good sanding and a coat of stain to rid of the oak color that was all the craze in the 1980s.
We sanded the desk twice, once with course sandpaper and again with finer sandpaper, using an electric sander. We sanded the small nooks and crannies by hand. This ensured that all of the original stain was removed, leaving just the wood exposed. Removing all remnants of the previous stain allows the new stain to soak into the wood and creates an even looking finish. My dog Brooklyn inspected for quality assurance.
I wiped down the desk with a wet cloth to remove any dust and allowed for the wood to dry completely.
Using a bristled brush, I applied two coats of dark walnut stain, allowing the first coat to dry entirely before applying the second coat. I finished by touching up a few spots where the stain looked slightly uneven.
I opted to keep the rope drawer pulls as they added texture and a slightly rustic quality to the desk.
With less than half a day of work, I had a desk that I could easily sell for $100. Of course, I chose to keep it for myself this time, which turned out to be an excellent choice as it is by far the most complimented item in my classroom.