Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Restaining desk


desk front
desk front  
desk back
desk back  
QUESTION: I just bought this wood desk and want to stain it a darker color.  I have no idea what type of wood it is and neither did the seller.  I was planning on sanding the clear coat off but I don't know if a stripper would be better.

Nice to hear from you.
This is a lovely walnut desk.
But for goodness sake do not attempt to sand the finish off. You will ruin it.
It must be stripped as I think you guessed.
So here is the info to do that.
After the stripping use Minwax oil stain in "Special Walnut" color if you want it darker.
Personally I would keep it the original color but of course its your choice.

The first thing you must do is assemble the material to do the job.
The stripper is the most important item.  
I am hoping you can get "CIRCA 1850" brand paint and varnish remover in your area.
Here is a link

MATERIAL LIST For the stripping stage.
1 gallon stripper
3 boxes of Bull Dog steel wool in medium grade.
One 3 inch oil based paint brush.
Rubber gloves (like you do dishes with), and a pair of cotton gloves inside the rubber ones.
People react differently to stripper. A lot of people feel heat through the rubber gloves, but I feel cold. Have no idea why.
An empty large coffee can. (for the stripper)
A couple of old tooth brushes.
Lots of old rags (I like t-shirts or cotton but for this first stage whatever you have)
Lots of newspaper to protect the garage floor
That's all you need to get started.
Work in sections.
Brush on the stripper with the brush. Stripper will quit working if it dries, so keep it wet till the finish softens.
Then take a rag and wipe this mess off.
Then another coat of stripper, rag off again, then while the wood is still wet, take the steel wool and rub with the grain till the wood is nice and clean.
Depending on the material you are removing, another coat of stripper is often needed but you will know this as you progress into the job.
Use the toothbrush in crevices.
Thats all there is to it ...move to another section and continue.
No other prep is necessary...and DO NOT SAND
When the stripping is complete, stain with Minwax stain applied with a rag, then your finish.
Please let me know if anything is not 100% clear.

Good Luck

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I will take your advice and not apply a stain. How would I repair a nick on the front corner of the desk?  What should I apply as a clear coat?

Hi again Kim
I did not say no stain, I said I would not make it darker.
But you should still apply stain.
I recently refinished a walnut desk.
I mixed my stain.
I got two of those small cans of Minwax stains (they are about 8oz. each.)
One was special walnut color, the other was golden oak color.
I did not exactly measure but about 2/3 cups oak to 1/3 walnut.
My choice of finish is always tung oil.
Try your best to get this one..

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Eileen Cronk


Hi..I can answer most questions about the repairing,stripping and refinishing of all your old furniture and wood items(the things we call antiques)I can give advice about what to buy/avoid at auctions/flea markets. I do not give appraisals on antiques.


I have been refinishing antiques for the past 30yrs. While I have taken several courses over the years,I have found that "hands on" learning is the best teacher. Perhaps I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made while learning.

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