Desk restoration

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Project by sugarpine posted 11-22-2014 09:15 PM 1230 views 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few months ago I was contracted to restore a desk. It was a high school wood shop project that never got finished. It came to me as you see it in the second photo, no legs and no drawers. It was made of walnut veneer core plywood with walnut trim around the desk top. Bill, the young wood worker graduated from high school in the late 60’s and very shortly thereafter was drafted into the Army. Sadly, Bill sacrificed his life for his country in Vietnam. The unfinished desk had been stored in his mother’s garage for years and eventually ended up with his sister who contacted me.

The original desk was aged to the point that it looked like teak. Given the cost of teak I chose alder for it’s similarity in grain to walnut. Numerous coats of finish were stripped from the original parts of the desk in preparation for later stain matching and application of the final finish, pre-catalyzed lacquer.

The front of the drawer cabinet had exposed plywood edges so the first step was to machine those edges square and true and glue on 3/16” thick alder edge banding. At the time I wasn’t certain that the drawers would be inset or overlay. The edges were in bad shape so I went ahead and banded them. Next came the aprons and tapered legs followed by two drawers with full extension slides.

Given the history of the desk, this restoration has been the highlight of my time in the shop this year. It quickly became a labor of love.

-- sugarpine

2 comments so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


745 posts in 3786 days

#1 posted 11-23-2014 12:29 AM

There’s a young soldier looking down on you from heaven and I know he’s smiling . . .

Beautifully done! A wonderful tribute.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3903 days

#2 posted 11-23-2014 12:31 PM

Nice work!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

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