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I got this typical office computer desk 10 years ago from my brother-in-law - his company was buying new equipment and giving away the old. I used it that way several years, but when my son took wood shop in high school about 3 years ago, I had him make the wood panels to replace the formica desk and shelf tops (from red oak). I made the drawer cabinets underneath. This was my first "build" of furniture, and I enjoy the fact that it was a kind of a father/son venture. It's not my first finishing project, I've been doing that for a long time. The left part of the desk is my fly tying station.

I planed the glued up panels using a router cross slide setup. The tear out was bad, and would not fully sand out. I finished it anyway. I had used the router planing previously on some other work with the same result. After these "failed" attempts to get the router planing to work, I became determined to figure out how to get panels/table tops flat with the grain structure intact. I had been fooling around with handplanes for a couple of years with no great success. After more research and testing, I got the handplane thing figured out - and fell down that slippery slope. You can visit my blog for for info on handplanes

I also used a biscuit joiner to glue up the small panels for the shelf and keyboard. I'm glad I was able to borrow this tool rather than buy it, because I was not pleased with the whole biscuit joining process or results and learned it with out spending the money. I now use clamping cauls and butt joints - just as strong, much better joint alignment, and faster.

Here is the finish schedule for those interested:

This was my first chance to use my new CA Technologies CPR-G spray gun - what a difference a good gun makes!

• Sanded with P80 and ROS for hours to remove router planing step marks and try to remove grain tearout. Sanded with ROS with P120, P180, P220.
• Stained with solvent aniline dye
• Filled grain with Old Master's solvent grain filler tinted black. One coat at peanut butter consistency. Need to try thinning and doing multiple coats.
• 2 coats dewaxed blonde shellac, 2# cut. Lightly sanded p320
• Sprayed and drop filled multiple (4-5) coats Target Coatings HSF 5100. Used SA5 retarder, helped flow. Tinted with Amber Transtint and 1 drop medium brown. 5100 worked ok but not great. Probably need to do several coats of shellac, then the 5100.
• Top coated with Target Coatings SC9000 3 coats. Used SA5 in all, and X linker in last coat.
• Cure for 2 weeks in hot garage.
• Started sanding with P400. Got to 800 grit, got busy, let sit for 60 days.
• Lot of wood movement and finish shrink while sitting.
• Started sanding at 600, then 800, 1000 Abrenet.
• Meguair's 1st cut, swirl remover, glaze, then synthetic sealant.
• Metal pieces were washed and wet sanded with Scotchbrite.
• Spray painted with black satin enamel implement paint from Tractor Supply Co.

I don't use solvent stain or grain filler anymore. I've shifted to waterbased finishing systems, except for shellac. I got tired of the fumes.

Thanks for looking!



· Registered
7,023 Posts
That is a nice refurb, I need to examine it closer sent it to me for testing …..... (Laughing)

· Registered
211 Posts
That's a beautiful shine that you have achieved and a nice desk.

· Registered
53 Posts
Boy that sure turned into something nice! And what a shine! Great job.

· Registered
259 Posts
Wow! That's a great transformation, great choice of wood and colors and the finish is almost like glass. Great job to both of you!