Are you ready for a natural-looking wood finish for old pieces of furniture? Let me show you how to achieve that look without chemicals!
a look back
Can you remember how this desk looked when we started?
Drab. Dirty. Dingy.
The piece had good bones, or in this case, good wood. It was solid oak and fairly sturdy.
All in all, it was in pretty good shape. Just not pretty enough for our client’s home.
We made a few easy repairs…..
…and we sanded the antique oak fold-down desk down to the bare wood….
antique oak fold down desk
….and wa-la!! Didn’t this desk turn out so gorgeous??
By far, oak is my favorite wood! The grain is obvious and unique.
The oak grain shows so much texture and character. I was thrilled that our client chose to finish this piece in natural wood.
clear coat with a vintage feel
We finished the piece with three coats of General Finishes High Performance in Flat.
I use this finish often – especially on surfaces that are going to get a lot of use like this antique oak fold-down desk. the Flat option of this poly-acrylic creates a hand-rubbed finish with a time-worn appearance that I love.
covering ugly wood
I also chose to cover the backboard of the desk. The backboard was made of poplar and had been stained dark. Poplar can have a greenish tinge to it so I knew this would be the perfect solution.
The process is easy. All you need is decorative paper, Mod Podge, an Exacto knife, and something to smooth out the paper. Here is a little video with step-by-step instructions that will help you cover the back of the furniture as well as line the drawers.
It is a super easy project and so satisfying! Look at the results!! We also lined the drawers with the same paper. Keep scrolling to see the drawers!
The organizer had an orange tone to it. A layer of black spray primer and then a layer of black spray paint fixed that!
Remember how I mentioned the gorgeous grain patterns found in oak wood?? Just look at it!! See why it is my favorite type of wood for furniture??
The bottom piece between the two back legs on this antique oak fold-down desk was missing and needed to be replaced. You would never even know that it wasn’t there originally!
The lined drawers provide a cohesive look to the piece, and a bit of a feminine touch as well!
no key, no problem
The antique oak fold-down desk did not come with a key. I just cleaned up the lock and let it be. Back in the day, important papers could have been locked up in the desk. Now we just store all our important documents on external hard drives!
vintage hardware restoration
The hardware was so lovely on this piece! All it needed was a quick wire brushing and then a bit of Rub ‘n Buff in Ebony.
Rub ‘n Buff comes in small tubes in a variety of colors. In my opinion, it creates a more authentic and vintage feel to the hardware. Much better than spray paint! I learned that the hard way!
The top piece of trim cleaned up nicely, don’t you think? It took some patience sanding and a special tool, but the results were so worth it!
natural looking wood finish
This desk was a labor of love! And honestly, the labor wasn’t all that bad! The finished antique oak fold-down desk looks so amazing now! I am sure our client will love it in her home for years to come!
so glad you stopped by!
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