Saturday, November 20, 2010

English Desk Re-Do

English Desk...  English?  I think so.  I bought it at an auction about 20 years ago and they told me that's where it came from.  Desk? I started to call it a table, but it has a drawer and it's made so you can sit in front of it.  It really doesn't matter, at least not to me.  I plan to use it (for a while) as my laundry folding table.  But don't you think it sounds classier to call it an English desk?

It had the most wonderful aged pine finish.  I mean really aged.  Old. Honey colored. As in cannot be duplicated from a can.  Until I ruined it.  I left a jar of blue-green plant fertilizer on top of it years ago and somehow it leaked.  I don't even use that stuff anymore now that I've found more natural ways to fertilize plants.  Anyway, I can no longer look at the stuff anymore without thinking of my ruined table.

I started out by trying to sand out the stain.  Nope.  It's deep. Dang it!  The only thing left to do was paint it.  I would have never put paint to this table unless it had been ruined.  However, I have to say, I sure do love the results!

First, I painted it with several coats of  Ralph Lauren raffia - the same color I used on the newest baker's rack.  Then, I distressed it a bit with my sander.  Then the magic --- I used Howard's Citrus Shield Paste Wax. I'm in love.

I read about this stuff on a couple of blogs.  It seems that everybody but me knew about using paste wax on painted furniture.  Some people use Minwax paste wax and love the results. I think both Minwax and Citrus Shield probably work equally well, but I decided to go with the Citrus Shield because it apparently is a little more environmentally friendly... so I read.  It smells pretty good - citrus is truly in the ingredients and it smells citrus-y as well.

I looked all over for it and then found that the shop where my booth is carries Howard's products. Hurray! They didn't have the Citrus Shield, but the owner ordered some for me.  I can't wait to tell her that it lived up to the rave reviews!

You know how sometimes furniture that is painted has a plain, pastey look to it?  Even when a satin finish is used, the furniture just doesn't look like it would hold up.  It doesn't look finished.  Well, the wax takes care of that!

I bought both the natural (no color) and the walnut.  Since I was going for a distressed look on this piece, I used the walnut. It really gave the piece the perfect amount of topcoat.  I didn't want a glossy look as if I'd urethaned it.  This is subtle.  The walnut finish provided just the right amount of aging.  On the bakers rack, I used an ebony stain and boy, did I have to work fast to keep it from being overdone.  The paste wax was much easier.  I especially loved how bits of color settled in the many scratches on this old table.  My photos don't do it justice.

It actually looks a bit shiny in this photo, but the afternoon sun was shining right on it.

Here's the after photo again.  It's a little bland next to the pale walls and partially pale floor.  One of these days, we'll get around to putting in wood floors, so I don't worry overly much about how things look with our painted floors.   So the whole pale thing is no biggie.  I'm loving the new look.  Folding laundry will be a lot more fun now!

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