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Refinishing Furniture Is Hard When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing!

This Saturday I went on my weekly troll of the Magic City’s thrift stores. For the first time in ages I didn’t find anything worthy of spending money on BUT I did find a cool Mid-Century Modern petit desk at the Montana Rescue Mission Store on 24th just south of Grand Avenue. “Wait Andy, you just said you didn’t buy anything”… I didn’t, it was free.

The desk was set out front of the store and caught my attention right away because of the signature legs. There were far less valuable items on their front porch they were asking money for but this solid wood desk that was stamped inside with the mark “Union Made Furniture” was FREE. I couldn’t believe it and went inside to verify that before I hauled it off. After I put it in my car I went inside to see if they had anything else and ironically this is the only thing I would have purchased… had it cost anything. I might have paid as much as $25 for it… more if it wasn’t a bit rough. Someone had scratched some gang looking letters into the top and it was really dirty but other than that it was intact… a perfect candidate for restoration.

So guess exactly how many pieces of furniture I’ve restored… if you guessed ZERO you’d be exactly right. But I have the internet and no conscience so I went to Home Depot and bought about $40 worth of stuff (that I can reuse on other projects) to get started. I bought some stripper, a scraper, drop cloth, sanding block and coarse and fine sandpaper. The photo you see above is of my Montana Avenue loft back patio with the desk drawers that I pulled out, stripped of their varnish and sanded down to re-stain.

It only took me a couple of hours but should have taken about half an hour less than that… because I used the fine grit sandpaper first. Duh. Then, not realizing, I took out the coarser grit and proceeded to continue sanding but wondered why the drawer fronts were getting less smooth. That’s when the light went on in my head. So I spent the extra half hour re-sanding with the fine grit. Oh well, live and learn.

Tonight I tackle the body of the desk itself and I’m hoping to have it completely refinished and ready for sale this weekend!

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