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Something Old, Something Blue


Well, this isn`t really bus related, except for how I will be using the desk to hold my computer which is where I run this blog and keep in touch with other bus geeks.

This is a desk I got as part of a bedroom set over 25 years ago. I purchased it from Al`s Woodcraft in SoCal. At the time we thought it was great stuff. The more I learn about furniture and wood, the less I like them. But this furniture has great emotional value to me, so I`ll keep it.

The set included this desk, a bunkbed, and a dresser. All of crappy pine. My mom`s boyfriend at the time finished it all with Watco Danish Oil Finish. At least, all that could be seen from standing in front of the item. Hidden areas were ignored (ugh).

After I moved away from home, my kid brother got the set. Then he moved out several years later and the set came back to me for my son to use. He`s 16 now and wanted something different (plus he was carving crap into the desktop!!!), so I gave him a black/blond particleboard desk and took this one back. My daughter is still using the bunkbed and I have the dresser in my bedroom waiting for me to decide what to finish it with.

I disassembled the desk and applied Citrustrip to remove the finish:

I applied and scraped the stuff twice, but there were still swaths of finish left behind. I probably missed the spots. But they were a real PITA to sand. PLUS I wanted to remove all traces of tobacco smoke from the wood. A Black and Decker palm sander with 60 grit paper was all I had. Next time: A belt sander!

Once I got it clean, I applied Natur oil-based stain. It`s a blue colored stain I bought at Ikea a loooong time ago. I was warned that oil based stains have drying problems if they get too old, but this didn`t show any drying issues. However, I am glad to be rid of it. I`d prefer to work with fresh material.

I wanted a durable finish for the desk since it will get abused, written on, etc. I decided on a poly finish for this. Minwax`s marketing indicates their water based Polycrylic doesn`t yellow. A yellow cast to the finish on my desk would turn the blue stain green, so I wanted my finish as clear as possible.

I wish I hadn`t chosen this, and I will never use it again. There were way too many issues I encountered when using it that I`ve never had using solvent based products.

I have heard that General Finishes water based product is better, so maybe I`ll give water based poly another go later.

Please note that the blue in the previous photos looks MUCH more intense than in real life. The following photos are somewhat better, having been somewhat de-saturated in Photoshop.

Here are the finished pics. It`s drizzling so I couldn`t take the desk outside. Well, I could, but I didn`t want to. =D

Well, I suspect I`ll be using this desk for many more years. Maybe my grandkids will get it (and the rest of the set) at some point.

Mmm.... Grandkids....