Sometimes the story behind a piece really inspires me.
That’s what happened with this old desk. Believe it or not, this hefty fella was built by a shop class in Arizona! How cool is that? With dovetailed drawers and a solid wood top, the shop teacher knew his stuff. I love that this class of kids got to experience hands on how to build a piece of furniture. Learning to build and work with tools is a skill these teens can use for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, most kids in our school system aren’t as lucky. Despite the fact that America is in dire need of craftsmen and trade workers, shop class programs across the country have been cut. Once out of high school, learning a trade is getting increasingly harder. According to CNN, America lost 11,000 apprentice programs between 2002 and 2016! We’ve got nearly 5.6 million jobs to fill, but not enough skilled workers to fill them. Why? Hard work has become taboo. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a blue collar family, but I believe with all my heart that not everyone is meant for a desk job. In order to keep our country running, and to continue enjoying the conveniences we do, we need truck drivers, plumbers, linemen, flooring installers, carpenters, and a whole host of other blue collar workers. Ok, I may have gone off on a little tangent there, oopsies. But seriously, this is a conversation we NEED to be having as a country. While I’m tangenting, did you see that Mike Rowe and This Old House have a scholarship program for people wanting to get into the trades? Love it! Way to go, guys!
Anyway, back to this handsome brute of a shop class desk…
Following my prep checklist, I set to work giving this dude new life.
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Now back to the post…
After a good cleaning, removal of the bent castors, I gave it a good sanding. Next I filled the dated decorative routering on the drawers with wood filler. I tried a new kind this time and was sorely disappointed. After I whined about it in my Insta-stories for a bit, I pulled out my go to Bondo and started over. I let that dry and gave the drawers another good sanding.
I cleaned and shined up the old brass hardware. I’ll have a post on that coming soon! I removed the back plate from the hardware for a more masculine look.
The She-beast, hard at work.
This is literally minutes before she took off with my box of blue shop towels and ripped them to shreds all over the yard. Dang dog is a humongous fluffy pain in my side! Don’t let the innocent eyes fool you, trust me.
- Fusion Mineral Paint in Midnight Blue
- General Finishes Gel Stain in Antique Walnut
- Sweet Pickins Oil Wax
- BB Frosch Clear Wax
- THIS fun paper from Domesticate on Spoonflower
I decided to give Fusion Mineral Paint a try on this desk and ordered from a boutique in Arizona, but you can also find it on Amazon. I liked the paint, it sticks really well and dries hard. It has a built in top coat so you don’t technically have to seal it. My only complaint with this paint is that it is hard to get a smooth finish with a brush. When I use it again on a big piece like this, I will definitely spray it. Like I said, it dries hard so sanding after is difficult. I found it easiest to wet sand before the paint totally dries.
I did a light coat of stain on the top and then sealed with 2 coats of oil wax which kept the old handmade charm. Then I waxed the base with clear wax to give the navy paint a little more sheen. I’m going to be totally honest, I didn’t love working with the BB Frosch wax. Just not a big fan. I had a jar in my basement and thought I’d give it a shot but wasn’t impressed so I’ll be going back to my regular go to. I do like their paint powder though, so don’t hate alright?
After the paint and wax was all dry, I added a pop of pattern by lining the drawers with matte gift wrap. I love using gift wrap because it’s not permanent and can be changed down the road as styles come and go.
Navy Blue Shop Class Desk
I love the way this guy turned out and am hoping someone else falls in love too. He’s available for purchase to local Utah peeps $275.00. Free pick up or I will deliver within 100 miles for a fee. Stop by my Instagram or Facebook page for dimensions and purchasing info.
Is there a furniture paint or product you’re wondering about or want me to try?
Let me know in the comments and I’ll check it out.