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Getting Schooled by a Desk (Part II)

April 27, 2012

Part II of refinishing my new ‘old desk’ (mentioned here)  took place while Ryan hung our shutters and between my Hibiscus planting.  It was a cool 65 degree Saturday afternoon so I pulled the desk out of the garage and into our side yard.  I figured there was no need in gathering all the paint fumes in the garage when they could fly freely in the open air.

In efforts to keep the grass (sort of) clean of black paint, I put an old blanket beneath the desk.  I’ve been scolded before for painting the grass.  I always thought it would just grow and get cut  but according to Ryan, I “suffocate” the lawn when it gets painted.  Not an issue I want to argue, so I am willing cover the grass.  I didn’t want the legs of the desk to sink into the lawn so i put cardboard pieces under each leg to prop them up.

After an internal debate, I decided on painting the piece black.  I (overbought) six cans of black Rust-oleum High Performance Enamel in a gloss finish.   I have a professional paint sprayer, but sometimes it’s just not worth the hassle of cleanup when I can buy spray paint fairly cheap.

For a few bucks you can pick up an easy spray handle.  I started out using it but halfway through the spray can started to drip something awful.  The Rust-oleum brand (like many others now-a-days) comes with a comfort grip spray nozzle which worked perfectly fine for me.  No cramping this time around!  I applied several very thin layers of paint.

I know the first coat looks awful, but trust me, slow and steady wins the race.  In my experience, applying a heavy full coat only creates long term problems.  This is a desk.  It will be used.  I need long term hold-up!  (I didn’t spend hours sanding, scrapping, and oil priming for nothin’).  Because it was windy I didn’t get that nice even coat like I would have in the garage.  But with many coats she will eventually be even.

I ended up only using 4 of the 6 cans of paint I bought.  I knew I would never use all six, but I find it better to overbuy than to run out.  Everything can be returned, that’s my philosophy.  Buy, save receipt, and return….story of my life: in DIY and fashion.

Here is a picture of the finished product:

She really is  a black beauty.  I am happy with how my reclaimed piece of oak turned out…for the most part.  That brings me back to the “getting schooled” part of this post(s).  We let black beauty cure for about a week or so in the garage then Michelle got all Stretch Armstrong on a school night.  We hoisted the piece up a flight of stairs (after moving around bedroom furniture) so I could get the desk into our master.  I dream all the time about staging our house, an important part of the house selling process (selling our house was mentioned here).  My dreams told me to put this desk in our bedroom since we are eliminating our office and making it a bedroom for resale.  I figure showing that our large master can also double as an computer area is a plus.  Well, it helps if the desk (that you just put about 10 hours of work into) will actually fit through the door to your bedroom.  This is the corner into our master from the hall:

And the same corner from the bedroom point of view:

Yulp, you guessed it.  We couldn’t get black beauty maneuvered around the corner.  Major boo.  We tried and tried, flipping that desk every which way but it just wouldn’t go.  I never thought to measure it.  I guess I figured if we could get a king size mattress through the door why the hell couldn’t a 30″ tall desk go through?  Well, 30″ is about 16″ wider than our Tempur-Pedic mattress.  It wasn’t for lack of effort, that’s for sure.  There is just no way to get the desk through the narrow opening.  So these are now our options:

  • Shave an inch of each leg to make it a 29″ desk
  • Set the desk up in the current office with the guest room furniture
  • Just move the  desk to the new  house and forget about having it in our current house.

Ryan’s vote is to take an inch off each leg.  I haven’t decided so the jury is still out.  In the mean time the desk sits on it’s side in our dining room…all banged and bruised from our efforts to get it into the bedroom…

So there you go…I was completely “schooled” by this desk.  It really disheartens me because I put so much time and effort into it.  So until further notice she lays on her side in our dining room, completely nicked and scrapped.  Whatever I decide to do with it, it is certain she will need a touchup coat of paint.  I promised to share all the successes and failures and I file this desk into failure…for now.

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