Restoration Of A Vintage Little School Desk–A Labor of Love!!!

My father was a great man and he had a very successful career as an Engineer.  With his own business he designed and built churches, schools, industrial buildings, custom homes and much more.  More than once he brought home some school desks (quite a few) of various sizes.  They were mostly in pristine condition and having several I had my own classroom for my dolls and bears in my playroom.

The desks got shuffled between our lake house and our full-time home.  I know at one point when I had the first of my kids I had one brought up here but it remained in the basement of the lake house.  Several years ago I bought paint and had every intention of freshening it up but it never happened.  2 more kids happened and at some point it must have become damp or wet and rust happened.

However, I was steadfast in my determination and added it to my great list of projects.  Friday afternoon I unearthed it from my garage.  Yikes!  It was sad, and in very rough condition but I had a vision.  My husband also gave me some tools to achieve my vision.  First I went over the whole thing with a wire brush and next my husband gave me a very powerful drill with a circular metal bristle whosiawatzit that just like magic buffed and grinded that rust away and left me with bare metal to work with.

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After rust removal and primer.

After rust removal and primer.

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First coat of paint and sanding in progress.

We added some wood glue where there was a little bit of separation in some of the wood layers and yes, we are being funny with all the clamps.

We added some wood glue where there was a little bit of separation in some of the wood layers and yes, we are being funny with all the clamps.

Started drizzling (never amounted to anything) while I was staining and so I had to move to the garage.

Started drizzling (never amounted to anything) while I was staining and so I had to move to the garage.

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After it was cleaned up, I applied a primer.  Let that dry, that was Friday night.  Saturday which was a busy day because it was Ethan’s birthday, I applied a coat of high gloss gray Rustoleum paint.  Then today, Sunday, I sanded the seat and backrest.  I taped and applied a second coat of paint, then stained the seat and backrest and applied a coat of polyurethane.  

The completed project only took a few hours in total between late Friday afternoon and late Sunday afternoon.  The poly is drying and I will bring it inside in about an hour to get some nicer pictures.  I am really proud to have this memory of mine in my house, to be used by my little ones.  It truly was a labor of love and it was amazing to breathe some new life into a tired, sad, little desk. 

This is the first of many projects I have planned.  So stay tuned for lots of transformations of all kinds.  Okay, off to add some felt feet and bring this baby inside.  I will update with a picture soon of the finished project.

7 Comments

Filed under Crafts, Decorating, DIY, hobby, Home & Garden

7 Responses to Restoration Of A Vintage Little School Desk–A Labor of Love!!!

  1. Margot C

    Oh my! That is wonderful

  2. Thanks Margot, my kindergartner did his homework (4 sheets) in it last night and he just loved it

  3. Mega

    Hi! Darling desk. I just bought to restore and would love to know the name of the tool and attachment you used to get the rust off!!!! Mine have lots of rust and I would love to use whatever you did.

  4. Leigh

    I’ve got one I’m going to restore. Just wondering how you were able to get the bolts off…appeared at first glance it’d need an Allen wrench but it’s some kinda other bolt…trying to get the wood seat & back off to get started….

  5. Shawn t

    I left my desk outside after getting it all cleaned up and it got rained on .now the seat has buckled and split.What should I do? Please help

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