Saturday, November 19, 2016

An Antique Oak Desk

Guys, I have the COLD FROM HELL. My dear husband always seems to catch colds from his music students, and then I always catch them from him, but I always get them ten times worse than he does. I'd gone for almost a year without getting sick, but I'm paying it back in spades now. I really thought yesterday was the worst of it, but nah, today is worse. UUUGHHHHH.
             On the bright side, look at this wonderful antique c.1920 desk I just finished up for a client. I love love love when I'm able to find just the right piece for a client, especially one I'm very fond of. This gal had been looking for a large simple lined chunky legged antique desk. I'd been looking for almost two months and then bingo, I spotted this beauty at the flea market last week. I haggled the guy down a bit because it had two dark ring stains on the top and with oak it's always a crap shoot if those sand out, or can be bleached out. Luckily these sanded right out. But when I sanded I found several imperfections to the top- someone had repeatedly used an xact-o knife on it, and near the rear it looked as if a large industrial clamp had been ruthlessly attached to it, and then the marks sloppily filled.
               BUT the client decided she wanted some decorative painting on the top, and I was able to completely hide all the marks. Now it's perfect! So first I sanded the top, then I drew the branches and leaves in by hand in pencil. Here's the inspiration piece I referenced-
 And here you can see the pencil outline as I started to fill in. I used acrylic craft paint for the shading, and the main color is the shade of maroon chalk paint I custom mixed for the base of the table. The leaves are an oil based gold.

After I finished painting I stained the top with a Minwax Golden Oak as the client wanted a 'honey' toned top. The stain, also being an oil based product takes away a significant amount of the gilding effect of the leaves, but doesn't effect the acrylic paint at all. So before the final coat of polyurethane I go back and 'highlight' the leaves a second time with the gold. This creates a dimensional, layered effect and gives me the opportunity to create some shading that I wouldn't otherwise be able to render with a single application of the gold.

And once the final coat of poly is applied the top is absolutely sealed, waterproof, washable, and smooth as glass.

 The bottles are 19th century, I found the 19th century print at the antique store last week for $25, and the eucalyptus is the last of my garden's bounty for the year.


  1. I love the design. A gorgeous piece. Hope you feel better very soon.

  2. Anonymous11/20/2016

    Beautiful, you seem to have unlimited talent.

  3. This is way beyond furniture--it's serious, exciting art!