We love the original wood of our library, and wanted to find a desk that would not only be old/antique, but also be a light wood that would contrast the dark wood of the library. I knew this would mean that whatever old desk we find would need to be stripped, and I was excited to try Natalie from Vintage Porch‘s stripping technique of using oven cleaner “Easy Off”. She also sometimes uses this ‘greener’ cleaner. So I will be trying both for this project, and sharing the whole adventure of stripping the finish off this desk. Stripping furniture is fun!
I removed the drawers from the desk, and decided to start with those. I sprayed each drawer down with this Green EZ Finishing Cleaner (not the furniture stripper!), then let it sit for 5 ish minutes. Using one of these basic kitchen scrub brushes, I scrubbed down each drawer, being intentional about getting into all those cracks and crevices AND the flat surfaces. Try to go with the woodgrain whenever you can!
Once you’re done scrubbing, spray it all down with your hose, using the most aggressive setting on your nozzle. Resist the urge to use a power washer, because that would be too aggressive! We don’t want to raise the grain any more than we have to. Now we just let these sit in the sun and dry. That’s when the magic happens!
Once the drawers have dried, go ahead and sand it all down with an orbital sander until it’s suuuuper smooth!
Look at the difference!
Time to move on to the body of the desk! I used the same technique here, but had to repeat several times.
I used my multi-tool to sand off the finish in those corners that were hard to get otherwise. The finish sanded off pretty easily after it had the finishing cleaner sitting on it for awhile.
I flipped the desk upside down to tackle the feet, and was having trouble getting the Finishing Cleaner product to work as well. So it was time to pull out the Easy Off and see how that would work! It comes out a bit foamy, and was very pleased to see it pulling the stain out before my eyes. Be sure to wear gloves and a mask with this stuff! It’s intense!
I let the Easy Off oven cleaner sit and soak in for about 20 minutes, then sprayed it down and let it sit in the sun to dry. I had to repeat this twice as well, but the result was great!
It was at this point that we decided last-minute to put new wood veneer on the top surface. Those cracks are pretty gaping, and we’ve always wanted to try our hand at veneering! Have you done it before?
We share the whole process of applying new wood veneer to a surface HERE.
How gorgeous does this look?!?!
I used this wax sealer on the top surface, and we’re done! It’s SO GOOD!
My favorite part of this whole vibe is that the wood tone of the desk contrasts the deep wood tone of the library walls and shelving. Do you love it?! Tell me what you think in the comments!!
Thank you for pinning!
love, love, love this room
Mea Cadwell says
I’m sorry but I’m not a fan. The desk looks like it’s been sitting out in the sun for too long and turned ashy. I much prefer the warmer brown tones from stained wood.
But, how boring the world would be if we all liked the same things.
Trudy Eby says
I agree, you can have light wood without it looking ashy. Try oxalic acid. Easy Off is not environmentally friendly and you are washing it into your lawn where your kids play. It also isn’t a good idea to hose off furniture. Some wood glues can dissolve and you risk weakening your furniture.
Normally I wouldn’t post something so negative, but Bethany, you are an influencer and I don’t think this is good information to spread.
It looks awesome!! Im going to have to try the easy off method myself sometime.