Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pine to Mahogany?

My new studio is limited on space so I had to get real creative to get a desk in there. I had three pieces (my library card catalog, my cheese box cupboard and my antique buffet) that are going to be forever staples in my studio so I had to rearrange my studio three times to get a desk to fit and it required making a custom desk top.
Now that I don’t have a woodshop behind my house, I had to get creative. I searched the aisles in Home Depot and found that they now carry boards already glued together. Wahoo!! The tools that I didn’t have, I didn’t need for this project. The boards were already glued! I used a pencil to sketch out the the shape of the desk. It needed it to be skinny at the far end so that the closet door would open.
I used my jigsaw to cut the shape out. I was going to have the island part facing toward the door until my husband questioned if I shouldn’t have it face into the room for better flow. I wanted it on the opposite side of my chair so my daughter could have a space at the desk. (that’s what she asked for Christmas, a desk in my studio; which we tried but it’s just too small so I told her that we could share a desk and get her a cool chair) and it will work she can still use her chair if the island faced into the room.
So, before I stained it, I flipped it over the way my husband suggested. It had a couple of wood knots and a few nicks that I would have strategically cut around if I had realized earlier that I would want the desk island to face the other direction. Oh well, it sanded out pretty well and I could live with the couple extra wood knots. After it was sanded I put on the first color of stain. Ummm, too light. I wanted it to match the antique pieces of furniture and it needed to be darker.
I streaked on some darker stain, keeping with the grain. I kept added strokes of stain until it was dark enough. With the streaks, it gave a different wood grain look that looked more like mahogany instead of pine. Perfect!
As soon as I was ready to polyurethane it, we got a cold spell and it was too cold to poly outside so I had to take it inside to do the polyurethane. (I kept the door closed and the window cracked a bit so the smell wasn’t so bad) 
I Sanded between the second coat so that it will be super smooth. You need to use a 220 grit sandpaper between layers and wipe off the debris. You can add as many layers as you want, just sand between each layer. Always apply poly “with” the grain of the wood.
This the modular “desk” piece from the Utah studio that I have been currently using and was too long if I tried to put it between the cubes. It made the walk space too tight. The desk was carefully balanced on top of the cubes and if you moved it too far one way, your whole project found itself on the floor. I was ready for a custom desk top.
This pine/mahogany look-alike desk top has made all the difference on the flow of the studio. It gives such a great space to work on and fits the space perfectly!
Now I have a custom desk ready for projects!! It’s a pine wood that looks like mahogany or another more expensive wood! It’s has two layers of polyurethane so that makes it wipe-able and super durable.
A custom studio desk-top…matching the existing antiques and custom built furniture….Awesome!


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