14 June, 2012

Manicure of Success

Now THAT is a Manicure of Success!
Manicure of success... you know the one; dirt under the nails, chips and scratches, broken cuticles and maybe even some paint or stain splatters across the back of your hands.  Maybe you got your Manicure of Success in the garden, or the garage, or from canning in the kitchen.  Any way you get your manicure IT FEELS SO GOOD!

We love visiting all of the sales here in town: garage sales, yard sales, estate sales and flea markets as we try to piece our home together like a large gig saw puzzle.  We find a pair of coffee cups here, the matching saucer there, a desk chair that needs to be re-woven...and a couple weeks ago we found a desk.  Well, I say we, only because I helped carry it out but the find was all Boris.  He was so excited when he called me over, "I WANT THIS DESK!"  So we brought it home and I finally got to look at it.  It was a small writing desk a dirty bluish- grey color that only comes from lots of time wasting away, the stain was peeling up, the wood completely dried out and there was something sticky all over it.  WHY?!?!?  Why is there always some mysterious sticky substance on garage sale finds?  I forgot to take a before picture of our little desk because...well as you can tell I was not all that impressed with it.  But Boris was in love with it, so I knew there had to be something good about the desk.  He can always find the beauty in everything.

We found these little gems at a Garage Sale,
then a matching creamer  at an Estate Sale the following week.

I thought to just paint the whole thing a bright blue, but Boris was a little disappointed with that idea.  So I dug in.  First step; conquer the mysterious sticky!  I scrubbed and scrubbed with warm water, Dawn and an old toothbrush.  Sticky substance gone as well as a few layers of dirt and suddenly I saw the beauty of the desk that Boris saw.  I also found the manufacturer sticker on the back of the desk.  Turns out our little desk we bought it Mexico was built in Fort Smith, Virginia.  Unfortunately there is not a lot legible on the sticker...too much sticky and the sticker is too delicate to clean.  We estimate we have a 1920 Writing Desk.  I am still unsure of the manufactures name though.

Next step was to restore the wood.  I spent a good part of a day sanding the desk from all angles, evening the wood and removing any more dirt or sticky that remained.  With the wood even and the desk perfectly clean it was time to paint it...but I did not want to paint it anymore.  We had a quality piece of furniture and I was beginning to agree with Boris, to paint it would be a crime.  Boris found a gorgeous oil based stain that would bring new life to the wood.  The wood was so dry that it sucked up a whole container of stain!  I had to stain it very carefully because the second I set the brush to the desk the wood would drink in the stain.  I had to add a little bit at a time too keep it even.  I stained it inside and out, even the bottom of the desk in hopes of reviving the wood.

Once I finished and stepped back I was amazed!  I had the most gorgeous desk sitting in front of me that I had ever seen.  Now I lovingly bathe the desk regularly with Red Oil and the wood is almost as good as new.  But the little cracks that remain just remind me of the years this little desk has survived and the fun that I had bringing it back to life.  Most of all it reminds me of the broken and chipped nails, the bloody cuticles and the stains on my hands that still have not come off.  They remind me of my Manicure of Success and I smile with pride.

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