Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Circle Drawer Desk

Last weekend, Leslie and I picked up this desk from the Dade City Spring Antique Faire. Of course, it didn't look like this when we got it.

We picked her up in rough shape: scratched up, dull, and kind of boring. The one thing that stood out to us was the drawer: one lone drawer with nontraditional hardware, aligned to the left. Long, narrow, and slightly strange. To tell you the truth, if the desk didn't have this weird little drawer, we probably would have passed over it entirely. But it's the unusual that draws us in.

We decided to use this desk in my office, since my current workspace is the top of an old record player. While planning out how we wanted to refinish it, we knew that we wanted to carry over the uniqueness of the circle drawer to our project. What better way to do that than make a huge representation of the drawer on the top of the desk. Leslie has been wanting to try a stain-with-stencils idea for a while now, so I decided to test out a technique here.

Stain is a little different than paint. It soaks into the wood, and it does it fast--it's a very unforgiving medium, and one misplaced brushstroke could leave you with a lot of make-up work. We also knew it was going to be difficult to contain the stain, because it has a tendency to spread tangent to the wood.

For this technique, first I drew out a circle on the desk, and then I tore off small strips of painter's tape to create a poor man's stencil:

I stained the dark parts first, trying to be careful not to let too much stain puddle around the tape. Once it dried, I peeled up the tape and finished off with the lighter stain (I didn't bother re-taping, because the light stain bleeding over onto the dark wouldn't leave an impression).

I ended up with a few inconsistencies along the perimeter, but I think it came out pretty well.

I left the drawer untouched, out of respect for its strangeness. Maybe it'll be a good luck drawer, or maybe I'll just keep some jelly beans in it.