|Project by ferstler||posted 05-04-2011 03:04 AM||1165 views||0 times favorited||2 comments|
My ex boss (we are both retired) is rennovating his house and as part of this he dismantled an old bookcase he had built years ago and gave me the pieces. Initially, I did not know what to do with them, since they were heavily coated with 30 years of repeated varnishing and had some warpage to boot. However, after some meditating and calculating I ended up turning them into a desk.
I did have to buy two smaller boards one for the keyboard and one cut up for the braces at the back), but most of the desk was made from what he gave to me. It is Brazilian Pine (the additional boards are plain old pine), and has lots of knots (I filled in some of the rough areas with putty), but at least it sanded very smooth. And, well, knots give it character. It is considerably heavier and harder than ordinary pine (only US longleaf is harder, I believe), and turned out quite well. Brazilian Pine is also called Parana, and I suppose it got that name because it destroys (gums up) sanding belts and discs so well, and does a pretty good job of gumming up planer knives and saw blades, too. Lots of pitch in the wood. Two hours of careful scraping and washing with mineral spirits took care of the goo.
I did have to also purchase the satin urethane and used three different paint brushes that had to be discarded after use. You just cannot get the damned brushes to clean out decently after using that urethane, at least if you want to reuse them for quality work. (Yes, know that some of you guys know how to clean brushes properly, but I am a newbie woodworker guy and not a paint-finishing guy.) Anyway, the total cost for the job (including the budget-grade brush costs), was forty bucks. Not bad, all things considered. Well, I already had the stain, left over from an earlier project (it would have eventually been thrown out), and also had the drawer and keyboard sliders on hand that were also left over from an earlier project, and of course there were the Kreg screws. But at least I did not damage any of my tools!
The first two shots show the finished desk installed where it is sitting right now as I type this message on the computer.
The second shot shows the lower section after initial gluing, with Kreg screws also employed to both reinforce the joints and to act as clamps for the glue. The pieces are as yet unfinished.
The final photo shows the initial glue up of the top. Unfortunately, the result would not lay flat enough, and so I had to cut the sections apart (after removing the Kreg pocket screws, of course), replane the edges, and then reglue, with the thing clamped flat to the bench all the way around. (One dozen clamps!) Unfortunately, again, the thing was still too warped. (It simply flexed back out of shape when unclamped; better than before, but not good enough; so goes the learning curve.)
So, I again cut the three boards apart and this time also ripped the two wider ones into two sections each. I then ran them through the jointer/planer and then ran them through the thickness planer. This ended up reducing the board thicknesses from 1.5 inches to 1.25 (due to the monumental amout of per-board warp that had to be planed away to get them perfect), but when they were glued and screwed this time the top was flat.
The stain was Minwax Early American, and three coats of their satin polyurethane was used, with a final buff with 0000 steel wool.
My wife likes it, and that is what matters.