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Leather Top Desk Restoration

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Project by Roz posted 08-09-2012 01:29 AM 3525 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This old desk, probably from the 1950’s followed my wife home after an auction at Kirkwood Plantation, a historic mansion a few miles way. It was pretty rough and not very old. The shoppers were there for the very fine pieces by renowned makers so this desk went cheap and the buyer knew someone she could persuade to fix it up.

This desk is covered in veneer and was finished in lacquer. It had some water damage as well as deep dents and dings. The leather top was dried out and required replacement, and it is this that made the project interesting for me.

I gave the desk the needed minor repairs and a good sanding. I topped it off with 6 coats of lacquer. The leather I ordered online from HEATH’S RESTORATION SHOP. The owner was very nice and helpful in deciding color and embossing. He also got me up to speed on how to replace a leather top.

After removing the old leather I sanded the surface and cleaned it. Next we applied an even coat of wallpaper paste. Then I carefully laid out the leather working it into place against the edges of the wooden trim and smoothed it out with a rolling pin. It surprises me still how nice an old beat up piece of furniture can look with a little work.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."





10 comments so far

View chopnhack's profile

chopnhack

368 posts in 1142 days


#1 posted 08-09-2012 02:23 AM

Nice desk! The edges of the leather are simply butted to the wood? That sounds like a super precise fitting!

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2098 posts in 936 days


#2 posted 08-09-2012 03:06 AM

Nice desk ! Well worth the clean up I would say.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2752 posts in 2460 days


#3 posted 08-09-2012 03:26 AM

Terry,

That restoration looks fantastic! As I read your write-up, I thought you were investing an awful lot of money in leather to restore an old desk, but then when I enlarged the pictures, I could see that it was well worth it.

Thanks for sharing.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Built2Last's profile

Built2Last

230 posts in 2225 days


#4 posted 08-09-2012 04:03 AM

YOU DONE GOOOOODDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

View MayflowerDescendant's profile

MayflowerDescendant

414 posts in 1534 days


#5 posted 08-09-2012 05:33 AM

AWESOME job! Nice restoration. It’s a beauty! Thanks for sharing. Play / be safe.

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View woodworm's profile

woodworm

14134 posts in 2338 days


#6 posted 08-09-2012 10:18 AM

Great restoration job.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2421 days


#7 posted 08-09-2012 08:04 PM

Nice restoration!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2082 days


#8 posted 08-09-2012 11:39 PM

Looks brand new. Excellent restore!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roz's profile

Roz

1661 posts in 2534 days


#9 posted 08-10-2012 01:03 AM

Thanks for the comments all.

ChopandHack, the leather is glued down with wall paper paste and that allows for time to fit it tightly in corners and along edges. The leather is thin and can be stretched easily. It is much easier than I expected it would be and I am really happy with the results.

Lightweightladydefty, you don’t know how right you are. I spent over twice as much on the leather as my director did not the desk itself.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View jack1's profile

jack1

1952 posts in 2775 days


#10 posted 08-11-2012 10:12 PM

You do excellent work. Looks brand new in the pictures. Thanks for sharing!

jack

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

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