Desk restoration project, need some advice

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Project by tkroupa posted 12-10-2013 05:03 PM 1131 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I received this desk from one of my sons’s friend because he did not have room for it in his garage.
I am looking to spend some time this winter to restore it.
The writing part of the desk flips over and there is a place to mount a type writer.

I need some advice on what to do with the dented, torn hard rubber black top. I think I will take it off and try put a thin piece of plywood in its place. Never done this before, so any help will be appreciated.

I plan on stripping the old finish off the wood and refinishing the wood, it is in good shape.

Thanks for any help

-- Tim, Meridian, Idaho

11 comments so far

View Shawn LaFleur's profile

Shawn LaFleur

75 posts in 1060 days

#1 posted 12-10-2013 05:19 PM

If it were me I would look at replacing the entire top. At the look of it the corner of the trim on the top is not in the greatest of shape either. Or maybe add the sheet of ply on top and replace the trim around the outside edge.

View tkroupa's profile


68 posts in 1279 days

#2 posted 12-10-2013 05:40 PM

That was my first idea, i think a thin sheet of nice plywood and then a trim piece around the entire edge.
Thanks for the comment

-- Tim, Meridian, Idaho

View mjn's profile


8 posts in 2510 days

#3 posted 12-10-2013 05:54 PM

first test for asbestos. kits online for as little as 6.99.

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#4 posted 12-10-2013 05:59 PM

I would replace it also with some laminate (formica), it comes in many design and color choices and is very durable.

-- Custom furniture

View Dwacki's profile


35 posts in 1373 days

#5 posted 12-10-2013 06:46 PM

Replace to top entirely… And I like the Formica idea… A nice granite design would look spectacular on that desk!

-- Dennis, South Bend ( Go Irish) Indiana

View Shawn LaFleur's profile

Shawn LaFleur

75 posts in 1060 days

#6 posted 12-10-2013 07:57 PM

Reading and thinking more about this – this would be a very cool project. I have to find a project like this, and learn how to do some woodworking.

I would also like to keep the flip top design that this desk has. But mount a flat screen and keyboard. So that when you flip up the typewriter part you can work on a computer. When the top is flipped closed the desk maintains it’s classic style and appeal.

View Miguel's profile


11 posts in 1047 days

#7 posted 12-10-2013 08:30 PM

I don’t know but i think if it was a piece to keep for your self i would eliminate what I think is 1/4 Inch sheet re due the trim maximum height of 1/8 after paint it or spray it whatever color desired and fill it with a glaze. You can put pics of the family to cover then glaze. I mean you can do so many things. Definitely wait until you go to bed and when relaxed just let your mind go and think of different ideas. It’s what I do when I get stuck and undecided and it always works for me maybe it’ll be the same for you.

-- Miguel central Florida

View richardwootton's profile


1698 posts in 1374 days

#8 posted 12-10-2013 11:10 PM

If I were you I’d remove the hard rubber and replace it with a thick layer of dark brown saddle leather like was done on a lot of desks in the past.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#9 posted 12-10-2013 11:18 PM

I would guess this desk is from the 50s (I had one) .I would usually reserve a leather top for a higher end piece ,but to each their own.

-- Custom furniture

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1168 posts in 1132 days

#10 posted 12-13-2013 09:00 PM

Is it possible that the top is covered with linoleum (
If that is the case perhaps consider putting on a new layer. This wil keep the feel of the table and is quite easy to get to look nice: cut to extra large fit, glue on with contact cement, rout edges wit flush trim bit, reattach edges.
Linoleum is mainly natural ingredients and have a nice linseed oil-like smell to it.

Good dluck with the restauration!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View JoeinGa's profile


7361 posts in 1425 days

#11 posted 01-07-2014 10:54 PM

Make that removable top piece a flip-top for your planer (or any other piece of equipment you have that fits)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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