|Forum topic by Rick M.||posted 672 days ago||1625 views||0 times favorited||2 replies|
672 days ago
My uncle built this roll top desk in his high school shop class, roughly in the mid-60’s. Somehow my mother ended up with it and then it passed to me. For years it was in an attic then for more years in the back of my workshop. Finally I decided to refinish it and give it back to my uncle as a surprise as I’m sure he hasn’t seen it for at least 40 years. Right now it’s in pieces as the glue (black, hide glue?) has dried out. It also needs some repairs and I’m anxious for any advice.
My impression of the wood was mahogany but didn’t really believe it until I scraped back some finish (shellac) and found red wood underneath. There is also some oak and maybe maple so basically this thing is hodgepodge. The desk is light as a feather so it must be really dried out. Here is a picture of the underside of the top.
This piece was damaged at some point and a repair attempted. My guess is there was originally a knot here and it fell out. How do I fix this?
The drawers are a really unusual (for me) construction. It is a type of lock joint but I would guess the “mortises” are really just hand saw kerfs. One drawer is intact but the other is missing the front and someone has nailed in a rough repair.
The finish is definitely shellac. I wiped down one of the legs with alcohol and it became tacky and also quite a bit of grime came off. There are spots with smudges of white paint and I believe hide glue that I can’t get off without a scraper but that is also going down to bare wood which I’d like to avoid.
The desk has no value other than sentimental, I’d like to preserve as much of the original as I can although I will need to make a new Tambour top. I can imagine how I will match the new top to 50 year old patina.
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