1940’s office desk in need of some TLC

dove tailing of desk drawer
Dove tail structure of drawers & desk frame.

Not actually on a whim, but close, I fell in love with a 1940’s desk that looked like it had seen too much of life and then tried to hide from it.  The top is the worst, several layers are missing from serious water damage.  Two of the drawers have warped bottoms, probably from the same wet situation.  But as a whole it is in fantastic shape!  A true testament to furniture the way it should be made.

Having done a search for something like this online to determine age and value it became clear that Canada and England place more value on it than what I can find in the US.  Depending upon the seller, these items, most of which were in better shape, were advertised for $70 through $1,200.  Wonder what I have here when I finish mending?  My investment is not high at this point; $7.00 for the desk made it an affordable project.  We purchased an orbital sander as we have a 1960’s era desk to make repairs to as well.  That is a fun toy to use!  I have only hand sanded to this point and am excited to have this handy gadget.  It is possible that I like the sander enough to want to search out more wayward furniture.

Top of 1940's office desk
pencil drawer for 1940s office desk, damaged
Water damage to the pencil drawer

Cleaning the inside of the desk and drawers will go a long way to refurbishing this gem.  I will chisel out the top wood that remains of the laminated top and determine what to put in its place.  If possible, I will work on the drawer bottoms that are damaged.  I may even look for wood to replace the missing section markers for the drawers  As we have ideal weather to work out on the patio in the evening, I plan to work on the desks and get them completed before harvest season is over.  If I need to, I will move the desks into the sun room to finish.  The 1960’s desk is going to go into my step-daughter’s room as she would like to have her father’s childhood desk.

I am not sure what to do with my find.  It would make a fantastic potting table for a garden shed (with a tile top).  Or, maybe I should look to restore the top with a sheet of wood-grained laminate to maintain the original look.  Then again, maybe it needs to be updated with something original in the top and a bit of paint, or a wash-look, on the rest of it.  As I didn’t intend to keep the desk when I found it, I am not totally sure what I would like to do with it yet.  This is not a decision I need to rush.

I am a sucker for strays, animal, human or furniture.  Refurbishing wood items is a hobby I could really get into, especially since the sanding job has just gotten much easier.

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