Because the glossy top turned out better than I imagined, I thought I'd post about the surface today and then reveal the desk and the welding tutorial next week. Picture me hovering near the desk, tightly gripping a lamp, in anticipation.
Without further ado . . . here is the desk surface, in our gloriously ugly basement, a.k.a the pit of despair (more on our basement makeover plans in the next couple of weeks too):
How to Cheat:
We had planned on building a surface, like Hubby did for my vintage treadle sewing machine desk, but while we were at Lowe's shopping for lumber, we stumbled upon this display:
Seriously, look at the sweet price:
But it looked at little too knotty for my liking. Hubby is against painted wood (hence the wood-y kitchen we've maintained) so, because it is his desk, I opted for a stain.
How to Stain Wood White:
1. We lightly sanded the top and edges because the board was pretty sharp as-is.
2. We wiped it clean with a dry cloth.
3. Pouring a bit onto foam brush at a time (as per the instructions), we applied Saman water based stain and it was fantastic!
After the fact, I learned that this brand of water based stain can be mixed for custom colours. I opted for "whitewash".
Why we loved this stain (and this is my own opinion, Saman execs don't even know I exist, let alone that I'm giving the company mad love):
- Water based = easy clean up
- Low odour, making it perfect for indoor projects
- No overlapping marks
- Really awesome coverage
How to Make a Varnished Surface Super Glossy:
We used Varathane brand (click here to see the can's English side - oops) Premium Diamond Wood Finish in clear gloss. It, too, is water-based and although meant for outdoor items, worked just fine for a desk. The helpful salesman at Canadian Tire who sold me my tiny first can of varnish is not as obsessed with glossiness as me. When I bought my second can, this time at Home Hardware, the helpful salesman there suggested I buy a bigger can. I'll use the rest, he reasoned. He's smart.
|Oh, tiny first can. How quickly we parted ways.|
I applied EIGHT coats to get the desk surface glassy-glossy and I love the result. In the office, it just glows.
How to Varnish:
1. Lightly sand any grain that has been raised during the staining process.
2. Wipe thoroughly with a dry cloth
3. Ensure surface is free of debris (I missed this step - crap).
4. Apply varnish using a foam or bristle brush (don't go cheap - my brush left fuzzies I noticed too late - double crap)
5. Allow to dry (2-4 hours for this brand).
6. Lightly sand any raised grain, wipe clean (the manufacturer's suggest sanding the whole thing if more than 24 hours have passed).
7. Re-apply varnish and continue until you can see your reflection (I used 8 coats).
8. Patiently wait for the surface to cure for one week.
Despite some mystery debris trapped beneath eight layers of varnish like some weird grime time capsule, I am happy with the results. I'll show you the whole kit & caboodle soon!