My Desk: Before and After

My desk space has been a work in progress since we moved into this house 3 years ago.
I think this is the 4th desk that I have attempted to make work and I think I may have finally found the right fit.
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This is an old Cypress board that was in my grandfather’s garage for at least 75 years. It is from the old water towers that would line the railroad tracks.
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Story has it that he was going to use it in a boat.
Who knows.
Not me,  that is for sure.
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It is a very rough cut slab that is 12 feet by 3 feet.
A hefty chunk of wood.

My husband and I moved this baby from Minnesota to Virginia in the middle of the winter. Our trailer was only 10 feet long so it hung out a little bit.

It sat in our garage for 4 years while I tried to figure out what to use it for.  Birds made a nest on it.

Then it made the trip from Culpeper, Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina via moving truck where is sat in my basement for another 3 years.
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It is a huge piece of wood.   I had a few woodworkers suggest cutting it.

That was not going to happen.

After a lot of thought I decided to head to Habitat for Humanity to see if I could find a base for the desk. I figured that built in cabinets that were made for desks would work great. Thankfully I was able to find two cabinets that were exactly alike and were file cabinets with drawers.

Perfect size, perfect height.

More importantly perfect price…$15.00 each! Score!

As a trial run to see if it would work I placed the top on the base and used it for about a month.
It was exactly what I wanted.

After a month of using it and getting a lot of slivers it was time to sand it down.
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I ran lots of different ideas of finishes through my mind while I was sanding.
Sand it all the way down?
Just knock the big stuff off and keep the character?
Stain, no stain.
Sand one side, leave the other.

By the time I had sanded for 5 hours.

And used many pads of 60 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit sand paper I ended up sanding it smooth.
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Sanding can be kind of mesmerizing when you start to see the grain coming though.

Unfortunately Cypress wood does not have that pretty of a grain. But the feel of such smooth texture kept me going.

By the time I was done sanding I had decided to stain it Honey by MinWax.
I figured it would be a nice light color, nothing too dark.
And I had a whole quart of it in my cabinet.
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No final picture of the after the sanding stage. Sorry.

When I was done sanding and wiping it down with mineral spirits to make sure the surface was really clean I was ready to stain.

Remember I said that I had an entire quart of Honey stain in the garage.

I don’t remember when I bought the stain and I was quite surprised that I had an entire quart but did not question it.

I should have.

I should have tested it on a small piece of wood.

I should have listened to myself when I thought…hmmmm, seems kinda dark?

I should have and I didn’t.

I was being impatient because I wanted to see it done.

After I made the first swipe of stain across the freshly sanded board did I then remember….This is a mixture of stain I made from Mahogany, Ebony, Honey and some other color I had left over.

This IS NOT going to be a light color.

Oh, well.
A lot more color that I had planned.

But it works OK.
And the finish is very smooth.

No more slivers.