So this desk made it's way into our possession recently. Our neighbors had it in their crawl space and wanted to get rid of it.
It's actually not a bad looking desk... but the top was scratched like crazy and there were some nice pen gouges in it as well.
I started off with stripping the finish off of the desk and giving it a good sanding all over to smooth out the scratches.
I painted primer on all the drawer faces and and the bottom of the desk but left the top of it to be stained. You can see on the pic below a bit of white on the top of the desk... that's baking soda... I tried to remove some of the pen mark from the deep gouge on the desk. It sort of worked, but since I was staining it anyways, I figured it would cover it up in the end.
I used Saman's Water-based Wood Stain in "American Walnut." I probably did about 4 coats of stain to get the dark rich color I wanted. (the desk pic below was taken before the last coat of stain before the varnish coat) I got to say that I LOVE staining furniture. I love how each coat looks so different and I kept wondering when I should stop! But in the end I wanted a richer dark wood for the contrast between the top and bottom of the desk.
For the drawers and bottom of the desk, I used Benjamin Moore's "Cloud White." I generally liked the color, but I might try something else next time as it wasn't as creamy as I wanted.
NOTE: do not put a cell phone in your shirt pocket and then lean over the paint tray... My cell phone fell out of my pocket INTO the full tray of paint and got COVERED in white paint! Thankfully - though I have no idea how - it still works! I can still jam the charger into the phone and somehow it still charges! :)
After 2 coats of paint, I used sandpaper to distress the white paint on the drawer faces and corners etc.
After I finished with the distressing, I put a table spoon or so of the Minwax finishing paste in "Natural" into a piece of cheesecloth and made it into a ball and rubbed the wax over all the white of the desk. Then after letting it sit for a few minutes (maybe 5 or 10?) to start to dry, using a different piece of cheesecloth, i buffed the wax to a nice shine. This gave the white paint a nice clearish coat to start.
Then I mixed another ball of Natural and the Dark finishing paste in the cheesecloth and rubbed that over the white. I left some light streaks as well to give it a rubbed on antique look. I LOVE how it changed the look of the white! Then I buffed that as well so it gives it an overall shine.
I used Rustoleum's black spray paint in "Canyon Black" in a Satin finish to give the handles a slight sheen. I didn't want it to be too glossy for the finished look.
Then to finish off the stained top of the desk, I used Saman Oil Based Varnish in a semi gloss. I did 3 coats in all since this desk will be "kid friendly" and I wanted to preserve the top as much as possible haha.
Here is the finished product! Just letting it dry in the garage for 24 hours before bringing it inside the house.
And here's the Before and After photo!