How To Finish A Wood Desk

What You'll Need
Wood furniture stripper
Clean lint-free rags
Face mask
Sand paper
Electric sander
Non-toxic wood-friendly solvent
Wood stain or paint
Wood finish
Paint brush

If properly finished, a fine wood desk can last for generations. As it ages wood gains a wonderful patina that enriches the beauty of the grain and cut of the wood, enhancing the desk's original craftsmanship. Even an older, neglected desk can be brought back to life with a bit of elbow work and an afternoon or two of stripping, staining and painting.

One way to save money is to finish a wood desk or other piece of wood furniture on your own instead of having it finished at a furniture store or taking it to an antique restoration shop.  

Wood Stain

Stains come in many different colors to match different woods. Some people want a stain that closely matches the wood that they are finishing. However, others choose a wood stain that more closely fits in with their existing home décor. It is also possible to combine several layers of different wood finish colors to create your own unique stain color.

Wood Finishes

Wood finishes come in either glossy finish or matte finish. Many people find that once they have stripped, restained and finished their wood furniture, they enjoy the beauty of their wood grain so much that they do not want to paint it. However, if you decide to paint your desk, staining and placing a finish on it will protect it from being damaged by the paint.

Here are a few simple steps to follow to finish your own wood desk.

Step 1—Place your wood desk in a well-ventilated work space. Remove all drawers and other items from the desk frame. If you are finishing a wood desk for the first time, skip to Step 6, otherwise move forward to Step 2.

Step 2—With your gloves and face mask on, begin working the wood stripper over the desk with your rags, making sure that you cover every inch that has paint, stain or polish on it. Do this also for any drawers or other parts of the desk that you are refinishing.

Step 3
—Use a non-toxic, wood-friendly solvent to remove any residue of the stripper.

Step 4—Repeat Step 2 until all of the paint, stain and polish have been completely removed.

Step 5
—Sand the entire desk, drawers and other parts of the desk until you have a smooth, even surface.

Step 6—Test your selected wood stain on a hidden portion of the your desk to make sure that you like the stain color on the wood.

Step 7
—Stain your entire wood desk and drawers. You may need to use several coats to get the depth of color you want for the stain. Let each coat dry before painting on the next coat of stain.

Step 8—Once you have your stain or paint on and completely dry, paint or spray on your wood finish.  If you are using a liquid finish, make sure that you use a completely clean paint brush.

Step 9
—If painting, make sure the wood finish is completely dry. Then, paint as you would any other piece of furniture.

Step 10—Once your wood desk is completely dry, run a dry lint free cloth over it to brighten up the shine.

Finishing a wood desk on your own is an extremely gratifying way to bring an old piece of wood furniture back to life or to make a new piece your own. Wood finishing projects take one or two days to complete and the rewards last for years.