So the ancient wooden teacher’s desk in my office is about a hundred years old. Ha, actually, I don’t know, but it looks it. E. and I bought it via that ancient communication device known as newspaper over ten years ago when we were first starting our online fabric shop. It’s had a long, hard life, and definitely needs some stripping and refinishing care someday soon.
When we moved it into my office from the shop, I gave it a good washing down with Murphy’s Oil Soap (which I really like for the kitchen cabinets), but though it was cleaner, it didn’t look much better. I’ve insisted, funnily enough – and largely out of habit, on using drink coasters amidst hundreds old water rings, and would dust it up now and then with Don Aslett’s Wood to Wood.
I pinned a couple of ideas a while back that I thought might help, and today I was able to try both of them out. This pin says a mixture of vinegar and olive oil will revive your old furniture. While this pin claims coconut oil and some furniture wax will do the trick. Hmm, why not try both? I didn’t have furniture wax, but I thought some coconut oil couldn’t hurt.
First I cleared off my two printers, work junk, computer, keyboard, wacom tablet (are you kidding, Amazon? That price is insane, I got mine years ago for a buck forty-five), and mouse. Then, I took a picture of the poor desktop in all its glory.
I used one of my microfiber cleaning cloths and just rubbed it in with the grain all over, getting along the edges of the desktop as well. I used a dry microfiber cloth to kind of buff it afterwards. It felt a little greasy to the touch, so I let it sit for a bit. After maybe a half hour to 45 minutes, it was dry to the touch and looking so much improved.
It was hard to get a photo, but here’s a pretty good one with all my junk moved back onto it:
You’ll note that it’s not a miracle or anything, the poor desk does need to be refinished at some point, but what an improvement! The wood looks rich again, and I can trick myself into thinking all the imperfections are just super-desirable patina.
I did not have any furniture wax, so I just left it at that. Straight up coconut oil. For the drawer fronts I decided to try the other pin’s suggestion of vinegar and olive oil to compare results. I mixed up 1/4 cup white vinegar with 3/4 cup olive oil. Hum.
I had to keep stirring it, otherwise it would separate. I dabbed a microfiber cloth into the mixture and rubbed it on, then kind of buffed it in as I’d done with the top.
After three hours, the drawer fronts are still kinda greasy to the touch. The coconut oil definitely seeped in easier, and was overall easier to work with. But, it had a very similar effect:
I liked the coconut oil method best, so I decided to use it again on the desk’s pull out thingies. You know, those things that are like breadboards? To extend your desk surface? I love them, I can rest my right arm on one while I draw or use the mouse and it helps keep my carpal tunnel pain. But they were really trashed:
A big hunk of coconut oil rubbed in, and voila!
Well. I had to clean my whole office after that. Complete with vacuuming. Where is my cookie? Also, hooray for Pinterest! I am pretty picky with my pins, I only pin stuff I think I will actually try / make / cook, and ignore the ones that seem like good ideas but I know I won’t ever, ever do. Have you tried anything from Pinterest lately that worked well for you? These Pinterest Fail sites crack me up: