Saturday, December 18, 2010

Desk Gone Green

It is done. I have completed the two projects I needed to get done before the end of the year. This last project was a desk for a friend. She wanted a big flat area with some storage that she could sew and do craft projects on. With her assistance we came up with this design. The internal pull out shelves were added later after I realized, and it was pointed out, that the pillars were very deep. The desk measures 50” wide 30” deep and 33” tall. The wood is birch construction with maple facing. The desk is finished with shellac and the green accent is Rit® fabric dye. Some of the key features are:

• Storage for large sheets under the table top

• Adjustable pull out shelves

• Completely modular (top detaches from the sides easily and assembles easily)

I already told my friend that I was going to do this problem/wish I did better section and she understands what I am going to talk about. I have to admit that this is her desk and this is what she wanted. Here are some of the things that I wish would have been better. First is the green. I was not a fan of it from the beginning because it is not me however it is her. I used Rit® fabric dye and will probably never use it again to dye wood. It probably would work well on soft woods but there was no saturation in the hard wood and I sanded some of the dye right off. I used shellac to finish which is oil based to seal in the water based die. I picked up eco-friendly paint thinner to clean my brushes. It said it works just as well as normal paint thinner but with less fumes. I was all for that. It didn’t work, gummed up the brush and I had to immediately get baby alcohol to clean the brush which did a fantastic job. I also tried some of the new finishing techniques I have learned. With toys I just wanted a smooth coat to protect the wood but on this desk I wanted to get a mirror finish on the top. Well, I need more practice.

I may have had problems with this desk but I am really pleased how it turned out. There are two adjustable pullout shelves! All the pull out shelves are on full extension ball bearing glides (two different sizes due to availability). It was one of those ideas that just click and made sense. I think I am going to keep the adjustible shelf design to myself though. Even though I did not like the green the finish came out really good. It is smooth and even. I was worried because I was using shellac. The reason I used oil based was because I used a water based dye. I was told that the water based top coat could mix with the dye and not completely seal the dye. I used a 3 pound cut of shellac and it worked fine. I just had to be careful to make sure I had plenty on my brush because it dries in an hour (15 minutes dry to the touch). It made finishing really quick. I am also proud that this is completely modular. I can make furniture tanks and super sturdy so they don’t fit into a door. The challenge becomes making a piece that can be moved easily and is still sturdy. It is a fun design challenge and it is this that makes a project fun.
To finish I put child latches on the doors.  Kyle was so confused when he could not open them anymore.

1 comment:

  1. I think it came out fabulous...and the green looks so much better in person...the lighting doesn't do it justice. It is seriously an awesome desk!