Friday, May 29, 2015

Drexel Campaign Desk, Cerused Custom Top, and a New Paint!

Campaign desks are hard to come by. Good ones by Drexel are really hard to come by,,,at a decent price. I got this one for a steal because it was in such poor shape. It was a nice oak veneer, which you don't usually see in these desks. Legs are solid oak. The hardware was in pretty good shape.
               After removing the brass corner and T-plates. Lovely laminate top, eh?
This laminate needed to go. I needed to get some white oak planks and change it up! 
Why, yes, this is the same desk! How did I get to this point??? Read on!!! 

 When I say this was in rough shape, I wasn't kidding. None of the drawers closed properly because everything was out of alignment. This is where many clamps and glue come in handy! All of the joints were set back in place, glued and clamped. The drawer slide on the right pic was coming apart as well. More glue and more clamps! 

 This before and after shows the magic of wood filler (or bondo if it's a large area) and some good sanding. Some of the veneer was lifting so it got some, you guessed it, glue and clamps!

That laminate top had to go. I got some white oak planks and hub joined and glued them. I tried doing it myself which and I cut the wood 1/2" too short! 
You can read about that in an earlier post,,HERE!! OY!!
I knew I was painting this gray and I knew I wanted a weathered gray, cerused top.

These were all of my test boards for different combos of stains. Also do a test piece first before jumping on your new wood. 

The left is raw, sanded, and pre-conditioned.  The right pic is after the gray stain. (Had issues with this as well which caused me to sand it all off and start over. sigh. Just be careful with your sanding after doing your staining. You see those patches of lightness?? You don't want that!

I loved the pyramid escutcheons that came with this, but I was missing about 6 of them. I could not find any identical ones to match, so had to change them all out for the regular pin/nail ones.  Bar Keepers Friend and steel wool, took care of the tarnish.
(don't know what the deal is with my computer and photos. They look slightly out of focus. I just got a new iMac, and maybe I need to fiddle with the settings).
 I love gray and orange together. Plus this drawer gave me an excuse to try out my two General Finishes colors, Persimmon and Coral Crush. I mixed the two and got this:
 I had a sample of a shade of orange that almost matched the GF, I used that up on the sides.
Here;s a close up of the ceruse finish. Want the how-to's on that?? See it here
 I sprayed a clear glossy enamel over the GF color and it looks like lacquer!!
 So the new paint I used on this desk was Eurolux from Fine Paints of Europe, that was color matched to BM "Gray".  Very high end paint. Eurolux is the water based version. I will tell you, this is not a paint for beginners! Very difficult to paint with. It looks beautiful, but it's a little temperamental for my taste. After doing the drawers, I noticed they were staying tacky. Like tacky to the point of not being able to touch the surface without leaving permanent smudges. I called the company and was informed that yes, that is the drawback to this line of paint. He informed me to use the hybrid, Eco, instead. Well,  the Eco is just like the BM Advance, which I do like very much. And it's cheaper and goes on like a dream. 

 Don't know what's up with my camera indoors. 
The pic below is in the garage and looks clearer!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous transformation, Beth! I know how much work went into bringing this poor little desk back to life. And I have to admit, a little jealous of how many clamps you have! This will be one lucky person who gets to bring this home!

  2. Wow that piece turned out great! I love the pop of orange on the sides of the drawers.

  3. wow! so many great tips in your post! Your campaign desk turned out beautiful.
    thanks for linking up and linking back to MRL.

    Catching You!