Friday, February 10, 2012

Antique Italian Hand-Carved Desk CeCe Caldwell Carolina Sun Yellow

Greetings from TheSmithGarage, just on the other side of the door is TheSmithHotel . So last Summer, we picked up this really rough desk - veneer falling off - but it had some character that I really liked. Needless to say, I have not had time to work on it. It also had a bow (warped) across the top, so I wasn't really sure what to do with it. See some pictures on my previous post - Italian Desk and Child's Dresser ASCP . So I finished pulling off 2 layers of veneer.

The wood left in here is rough-cut 1x1 slats. They were sandwiched between two layers of veneer, so there is still a layer of veneer under then which holds it all together. Remember I talked about the little bow in the desk. I decided to try an experiment - what did I have to loose - I already completely destroyed this hand made antique Italian desk - probably crafted by some carpenter in the 20s right after the Great War. So in hopes of taking out the bow, I slathered a large amount of old thick latex paint on this wood, then put a new piece of 3/16" veneer over the top, stapled it down, and turned it over on a flat surface. Then I stacked every gallon of paint I had in TheSmithGarage on the center of the desk - like so:

I called it my "Tower of Power" and asked Mrs. Smith and the kiddos to stay away for fear of certain death by falling paint cans. Notice I started priming the wood, not quite sure at the time what color the base was going to be. I let it sit like this for a week. The bow is gone. I can only assume the moisture of the latex paint combined with the weight brought the desk back to a flat surface. You can see in the photo below that the legs still have some warp in them, but the desk firmly sits on all fours. I did find a world map that I will be using on the top.

The next step was to pick a color. Originally I thought about a blue - to match the oceans on the map. But during my drying time - I ordered a can of CeCe Caldwell's Carolina Sun Yellow to paint a Henry Link 6-drawer Bamboo Dresser. I really liked the color, and it matched some of the countries on my map - so I went bold and painted it yellow. Here it is still upside down - easier to paint.

Isn't that a great color? Picture is with the new camera as well - which picks up the vibrant color. I love it and think someone will really enjoy this desk in their writing room. So come back at the end of the weekend to see the top take a journey and be transformed. My first experiment in Mod Podge - should be easy, right? Let me know what you think and if you have any tips for me when it comes to Mod Podge - please, any help you can give me would be appreciated.

Here is the top - wood filler is drying around the edges, after I sand it I will be ready for the map.

Thanks Tammy at Tattered and Timeless for the tips. Believe it or not - this really is my first time using Mod Podge. Here is a shot after a coat under the map , wait for drying, then a coat over the top and dried.

It went down well on the first undercoat. Mrs. Smith had some type of rolling thingy bob that I used to roll out most of the bubbles. After it dried, I cleaned up the edges with a scalpel. At first I thought I messed up, but again Mrs. Smith reminded me that Mod Podge is water based, so I got the edges a little wet and they cleaned up nicely. Thanks Mrs. Smith - what would I do without you? So I put the coat of Mod Podge on top and I kind of freaked out again - it started bubbling. An hour later - it was flat again. Why do these things happen to raise the stress level? Regardless - it looks pretty good right now. I will be putting some Polyurethane on it Sunday and see if we can finish it up some night this week. I will post a final picture when we get it all finished.

Share your thoughts.

Mr. Smith

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  1. I am loving this yellow. And how ingenious to use the tower of power. You are a smart one Mr. Smith. Hmm modge podge..well I would recommend first putting down a slightly watered down layer on the top of the desk. Then put the map down and press out flat as you can. Then put another layer of slightly watered down modge podge all the while pressing out wrinkles. When dry add another coat or two of full strength and it should be good to go.

  2. The map looks awesome! The color is great too. How do you like the CC paint? I've never used it. How does it compare to ASCP?

    1. Hey there - I love your site and your mission. It's hard to compare paints that are similar. CC is 100% green which is good for all - especially those of us trying to make a little difference on consumerism. I like both the paints on how they finish. It is so easy to sand and apply your techniques to a non-latex paint, so both are good in my book. Finishing is half the fun in furniture painting. CC goes on pretty smooth. It sticks well to surfaces - on my bamboo dresser - I applied only one coat to the formica top. You should try some and see if you like it.

    2. I definitely will. Thanks for the advice. When I finish my first CC project I will give a link back to you and Mrs. Smith's site!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks - the CeCe Caldwell Carolina Sun Yellow is definately a keeper.