from splinter to… Splendid

Oak Desk Refinish

My parents gave me this oak desk for my daughter’s room a few years ago. She had an adorable pink and purple room so I painted the desk pink and purple. It was great until a few months ago when she decided she hates pink and purple. This time I painted it how I wanted it with some cute knobs to make it look a little girly. This is what it looked like before.

I don’t mind stripping furniture when I can simply take my sander and sand down to the bare wood. I was able to do that on the drawers and top, for the most part. The sides were a different story. I had to use Kleen Strip and strip the paint off layer by layer. If you have ever stripped painted furniture you probably know what I am talking about. But, if you have a better way please share it with me. It made me realize why I love Chalk Paint. I used a paint scraper, wire brush (for corners and hard to reach areas) and steel wool. You simply apply a coat of Kleen Strip with a paint brush and scrape it off. Repeat as many times as necessary until all paint is removed. Then, put Kleen Strip on the steel wood and scrub the desk to get all the paint out of the wood grain. I wiped it down with a dry cloth and the hard part was over. Here are some pics of the top towards the end and when I finally got it all out of the grain.

Stripping is a little messy so I would not do it inside. When outside, work in small sections so the Kleen Strip does not dry to fast. Ideally, it would have been best if I had done it inside the garage with plastic underneath. Stripping is not really difficult but it does require time and patience. Once I got it stripped I decided there was no way I would ever paint it again. Oak is gorgeous and probably shouldn’t be painted anyway.

Once stripped, I let it sit for a couple of days. I painted the drawers with 3 coats of Annie Sloan Pure White. Then, I distressed them with sandpaper and applied Annie Sloan wax. I put the aqua colored glass knobs that my daughter pick out back on and the drawers were done. I stained the rest with Minwax Jacobean stain. I let that dry for a day and then added a coat of polyurethane. Once it dried, I lightly sanded it to remove any bubbles. I added one more coat of Polyurethane, let it dry and it was done. I love the oak. It turned out beautiful.


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  1. Carolyn Hauk

    Nice work, looks great!

  2. Michelle

    I’m so happy you just let the gorgeous oak tell it’s own lovely story without painting over it. I sometimes think we go a bit over board with trying to paint everything. Natural is beautiful too and your oak desk is gorgeous

    1. (Post author)

      I agree. There are some pieces that should never be painted. Thank you.


    Such a cute desk. Love the redesign!

    1. (Post author)

      Thank you!

  4. Diana

    I’m an oak lover, too! Your desk turned out just beautifully :)Thanks so much for linking up your project with us at Vintage Charm–

  5. Pauline Molinari

    This turned out fabulously! Thanks for sharing your project on the Monday Funday Party!

    1. (Post author)

      Thank you!


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