Grandpa’s Antique Roll Top Desk Restoration

Grandpa’s Antique Roll Top Desk Restoration

Double D’s (my husband) uncle had given him this desk about nine years ago. It had been Double D’s grandfather’s desk, and was given to his grandparents as a wedding present in the early 1940s.  I imagine it is even older than that.  I immediately claimed it as my new craft desk after we moved into our new house, and Double D had gotten a very nice, spacious, new glass desk for him to work from home.  It came to us looking more than a little sad, with white paint in spots, missing its roll top part, and a dull finish, as you can see in this picture.Original desk

In 2010, I decided it was time to refinish this desk to its former beauty, and so I took it apart and carted it out to the garage.  There, I sanded it down, just lightly, and stained it a nice dark shade from Minwax.  Unfortunately I don’t remember the color name.  I also painted the cubby hole piece and the pull out arm rests a nice, glossy black.Roll Top Cabinets

Desk top

I used masking tape to cover parts I wanted to leave unpainted on the cubby hole insert.  They were the pencil trays on each side, and two decorative pieces on the front.Roll top cubby holesThis is what it looked like after all of that work.  I was in love…even if it didn’t have a roll top part.

Roll top desk without the roll part

I know. Bad picture.  But, you can see she is now glossy, has some very pretty parts, and is missing the white splotches.  Like I said, I was in love.  I loaded all of my crafting items into her, and put my pictures up on top.

roll top desk full of crafty stuff

Then in March, I was walking through an antique store (big surprise there) and found a roll top part, to a much wider desk for $55.  I don’t like spending money, but since the desk was free, and the supplies to redo it were already purchased, I really didn’t think $55 was all that much to have a complete desk.  I also thought Double D, who is handy in all things, would be able to cut it down to fit.  Here is a combined picture of what it looked like in the store.  What is it with splotches of white paint?Roll top part originally

I took it home and sanded the top. That was a hard job, and red dust was flying everywhere, but I wanted to get down to the bare wood so the stain would match.Sanding the roll top part

And then came the fun part.  Cutting it down.  We had to take six inches off of each side, router tabs on each side so it would slide in the tracks, and also cut some of the slats away so it would all fit.  Finally, we had success, and we did a test run. Roll top routered to fit desk

Now it was just time to stain it and let it dry.  The next day we put her back together, and finally I have a complete roll top desk, that has a lot of history to her, including some recent. What fun! Completed roll top desk

Here is a close up…Close up of roll top desk

Thanks for looking!


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