a thrift store desk.

My friend Meggan is a master thrifter.  I’m not sure what qualifications are required for that title, but whatever they are, she has ’em.  A while back she texted me from the thrift shop with a heads up on a sweet desk.  It had been marked down and she could tell it had potential.  Luckily Mr. Q was available that day, so I sent him right over to nab it.

old pickup before

Its biggest problem was that it was GRUNGY!  Someone had treated this poor thing like crap.  It was also missing a couple of handles as you can see.  That’s OK, I didn’t love them anyway.  But otherwise it was structurally sound and the drawers open and close as smooth as silk.

Oddly enough, each drawer had 3 holes for hardware …

old pickup 3 holes

… which leads me to believe that the original hardware had been swapped out at some point anyway.

I started by stripping the top of the desk and while that was percolating, I filled two holes on each drawer just leaving the center hole.  To accomplish that I always put a piece of painters tape over the back of the hole so that I don’t loose any filler out the back, then I fill with wood filler.  In this case I used Elmer’s Wood Filler in Mahogany.  I let the first load of fill dry, then went back and topped off each hole.  Once dry again, I sanded to make it smooth.

Remember last Friday when I mentioned that my sister said she preferred stained and poly’ed over rustic and waxed?  Well, she was looking at the Dragonfly dresser and this desk side by side when she said that.

old pickup top

You can’t blame her for preferring this look, it is gorgeous.  This is Dark Walnut gel stain topped with a matte finish wipe on poly.

I seem to paint a lot of desks black.  I’m not sure why that is except that they always turn out so fantastic.  There is just something about pairing black paint with a wood top on a desk that appeals to me.  This time I used Little Billy Goat’s Old Pickup (which is the name of their black).  Here’s a funny side story.  Whenever I try a new brand and/or color of paint, I always go to pinterest first to see if I can find any finished pieces in that brand and color.  So I entered “Little Billy Goat Old Pickup” into the search field on pinterest, and here is what I got.

little billy goat

Bwa ha ha, kinda literal, huh?

What I did not get was any sort of photo of furniture painted in this paint.  I want to change that, so could y’all please pin some of these next few photos for me?

Desk painted in Little Billy Goat's Old Pickup

I want to mention that this is just one coat of paint.  I’ve talked before about how the Little Billy Goat paint goes on thick if you don’t water it down a little.  Sometimes it works great to just leave it thick and get away with one coat.

desk painted in Little Billy Goat's Old Pickup

Next thing I want to mention is that this paint distresses extremely easily.  I just use fine sandpaper for my distressing, but you can also use a damp paper towel which will take the paint right off.  Keeping that in mind, you definitely have to top coat this paint with either wax or a sealer of some kind.

This time around I used a new black wax that Little Billy Goat will be adding to their product line up soon.  I don’t have all of the details about this product yet, so I was just kind of winging it.  I applied lightly with a rag, waited a couple of minutes and then buffed with a clean old sock.  It went on quite easily.  I felt like it didn’t require nearly as much elbow grease as some of the other waxes on the market.

old pickup

  The black wax sort of reminded me of shoe polish in appearance.

black wax

I will warn you though, it does have that chemical-ish smell that I’m not too fond of.  This is one that I would reserve for use in my outdoor workshop, or a well ventilated room.

That being said, I loved the results of the black wax over the black paint.  It gave me a deep, rich black color.

old pickup corner

The level of sheen is contingent upon how much you want to buff it.  I’d say I stopped at a mid-point.  If I had kept buffing I could have gone shinier, but for me this sheen is perfect.  I will definitely continue using this black wax on my future black pieces.

There was no getting out of lining the drawers on this one.  As I mentioned earlier, the previous owner had not taken good care of it.  Which was too bad because some of the drawers were in good shape and the wood bottoms were lovely, but others were a mess.  So I lined all of them.

old pickup lined drawer

old pickup lined drawers

When it came time to put some knobs back on, I checked my stash and I had 4 of these Hobby Lobby knobs that were a perfect fit.

old pickup knobs

Luckily I was able to find 4 more at my local store since I needed 8 of them.

I’m beginning to realize that I should be picking up single chairs when I see them at garage sales so that I have some to pair up with desks.  I don’t have a chair to go with this desk. I used my super chippy farmhouse chair for staging some of the photos, but it’s not quite the right partner for the desk.

old pickup desk 2

Note to self:  buy chairs!

Note to you:  buy desk (that’s not very subliminal is it?)!

17 thoughts on “a thrift store desk.

  1. I am putting “master thrifter” on my resume, thank you. Now just to find the job that required said skill 😉 I’ve been waiting for this one and adore how it turned out! I’m also a fan of the black desks and the sheen is beautiful and silky. Your styling is on point. The typewriter? The vintage glasses like my great-grandma Lila wore? Love, love, love.


  2. I like the idea of painting a chair to match each desk piece that you do. I know you aren’t a big fan of matchy-matchy, but in the case of a desk, it would make sense. This turned out wonderful…the paint, the wax, the knobs. I just happen to be a matcy-matchy person, so didn’t care for the white chair with it. Great job on the find, Meggan!


  3. Let’s just start with the fact once again I am envious of your posse! You have Meggan – master thrifter , Mr. Q – the beefcake with not only braun but a truck to boot, Ken the repairman who not only lives just next door but who also works for wine, and Deb go to shopping pal. I mean come…Lol!
    Loved the Billygoat photo – I did actually laugh out loud. And yes I will pin this piece gladly. Since I am partial to black and traditional lines you know I love this one. Agree the sheen is perfect. Lining the drawers is a nice touch. And I also agree with Terri on the matchy bit for a chair. A Chippendale style in black would be a nice pairing. Just cause it being black and traditional it kinda conveys a more serious tone IMO. I only mention that style chair because traditional dining furniture is on Craigslist like crazy in my neck of the woods.
    Yeah the moment I saw the window behind the desk I was like did she paint the window frame? So it was picmonkey you clever girl.
    Forgive the epistle today – 😬


    1. Nope, not pickmonkey, just a trick of the light. That frame isn’t black at all, it just looks that way. As for chairs, I do need to work on having some to pair with desks. I’m on it! 😉


  4. Winner! You have the knack of seeing the lines of a piece and overlooking a ho-hum finish. Black makes the details of this desk, especially the legs, come alive. The knobs are a perfect touch. Do you think black wax is something you will use on colors other than black? It may have an interesting muting effect on the base color.


    1. I think it will be fun to experiment with the black wax. Little Billy Goat also sent me a green wax, which will be interesting. And they suggest trying them on bare wood as well. I plan to play around with them a bit and see what I can come up with.


  5. I have that crazy urge to paint furniture black also! Will definitely get some “Billy Goat” paint & was for my next desk!
    I mean project…….. Why did I say desk?”


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