Mengel calling my name

With the closet complete (for now) and reloaded I’ve returned to another project. The unfinished 1948 Mengel Stationary Desk has been calling my name for days. Check out the previous post or just use this refresher on the before shots …

Mengel 1

Mengel 3

What doesn’t appear in these before shots is the peeling oak veneer. After searching a few DIY sites, wood repair/replacement sites, and shopping replacement veneer, I realized two things…first, it’s not cheap, secondly, I don’t like the look of golden oak! haha dah right. I spent weeks refinishing the entertainment center to change it’s original golden oak appear. It’s the journey, it’s the journey, it’s the journey 😉

Removing the veneer requires patience for sure. After scraping it’s a slow process. Using a damp rag & an iron (hey what else are these good for anyway). The steam from the damp rag and the iron set high on steam help to loosen the adhesive.

Mengal top

As you can see from the background I do my finest work in the house -the upside to unfinished concrete floors. Don’t worry about the iron, it did survive and is good as new (after scrubbing) in case anyone wants to use it for something beside refinishing projects.

Mengal top 2

Hope I didn’t give the impression the steamed veneer just jumped right off…lots of chiseling + a touch of blood.

Mengal booboo

After the veneer is removed the surface shows its war wounds. The reminents of adhesive and chiseling requiring lots of sanding with a rough paper. Continue sanding with increasingly smooth paper until the surface is smooth and ready for paint.

Mengal top 3

For the sides, the veneer was pretty secure so I just sanded until wood grain was smooth.

The drawers on the other hand require some pretty time consuming handy-work. Last posting I shared about the citrus refinishing product. Each drawer required scraping along the wood slats to remove previous dirt, grime, and paint. Obviously not a quick process…lather, rinse, and REPEAT.mengel drawer 1Mengel draw 3

Until they look fabulous in the raw! Even if the original nasty blue vinyl is hiding in the background. Just ignore it like we do 😉

Mengel drawer 2

It was difficult deciding what to do with these. I knew I wanted a dark stain but the options are so great. You walk into the local big box hardware store and are almost overwhelmed with the selections! Wait til you see what I bought now 😉

First I stained the drawers and desk top to match the entertainment center using the following stain.


Love the color of Rust-oleum Kona stain, but didn’t want too matchy matchy and love a little red. Hey JET your red is showing! Inside joke.

color paste

After staining with the Kona to my desired level (maybe 2 coats) I applied Minwax Express Color in Mahogany. It’s almost like a paste, easy to apply, very forgiving, and doesn’t make a mess. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the results!

drawer 4

Now for the hardware…scrub the grime and whatever was coating it to find brass beneath. Since the condition of the desk wasn’t valuable as an antique it didn’t matter if I slightly altered the piece. Keeping with what I felt gave it justice and made current it called for oil rubbed bronze (ORB).

I just so happen to have ORB in spray paint for an upcoming project of refinishing the door hardware throughout the house. More on this at a later time.

hardware 1

Tough decision to cover up the brass, so I lightly applied color and then rubbed the edges to let the brass peek through. Best of both worlds and loving this. Now to repeat 6 more times.

hardware 2

It’s making progress and I’m absolutely loving it. Have I said that before? 😉

Next steps, paint inside desk, paint outside of the structure a soft or chalk white, then wax or poly, decisions decisions. I’m sure she’ll speak to me and I’ll post again to share the final outcome.


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