Tabletop to Desktop

We’re turning a drop-leaf dining table into wall-mounted desk space. The following are parts of a wobbly 54″ square table that has a couple 18″ halves. Here’s the progress so far.

It was a good table for having guests around, as it could seat eight people comfortably. It made it through a couple moves, but every time it was extended to move the leaf or even bumped up against, the bolts on the legs would eat up the wood inside the legs. The surface was also pretty scuffed, and the extension was getting tougher to get going. We’re planning on building a long “farmhouse” table that will fit our new dining room later.

Originally, I was going to get a long butcher-block slab to make into the desk, but I wasn’t sure how to support it. When I pulled this thing out of our storage unit, I realized how solid the tabletop is. The stamp underneath it says it was made in Malaysia, so this might be rubberwood? The tabletop will also stand around 29 inches high, which is great for a desk. We went to Atwoods on Saturday morning and I picked up some paint stripper, then spent the afternoon on taking off the scratched-up varnish from the tabletop.

This was the first time that I’d had the two halves separated, so I carried the upstairs to our study, and they fit nicely up against a window with a gap between the two. We’ll be looking for a filing cabinet or something to fill that gap.


While taking those apart, I was also letting a sample strip outside. The reviews I’d read after buying the solvent were…pretty bad. But luckily, where this stuff fails to remove paint, it’s decent at removing old Malaysian varnish. So I set up a table outside the shop and slathered the stuff on a tabletop halves with a cheap paintbrush. For both halves, the varnish scraped off quickly, but there were a few spots that needed multiple passes.

The still-varnished table leaf is on the left, alongside the two desktops.

They turned out pretty nice. The edges may need a bit more work, but the grain pops out of the top, and overall the desktops have a bit more character than the block-style slabs I was going to buy.

Next up, I’ll be figuring out how to finish the apron/drawer assembly. The legs will be painted in a “shabby chic” style, and it may look better to have everything else uniformly-painted.

That’s all on the desk for now. I’ll update later with shed teardown notes, and I’ll post a bit more as the desk progresses.