Refurbishing Antique Travel Desk

Shortly before Christmas I was lucky enough to find an old travel desk/ writing box in an Oxford antiques store. It was not in a great shape, but very, very cheap: 9.50 GBP!

After cleaning, the inside already started looking better:

The outside was a bit more tricky. I sanded the surface, using two different types of grit (Medium and Fine). After that I treated the wood with boiled linseed oil. There are quite a few brands on the market that can be used. I chose boiled instead of raw linseed oil, because it has a darker colour and really enlivens old wood.

For the inside of the box I bought some dark blue felt, to protect the writing tools and dampen any noise they might make during transport. I actually found a very good quality felt at John Lewis.

The tricky part was the missing half of the actual desk surface. I couldn’t find wood with the right thickness. So I finally decided to use a bamboo chopping board, which I cut into the right size, chiseld out a square in the centre (which took hours) for a velvet inlay and then also oiled it.

It was really hard to find the right colour of cotton velvet that didn’t cost 70 Pounds a metre. By accident I stumbled upon a velvet cushion at H&M – in just the right shade of plum and for only 6.99. It did hurt a bit to cut it apart, but I now have some leftover velvet, I will use for a different project at a later point.

As for the finished box: I am ready to go travelling in style!

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