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Wear and tear (and parrot presents) - Woodshop News

Wear and tear (and parrot presents)

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I need to fix two spots on my desk where the finish is coming off, but have been hesitant to address it because I didn’t know what the cause was.

Part of refinishing is knowing what happened to the original finish. Age and wear have obvious solutions, but not knowing how or why a finish has failed complicates things. The issue involves a desk ensemble I made years ago consisting of a corner piece flanked by cabinets.

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I use this desk a lot, sometimes 10 or more hours per day, so it’s no surprise the tops might need attention, but the finish is failing in only two unrelated spots. As you can see above I keep the left cabinet open to spread out whatever I’m working on, while the right cabinet pretty much belongs to Bud. (The little green parrotlet you can almost see sitting just below the small lamp.)

The failing spot on the left is by those small lidded containers (filled with Bud’s seed treats), while the one on the right is just about where Bud is sitting. Since each side is used quite differently, I couldn’t imagine why identical finish failures occurred on opposite sides.

But as I was pondering this last night, Bud left a small “present” on that right-side cabinet. Not unusual – I’ve cleaned up countless little presents there as that spot on the desk is right by his perch. And you’re thinking, duh, A.J., there’s the source of your failure.

But the fact that there’s an identical failure on the left cabinet always distracted me from the obvious cause of the issue on Bud’s side, until my wife reminded me the desk wasn’t always in that spot. When I used to have it in another corner, Bud’s side of the desk was the opposite cabinet. And, yes, his little perch used to be in the exact spot with the issue. I’d completely forgotten about that. I’ve had Bud nine years now with “his side” being split between those two cabinets, easily accounting for the equal damage.

And so, the mystery of the finish failure in those two spots is solved. And with it, my means of refinishing is now clear.

And, no, it does not involve tiny little diapers.

A.J.

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