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Project Showcase — Past Winners

Eckardt's Refinished Desk

Patricia Eckardt's Refinished Desk

This month, we proudly honor Patricia Eckardt, of Murphy, North Carolina for her master craftsmanship and wood finishing technique.

Dear Minwax:

My Ancestor's Legacy

My great grandfather, Karl Schaum, who was born in Germany in 1868, made this desk. My earliest memories of this desk are my grandfather sitting at it, and settling household affairs. I grew up with this desk, it is a large part of my childhood, and it reminds me of the loving grandparents I had.

My uncle gave the desk to me, and my fondest desire was to restore it. The ancestor that I had spent the last few years researching made this; it was part of my past and my present and my future. With each stroke of steel wool, the memories drifted back of my grandfather and my childhood. I wondered if my grandfather would be pleased that his desk, his father's desk, was being restored.

I worked with love, and tears, and memories, on this, my greatest treasure. When I took the drawers out to redo, I saw my great grandfather's writing on the bottom, his measurements for a "perfect fit". I noticed that the back was solid mahogany, a treasure in itself.

After hours of sanding and stripping, it was time for the big day, and I was terrified. I had spent hours on this and wanted it to be perfect. I was so afraid that I was going to spoil it, and it would be ruined. I used Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner on it first, to seal the wood. With the first stroke of applying it I saw that my fears were unjustified. I saw the beautiful grain of the wood come alive again. My desk was starting to look good, and with the application of Conditioner my confidence was restored in the project. When I applied the Minwax® Wood Finish™ Dark Walnut Stain, I knew that all my time and effort was not in vain. I was filled with deep emotion; everything was going to be fine.

To complete the project, I used Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax to seal the wood and further bring out it's luster. The Wax did a great job, and the wood is as smooth as glass. It just seemed to bring out even more of the woods highlights. I like using the Paste Wax rather than other products, there is a certain sense of putting on the "finishing" touches with it, and then when you rub it off, it's like getting an added bonus, that great shine, and the knowledge that it is protected.

My husband scoured the internet for the perfect hardware for it. After purchasing just the right light for the inside of the desk, everything was perfect. This was a masterpiece to me, a priceless treasure. How can you put a price on your past? What price can be p laced on hearing your grandfather calling your name in your heart? There are no words to share with you to express how I feel about this desk and this project.

I have in the past few months just walked over to it and touched it, and felt such joy. When I've sat at my desk writing, I know my ancestors have touched the same spot. I have said to my husband countless times, "I just love my desk". I feel such a connection with this piece of wood; it is the soul of my ancestors, and a piece of my heart.

Patricia Eckardt