Bringing an Antique Drafting Table back to Life

*Sponsored – Although this post is sponsored, all comments and views are my own.

Earlier this year I jumped head first into the world of stain art and artistic painting with wood stains.  It was a completely new learning experience for me and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.  I have fallen in love with Unicorn SPiT colored gel stains/glazes for the new adventure and really have been having a lot of fun with it.

The only problem has been having a space to paint that doesn’t do a number on my back.

So I went on the hunt for a drafting table.  I wanted something big enough to function has a desk but also have the ability to tilt when I needed it for painting.  I found an antique Post Drafting Table on a thrift site dirt cheap.

Unfortunately someone had decided to start stripping the top and it wasn’t in the best condition. The hardware was all rusted and most of it wouldn’t even turn.  The finish was cracked and peeling everywhere.  I didn’t want to lose the character so after taking several photos, I got to work.  First thing to do was make sure I documented where all the pieces went for putting back together.  Then using WD40, I generously coated all the rusty screws and bolts to loosen them up for disassembling this guy.

I scrubbed all the hardware with Barkeeper’s Friend and a small wire brush.  Then did one solid coat of Plutonium spray paint in Deep Space. I set all that aside and started working on the frame and top.


I scrubbed all the pieces with lacquer thinner and an old scotch brite pad then wiped down with warm water and dish soap.  Once everything was clean and dry, I decided to use tinted tung oil to mimic the look an antique drafting table would have naturally. Since Hope’s Pure Tung oil is a natural water resistant finish, it was perfect for a painting area. To tint pure tung oil you will need oil soluble dye, mineral spirits and pure tung oil.

First you need to dissolve the dye in mineral spirits in a plastic container.  Once all the dye is dissolved, slowly pour your tung oil into the mix.  Stir well and test your color along the way, if your color is too dark add more tung oil. If your color is too light mix up a little more dye and mineral spirits to add into the tung oil.  I prefer using tung oil without a drying agent added to allow as much protection as possible.  The drying/cure time is a little longer using tung oil straight, but you will find it takes less applications to get good protection.


Once your mix is the color you want it’s time to start brushing on the tung oil. Tung oil should be applied in a “soaking application”.  Meaning soak the entire surface with tung oil, checking for dry spots every 10-15 minutes and wetting them down until the entire surface remains wet for 60 minutes.  Once your surface stays wet, let it sit for 60 minutes and then using a lint free rag wipe off the excess.

You can see that tinting tung oil adds just the right amount of color for this drafting table. I let the table dry overnight before wiping down one more time with a lint free rag and starting the process of putting the table back together.


Taking photos before hand definatley helped in the process of putting it back together.  I love the way a coat of Plutonium refreshed all the hardware too.

Here is the finished drafting table with my stool that is going to be perfect for painting!

You can find Hope’s Pure Tung Oil and Plutonium Spray paint in the links below:

Hope’s Pure Tung Oil

Plutonium Paint


7 thoughts on “Bringing an Antique Drafting Table back to Life

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