Dakota – The Ranch Oak Desk & Chair


This solid oak desk and chair are well made and in excellent condition.  This set, along with a matching chest of drawers and hutch, has been in my family for many years as a hand-me-down from my Great Aunt.  I’ve been using it as my computer desk until I recently refinished another desk to replace this one.  Sometimes it’s hard to make the decision to sell a piece that has been in the family for so long but Dakota is such a beautiful, rustic desk it would be a shame to put her away in storage.  Instead, she got a great little make-over and is ready to find a new home!


I found the furniture “brand” inside the desk drawers, which looks like it was burned into the wood (very ranch-like 😉).  Ranch Oak, I learned was manufactured by Brandt Furniture Company between 1930 and 1980.  The original finish was called natural oak, which was achieved by coating the natural wood with lacquer, liquid wax and Spanish whiting.  It had an orange-gold tone to it with a white wax finish.  According to the source I used, (https://wolfranchoak.com), Brandt Ranch Oak furniture is highly sought after by collectors.


Personally, I didn’t care much for the original finish and I don’t have a picture of it since I had painted it white, several years ago.  I wanted to re-do it with a blend of neutral colors that would accentuate the carved grooves in the wood and really bring out the rustic, ranch flavor.  I think the smokey grey color is perfect!


I started by stripping off the old paint, sanding, and then applying a coat of shellac just in case there was any tannin bleed-through.  I used two coats of Aged Grey chalk paint, accenting the carved areas with Maui Sand and using a mister bottle of water and a paintbrush to blend the two colors.  I gave the paint a few days to cure, especially since I used water to blend the paint, I wanted to make sure it was good and dry before I applied the Rustoleum Aged glaze.  I brushed it on and wiped it off, leaving just enough on the high surfaces to give it that smokey finish and leaving a heavier amount to settle in the carved grooves.  I also put a coat of glaze on the insides of the drawers, just to tone down that orange look of the original stain.  I finished with a coat of clear matte sealer on the exterior for durability.  Unfortunately, I was a long way from finishing at that point, I just didn’t know it!

I have to confess to making a huge mistake during this make-over.  After applying the clear sealer, I left it to dry overnight and when I went to see the finished desk in the morning I discovered the sealer had dried to a milky white finish.  It looked horrible. 😐 I had no clue what happened until I googled it and learned that can happen if you don’t stir the sealer before applying it.  I knew instantly that I had forgotten to stir that brand new can of sealer.  I had to re-sand the whole desk, including inside all the carved grooves, to get that milky finish off.  That’s just my luck though, it doesn’t happen on some flat table or something that would have been easy to re-sand!  Then I had to go through the whole process of painting, blending, waiting for several days for that to cure, glazing, and then (after fully and completely stirring this time) sealing it again! It was a tough lesson learned but the desk did turn out great so it’s all good.  My new mantra:  Flip that lid, stir that paint!


  • Citristrip
  • Zinsser shellac – clear
  • Rustoleum Chalked Aged Grey
  • Home Decor Chalk Maui Sand
  • Rustoleum Chalked Aged Glaze
  • Rustoleum Chalked Matte Clear Topcoat


Dakota is for local sale if you’re interested check Flipped Her Lids Facebook page for details.  The hutch and chest of drawers that were part of this set, is another project in the works so check back soon for that!

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