I’m refurbishing an antique, drafting-style desk my grandpa used as an accountant during the 40s and 50s in New York City. (A metal stamp in one of the drawers reads: T.G. Sellew, 111 Fulton Street, New York.)
The entire desktop is coated in a tar-like, petroleum based substance. I think the surface was once soft enough–like a tough leather–to write on; however, the “tar” has become pitted and gouged after 50 years of storage in my grandparents’ garage in Vermont. (It appears that the summer heat softened the tar enough to allow hard objects to indent the surface.) I’ve brought the desk to Alaska, where hot, melting temperatures are no longer an issue. In fact, the tar now feels like a hard plastic.
Removing the tar looks like a time consuming and messy job, so I am thinking of sanding down some of the ridges and then recoating it with another black product. Any suggestions on techniques and/or coating products?