French Polishing

French polishing is a traditional wood finishing technique that results in a very high gloss surface, with a deep colour and chatoyancy. French polishing consists of applying many thin coats of shellac flakes dissolved in alcohol using a rubbing pad often lubricated with oil, during the process the finish is cut back several times before applying more polish until a beautiful deep sheen is achieved.

Spirit dyes and pigments can be added to the polish in order to match the existing finish on a period piece, for example if the top of a chest of drawers needs repolishing the colour on the top must match the sides and front, gradually by adding small amounts of colour to each layer of polish the desired tone can be achieved.

The whole process is extremely time consuming but the end result is spectacular, this method of finishing brings out the pattern and colour in highly figured and exotic woods such as walnut, rosewood and mahogany like no other finishing technique, making it the only finish that should be used on quality antique furniture.

This Victorian roll top writing desk has been fully stripped and french polished which has brought out the beautiful grain of the flame mahogany veneer.
This Victorian tilt top table has undergone a full restoration including veneer repairs to the top before being french polished.