French Polishing Technique
Stevens Furniture Restoration are leading specialists for French polishing in London and the surrounding areas.
We offer a fully dedicated French Polishing service for projects, both large and small, commercial and residential.
What is French Polishing?
The technique of French Polishing is a process that consists of applying many layers of shellac, a resin dissolved in alcohol.
During this meticulous and time-consuming process, each layer of shellac is very carefully applied, with specific motions, using a lubricated rubber pad. Despite the long-lasting and intensive nature required with French Polish, the benefits of this wood finishing technique are that different types of sheen and beautiful finish can be achieved – giving the desired high gloss finish most associated with French polish.
What are the benefits of using shellac?
French Polish Shellac offers practical and aesthetic benefits to your wood furniture. It provides protection to your wood furniture from heat, moisture, sunlight, as well as general damage from everyday use.
The shellac in French Polish also adds a beautiful sheen and colour to the grain in the wood, transforming your wood furniture with a glossy and distinctive finish.
The versatility of French Polish shellac allows you to conceal repairs and hide damages to the surface of the wood, drastically improving its appearance.
Shellac has benefits over modern day lacquers, which can prove more difficult to repair and restore, compared with the French Polish technique.
Why Choose French Polish?
Compared to modern lacquers, French polishing is recognised to be fragile, softer, and more sensitive to heat. However, it is also the wood finishing technique that gives the best results, enhancing the intense colour of the wood and providing a high gloss surface finish, as well as a beautiful chatoyancy effect.
French polishing also allows alterations as you go, where most other finishes are less flexible. You are able to tint the French polish finish or add stain to each layer, allowing adjustments as you go. French Polished surfaces are also simpler to blend and easier to repair, if damaged, than a varnish finish.
The technique is particularly recommended for highly figured wood, an example being mahogany, because French polishing exalts very well the quality of the elaborated design of the wood grain, but is also suitable for use on all dark woods and light woods, when a light to medium brown tone is required.
Types of French Polishing
French polishes are comprised of flake shellac dissolved in methylated spirit. Depending on the type of shellac used, the colours of French Polish can range from a light clear colour to a dark brown:
- Special Pale French Polish is a de-waxed shellac and can be used on both light and dark woods, enhancing the timber’s natural colours.
- Button Polish is light brown in colour and is ideal for light woods such as elm and light mahogany.
- Garnet Polish is deep brown in colour and is primarily used on darker timbers such as walnut and dark mahogany.
- White Polish has a milky appearance and can be used on light timbers such as ash and natural light oak.
- Black Polish is a jet black polish and is used in the ebonising process.
Why Choose Stevens French Polisher London?
French polishing is a specialised process, the most exacting and difficult among the wood polishing techniques, as well as the most time intensive. This is why, with a valuable piece of wood furniture, it’s particularly important to choose a team of expert French polishers.
Stevens Furniture London’s team of French Polishers possess over 20 years experience in French Polishing.
What areas do we serve?
We are based in North London but are able to travel to all areas within London and Greater London to meet your French Polishing needs. We have various clients in Belgravia, Kensington & Chelsea, Mayfair and beyond.