What is French Polishing and How To Do It

by Dannica
Published: Last Updated on

Here in The Beige House, we love trying to learn new things. From home cleaning hacks, sponge painting a wall to growing succulents, we’ve covered it all. Now for today, here’s another post you will surely love. A lot of us have a lot of wooden furniture or fixtures in our house, and in order to prolong their shine, it needs maintenance. This is where French polishing comes in. If you are ready to give life to your old wooden furniture, here’s how you can do it.

What is French Polishing?

French Polishing, according to JM French Polishing is a technique used to protect and bring out the natural beauty in wood. The material used to do this is called shellac. Shellac is a resin secreted by lac beetle, it is used because of its color, which is very similar to wood, and also the protective properties it possesses. Furniture made from wood should be protected from humidity, wear and tear, watermarks, and sunlight.

How French Polishing Works

Protect and polish your furniture with these French polishing techniques:

What You Will Need:

With a cloth pad, pour shellac into a ball of cotton wool or cloth until it is fully charged but not absolutely soaked. Fold the fabric over the cotton wool and press the cloth pad against the wooden furniture or fixtures. Make sure to spread it against the surface evenly to have a consistent color.

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Applying the Polish

  • To apply the French polish to a flat surface, make overlapping circular strokes with the pad, gradually covering the surface with shellac. Go over the surface again using eight-shaped strokes to ensure even coverage. Finish the application by going with the grain and mimicking the natural form of the wood.
  • Use light pressure with a freshly charged applicator and increase the pressure gradually as you wipe across the surface. Re-apply the polish to the cotton wool with shellac. Keep moving the pad sweeping it on and off the surface of the wood. Once you have completed applying the polish, let it dry for 30 minutes, then repeat the process until you build up the color and consistency that you like.
  • The next day, sand out any dust runs or pad marks with silicone-carbide paper before applying another coat if necessary.

Removing the Oil

  • The linseed oil lubricant leaves streaks in the polish that have to be removed with a pad clean of shellac but with a few drops of denatured alcohol.
  • Apply the pad with linseed oil to the polished surface using straight parallel strokes. Reapply the cloth with alcohol as soon as it begins to drag.
  • Leave it for a couple of minutes and repeat the process if streaks start to appear again. This will remove streaking and burnishes the French polish giving it a glass-like finish.

Never have dull-looking wooden furniture again with these easy tips on French polishing. What would you like to see next? Leave a comment below!

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