French polishing is a highly specialist type of wood treatment, providing the best quality finish for your wood items. It is ideal for all woods including hard and soft woods, and can be used in kitchens. It is a process usually carried out by professional carpenters with specialist training in French polishing. It is not really something you could carry out yourself in the way that you might with regular treating, painting or varnishing.
French polishing first came into its own in the 18th century, where it became popular and commonly used on softer woods such as mahogany. It was considered the best way of treating fine furniture and was also widely used for treating musical instruments made out of wood, such as pianos and guitars.
French Polishing Process
If you are wondering how to French polish furniture then read on. French polishing is just as popular as it ever was, and is always carried out by a trained professional. It is a lengthy process and involves repeating the same polishing action over and over. Polish is added in layers, using the same rubbing patterns, mainly circular or in a figure of eight. A long period of time is needed in between adding the layers, and afterwards, any streaks need to be spirited away. A variety of types of polishes are used, mainly shellac and tree sap based and the routines can also vary, but the final effect looks approximately the same. The wood is normally buffed at the end to leave a quality finish.
A French polish finish is less durable than other treatments and is more susceptible to damage from heat. However, unlike some other treatments such as lacquers and varnishes, it is easier to repair small areas, such as a mark from a hot coffee cup. A carpenter trained in French polishing will also be able to carry out these ‘spot’ repairs.
A French polish very rarely needs a total refinish, unless in the case of serious and extensive damage. For this reason, a French polish treatment is an investment for good quality wood and furniture. Using trained carpenters especially in the art of French polishing is a must, and with the right treatment, your wood can have a truly beautiful, excellent quality finish that looks amazing in your home.