A viewer’s response to our French Polishing Video

Good morning David

What a great way to start a Monday morning, reading a heartwarming story of someone striving to achieve their dreams.

I got a copy of your French Polishing dvd for Christmas. I think I must have nearly all of them now. A great introduction to another aspect of the craft. I had been looking around for information on grain filling using pumice without success. Really pleased when I saw that section included. The dvd takes the nonsense out of French polishing and makes it something anyone can have a go at. Dark arts be gone!

I was wondering if you could offer some advice please?  I had been trying out some French polishing recently and got your dvd partly so I could check my technique as I was having issues.  

I seem to be doing everything as you demonstrate, but I’m getting build up of shellac at the edges and corners of the piece.  I have tried to remove the shellac build up after it has dried with alcohol (I’m using meths) without success. Is this a common issue you have heard of with beginners to French polishing?

It is Maple and Walnut. I have attached a couple of photos.  I tried out various finishes on offcuts.  The Maple has some fantastic figure and the shellac creates such a depth that the other finishes seemed unable to match. It looks like you could reach inside the wood.

I covered the insides and lid before glue up as I thought it would be difficult to do these after which proved right!

Would be grateful for any advice you could offer on this.


Hi Paul
The build up on the corners and edges are caused by your “rubber technique” . watch the dvd and see how I land the rubber and run it off the edge with no stop or pause at the edge. Designing the piece and polishing components before assembly is key to avoiding internal corners that cannot be rubbered easily.
OK this doesn’t help you. Basically if you have build up allow it to dry del at least overnight then paper it flat using 180 on a hard block. Clean the paper if it pills up with polish using the end of an old six inch ruler and get it flat again then re polish
hope this helps



Click here to get the french polishing video


David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

Looking for our woodworking courses?

Rowdenatelier.com is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.