How do you French Polish?

We get a great many emails from people, like you, asking about the details of French Polishing (also known as Shellac Polishing) techniques. So we’re compiling these questions here to help you folks to get the answers you need. If you’re question isn’t here please leave a comment or contact us and we’ll add it to the list.

Time to Get Shiny!

Q / How long do Shellac flakes last?

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Q / What is the best brand of Shellac?

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Q / Is Polishing (finishing) spirit better for french polishing than Methylated spirit?

A / Polishing or Finishing Spirit is, as far as I know, alcohol with a little bit of polish in to allow it to be called finishing spirit and not alcohol so it can be sent by courier and doesn’t require a special license. Methylated spirit is alcohol with dye and nasty tasting chemicals in it to stop people drinking it. The latter is fine when used on darker woods but don’t use methylated spirit on blonde woods as the color will show up.


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We hope these questions and answers have helped you to get your head around French Polishing. Really the best thing to do though is to come along and learn it first hand from an expert. We offer a range of short woodworking courses to suit almost any vacation schedule and can show you in a one to one environment, the process of French Polishing.

If a course is not possible for you, for whatever reason, the next best thing is to get one of our French Polishing Kits that come with a two disc tutorial DVD in which you will be taken through every step of the process. These kits are great for offering you a small amount of the materials needed so you don’t have to spend a lot of money buying the stuff in bulk.


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