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What Is French Polishing?

French polishing is the best way to give your wooden furniture an extra glossy surface with a distinct deep colour. A finishing technique that has been honoured throughout the ages, it is one of the top services that you will find at Alexander Christian Ltd .

Traditional French polish finish provides a beautiful wood finish for period and antique furniture. We offer both a full furniture repair and furniture restoration service, as well as applying a timeless finish.

Using both traditional and modern finishing techniques, we can transform your dining room table, sideboard, chest of drawers or wardrobe, whether it’s a junk shop find or treasured antique. We use the finest quality professional polishes, waxes, oil treatments, stains, and wood fillers.

With home furnishings available in so many different colours today, we can spray and paint your furniture so that your item looks as good as new.

Our French polish furniture restoration services provide a stunning finish for all kinds of antique and vintage furniture. When it comes to repairs and restoration projects, you can always rely on our expertise.

Our French polishing services cover:

  • Water rings
  • Burn marks
  • Scuffs and scratches
  • Dents
  • Stains

If you want to have your wooden pieces restored using the beautiful French polish technique, Alexander Christian has a team of experts who can help!



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Sutcliffe, Scratch removal on TV cabinet, before Sutcliffe, Scratch removal on TV cabinet, after
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An Old, Treasured, And Complicated Process

If you have seen a piece of French polish furniture or even an instrument like a violin or guitar, you might have noticed its elegant, glossy finish. The French polishing technique was widely used throughout the 18th century, a time where the wealthy wanted this style of furniture.

In this process, artisans would apply over a hundred thin layers of shellac to the wooden piece to create this smooth, shiny appearance.

The shellac would be applied onto the item with a cloth dabber instead of sponges, brushes, or sprays. As this requires several hours of drying time between each application, the process is more time-consuming than other polishing methods.

Building up hundreds of thin layers of French polish is a slow and meticulous process that can only be carried out by hand. Because of this, craftspeople need a lot of patience and excellent hand-eye coordination to succeed.

Those who are not that well-versed in furniture restoration and French polishing tend to commit a lot of errors, which can mess up the outcome. A common mistake is using a cloth dabber that is too wet, which will make the surface messy. If it is too dry, on the other hand, the finish will become too thin.

Because the method is quite difficult and time-consuming, mass producers of furniture have resorted to other ways to acquire similar results. These include techniques that use polyurethane, varnish, and other substances.

Nevertheless, nothing can compete with the depth and richness of an authentic French polish finish .

Going Beyond Your Expectations

When you hire Alexander Christian, you can rest assured that our team can perform the French polishing technique perfectly. We promise the highest level of artistry to give your furniture that signature glossy finish that everyone adores.

If you want to learn more about our services, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Feel free to forward any queries to our e-mail address,


Why is it called French polishing?

French polish has received its name due to its popularity among furniture makers in France. Back in the Victorian era, this technique was widely used to give furniture pieces that extra gloss. Nowadays, furniture restorers use this technique as a fixture refurnishing method.

Is French polish the same as shellac?

The French polishing technique uses shellac, a resin secreted by the lac insect, to help shine home fixtures. Sometimes, wax is added to French polish for a much glossier surface.

What is wood shellac?

It’s a natural finish that enhances the beauty of wooden pieces. Since shellac does not take too long to dry, multiple coats can be applied throughout a single day.

You can opt for different colours, like clear or garnet. There are many other colours on the market that are used in the French polishing procedure for shining fixtures.

How long does French polishing take?

French polish restoration can take a lot of time, as it is necessary to apply over a hundred coats to achieve the most desirable result.

Furniture and antique restorers usually wait for about 10 to 15 minutes between the French polish layers, making this technique a bit time-consuming. However, this is the best technique to repair and shine fixture if you want it to have a stunning look.

How durable is French polish?

French polish wood is highly durable and flexible. It can resist scratches, cracks, and other signs of wear and tear. Your furniture’s surface will also be a lot easier to maintain and won’t need to be polished once it dries.

Different Hues And Shades Of French Polish

Furniture restoration French polishing may involve the use of various colours of shellac to get the best shade. Be careful in choosing your French polish colour, as certain dyes don’t look good on some wooden surfaces.

Bleached shellac is a white polish that can be used in fixture shine repairs. When applied on a wooden surface, this colour gives it a milky, greyish appearance. If you need a sealer for bare timber, this kind of shellac is excellent.

For darker polishes, try out Button polish. Button polish is a beautiful honey-gold colour, which tends to cover the original timber finish.

If you want a darker colour, Garnet polish is a good alternative. It is the darkest shellac used in French polish furniture repair and produces a rich, brown finish. You may use this on woods like mahogany, walnut, and similarly coloured surfaces.

What You Need To Know About Grain Filling

Before French polishing furniture restoration, grain filling should be carried out to prevent the wood from absorbing the stain or polish. If done correctly, the craftsperson can have control over the finishing and staining process, which results in the best possible finish.

To do this, a piece of cloth will be needed to apply the grain filler. It is also vital to observe the grain filler and wipe it off before it completely dries, or it will be too difficult to remove later on.

If you’ve been searching for a “French polisher near me”, you’ve come to the right place. Our expert craftsmen know everything about this technique, and we will exceed your expectations.

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