French Polish your furniture by following this simple ‘how to’ guide. Although an moderately easy task, it’s messy and can sometimes, from first hand experience be challenging. French Polishing has been performed since the Victorian Times but began to disappear as it is quite labour intensive.
Sanding: In preparing to French Polish Furniture you need to carefully and completely have sanded your piece using various grits of sandpaper until at least 400 grit. Wipe off the piece with a dampened piece of cloth to remove the sandpaper. Allow to dry, the re-sand the piece with 400 grit sand paper again. This time, wipe off with a cloth using the alcohol rather then water - we are nearly ready to prepare to start French Polishing.
Making and Using the French Polish Pad:When you French Polish, you use a pad made with tightly compacted pieces of wool which is covered with a piece of cotton. To start make a compact ball of wool, about the size of a quarter. Put this ball in the middle of the center of the piece of cotton and fold up the corners to meet at the top. When you do this the inner part of the pad will become the shellac "holder". With a small amount of shellac stored in the middle of the pad, pressing the pad onto the wood will leave a thin, even layer of shellac on the surface of the wood.
Applying French Polish takes a lot of effort. Put a few drops of oil onto the bottom of the pad as well. Coat the piece in very very thin layers working in random circular motions. You will need to go over the piece probably at least one hundred times by the end of the entire process. After you have applied the first thin coat and it has dried, use some spirit to remove the oil which should have risen to the surface of the piece. Keep repeating this process over and over until you get the desired results. Carefully inspect the surface between coats as it may be necessary to very lightly sand.
To mix the shellac flakes, you need good quality metholayted spirits. Basically you are dissolving the flakes into the metho. Put the flakes into a container. Add the metho (the flakes need to be mixed with the right qty of metho - the packet of flakes will give these instructions. Next you need to strain this dissolved mixture through an old pair of stockings into another container to remove any flakes not dissolved and any impurities that were contained in the packet of flakes.