French Polishing

Used in applying shellac, a secreted resin from the lac beetle

In our workshop we finish all our restored furniture using traditional techniques. The main finishing process used is French Polishing.

French Polishing is the method used in applying shellac, a secreted resin form the lac beetle, it originated in late 18th century France. Though French polished furniture does require more care in your home, as it is neither heat or water resistant, it is unsurpassed and prized for its brilliance, clarity and depth it gives to furniture.

When we view a piece of furniture for restoration we need to assess what condition the polished finish is in or what finish has been applied. Too often we visit a clients home where a piece of antique furniture has been lacquered or varnished rather than French polished, lacquered or varnished pieces often look dull, lack any depth and will devalue the piece and has no place in restoration work.

Once we have assessed each piece we inform our client of the restoration and polishing process required. The polishing process can vary depending on the condition of the finish and the finish previously applied. Our aim is always to try not to strip any antique that has been French polished, as unless severe damage has been done to the surface we can revive the French polish using methalayed spirits and oils, keeping the original finish and patina.

Please see some examples of our previous work on the Previous Work page.