Web site design by  TÍte de bois French polished surface
French polishing is the  technique of applying many thin coats of shellac dissolved in alcohol using a rubbing pad that results in a high gloss finish, with a  depth of colour and clarity considered to be one of the most beautiful ways of polishing figured solid and veneered surfaces French polishing became popular in Britain in the late 18th century after the process was developed in France and was from that time the most widely used finish on expensive furniture.  During the Victorian era it was pervasive and it became  fashionable to refinish  many pieces of furniture from earlier periods that may have been originally varnished, oiled or just waxed,  with this “new” finish. The process however, was very labour intensive and most workshops abandoned the technique for new furniture around 1930, preferring instead the less skilled cheaper and quicker techniques of spraying nitrocellulose  and acid catalyst lacquers. Sprayed finishes now dominate most types of free standing and fitted furniture production, both commercial and bespoke.
With regard to antique furniture, patina is the sheen on  surfaces produced by age, friction during use, exposure to the atmosphere and sunlight and maintenance usually in the form of bees wax being applied over long periods of time. It is also the myriad dents, scratches, accumulated grime and signs of wear and tear that make up the complex surface finish of an antique. Generally speaking, most antique furniture surfaces have shellac forming at least part of its distinctive character. During restoration work the preservation of existing patina is very important, this is why the ability to French polish forms such a vital part of the restorers repertoire, as is the capacity to understand and recognise the particular make up of a surface finish.
If you would like a quote for French polishing or repairs to polished furniture please feel free to contact us via the email link above. For table tops and other large flat areas we can give you an approximate idea of cost over the phone if you tell us the square area, i.e. length times width, either in centimetres or good old feet and inches.
Tel.  07718986166
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Cabinet Maker