what is french polishing?
Despite the fact that we’ve all heard of the term French Polishing and shellac it’s amazing to think that very few of us actually know what it is and how to do it. It has a reputation for being difficult to master, time consuming and not nearly as robust as some other finishes. Here’s the bottom line. None of the above is true. Sure, you’ll need to keep your wits about you when you’re doing it and if time spent taking care of the details is wasted time then just maybe it’s time to find another hobby.
Learn to assess
The fact is, a perfect shellac finish will be touch dry while the first coat of oil is still attracting bugs and dust. And as for fragile, don’t you believe it. In this two day course you’ll mix your own shellac polish from flakes and create your own blend of wax from raw materials. You’ll learn to assess and manipulate the colour temperature of a project to disguise faults in the timber and mask repairs. I can’t teach you all you need to know about French polishing in two days but you will have grasped the basics and have the necessary information to go on and perfect your technique in your own time.
This course is hosted by Marc Fish and held at his Robinson House Studio in Newhaven, East Sussex. The class will have a maximum number of 6 students and will be taught by Derek Jones, editor of Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine and author of French Polishing, Finishing & Restoring Using Traditional Techniques. You will be supplied with enough materials to make approximately 250ml of Dewaxed Blonde Shellac polish. We will use approximately 100ml so the rest is yours to take home and practice with. Your sample polishing board will be a single piece of mahogany approximately 450 x 250 x 25. This is also yours to take home.