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French Polish Formula for Furniture Refinishing





Somewhere, recently, I saw a presentation on t.v. re: "french polishing" which included the formula for softening and/or dissolving a faded, scratched finish then wiping it clean and letting the remaining film dry. Viola! It appeared to be refinished, but in actuality, had only had its surface dissolved and re-distributed. Any help?

Robert A. Mager
- Los Lunas, New Mexico, USA
2001



2001

French polishing uses orange shellac, high quality denatured alcohol, a prepared wool pad, technique, muscle.

If you're going to attempt a fix get a book that describes the procedure and practice it on a separate item. If a pro were to show you how to fix this multi-remelted/layered finishing system you would end up ruining it. Knowing how to do it is only half of the system, acquiring the skill is the other half. It is produced by applying a thin layer of shellac moistened with alcohol and a lubricant with a prepared pad. This is repeated with the alcohol allowing the shellac to melt into the previous layer. It's important to have the right amount of shellac and the right amount of alcohol in the pad through the whole operation, these amounts vary as you progress.

Fixing it is almost the same procedure as applying it, alcohol and shellac.

What I'm leading towards is there is no magic formulae. It's a lengthy process requiring a technique to both apply the shellac and let it melt in and at the same time not bond the pad to the existing finish or remove it. Either learn the process or leave it alone. If you were to french polish a a board you would learn what to do to fix your present finish and what not to do.

David Domm
- Rochester, New York




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