French Polish Explained

Did you know?  There is no such product as French Polish. ‘French Polishing’ is actually a technique used by skilled craftsmen to apply shellac to furniture.

Introduced to Europe from India in the 18th century, it was established in England by the French brothers…hence the name French Polishing.
The Mystery of French Polishing belongs to the days of yore when craftsmen had to complete a 5 year apprenticeship. More than anything this served the purpose of protecting their jobs.

Today the mystique lingers…completely unnecessarily. Like most things the skills can be learned. In fact, the steps to knowing are simple, easy and fun to master with a little practice.



The process of applying shellac to wood and creating a beautiful durable finish is also simple:

1. Make a cotton pad, usually called a tampon.

2. Apply the shellac with the cotton pad.

3. Remove the oil.


And that’s French Polishing in a nutshell. If this has piqued your interest then you’ll be glad to know that there is more to follow shortly. Come back soon!

2 thoughts on “French Polish Explained

  • January 18, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Ian I met you when the product was first available at Wardkids DBn! Great to know it’s still available!
    I love the Shellac finish.
    Please could you explain how I can apply this to my dining table? Thanks

  • October 1, 2022 at 8:51 AM

    I have an old “sheet music cabinet” which I inherited from my grandmother. Antique dealers tell me it’s circa 1910.
    I haven’t ever oiled it, etc….. and it needs a bit of tlc.
    Any advice?


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