French Polish Part 2 #1: French Polish Simplified

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Blog entry by blackcherry posted 01-27-2013 11:39 PM 5057 reads 27 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Here we go with a simple method to French Polishing materials Cut material to your liking I find that these small swatch of material work great. Two piece padding one fit inside the other once folded and tied with a twist tie or rubber band. Next the product…. Store bought Shellac and as my lubricant mineral oil…I find that these small plastic dispenser work great at delivering droplet at a time to charge the pad, one or two drops per load of shellac works great. When making the pad the inside folded pad get a nice dose of shellac wet it well then fold then add one or two drop to the exterior side and pounce the pad flat. Now light tap the pad with a droplet of oil.


Now when using the lubricate use very little and only use oil once the pad starts to drag, practice on a small scrap piece as to get the feel when to re-lube. Adding to much oil will cloudy up the finish so use sparingly…Now were ready to start the finishing process.

First clamp the work piece on to a bench and only work on two sides at a time then rotate work piece ie box or such. Start by using a end to end motion straight across end to end rapid motion the pad should glide across work piece. In the example piece above I start off by going end to end about five coats as soon as I reach the end of the piece go right ahead and begin another coat this stuff dries that fast like lighting…after 5 to 10 coats start to alternate cirular motion with the end to end action…Fellas that the jest of this simple methods its not rocket science but the result will take your project to a new level of finishing. Now Shellac produces a wonderful finish but its not the most durable so for those project that are more for show than durability French polish is wonderful. Great for accent piece and boxes best of luck on your polish hope you’ll give it a try …your friend in woodworking Blackcherry Great way to store your pad if you have to leave the shop for a few hours is to place it in a air tight container like this zip lock bag.

15 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3761 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 12:00 AM

Thanks for sharing, I will give it a try.

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5563 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 01:07 AM

I store my pads in a mason jar. I shoot some alcohol in on top of the pad to keep them moist between used.

The outer pad covering should have the largest string count that you can get. Just don’t cut up your wife’s 1000 count sheets. I found that course count abrades the layers of shellac that have been already been laid. If you want to see that occur, use some denim material and you see troughs cut in the lower layers.

Some great info.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5563 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 01:17 AM

Another thing that I’ve found useful is to spray shellac to get a build up faster. When I made my daughters cradle I used sprayed Amber shell on the curly cherry and tiger maple to get any and all pores filled. I then sanded with 600 grit and baby oil to level the surface that then did the french polish to build up to the shine.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5045 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 02:08 AM

Thanks BC. I gotta try this.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3853 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 03:33 AM

We all appreciate you taking the time to do this blog for all of us. The pics are just what I had pictured from our PM conversations. The pad seemed tiny when I made it but I think a big one would cause problems. Can’t wait to do my next one! You have made finishing fun for me.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View waho6o9's profile


9036 posts in 3740 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 03:59 AM

Thank you Blackcherry!

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4097 days

#7 posted 01-28-2013 05:30 AM

Thanks Blackcherry!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4905 days

#8 posted 01-28-2013 04:27 PM

Many thanks !

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3838 days

#9 posted 01-28-2013 05:18 PM

Thanks for sharing the knowledge!!!

I know that I will be trying this on a few projects.
Now to get the shop setup, so as to make those projects…..

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4314 days

#10 posted 01-28-2013 06:56 PM

I just shellaced something the other day and really liked it. I need to use it more. Does it matter what kind of cloth you use?

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4836 days

#11 posted 01-28-2013 09:53 PM

Looks good, French polish looks like its worth trying.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 4150 days

#12 posted 01-28-2013 10:42 PM

I will have to give this a try.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3967 days

#13 posted 01-28-2013 10:55 PM

Yup, it’s a thnx from me also BC. I’ll give it a shot in the future. Thnx for the lesson

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View bowtie's profile


990 posts in 3509 days

#14 posted 02-16-2013 10:20 PM

thanks for sharing

-- bowtie,.....jus passin thru....

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3967 days

#15 posted 05-04-2013 01:26 PM

Beautiful. Thnx for sharing. I have used this method, and I like it a lot. I’ve used small cotton make-up pads inside of some panty hose(for the ball)..........I didn’t like going to the womens makeup dept. in Walmart to get this stuff, but, it was worth it. lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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