French Polishing wood finishing technique.

The amazing wood finishing technique of French Polishing

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Have you ever wondering about the origins of French Polishing?

With a rich history spanning several centuries, French polishing is a technique used to give wooden surfaces a high-gloss finish. Although its precise beginnings are not well known, it is generally accepted to have started in France in the eighteenth century.

During the 19th century, French polishing became increasingly popular in the furniture-making industry, mostly in Europe. The technique, which involved applying several thin layers of shellac to wooden surfaces to create a lustrous and smooth finish, was perfected by craftsmen and artisans in France.

Why is French Polishing so popular?

Because French polishing gives wooden products a distinctive appearance, it gained popularity very quickly. The process brings out the wood’s distinctive colours and grain patterns, enhancing its inherent beauty. French polishing produces a high-gloss finish that lends sophistication and elegance to any wooden product of a suitable size.

French polishing is renowned for its longevity as well. The layers of shellac form a barrier that acts as a shield against heat, moisture, and normal wear and tear. Because of this, French-polished wooden goods can be used for anything from musical instruments to furniture.

Common Wood Products that people might opt for French Polishing.

Many wooden products are frequently given the French polishing treatment, which has several advantages for each type of product:

a)   Home and Office Furniture: The furniture industry is one where French polishing is very well-liked. The timeless charm of French-polished furniture is evident in both antique and modern designs. To increase their longevity and aesthetic appeal, French polishing is frequently applied to tables, chairs, cabinets, and other wooden furniture pieces.

b)  Musical Instruments: French polishing is a common feature on a variety of musical instruments, including cellos, violins, guitars, and pianos. This method adds to the instrument’s tonal qualities while also protecting the wood. The wood can vibrate freely due to the glossy, smooth finish, producing a richer, more resonant sound.

c)   Crafts and Decorative Pieces: French polishing is also used on smaller wooden objects like picture frames, jewellery boxes, and ornamental figurines. These objects have a high-gloss finish that distinguishes them as remarkable works of art by giving them a sense of luxury and elegance.

d)  Architectural Woodwork: French polishing is occasionally applied to panelling, doors, and mouldings in architectural woodwork. In addition to enhancing the wood’s inherent beauty, this technique makes homes, offices, and other spaces feel cosy and welcoming.

French polishing has a rich and historical background, having its beginnings in France in the 18th century. Its remarkable finish, which amplifies the beauty and longevity of wooden products, is the reason for its widespread appeal. French polishing has come to be associated with refinement and sophistication in everything from furniture to musical instruments and decorative items. That way, the next time you see something exquisitely polished made of wood, you will understand the skill and artistry that went into giving it its classic appeal.

How to Apply French Polishing Finish to a Tasmanian Oak Kitchen Table.

French polishing is a fantastic finishing technique that will bring out the natural beauty of Tasmanian Oak. If you are nearing completion of a kitchen table made from this stunning timber and want to give it a luxurious, glossy finish, French polishing is the way to go. Below I’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of applying a French polishing finish to your Tasmanian Oak kitchen table.


Before you begin the French polishing process, it’s important to prepare your table properly. Here are the steps you need to follow:

1.    Step 1 – Clean the Surface: Start by cleaning the surface of the table to remove any dirt, dust, or grease. Use a mild detergent and warm water, and gently scrub the surface with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse well and allow it to dry completely.

2.   Step 2 – Sanding: Next, you’ll need to sand the surface of the table to create a smooth and even base for the French polish. Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper (around 120 grit) to remove any roughness or imperfections. Gradually move to finer-grit sandpapers (such as 180 and 220 grit) to achieve a silky-smooth finish. Remember to sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratches.

3.   Step 3 – Remove Dust: After sanding, it’s crucial to remove all the dust from the surface. Use a vacuum cleaner or a soft brush to get rid of any loose particles. You can also wipe the table with a tack cloth to ensure a clean surface for the French polish.

The French Polishing Process.

Now that your Tasmanian Oak kitchen table is properly prepared, it’s time to apply the French polish. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve a beautiful, glossy finish:

1.    Step 1 – Apply the Shellac: Start by preparing a mixture of shellac flakes and alcohol according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply a thin coat of this shellac mixture to the table surface using a clean, lint-free cloth. Work in small circular motions, covering the entire surface evenly. Allow it to dry completely.

2.   Step 2 – Rubbing with Pumice: Once the shellac has dried, it’s time to rub the surface with pumice powder. Mix the pumice powder with a small amount of linseed oil to create a paste. Gently rub the surface using a soft cloth and the pumice paste, following the direction of the wood grain. This process helps to smooth out any imperfections and create a silky finish.

3.   Step 3 – Applying the French Polish: To apply the French polish, you’ll need a rubber made from a soft, lint-free cloth wrapped tightly around a wad of cotton wool. Dampen the rubber with a small amount of French polish and start applying it to the table surface using circular motions. Build up thin layers of French polish, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired level of glossiness.

Tools, Materials, and Equipment.

To complete the French polishing process, you will need the following tools, materials, and equipment:


a)   Sanding block or sandpaper

b)  Soft cloth or sponge

c)   Soft brush or vacuum cleaner

d)  Lint-free cloth

e)   Materials:

f)   Mild detergent

g)   Shellac flakes

h)  Alcohol

i)    Pumice powder

j)   Linseed oil

k)   French polish


I’m fairly sure that most if not all of the tools, materials, and equipment mentioned above can be purchased from Bunnings stores.  That will make things easy for you, get everything you need from the one place.

By following these steps and using the right tools and materials, you can transform your Tasmanian Oak kitchen table into a stunning centrepiece with a French polishing finish.

Enjoy the process and the beautiful results French Polishing brings!

Where to Find Expert French Polishing Services for Your Kitchen Table in Perth, Adelaide, Bournemouth, Sussex, Sioux Falls, and Erie

Where to Find Expert French Polishing Services for Your Kitchen Table

Note: If you live in Perth, Adelaide, Bournemouth, Sussex, Sioux Falls, or Erie and you’re looking to have your kitchen table refinished with French polishing, you’re in luck!

There is at least one good quality French polishing business located at each of these areas.  They specialize in this traditional and elegant wood finishing technique.


If you reside in Perth, Western Australia, you have one excellent choice for French polishing services, D’Uva French Polishers. With 48 years of experience.   You can contact them by calling (08) 9274 4056 or 0412 116 247.


In Adelaide, South Australia, you can rely on Adelaide French Polishers for top-notch French polishing services with over 50 years of experience. They have a team of highly skilled artisans who can transform your kitchen table into a stunning focal point. Whether you have a modern or antique table, they have the expertise to deliver exceptional results. With their attention to detail and commitment to quality, you can trust that your table will be refinished to perfection.

Bournemouth and Sussex.

If you’re located in Bournemouth, you have access to two notable French polishing businesses, one is Acorn Polishing (Ph: 01202 529910) and the other is John Davis French Polishing (Ph: 07702 400312).  Both have a wealth of experience in French Polishing of wooden furniture, including kitchen tables.

For residents of Sussex, you can consider John Sander French Polishing. They offer professional French polishing services for kitchen tables and other wooden furniture. With their meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, they can revive your table and give it a luxurious, polished look that will impress your guests.

Sioux Falls.

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you can rely on Furniture Medic at Minnehaha County, Ph: +1 605-553-1516 for exceptional French polishing services. They specialize in refinishing and restoring all types of wooden furniture, including kitchen tables.


For residents of Erie, Pennsylvania, I’m reasonable sure that Back Porch Ltd is a good option for you.  Their Ph is +1 814-838-4122, their open 8:30am to 4:30pm Mon to Fri and open 3 hours on Saturday from 9am but closed on Sunday.

Wrapping thing Up.


When it comes to refinishing your kitchen table with French polishing, it’s essential to choose a reputable business that has the expertise and experience to deliver exceptional results. Whether you live in Perth, Adelaide, Bournemouth, Sussex, Sioux Falls, or Erie, the businesses mentioned in this article are great options for you to consider. 

If the business you opt for has skilled craftsmen, plenty of experience and commitment to quality, they can transform your table into a stunning centrepiece that will be the envy of all your guests.

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