french polishing

French Polishing your wooden furniture

French polishing is a type of wood finishing that’s often used on antique furniture to achieve a very glossy finish. This method involves applying multiple layers of shellac (a type of resin) to the wood in order for the surface to get a mirror-like shine.

INTERESTING FACT: This method was first used in the Victorian times to finish mahogany and other expensive types of wooden furniture.

french polishing

What does French Polishing do to my furniture?

French polishing adds a deep colour and chatoyancy, a reflective finish that’s often seen in Tiger’s Eye Quartz.

This finish enhances the wood’s natural grain, leaving it with a shiny, iridescent looking surface and a popular finish amongst home owners, hotel and other business owners.

What should I do for the after care?

After being treated your wooden furniture should be well looked after as it is softer than most modern lacquers and varnishes and is prone to scratches and chips.

If you’ve recently had your furniture re-polished, it is essential that is not place in direct sunlight.

As shellac is a thermoplastic material, it will soften in excessive heat, so anything left on the surface will leave an imprint and the surface will lose its shine.

  • Avoid placing items that are backed in polyurethane or plastic on the surface as these could leave imprints.
  • Remember to use coasters or placemats to avoid any mishaps.
  • With the wood being polished correctly by a professional, you can get away with a regular simple dusting for a couple of years.
  • If you spill anything, make sure that you mop it up quickly to as water can leave cloudy white marks, ruining the finish.
  • Don’t wax your French polished furniture as it will leave a streaky finish.


If you want your furniture polished, treated or repaired, call your local Furniture Medic here.


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