A True French Polish
Applying the ultimate finish
Synopsis: George Frank learned French polishing in 1922 and shares touching memories of his instruction. In this article, he conveys what he calls the true French way of French polishing, a glossy shellac finish that is not easy to achieve. It’s an extremely durable finish, but it has its limits. Frank mixes his own so he has control over the quality of the ingredients, and he shares his tools and methods of mixing the shellac. He explains the differences between the Italian, English, and American schools of French polishing and the true French way, and how to handle things like the underside and edges of a piece and moldings and carvings.
It was 1922, over 60 years ago, when I was first introduced to French polishing. My teacher couldn’t hear or speak, but she was expert in the arts of French polishing and communicating through sign language. When she twirled…