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What is French Polishing? - Alan Farr Limited

French Polishing refers to the use of Shellac resin to provide a high gloss, protective layer on wood furniture that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Here at Alan Farr Ltd, we have extensive experience as French Polishers, and can carry out our services on a range of projects, from domestic, commercial and heritage.

Why Use the French Polish Technique?

Shellac is used for protection of wooden surfaces, along with the appearance of a high gloss, durable finish. Wood is a sensitive material, and requires protection from humidity and sunlight, as well as general wear and tear. Shellac enhances the natural appearance of wood, highlighting the grain and providing a deeper, richer colour. The result is a high sheen, reflective appearance that hides blemishes and responds well to buffing.

How It Works

The polish is applied in liquid form with a specialist polish pad or mop. Once the material is spread to create a thin and even coating, the liquid component of the mixture evaporates, leaving behind the solid resin coating. Each layer of polished resin is extremely thin, with each one being added individually and sanded after each application.

Eventually, all of the open pores in the wood surface are sealed by Shellac resin, resulting in an ultra thin, smooth and perfectly flat film of resin on the entire wood surface. The process is meticulous and takes great patience, along with an eye for detail and steady hand.


Dark, fine grained woods benefit most from French Polishing, such as Mahogany and Walnut. If you are unsure whether your wooden flooring or furniture is suitable to have this finish, please contact us.

French Polishing has stood the test of time and continues to impress, after centuries of craftsmanship and technique perfecting. If you are interested in carrying out this or any of our services on your domestic, commercial or heritage projects, then please contact us today by calling 01543 469946. Alternatively, head to our contact page and leave us a message. We look forward to hearing from you.