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How To Make French Polish

In the above video clip Nigel is commentating whilst Dan, one of Wheathills' Finishers is demonstrating the art of mixing Shellac flakes and methylated spirits. The Button Polish that is being created finishes with a deep golden orange shade.

The ability to control the Shellac during an application is essential to maintain or enhance the original finish of a timber’s colour and condition. Blending the various grades of Shellac, from Garnet (the rawest version) to Transparent, the most refined version, can help enormously in achieving the desired shade and depth of finish. For its own Conservation and Restoration projects Wheathills use Orange Shellac, Lemon Shellac and Pale Shellac which can be mixed with Methylated Spirits either separately, or together to provide a vast variety of colours and shades.

The desired end colour of the French Polish is dependant upon many factors for example the density of the timber or the piece’s construction period come into the reckoning as well, but creating a measured, repeatable steeping Button Shellac allows an essential element of control from one restoration / conservation job to the next.

The weight of the shellac mix is of paramount importance, 4 lb of Shellac to 1 pint of Methylated Spirits is a very heavy mixture and can be useful in creating various glazes;
2 1/4 lb of Shellac to 1 pint of Meths is a general weight suitable for general restoration projects;
1 lb of Shellac to 1 pint of Meths is an excellent weight for fine Conservation work.

Now that Nigel is less 'hands-on' due to his managerial role, Dan is the Head French Polisher at Wheathills and has worked on National treasures such as Somersall Hall, Lincoln Crown Court , the restoration of a Chippendale piece, and will be overseeing all of the French Polishing and finishing to the interior of the Brighton Belle Pullman carriages that Wheathills is currently restoring.

Selection Of French Polishes and Antique Finishes Creating a Finish you can see yourself in Applying a Shellac - based French Polish to an antique clock French Polishing a small Gallery Entrance



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