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Thread: French Polishing

  1. #1
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    French Polishing

    I get a weekly email newsletter from Stewart MacDonald guitar site. this week there was a tutorial on French Polishing.
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  2. #2
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    thanks dan, that was a good tutorial on how to go about it..
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  3. #3
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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but thia is a hand rubbed finish not a French Polish filish.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Bilello View Post
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but thia is a hand rubbed finish not a French Polish filish.
    It pretty much matches the descriptions I've seen in the past for French polishing technique. Shellac, alcohol, a bit of oil for lubrication, and a cloth pad, used to build up multiple layers of finish and rubbed to a high gloss finish. Here's another example that mirrors other descriptions I've read.

    There is a commercial product called "French Polish" that's applied in a similar manner, but it's a pre-mixed shellac-based finish (with a bit of oil, as I understand it) meant to emulate a traditional French polish job.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    It pretty much matches the descriptions I've seen in the past for French polishing technique. Shellac, alcohol, a bit of oil for lubrication, and a cloth pad, used to build up multiple layers of finish and rubbed to a high gloss finish. Here's another example that mirrors other descriptions I've read......
    The way I was taught many years ago and even descriptions of the technique in older texts does not include the use of abrasives whether sandpaper or compund.
    I do not consider Wikipedia an accurate source of information, but looking at your link, I did not see any mention of abrasive rubbing or buffing in regards to the French Polishing system.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Bilello View Post
    The way I was taught many years ago and even descriptions of the technique in older texts does not include the use of abrasives whether sandpaper or compund.
    I do not consider Wikipedia an accurate source of information, but looking at your link, I did not see any mention of abrasive rubbing or buffing in regards to the French Polishing system.
    Ah, I see...it was the abrasives in the first article that made it different to you. Come to think about it, I don't recall seeing them mentioned in other French polishing articles I've read.

    I agree that Wikipedia can be hit or miss on a lot of subjects, but usually a quick Google check will get a variety of other info to either confirm or dispute what Wikipedia shows. I don't consider Wikipedia to be gospel, but it tends to be more correct than a lot of other sources that are easily available.
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  7. #7
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    I can tell ya all this, if you use to much oil as a liburcant the finish will crackle in 6 months. French Polishing takes just a little experance to master LOL

    I use a good cheese cloth to apply the shellac some will use a product called Lac-over 30 which is a quick resource pre mixed product but will lift if you decided to use real french polish over. There are many ways to get a base coat, Lacquer sealer, oil sealers will get you a quick build up to apply the finish over.

    Depending on the gain there are a verity of fillers which can be added to the sealer coats. Traditional filler is pot ash rubbed in after the oil sealer coat is applied.

    A good follow up is to apply a high grade wax with a supper fine steel wool.

    As far as abrasives go they are used mostly for harder finishes like oil and lacquers for buffing out a finish.
    Last edited by Dave Hawksford; 04-06-2010 at 02:49 AM.
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  8. #8
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    French Polish

    Hello all , I have a good friend in my area that does the French polish with mineral oil as lubricant and the pad is made with musielin cloth and instead of cotton balls he uses lamb wool , he squirts the shellac into the lambs wool covers with muselin, and lubricates the pad he has in his hand now with a drop of mineral oil. He calls this padding, to be true french polish you need pumice or rotten stone I believe he calls this a true French polish. later db
    I'm still trying to grasp this process as well!

  9. #9
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    rotten stone..... you mean he dose not use cigar ash some kind of wood or tobacco ash Oak is best. To be a true french polish filler he will need to use these. He is right that it only takes a small drop to lubricate the BOB when polishing.
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