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The Polissoir - Bees wax hand polisher

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Project by greenandwhite_owl posted 12-17-2015 07:23 PM 852 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Polissoir from Rubo’s ““L’Art du Menisier.”

A translation of his description of the tool from it’s original French.
“The polisher, figures 8 & 9, is a sheaf of ordinary grass or straw, about 4 thumbs long, by about 2 thumbs in diameter. This sheaf is bound tightly along its length. Before making use of it, one soaks it in molten wax, which one lets cool, after which one rubs the polish on a piece of wood to smooth it and make it proper to polish the work.

There are polishers of diverse forms and sizes, in order to be able to get into all parts, nooks and crannies.”

I choose to try my hand at this wonderful finishing, wood fiber, tool because, as is the way of things, it is almost Christmas and the hand crosses I am making for family members needed a quick and stable finishing on their Cherry wood. ( Don’t worry those will be posted once I finish the second one.)

To start this build I popped down to my local hardware store and purchased a broomcorn (sorgum) broom. A few dollars, a pair of scissors and some black cotton floss and I created a bundle of straws battened together. Since I am also a spinner of fiber I grabbed some hand spun wool and wrapped the bundle tightly while I set some of my own bee’s wax to boil in a pan of hot water on the stove. Once the wax was melted I dipped the end of the bundle into the wax as if I was dipping a candle. Dip and pull out for a few times before I set it in the wax to soak for 20 minutes.

Thank you for your look at my first project posting here and my introduction to woodworking as I transition from one fiber world to the other.

~Kate

-- ~Kate - - Fiber is fiber be it wood or wool.





7 comments so far

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

923 posts in 1780 days


#1 posted 12-17-2015 08:10 PM

Kate
This looks very interesting. I’ve applied polish with a regular brush but this might give a more “authentic” finish.
Waiting to see the pieces you have used it on.
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7489 posts in 1474 days


#2 posted 12-17-2015 08:38 PM

This thing is pretty cool. Simple, effective and easily renewable. I LIKE IT !

When I saw your title I “THOUGHT” I had seen one of these before. (search this site and you’ll see from a few years back). Now that I’m doing lathe turning, I wonder how one of these would work to use while the piece is still turning? I already sand parts as they turn, this may do well also. Thanks for sharing (and reminding me)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

8761 posts in 1307 days


#3 posted 12-17-2015 10:08 PM

Very nicely done, Kate! I attempted one by using zip ties to bind the broom straw. Yours looks much better! Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2285 days


#4 posted 12-18-2015 04:17 PM

Nice. I’ve thought about making one of these since I saw a video with Donald Williams showing how to use one. This reminds me. The idea of buying a cheap broom is a good one (rather than having to find one’s own “grass or straw”).
BTW, the French word “pouce” is generally translated as an “inch” rather than “thumb.”

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View greenandwhite_owl's profile

greenandwhite_owl

13 posts in 482 days


#5 posted 12-18-2015 06:05 PM

Thank you all for your kind words on my first project.

As for sourcing the broomcorn without having to purchase a broom it is usually available in bundles at craft stores which also deal in dried flower arrangements. Broomcorn is often used to add a bit of whimsy and fun to those arrangements. I believe those straws will be of a thicker dimension as well. I will report back with my findings.

-- ~Kate - - Fiber is fiber be it wood or wool.

View Lazy_K's profile

Lazy_K

111 posts in 1658 days


#6 posted 12-19-2015 02:17 PM

Y’a know I don’t think I ever posted mine… i first saw the technique used with a wine cork and wax for some boyscout project. after reading the new translation of Roubo’s work and reading what Chris Schwartz said about it i thought I’d give it a go.
use plenty of elbow grease:

I bound mine with boot lace in Turk’s head knots (I hope that term is still usable for the knot)

-- Kai SaerPren

View greenandwhite_owl's profile

greenandwhite_owl

13 posts in 482 days


#7 posted 12-19-2015 02:19 PM



Y a know I don t think I ever posted mine… i first saw the technique used with a wine cork and wax for some boyscout project. after reading the new translation of Roubo s work and reading what Chris Schwartz said about it i thought I d give it a go.
use plenty of elbow grease:

- Lazy_K

You know I want to be like you when I grow up Brother! Thank you for your comment.

-- ~Kate - - Fiber is fiber be it wood or wool.

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