I (French) polished a turd

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Project by lumberjoe posted 01-31-2014 04:13 AM 2177 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Click here for pictures you can actually see

I’m getting pretty good at the French polishing process and now that it is really too cold to work outside, and shellac is an inside-friendly finish – I just going around french polishing stuff.

This is a cribbage board that otherwise sucks. The cheap “self centering” wood destroyer I got from rockler with the template is terrible. It tears out like a dull roundover bit in endgrain.

This is maple and walnut. I first pore filled with my great grandfathers pumice which is over 100 years old (last pic) in the traditional manner. Then after about a dozen padding sessions I buffed it with Tripoli grade Rottenstone in the traditional manner. This is one of the nicest finishes I have produced to date. It is silky smooth and I can shave in it’s reflection.

Now to make something that isn’t worthy of the fireplace


21 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


5515 posts in 1616 days

#1 posted 01-31-2014 04:18 AM

That’s the shiniest turd I personally have ever seen Joe. Well done.
French Polish is something you can never do too much of. The more you do, the better you get (and the more you learn how much you have left to learn)

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View lumberjoe's profile


2854 posts in 1066 days

#2 posted 01-31-2014 04:45 AM

You are right Paul! It seems after every padding session the finish looked better and better – but not perfect. My pore filling definitely needs a lot of work and I still struggle a bit with loading the pad correctly – but I finally figured out how much oil (not) to use and it doesn’t blush terribly anymore.

On to the next one and thanks again for all your tips!


View Tooch's profile


756 posts in 694 days

#3 posted 01-31-2014 04:58 AM

after seeing the wood combination, board, and finish I think its safe to say I “Cribbaged” in my pants….. what a hell of a looking piece/finish. nice work

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View OldWrangler's profile


722 posts in 412 days

#4 posted 01-31-2014 05:36 AM

A very effective polishing rag is an old grocery sack. The brown kraft paper has just a tiny amount of abrasion (about like 2000 grit sandpaper) and can be used dry, wet or with an oil. It is really effective on any items turning on a lathe. It will bring up a hell of a shine. And they are cheap… is good.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View aussiedave's profile


3046 posts in 642 days

#5 posted 01-31-2014 10:39 AM

Great job on the french polishing Joe, it looks awesome.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View b2rtch's profile


4384 posts in 1866 days

#6 posted 01-31-2014 10:47 AM

Very nice polish, from the French guy.
Why is it called “french” polish?
Anything to do with french fries,french kisses, french dressing, french mustard and so on?

-- Bert

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

426 posts in 2504 days

#7 posted 01-31-2014 01:01 PM

wow its beautiful

-- Joe, Ga

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


343 posts in 2301 days

#8 posted 01-31-2014 01:36 PM

Great looking finish! I have never tried the French polish, but it seems like something I should learn.

Old Wrangler – great tip on the grocery bags.


-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

View lumberjoe's profile


2854 posts in 1066 days

#9 posted 01-31-2014 01:43 PM

I do burnish with craft paper sometimes, but that’s isn’t really suitable on french polished shellac.

Bert, I am a French guy also. This is called French polishing because it was actually done in France a looong time ago. In fact I am working on making my own reed burnisher (polissoir) for a traditional French polish


View steve_in_ohio's profile


1194 posts in 428 days

#10 posted 01-31-2014 01:46 PM

That sure is shinny, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View helluvawreck's profile


16351 posts in 1684 days

#11 posted 01-31-2014 02:47 PM

That definitely makes a nice finish. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4840 posts in 1198 days

#12 posted 01-31-2014 04:57 PM

Great job on the finish.


View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

348 posts in 924 days

#13 posted 01-31-2014 05:58 PM

I love to see a french polish finish. Nicely done.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View HuckD's profile


206 posts in 532 days

#14 posted 01-31-2014 08:12 PM

Super nice finish there, Joe!

-- Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once.

View Gary's profile


1073 posts in 3142 days

#15 posted 01-31-2014 11:20 PM

Looks super; doesn’t resemble anything nearing firewood. ;-)

-- Gary, Florida.

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