I (French) polished a turd

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Project by lumberjoe posted 182 days ago 1916 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


4848 posts in 1403 days

#1 posted 182 days ago

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


2829 posts in 853 days

#2 posted 182 days ago

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


583 posts in 481 days

#3 posted 182 days ago

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


482 posts in 199 days

#4 posted 182 days ago

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.

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 429 days

#5 posted 181 days ago

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

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

View b2rtch's profile


4289 posts in 1653 days

#6 posted 181 days ago

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

396 posts in 2291 days

#7 posted 181 days ago

wow its beautiful

-- Joe, Ga

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


341 posts in 2088 days

#8 posted 181 days ago

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


2829 posts in 853 days

#9 posted 181 days ago

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


1021 posts in 215 days

#10 posted 181 days ago

That sure is shinny, great work

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View helluvawreck's profile


15452 posts in 1471 days

#11 posted 181 days ago

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.

3795 posts in 985 days

#12 posted 181 days ago

Great job on the finish.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

346 posts in 711 days

#13 posted 181 days ago

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


205 posts in 319 days

#14 posted 181 days ago

Super nice finish there, Joe!

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

View Gary's profile


1014 posts in 2929 days

#15 posted 181 days ago

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

-- Gary, Florida.

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