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French Polishing Help

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Forum topic by customturnedwork posted 03-31-2016 02:50 PM 555 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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customturnedwork

43 posts in 1006 days


03-31-2016 02:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: french polish problems dull

Hi guys,
I’ve always avoided French polishing, as I tried it once a while ago, with zero success. Now I have a project where it could come in handy, so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and figure out how it’s done. Hopefully you guys can help.

These are the steps I’ve taken so far:
1. Sanded the wood (maple) to 320 grit
2. Brushed on a coat of 2lb shellac, just to fill the pores and give a base for polishing
3. Sanded the shellac down level, mainly right down to the wood. As stated above this coat was mainly for pore filling.
4. Charged my rubber, and put on ~20 coats of polish. I’m never stopping in one place, and using a drop of walnut oil for lubricant. Again, the shellac is 2lb cut, dewaxed shellac, mixed from flakes. I also use a squirt of alcohol in the pad. I’m doing circular, figure eight, and strokes with the grain.

Problem is, although the finish is silky smooth to the touch, and in some light looks great, it still has streaks and dull spots (refer to the attached pics). I’d really love to learn this technique, but I can’t see what I’m doing wrong…!

https://s3.amazonaws.com/vs-lumberjocks.com/o4wrpn9.jpg!


10 replies so far

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2421 days


#1 posted 03-31-2016 03:08 PM

From the picture, it looks like your rubber is too wet, hence dissolving the shellac beneath. Try omitting the alcohol till you are in the very final stages of polishing. The “cutting back” stage. The pad should be nearly dry, and surface should come up shiny. If it’s still biting in, let it dry till tomorrow, and come back again with dryer pad. (The pad should feel barely damp when patted to the back of your hand)

Too much use of the oil lube will conceal the fact that the pad is too wet. Very little oil, and only occasionally, is needed. Just enough that the nearly dry pad does not stick to the surface.

Hope this helps.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

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customturnedwork

43 posts in 1006 days


#2 posted 03-31-2016 03:27 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. I’ve been trying to keep my rubber only damp, but maybe it’s still too wet. Since the piece has dried overnight, I’ll start work again on it today.

Quick question: How many times can you rework an area? For example, if your doing a circular pattern, can you go over the area again with strokes with the grain to smooth out the cicrles?

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#3 posted 03-31-2016 04:20 PM

Watch this it is very good for FP
http://youtu.be/web_pJt0SR8

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2421 days


#4 posted 03-31-2016 04:29 PM

I guess there is no limit to how many times you rework a section, as one coat just melts into the last. If your surface is getting rough though, you would want to give it a wet sanding with 600 or 800 wet or dry. I like to use mineral spirits as a wetting agent, as it does not affect the shellac.

Once things are smooth and level, give the dry shellac another go with the rubber. If that doesn’t work to your liking, sand it back, and go again. Practice makes perfect.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

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customturnedwork

43 posts in 1006 days


#5 posted 03-31-2016 04:51 PM

Thanks for the video, I will watch it later.

RogerBean: I was speaking of how many times you can go over an area before stopping to let it dry…

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RogerBean

1602 posts in 2421 days


#6 posted 03-31-2016 04:53 PM

I usually don’t do more than three or four before letting it dry for the evening. Not sure what the real limit is. If any.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Hammerthumb's profile

Hammerthumb

2533 posts in 1442 days


#7 posted 03-31-2016 08:27 PM

Sounds like you have too much shellac in the pad. Hold the pad in your hand and pad the back of your other hand with it. It should feel cool, but not wet. Keep adding alcohol and maybe a little shellac to the inside of the pad (never to the outside). I do each session for no more than a few minutes per sqft. After about 3 sessions the sheen should start to brighten. This is when you want to only keep adding alcohol, but not too much. The pad should really start to feel mostly dry at this point. That is when you want to start going with the grain bearing down on the pad.

Here is a little shelf I made. This has 3 sessions of French polish. Five to seven minutes each session. I wait one day between each session.

Do an LJ search for Patrice LeJune French Polish. I would consider him the expert, and has a great youtube video on the application.

Good luck

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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RogerBean

1602 posts in 2421 days


#8 posted 03-31-2016 08:35 PM

The Patrice LeJuene video is indeed worth watching. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks with Patrice and Patrick Edwards in San Diego at the American School of French Marquetry. He is indeed a master polisher in the French traditional method.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#9 posted 03-31-2016 08:42 PM



The Patrice LeJuene video is indeed worth watching. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks with Patrice and Patrick Edwards in San Diego at the American School of French Marquetry. He is indeed a master polisher in the French traditional method.
Roger

- RogerBean

Thats the video I posted here a few back.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7175 posts in 2265 days


#10 posted 03-31-2016 11:01 PM

+3 for Patrice’s video. I have learned a great deal about French polishing from watching Patrice at ASFM and from consulting with him by phone and email when working on a couple of my projects and I still learn something new every time I watch that video. It is quite long and at first it seems that he goes on and on not saying much …..... But go back and listen again… and again. There is way too much good information there to get at one sitting.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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