Merlin Repairs:
French Polishing

At Merlin Repairs, we specialise in the art of French Polishing, applying shellac to wooden materials, be it flooring, wooden furniture or decorative accents.


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French Polishing

We specialise in the repair and resurfacing of damaged manufactured interior and exterior surfaces. Our team of skilled staff have manufactured a comprehensive process in our French Polishing service. We pride ourselves on only using the finest people, products and equipment, and delivering our services to time, quality, and budget.

What is French Polishing

French Polishing is the art of applying shellac to wood materials, be it flooring, wooden furniture or decorative accents. It has been around since the 1600s and is considered the best finish for wooden furniture, resulting in a beautifully highly glossed surface that accentuates the wood's deep colour and grains.

This process is not commonly used nowadays because of how labour intensive it is thought to be. However, at Merlin Repairs, our team of trained professionals are experienced in how to achieve the best results. Our polishing techniques are available for all types of facility and any floor sizes; we can clean anything from a polished concrete warehouse to a marble-floored hall in a domestic property, offering a range of polishing solutions to fit our client’s requirements. Whether installation damage or just worn surfaces, we polish to restore surfaces to their original condition.

The French Polishing services we offer

At Merlin Repair Specialists, we can polish any of the below materials:

The Benefits of French Polishing

French-polished shellac is non-toxic, durable and a naturally occurring resin. Therefore, once the shellac finished has been applied, it dries quickly and is less prone to scratches, cracks, and wear.

Compared to modern-day alternatives, French Polishing has a significantly lower effect on the environment. It is easier to repair and maintain and enhances the wood much better than any varnish or lacquer options.

Another advantage is that it won’t change in colour over time, whereas varnish likely turns yellow over the years. Shellac is a natural amber orange colour that can be bleached for lighter coloured wood. The finish that expert French polishers can achieve is unmatched by any other solution.

If the finished job ever needs a quick fix-up, this is a quick process that can be easily achieved without leaving any obvious signs of repairs.

Why we use shellac

Shellac is a resin produced by female lac bugs. They can be found primarily on trees in India and Thailand's forests. The shellac resin is processed into dry flakes, which dissolves into ethyl alcohol, resulting in liquid shellac. Shellac is applied to the finished wood and acts as a seal again moisture forming a high gloss varnish. Shellac also adheres when applied to almost any type of finish.

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The Process:

We first consider partial restoration or if the damaged furniture needs to be fully repaired and refinished, depending on the extent of the damage.

1. Preperation

When we French Polish a piece of wood, we strip it back to the bare exposed wood with a paint stripper. This involves removing any excess varnish or wax finish that may have been used. If the wood is open-grained, we fill grain filler in the wood with a cloth and then wipe it off as this creates a smoother surface on which the wood can be polished.

2. Clean

Ensuring the wooden furniture has a clean, perfectly smooth surface is a crucial step of the French Polishing process. This is because any imperfections in the wood or dust that settles onto the surface will show up, in the end, finished polish. Once the wood has been stripped back, we coat it with a thin coat of shellac, and when it has become dry and neutralised, this is then sanded down with very fine grades of sandpaper.

3. Create your dabber

The next step is to create the dabber or rubber by wrapping a piece of lint-free cotton cloth around cotton wadding. The size of this dabber will be adjusting accordingly to the size of the wooden furniture. The French polish is then applied to the dabber, and the polishing begins. The first polish applications will act as a seal and are made from passing the dabber along the grain of the wood and overlapping throughout the passes.

4. Polish

After leaving the polish to harden for half an hour, using the very fine sandpaper, the whole process begins again. After every five applications, the work is left to set for a few hours before any further coats are applied. The entire process is then repeated as many times necessary until there is no visible grain remaining. All wood areas are refinished to match any damaged areas, so once the entirety of the wood has been polished, the clean and finishing process occurs.

5. Clean

In the cleaning step, the spiriting off process starts where the final high gloss finish can be applied. A final thin layer of polish is applied, and a final sanding takes place to create the gloss finish.

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