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French polishing a turned item.? Answered


How would I go about french polishing a turned item.
The problem associated with it is that the sanding and polishing (assuming I polish on the lathe) will both be accross the grain which is generally considered the less preferable option.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



Best Answer 8 years ago

Yep, I've done it many times.
Keep the RPMs at around 500 to 600.
Sand the turning with at least 400 grit sandpaper.
Make sure the turning is absolutely free of saw dust.
Add a little mineral oil the the shellac to ease application, if the "rubber" sticks or drags on the wood during application, add a little more mineral oil.
Use a scrupulously clean, lint free cotton cloth to apply the shellac and be careful not to let a fold or wrinkle in the surface of the "rubber" where it meets the wood. A T-shirt works well for this.
Apply thin coats, wait 30 minutes or so and lightly sand between each subsequent coat.
Don't rush and plan on applying at least 5 coats and perhaps as many as 10 to 15 coats to get a high luster finish.
For the final polishing, use automotive polishing compound, and make sure it is polishing compound, not rubbing compound.


8 years ago

Sorry, one more question. How does french polish hold up against wood on wood impact? I have made a gavel and plan to french polish it (along with the desk mounted sound board thing). Would the finish be badly damaged by the impact between the two?

Thanks in advance.


Answer 8 years ago

Shellac is not particularly tough, it makes a beautiful finish, but for a gavel, I would recommend a good polyurethane finish.


8 years ago

Ok, that was very helpful. I shall give it a try.

Thanks for your help.