French Polishing: a short history…

Here at Martin Allen, we’re at our best when we’re French polishing. So for those wanting to learn more about this ancient craft and why it might be the perfect choice for your next project, here’s a whistle-stop tour for your convenience. We hope it entices you to choose French polishing:

French polishing stretches back as early as the 15th century, coming to the fore in the early 18th when the methods we use today were refined by our friends across the Channel. The construction of the polish is primarily shellac mixed with alcohol, but the skill of applying the product itself is one that has taken hundreds of years to perfect. With a history spanning centuries and many advancements across its lifetime, no modern technique comes close in terms of quality.

A premium choice

French polishing is a ‘class above’ as it does things other finishes can’t do. Unlike varnish, this polish penetrates the wood, rather than sitting on the surface. This means that the timber underneath is never obscured by the polish, and that a window into the subtle detail of the wood is always present. It allows wood to breathe and become more glorious with age as colours mature and timber shines through the finish. Believe us when we say – it’s the only kind of finish capable of these results.

Mahogany is a French polisher’s dream, so take note if you’ve chosen this wooden surface. When working with this particular material, it’s best to apply a beautiful single film of surface polish, as opposed to layering the finish in stages. With a little oil added as a lubricant, the polish will penetrate deep into the surface, better protecting the wood and creating a gorgeous finish seldom achieved through other techniques.

A finish for the long-haul

Another reason you are wise to choose French polishing is the longevity it affords all types of wood. It’s ease of repair is also a factor. We often return to clients to touch-up scratches, and we’ll tell you it’s a darn sight easier to achieve results on French polish that on low-quality finishes. This is another reason why French polishing is a popular choice for high-end commercial projects. We’d encourage you to look out for signs of French polishing in commercial environments. You will usually be able to spot the quality a mile off.

French polishing has developed a reputation for being arduous, but at Martin Allen, nothing else gives us the same satisfaction. The results we get for the effort we put in are worth it. It’s why we continue to take on new and exciting French polishing projects each year.

Choose French polishing

If you are looking to go the extra mile on your project, then we’d thoroughly recommend you choose French polishing. Talk to us on 01162 165 107 or use our contact us page. See where this age-old craft can take your commercial or domestic project.