French Polishers in London: How it Works and Why it Matters
Let’s be honest, you can always tell the difference between a floor with or without polish and this is certainly true when it comes to French polishing in London. In other words, this technique is popular for good reason and often what separates an average floor from a shiny, attractive surface.
But what makes French polishing in London so popular?
Well, the standard and quality of wood furnishings in London tends to be quite high. For this reason, many property owners want to maintain and improve the appearance of these contents over time.
Simply put, French polishing is well-known as the best way to improve a wooden appearance, while ensuring no damage is caused during the process.
In this article, we take a closer look at French polishing in London and what makes this such an incredibly good technique for improving the appearance of a wood surface.
How French Polishing Works and What’s in the Name?
French polishers in London use a lint-free cloth to apply a lacquer-based finish to a surface.
More specifically, French polishing is a technique for providing a wood surface with a deep colour and high-gloss finish. As part of the process, “shellac” is dissolved in featured alcohol and many thin layers of this mixture is rubbed into the surface using a pad soaked in various oils.
However, in order to know how this process works, it’s important to better understand the ingredients of this mixture – shellac, oils and denatured alcohol.
Shellac refers to dry flakes which are secreted by specific tress in Thailand and India. These flakes are often dissolved in denatured alcohol to produce a polished appearance on wood surfaces. But more on Shellac in a moment. Meanwhile, denatured alcohol is produced by adding methanol to grain alcohol, while various oils including olive oil are also added to the mix.
In case you might be asking yourself, polishing wood was initially practiced to seal the material rather than produce an attractive finish. However, many years later French cabinet-makers created a new technique with shellac flakes that left the wood with a nice, smooth, high-gloss appearance.
More About Shellac for French Polishing
You will find French polishers in London use various types of shellac. Stick Lac and Button Lac are two such types and these are quite raw. That is to say, this particular shellac is largely untouched or unchanged, while a heat process also ensures that they are stronger. You see, this heat initiates a process called polymerization which helps to compress and strengthen the shellac.
Alternatively, Flake Shellac are produced when the resin is dissolved in denatured alcohol and then placed in large pans until they dry out. When all the solvent es gone and a thin sheet forms, this sheet is then shattered into tiny pieces to create flakes of shellac.
That being said, there is also Bysaki and Kushmi button Shellac which has a different colour. This particular shellac is harvested to produce stunning colours with some being lighter and others featuring an especially dark shade of shellac. However, it’s important to avoid using these methods unless you happen to have a lot of prior knowledge and experience of using the shellac.
While commercially produced shellac is not always the best, there are many types and professional French polishers in London know exactly which ones to use.
Anyway, the point is, shellac is central to the process and the main ingredient which makes French polishing so suitable for big quality furniture and wood surfaces.
What Equipment is Needed by French Polishers in London
Strictly speaking, not a lot of equipment is needed for French polishing. However, you will need to create what is known as a “polishing rubber”. If you take a handful of lint-free cotton cloth, this should be placed and wrapped inside a cotton rag. Next, you can twist the four corners so that it forms a pad in the shape of a pear. When the pad is flat, it’s also a good idea to tie these corners with a piece of string so that the polishing rubber holds together.
Aside from this pad/rubber, you will also need to create a mixture with the shellac and have a second cloth to clean your hands or wipe away any excess residue.
Note – You will also need to clean and store the polishing rubber correctly. After placing a small bit of methylated spirits in an air-tight container, place the pad inside and seal make sure it’s closed.
Why French Polishing is Ideal for High Quality Furniture
It’s not exactly straightforward to achieve a high gloss finish with this method. However, with the right approach, the end result is most certainly worth the effort. For this reason, French polishing is even used on wooden string instruments such as guitars and other delicate surfaces.
With this in mind, French polishing is ideal for fragile wood of any kind and you will often see this process being used on doors, staircases, board room tables, and picture frames.
Needless to say, French polishing in London is in demand. Whether this relates to work in corporate environments or residential homes, professional services are always on hand to get the job done.
But how do these French polishers in London work exactly?
Here is a quick breakdown of the basics involved in the process:
How French Polishers in London Get the Job Done
While the following steps are quite basic, here’s what you should know about the process and how French polishers in London can treat and improve any wood surface:
- You need to start with a clean and dust-free room. Otherwise, any dust or imperfections on a surface will end up being ingrained into the finish. Also, it’s important to ensure the right temperature as a cloudy finish will often accompany a polished floor in a cold room.
- Prepare a mixture for the polish. You can use one pint of denatured alcohol and up to three ounces of shellac in this mixture. However, this mixture must be properly sealed in a container and the substance should only be handled with gloves. At the same time, you should not make this mixture without prior experience with the process as this rarely ends well for those who decided to DIY.
- Soak some gauze in the shellac and wrap this gauze inside a clean cotton cloth. After tying each end of this cloth with string, you can then squeeze the rest of the shellac out of the pad.
- At this point, olive oil can be added to the mix and an eyedropper is usually best for this part of the process. As a rule, if the pad seems too sticky, French polishers in London will usually add more oil.
- Apply some shellac to the surface and use a circular motion to sweep away this substance. Eventually, you should have multiple layers (50 – 100 layers) on the surface but make sure not to allow the shellac to dry out too quickly as this will leave marks on the surface.
- Add some drops of shellac and denatured alcohol to a new pad. Start the stifling session again by sweeping the pad from side to side. This will ideally leave an even level of shellac on the surface.
- You can then leave the surface to dry for a few hours and then remove any oil that has come to the surface. However, leave the polish to dry for 2/3 more hours and repeat the process several times.
- Finally, you can start polishing the surface with special oil and rottenstone. Wax is then applied to protect the French polish from incurring any damage.
Now, that’s not to say you should try to do this job yourself but rather to explain that it’s possible for those with experience to use French polishing at home. The truth is, things can go wrong during this process and hiring professional French polishers in London is a much safer option.
French Polishing in London: Hiring a Professional Versus Doing It Yourself
It’s true, there is always room for error with French polishing. If you have no experience with making the mixture or following the above steps, this is also likely to be a highly frustrating process.
On the other hand, professional French polishers in London can make things easier and often for a very affordable price. What’s more, the end result is sure to be better than if you were to try this process for yourself and these professionals know exactly how to get the job done without any inconvenience. As if that’s not enough, these services usually extend to every borough in London from Shoreditch and Mayfair to Bromley, Bexley, Kensington and Chelsea French Polishers
Either way, this technique is the most effective way to seal wood furnishings and whether you hire a professional or not, this is certainly the best way to improve the appearance of a wood surface in general.
French Polishers London, Premier Wood Finishers, 45 Henrietta Cl, Greenwich, London SE8 3EJ
020 7112 8719, https://www.london-french-polishers.co.uk/