A high gloss finish applied to many European furniture pieces in the 19th century. French polish consists of a dilute solution of Shellac in ethanol. Some recipes contain small amounts of Sandarac, mastic, Dammar, and/or Benzoin resin. The varnish is applied in multiple thin coats. Often a few drops of oil are added as the polish is rubbed on. Each coat is hardened then polished prior to the addition of the next layer.
Synonyms and Related Terms
shellac polish (Br.); poli français (Fr.)
B.Baron, "French Polishing" in The Techniques of Traditional Woodfinishing, Batsford, London, 1987, p.46-58.
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