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Almar French Polishing Furniture and Sanding Blackheath

Based near Blackheath Village.  Call Us 0203 767 8890   Email Us admin@almar-furniture.com  

Our Services

French Polishing and Floor sanding in Blackheath & Greenwich

At Almar Furniture & Floor Restoration, one of our main services is French polishing. French polishing has the ability to recondition furniture and remedy problems such as scratches, marks, damage to the surface, and uneven varnish and staining. Our French polishing team along with their equipment and years of experience will be able to revive any piece of furniture at a fair price.

French polish, or polishing, is the name of a process in which a French polisher will spend hours upon hours polishing a surface in order to achieve three main objectives: high gloss surface, deep colour, and chatoyancy (cat’s eye effect), transforming any piece of furniture and producing a beautiful and unique sheen. Unfortunately, French polishing is a dying trade, but at Almar, we hope to preserve this historic wood finishing technique and provide French polishing services for many years to come! Email Us admin@almar-furniture.com 


French polishing has its advantages over modern and traditional vanish finishes. For one, although it is rather sensitive to water and alcohol spills and heat damage, such as leaving hot mugs on it can cause a white or cloudy marks, it is far easier to repair than lacquers and other modern and traditional finishes. Also, French polish is said to be “an excellent method to accent exotic wood grain”. So, we definitely recommend employing one of our French polishers to work on any furniture you may have that is in need of revival.

The final result of French polishing is definitely something to be marvelled at. If the process is executed expertly, the end result of French polish has been described as peering into a crystal-clear river, able to see the beautiful riverbed. It gives an appearance of depth. During the process, the French polisher will fill the grain of the wood so at the end it looks almost as if the surface is integrated in the wood, with a warm glow coming from within. The beauty of a French polished surface is unmatched and is yet to meet a competitor.

The technique and methods of French polishing gained recognition in the 18th century. As it was a very time-expensive and labour-intensive, it was only really used on pricey woods such as mahogany in the Victorian era. There have been other wood finishing techniques to achieve the look of French polishing but at the same time save much time and effort, but nothing can compare to the genuine French polish method. Email Us admin@almar-furniture.com 

The lengthy process of French polishing consists of repetitively applying and rubbing in numerous thin coats of shellac (resin secreted by the lac bug) that is dissolved in alcohol. The fad, (rubbing pad made of cotton or wool) is lubricated with oil to prevent lifting the previous layers of shellac and that oil gets worked into the final finish. This French polish process can take many hours to complete.

Superfine pumice (igneous rock produced by magma that crushes and cools making a sort of “solid foam”) is incorporated in the process to fill open-grain wood pores and act as a fine abrasive, or in place of pumice fine-grain sandpaper is used.

The entire method requires both knowledge and skill and takes in to consideration many factors such as the type of oil to use, as different oils will result in different finishes, and whether to use traditional French polishing techniques of the British method (where shellac and abrasive is worked in alternatively instead of together).

French polishing is all about achieving a fine as possible surface. This is only possible when varnish is applied with a very soft pad, of fad, instead of brushes that would leave small ridges on the final outcome. If you were to use a brush you would have to sand down the brush layer with a fine grit sandpaper or other abrasive paper, but this is more steps than the pad method.

The aim of French polishing is to bring out the natural beauty of the wood grain, allowing it to shine through rather than be covered or altered in some way. Other steps involved are matching, ebonising, bodying, liming, spraying, distressing, conserving, colour matching, oiling, hard and soft waxing, interior and exterior varnishing, and more. We also provide modern lacquer finishes as well as repairs to lacquered finishes.

French polishing is not limited to furniture. It can also be performed on musical instruments such as pianos, violins, guitars, and pretty much any other instrument made from wood. The process can greatly increase the value of the musical instrument.

Although the French polish technique requires a great deal of work and time, the results always far outweigh the effort that goes in. French polishing is considered to be one of the most beautiful finishing techniques, and although it is not the most durable method out there, it is always much simpler to repair than any other ways, as instead of stripping the finish and reapplying, you can simply improve and clean the original French polish.

Contact us using either our contact box or ring us up to answer any questions you may have or talk about a piece of furniture that you have in mind to be French polished. Email Us admin@almar-furniture.com 

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Get a quote today!

Almar Furniture & Floor Restoration have been reviving antique and modern furniture for over 30 years. Our team of licensed and experienced craftsmen produce high quality and affordable work for any furniture and floor restoration projects you may have.



0203 475 9866




1 Duke Humphrey Road, Blackheath, London, SE3 0TU