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French Polish

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  • #484755
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    Has anyone tried this type of finish on your wood projects? It creates a very beautiful finish. It does take a bit of time to get the quality you want. I am looking at this finish for an upcoming project, a small wood shadowbox/display case.

    #484765

    I’ve never heard of it . After watching the video . That finish work came out really sharp . A lot hand work goes into achieving that look .

    Always willing to learn .

    #484778
    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    Really good find. I recall learning about French polish in HS shop class but nothing like his technique.

    Now to do a project worthy of the time and effort.

    Thanks for the link.

    BE the change you want to see.
    Even if you can’t Be The Pro… Be The Poster you’d want to read.

    #484783
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    That turned out really nice . I don’t think I would ever have the patience to do all that though. I use the spray gun and if I want a glassy finish sand with very fine grit and buff.

    #484792
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    When I built my guitar body I did a French Polish on it and used a method very similar. I followed this method.

    I got super blond shellac flakes from here:

    http://www.woodessence.com/

    I am out of flakes now, I think the stuff from Lee Valley is a bit more, but less when you consider shipping. I bought an electric coffee grinder to break up the flakes. Wood Essence sends you a little chart to figure out your mixes.

    I went almost stupid trying to figure out what “denatured” alcohol was. Basically it is any alcohol you can’t drink safely. I ended up using Methyl Hydrate from the drug store. You can get 99% rubbing alcohol from TSC too.

    For oil, I used olive oil. It was handy. Mineral oil is good too.

    Zinser “Seal Coat” is a de-waxed shellac. You want to make sure you use dewaxed shellac. The Zinser is about a 3# cut, so if you cut it 50/50 with alcohol you are just about there, 2 parts alcohol and 1 part zinser will give you a 1# cut, or close to it. On mine I mixed 1# and 1/2# cuts. I also wet sanded using the olive oil and 600 grit.

    I got the pumice from Lee Valley…..4F.

    I did a wash coats before I did the pumice. I would sit on the couch and watch TV and polish for hours. I would do 3 coats per session and then let it sit over night. It took me about a week and a half to do the job.

    My order was kind of like this (it’s been a while):

    3 coats @ 1#
    3 coats with pumice to grain fill
    3 coats @ 1#
    wet sand to level
    3 coats @ 1/2#
    wet sand
    3 coats @ 1/2#
    3 coats @ 1/2#
    spirit off

    There may have been a few more sessions in there. You just go with how it looks

    When the guy says “don’t stop the pad on the surface” he really means it. I had to wet sand some blobs out from stopping. Glide on, and glide off.

    You need time a patience. Get all Zen with it! I am sure I am missing something, but the videos cover it better than I can explain. The nice thing about the finish is you don’t need a super dust free area. Yes, it has to be clean, but the finish dries so fast there is no time for dust and stuff to stick to it.

    I love doing it, and I love the results too. Don’t use the finish where alcohol or nail polish remover or perfumes and such will get in contact with it. That will melt the finish. When you FP the coat you are putting on will melt into the previous coats, so you can take extended breaks without harming the process.

    I hope this helps, I am looking forward to your photos. (You will post photo right?)

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #484809

    This is intriguing, I have read a lot on FP and have approached it ( not formally like you have) I may have to try the full FP method. By the way I have found the best denatured alcohol for dissolving shellac to be BioFlame Ethanol fuel which I bought at Canadian Tire, it is a very high percentage ethyl alcohol with a bit of methyl alcohol to poison it.

    Will

    #484820
    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    That turned out really nice . I don’t think I would ever have the patience to do all that though.

    As mentioned turned out very nice but I don’t think I’d have the patience for that either.


    @jimdaddyo
    ,
    Thanks for those videos, also and your method of this process. Still seems like a lot of work.

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #484821
    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    This is intriguing, I have read a lot on FP and have approached it ( not formally like you have) I may have to try the full FP method. By the way I have found the best denatured alcohol for dissolving shellac to be BioFlame Ethanol fuel which I bought at Canadian Tire, it is a very high percentage ethyl alcohol with a bit of methyl alcohol to poison it.

    Many thanks for that, @wbembrid Sourcing a good alcohol has always been a problem for me.



    @JimDaddyO
    Thank you, lots of good information there. I would also recommend http://www.woodessence.com/ for shellac supplier.

    BE the change you want to see.
    Even if you can’t Be The Pro… Be The Poster you’d want to read.

    #484826
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    @JimDaddyO of course there will be pictures, might even be videos if i can get it right. I am just researching the finish right now so when i start the project i know where i am heading. I have a project shadow box, display case coming up where i want it to help showcase what is in it.

    #484844
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    @JimDaddyO of course there will be pictures, might even be videos if i can get it right. I am just researching the finish right now so when i start the project i know where i am heading. I have a project shadow box, display case coming up where i want it to help showcase what is in it.

    OHH Video! You made my heart skip a beat.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #485272
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Very nice finish for sure. Well worth the effort for the results.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #485305
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    @JimDaddyO of course there will be pictures, might even be videos if i can get it right. I am just researching the finish right now so when i start the project i know where i am heading. I have a project shadow box, display case coming up where i want it to help showcase what is in it.

    OHH Video! You made my heart skip a beat.

    so basically you were able to get everything to do this from leevalley? I will have to stop by there and pick up all the stuff i need then. I’ll also do a practice piece before i try it on the actual project.

    #485323
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    @JimDaddyO of course there will be pictures, might even be videos if i can get it right. I am just researching the finish right now so when i start the project i know where i am heading. I have a project shadow box, display case coming up where i want it to help showcase what is in it.

    OHH Video! You made my heart skip a beat.

    so basically you were able to get everything to do this from leevalley? I will have to stop by there and pick up all the stuff i need then. I’ll also do a practice piece before i try it on the actual project.

    I got my flakes from Wood Essence, but LV does have some. Make sure it is dewaxed. There are a few colours, super blonde affects the wood colour very little, while garnet will add a hue of red. There are colours in between.

    “Button” shellac is raw and has not been dewaxed. Shellac is food safe. If you have eaten Smarties or M&M’s, you ate ate shellac.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #485981
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    @JimDaddyO of course there will be pictures, might even be videos if i can get it right. I am just researching the finish right now so when i start the project i know where i am heading. I have a project shadow box, display case coming up where i want it to help showcase what is in it.

    OHH Video! You made my heart skip a beat.

    so basically you were able to get everything to do this from leevalley? I will have to stop by there and pick up all the stuff i need then. I’ll also do a practice piece before i try it on the actual project.

    I got my flakes from Wood Essence, but LV does have some. Make sure it is dewaxed. There are a few colours, super blonde affects the wood colour very little, while garnet will add a hue of red. There are colours in between.

    “Button” shellac is raw and has not been dewaxed. Shellac is food safe. If you have eaten Smarties or M&M’s, you ate ate shellac.

    so i should get the flakes and do it myself rather than buy this one?
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=20106&cat=1,190,42942

    The prices aren’t bad,
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=72634&cat=1,190,42942

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=20059&cat=1,190,43040

    Also does the french polish need buffing afterwards?

    #486024
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    @JimDaddyO of course there will be pictures, might even be videos if i can get it right. I am just researching the finish right now so when i start the project i know where i am heading. I have a project shadow box, display case coming up where i want it to help showcase what is in it.

    OHH Video! You made my heart skip a beat.

    so basically you were able to get everything to do this from leevalley? I will have to stop by there and pick up all the stuff i need then. I’ll also do a practice piece before i try it on the actual project.

    I got my flakes from Wood Essence, but LV does have some. Make sure it is dewaxed. There are a few colours, super blonde affects the wood colour very little, while garnet will add a hue of red. There are colours in between.

    “Button” shellac is raw and has not been dewaxed. Shellac is food safe. If you have eaten Smarties or M&M’s, you ate ate shellac.

    so i should get the flakes and do it myself rather than buy this one?
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=20106&cat=1,190,42942

    The prices aren’t bad,
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=72634&cat=1,190,42942

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=20059&cat=1,190,43040

    Also does the french polish need buffing afterwards?

    I would say that it is subjective on what you get. For me, it is all about control, so I prefer flakes and mixing it myself and controlling the oil too. Sometimes you don’t want oil at all. When doing the spiriting off particularly, because that is the process of removing any oil residue at the end, which also takes care of buffing. Mixed shellac does have a shelf life, while flakes, stored in a cool dry place will last a long long time.

    Shellac comes from the Lac beetle. Essentially bug sweat. It is an all natural product, the only processing is taking the naturally occurring wax out of it.

    Anything other than padding it on, as shown in all the preceding videos, is not French Polishing. FP is a time and labour intensive process and has been done that way and perfected hundreds of years ago. I know a lot of folks don’t like the statement “because it has always been done this way”, but in this instance, there is a reason, and that reason is the results.

    There are many items called “antiques” that have lasted through the ages and that is a product of the techniques and materials that were used. The technology may date back centuries, but I doubt anything you buy from the local furniture store or IKEA will last as long. I am not a big fan of “Chippendale” (18th century) or “Louis XIV” (1700’s) or “Rococo” (again 18th century) styles. They are much too ornate for my taste, but the workmanship with the tools and technology they had is just mind blowing. I lean toward more “Colonial American”/”Early American” (1600’s) with simple lines and functionality. A trip to Colonial Williamsburg to see the process still lived today would be awesome.

    That being said, I still like my power tools and computer also…lol.

    edit: Yes, I know I digress often….lol

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #486037

    @JimDaddyO I liked your digression, and I have similar inclinations with respect to furniture design. So another, digression, if you are going to do an edible shellac application, use pure ethanol (alcool) not denatured 🙂 it is, needless to say more expensive and harder to source.

    Will

    #486053
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    @JimDaddyO I liked your digression, and I have similar inclinations with respect to furniture design. So another, digression, if you are going to do an edible shellac application, use pure ethanol (alcool) not denatured :) it is, needless to say more expensive and harder to source.

    The alcohol evaporates off, so it is of little consequence in what type you choose. It is only a medium to thin and carry the shellac to the surface, dissolving it and making it workable. Much the same way water evaporates from latex paint.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #486265
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    @JimDaddyO I liked your digression, and I have similar inclinations with respect to furniture design. So another, digression, if you are going to do an edible shellac application, use pure ethanol (alcool) not denatured :) it is, needless to say more expensive and harder to source.

    The alcohol evaporates off, so it is of little consequence in what type you choose. It is only a medium to thin and carry the shellac to the surface, dissolving it and making it workable. Much the same way water evaporates from latex paint.

    Since I am going to head to the pharmacy to pick up a larger quantity of mineral oil, I’ll ask about 99 percent alcohal to go with it

    #486380
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    I think that medical grade isopropyl alcohol is about 77%. You can get 99% at livestock supply places like TSC, and likely cheaper there too.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #486445
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    I think that medical grade isopropyl alcohol is about 77%. You can get 99% at livestock supply places like TSC, and likely cheaper there too.

    all right, i’ll swing by on my days off and update you guys as how far i’ve gotten to collecting all the materials. Mind you I haven’t even started the shadow box build just yet.

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