French Polishing & Modern Hand Finishes

Skill Level : Beginner / Intermediate 

Cost : £590

Duration : 5 Days

Other : None

Dates :

30 October - 3 November 2017

13-17 August 2018

19-23 August 2019


About the course

This course is appropriate for both the complete beginner, and the more experienced restorer or furniture maker, who is perhaps lacking in confidence, or would like to look at a new approach to an old subject. Whilst this course is described as “Traditional” hand finishing, it is in fact hand finishing using mainly traditional materials, but with an up-to-date slant. The methods that John teaches for ‘French Polishing’ use simplified techniques which have evolved in our workshops over the years and make the process very approachable and less confusing.

All aspects of finishing wood will be covered, from the initial preparation, to final waxing. Test panels will be provided so that all of the techniques can initially be practised in safety! These panels may also be taken away and used for later reference.

Students are also encouraged to bring along one or two smaller items of their own work that they have made or are restoring, or timbers / veneers that they are intending to use, and advice may then be given on designing appropriate finishing systems for them.

The aim of this course is that students will emerge with a thorough understanding of the principles of finishing, and a good grasp of various hand finishing techniques together with the confidence to use them.

What You Will Learn

Preparing wood for finishing

Colouring – using stains and chemicals

Grain filling – various methods and materials

Filling minor defects – various types of filler

Polish – making shellac & wax polish

Polishing – shellac “French polishing”, heat resistant systems, wax polish

Using modern finshes, oils etc.

Blending defects and repairs – cosmetic colouring systems

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What our students say about this course

"Worked systematically through the topics with ample time to develop practical skills."

"The relaxed setting, makes the whole course more enjoyable. John always has time for questions no matter what."

"The course was excellent, I really liked the fact that is was quite relaxed and interactive, lots of practice, lots of humour. Really nice!"

"The small group allows for lots f individual help ad we were able to go off track easily to discuss specific things in more depth."


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