Hand Finishing

Hand Finishing
Hand Finish on a headboard

One prominent area in furniture restoration craft practice is the treatment of surface finishes. We offer a comprehensive range of period and modern hand applied finishes including French polishing, straight oil finishes, oil varnishes and wax polishing. While retaining the best of the traditional application methods, we also refine the process in the light of modern material sciences to enhance durability and long-term stability of the final product by both eliminating the use of oil lubricants which weaken and soften the final coating and by using top quality shellac supplies, while ensuring that each application is made fresh for the specific project.

French polishing was developed during the nineteenth century in Europe and has become synonymous with period finish work; it has the advantages of being extremely stable and long lasting as well as being arguably the most aesthetically pleasing of any wood finish.

Where original or period finishes are involved (as distinct from later or recent restorations), every effort is made to preserve and enhance the existing surfaces. Wholesale replacement of old or original surface finishes should only be considered as a last resort where the finish is very badly worn or degraded. We offer modern minimally intrusive cleaning systems and wax polishing to preserve older finish coatings.

Shown below are some examples of “before” and “after” treatments on a section of figured mahogany which had a poor quality modern finish replaced with a period style shellac French polish to enhance color and clarity of the wood figure as well as adding greater protection to the wood surface.