French Polishing Course

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French polishing and traditional wood finishing

French Polishing Course

This short course is ideal for people who would like to learn how to finish furniture using traditional wood finishing and French polishing techniques. The course is also suitable for restorers and owners of antique furniture as well as hobbyists.

Course suitability

Beginners √
Intermediate √
Advanced X

Thank you to Bob for his professional and positive support and teaching on the recent Wood Finishing course. It was inspiring to see his knowledge and he was very skilled at meeting the diverse needs of us all, giving individualised advice enabling us all to achieve our goals by the end of the two days.

Tricia Davies, French Polishing Course

Book now

You can book and pay for our short courses via our secure online booking system.

Course Overview

Why choose this course?

This two-day practical French polishing and Traditional Wood Finishing course, delivered by a professional polisher with over 45 years’ experience in the trade, is designed for those who are new to wood staining and wood finishing and those who wish to gain hands-on experience in this specialist field of French Polishing, wood finishing and furniture restoration. The course has been designed to complement the skills of furniture makers/restorers, as well as those who buy or own antique furniture that needs bringing back to life.

The course has an emphasis on the sound understanding and use of traditional French polishes and wood stains and ‘touching-in’ techniques, including the selection and use of finishing materials.

All equipment, materials and sample boards are provided, but students will need to bring along one or two small and portable items to work on (which don’t need to be family heirlooms). Suitable items include a side table, chair, stool, leaf from an extending table, jewellery box, lamp base, etc. If you don’t have anything in mind, reasonably priced items can be bought from your local second-hand furniture shop.

Students practice on boards that are provided and then work on their own pieces, for example, sanding one whilst another is being stripped or its finish is drying. This specialist course is aimed at students with no previous experience or limited knowledge of French Polishing and wood finishing – time is allocated for discussion on stains, fillers, bleaches, polishes and waxes. Small groups ensure plenty of hands-on tuition for every student.

Two-day courses are divided into three disciplines:

  • Material identification, preparation
    and use
  • Stripping, staining and colouring up
  • Traditional wood finishing, French polishing and waxing

What will I achieve?

This course gives students a thorough grounding in the safe and practical use of traditional wood finishing and French polishing techniques, through practical demonstrations and hands-on experience. Students work on a personal wood finishing project under expert guidance, ensuring professional results.

Do you offer a student discount?

Whilst on the course students will receive a 5% discount code for use at Peter’s tool shop www.woodworkersworkshop.co.uk students are able to try out, test and buy woodworking tools and equipment – try before you buy.

Course content

Induction and welcome to the school

Basic safety considerations

  • Personal safety – safe use of finishing products

Materials used in traditional wood finishing and French Polishing

  • Strippers and revivers
  • Stains and earth colours
  • Grain fillers and filler sticks
  • Shellacs and waxes

Tools

  • Scrapers and abrasive papers
  • Wire wools and Mirlon pads
  • Pencil brushes and mops
  • Fads, rubbers and waxing pads

Techniques

  • Stripping or reviving
  • Grain filling and staining
  • Touching in and bodying up
  • Spiriting off and waxing
  • Handouts including techniques, methods, materials and sources

Items to be polished

All equipment, materials and sample boards are provided, but students will need to bring along one or two small and portable items to work on, which don’t need to be family heirlooms. Suitable items include a side table, chair, stool, leaf from an extending table, jewellery box, lamp base etc.; if you don’t have anything in mind, reasonably priced items can be bought from your local second-hand furniture shop. If you are unsure about what to bring, please call us on 01684 591014 to discuss their suitability.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to bring anything?

You do not have to bring any tools, equipment or materials with you, as we supply everything you need. Please do not get dressed up for the occasion as wood finishing can be a messy job! Please don’t forget to bring your items to be polished.

What facilities are available?

Students will need to provide their own lunch each day. Tea and coffee are provided by the school. It is only a 3-minute drive to the town centre, where you will be able to buy lunch from the bakery or supermarkets on the High Street – there’s also a great fish and chip shop.

Where can I stay during the course?

To find out more about accommodation click here

Are you under 18?

The school regrets that we are unable to accept applications from anyone under the age of 18 at the start of their course.

Average Rating: 5.0 out of 5 (3 votes)
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Matthew Thomas

A big thank you!

Just to say a big thank you for running such an excellent course. Bob was a fantastic and patient teacher, even when I disobeyed orders!!!!! He also made me appreciate how much experience and knowledge he had, but at the same time, gave me the confidence to try out the techniques and get good results which is pretty good for a first go. It was thoroughly enjoyable and incredibly worthwhile.

1 year ago
Tricia Davies

Thank you Bob

Thank you to Bob for his professional and positive support and teaching on the recent Wood Finishing course. It was inspiring to see his knowledge and he was very skilled at meeting the diverse needs of us all, giving individualised advice enabling us all to achieve our goals by the end of the two days.

3 years ago
Jane Spendelow

Fantastic course

I just wanted to say how fantastic I thought the French polishing course was that I recently attended. The table is now completely finished and looks amazing

11 years ago

Review French Polishing Course.

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