French Polishing in Bars and Restaurants

 

 

 

Coles French Polishing Logo

GLOSSARY OF TERMS


FRENCH POLISHING

 

French polishing is not polishing as such, but a method of applying many thin coats of shellac using a rubbing pad, yielding a very fine glossy finish.


Special tools used to apply wood finishes include rags, rubbing pads, brushes, and spray guns. The processes involved and the terminology for the materials used are quite different in Britain than the processes and terms used in the USA.

 

For instance, the process of replicating the look and feel of traditional French polished wood is more commonly done in the UK by "pulling over" precatalysed lacquer, within 24 hours of spraying, whereas in the US a "rubbed" finish is more common.

 

SPRAY FINISHING

 

Spray finishing is a painting technique where a device sprays a coating (paint, ink, varnish etc.) through the air onto a surface. The most common types employ compressed gas — usually air compressed by an air compressor — to atomize and direct the paint particles.

 

Spray guns developed from airbrushes and the two are usually distinguished by their size and the size of the spray pattern they produce. Airbrushes are hand held and used instead of a brush for detailed work such as photo retouching, painting nails or fine art. Air gun spraying uses equipment that is generally larger. It is typically used for covering large surfaces with an even coating of liquid. Spray guns can be either automated or hand-held and have interchangeable heads to allow for different spray patterns.

 

WOOD FINISHING

 

Wood finishing refers to the process of embellishing and/or protecting the surface of a wooden material. The process starts with surface preparation, either by sanding by hand (typically using a sanding block or power sander), scraping, or planing. Imperfections or nail holes on the surface may be filled using wood putty or pores may be filled using wood filler.

 

Often, the wood's colour is changed by staining, bleaching, ammonia fuming and a number of other techniques. Some woods such as pine or cherry do not take stain evenly, resulting in "blotching". To avoid blotching, a barrier coat such as shellac or "wood conditioner" is applied before the stain. Gel stains are also used to avoid blotching.


Once the wood surface is prepared and stained, a number of coats of finish may be applied, often sanding between coats. Commonly used wood finishes include wax, shellac, drying oils (such as linseed oil or tung oil), lacquer, varnish, or paint. Other finishes called "oil finish" or "Danish Oil" are actually thin varnishes with a relatively large amount of oil and solvent. Water-based finishes can cause what is called "raising the grain" where surface fuzz emerges and requires sanding down.


Finally the surface may be polished or buffed using steel wool, pumice, rottenstone and other polishing or rubbing compounds depending on the shine desired. Often, a final coat of wax can be applied over the finish to add a slight amount of protection.

 

LACQUER

 

In a general sense, lacquer is a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required.

 

ANTIQUES RESTORATION

 

Antiques restoration refers to either the practice of "restoration"- restoring an antique or work of art to a like-new condition (or what might be perceived by a viewer or potential buyer as like-new), or "conservation"- the practice of preserving an antique or work of art against further deterioration.