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French Polishing Fort Campbell KY

What is French polish? It’s simply shellac and a little oil applied with a pad. The oil acts as a lubricant when you apply the finish. French polish is available as commercially made products, also labeled as padding lacquer or friction polish.

The Home Depot
(931)906-2655
2630 Wilma Rudolph Blvd
Clarksville, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Thomas Lumber Company
(931) 645-2448
2128 Old Ashland City Rd
Clarksville, TN
 
Kmart 4739 / Cross Merch
(931) 647-2444
2780 Guthrie Hwy
Clarksville, TN
Store Hours
Miscellaneous
Store Type
Miscellaneous
Hours
Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21
Store Features
Monday To Friday Working Hours is :8-22 and for Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21

Lowe's
(931) 920-4102
2150 Lowe'S Drive
Clarksville, TN
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Fastenal- Clarksville
931-906-1878
190 West Dunbar Cave Rd Clarksville, TN, 37040
Clarksville, TN
 
Grandpa's
(931) 647-0251
1894 Fort Campbell Blvd
Clarksville, TN
 
Hardware City
(931) 551-3424
1060 S Riverside Dr
Clarksville, TN
 
Governor Sq Mall
(931) 553-2100
2801 Wilma Rudolph Blvd
Clarksville, TN
Store Hours
Sears Stores
Store Type
Sears Stores
Hours
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:12-18
Store Features
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:12-18

LOWE'S OF CLARKSVILLE, TENN.
931 920-4102
2150 LOWES DRIVE CLARKSVILLE, TN, 37040
Clarksville, TN
 
Lowe's
(270) 707-7201
4580 Fort Campbell Boulevard
Hopkinsville, KY
Hours
M-SA 7 am - 9 pm
SU 9 am - 7 pm

French Polishing

French Polishing

Six Easy Steps to a Beautiful Finish

by Alan Lacer

French polish adds extraordinary depth to gorgeous wood. This finish is perfect for bowls, vessels, lamps and other turnings that aren’t handled often or are exposed to moisture, alcohol or heat. It’s easy to apply: Just hold a cloth moistened with the finish directly to your project as it spins on the lathe. 

What is French polish? It’s simply shellac and a little oil applied with a pad. The oil acts as a lubricant when you apply the finish. French polish is available as commercially made products, also labeled as padding lacquer or friction polish, but I prefer to make my own from flakes, which guarantees freshness. You can achieve a variety of effects because shellac is available in a range of colors (see “Buying Shellac,” below). Here’s how you can mix your own French polish, choose different colors, apply it and rub it out. 

Sand with Fine Grits

Thoroughly sand all surfaces of your project to eliminate torn grain, spirals and ridges. Start with 120-grit and progress through 150-, 180- and 220-grit sandpaper (Photo 1). If sanding scratches still show, continue with 320- or 400-grit sandpaper. Maple and cherry often require these finer grits. After sanding, remove the dust using an alcohol-moistened paper towel.

Photo 1: Sand your piece to eliminate flaws and sanding rings. Remove sanding dust using a paper towel moistened with denatured alcohol held against the workpiece while it’s spinning.

Mix the French Polish

You can use shellac flakes or premixed liquid shellac to make French polish. Either way, your goal is to make a 1-1/2-lb. cut, which is the equivalent of mixing 1-1/2 lbs. of flakes with 1 gal. of denatured alcohol. That’s far too much finish for most projects, however. If you use flakes, dissolve 1-1/2 oz. of flakes with 1 cup of denatured alcohol. Premixed liquid shellac comes in a 3-lb. cut. To make approximately a 1-1/2 lb. cut, thin it with an equal amount of denatured alcohol.

The final ingredient of French polish is an oil, which acts a lubricant to prevent your applicator cloth from dragging or sticking. Add 1 tablespoon of mineral oil for every 3 liquid oz. of 1-1/2-lb.-cut shellac (Photo 2).

Photo 2: French polish is a mixture of shellac and oil. Little oil is needed; it acts as a lubricant for the shellac.

Apply the Finish

Adjust your lathe to run at a moderate speed, about 500 to 800 rpm, slower for large-diameter turnings. Make an applicator for applying the French polish from a densely woven, soft, white cotton cloth that has been washed many times to remove all lint. Soften the pad with alcohol before dipping it into the French polish.

Shake the French polish to suspend the oil, as though it were an oil-and-vinegar salad dressing. Turn on the lathe, saturate the cloth pad and flow on the finish (Photo 3). If the cloth grabs, add a half teaspoon of oil. Let thi...

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