An easy way to polish country style furniture

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When I was active in the antique industry importing country style furniture from the czech republic I was taught a method from an old slav french polisher, making old pine or rustic furniture gleam and ooze patina.

He asked me how I french polished country style furniture, I said we don't down under we wax & polish.

He laughed and gave me a recipe which I will pass on to fellow antique dealers & collectors. 

Firstly mix a 1 litre bottle with 3/4 of pure turps & 1/4 boiled linseed oil. ( If you want to get marks out of  furniture & want to keep the original patina + Add 100mls of white vinegar & shake with vigour. ) use XXXX grade steel wool, firstly get your solution mix and pour part of it into a bowl. Get your steel wool into a ball and dip into solution then gently go over the whole item slowly where there are watermarks or stains wipe a little harder going over it but continue to go all over your item. If there are watermarks you will see them disappear in minutes.

Please Attention here:

Do not rub in the same area as you will slowly lose the original colour or patina, so remember all over the item in question and a little harder over the problem areas.

Once you have finished that wipe dry. You should have a semi dull finish Good!

Now use shellac flakes ( that you have made up with metho, fill an empty coffee jar full of shellac flakes & top it up with metho. Seal it and let it dissolve should take up to 4 hours.Before using it give it a good shake. ( when you open the jar for the 1st time you will notice that the jar will get quite sticky tight, just dab a little metho round the rim and close after use you will see that it is easier to open next time ) or buy a bottle of white shellac readily available in bunnings or other hardware stores.

Make up a nice flat cotton bead or rubber )  that will fit into your hand or fist and again pour your shellac into a bowl next to this an old piece of newspaper. dip your rubber  that should fit into your palm of your hand press on to the paper to get excess shellac then start with horizontal or vertical movement to go over the item, lightly again dip on to the paper and continue.... now when you have finished say a top of a trunk or table you will notice that you have possibly left lines, ( the old way is to give it several coats and then sand lightly with a fine steel wool or sandpaper continuing to build layer over layer ) Stop!

Once you have finished 2 or 3 layers now the secret....... make up a bowl of boiled linseed pour part into bowl. Now take again a fist of steel wool XXXX and dip into the boiled linseed solution and go over the whole lot nice & thick, you will see that the shellac is not sticking against this solution ( so basically smother it all over ...and now take 1000 /1200 wet & dry sandpaper take a rubbing block or make up a small 4 " x 2 " piece of timber put the sandpaper around it and start to sand with vigour. You will slowly see that it is drying up the solution on top it's basically burnishing the surface allowing the solution to react and close the grain.

When you feel that you have dried all of that excess solution you will notice once again a dull blotchy surface repeat the technique of the shellac rubber & newspaper and start again continue this technique until you feel that you have built up your surface nice & even.

You can repeat boil linseed method  with your wet & dry

When you are satisfied you have built up your finish


Last layer will be solely shellac. So back to the start and finish off with a quick but firm stroke of shellac not forgetting always your technique of the newspaper. 2 or 3 runs are enough.

Let it dry and we come to the finishing stage.

I use only liberon wax french product expensive like hell but god what a wax.

Take several lumps of wax and place into a small pot  cover with pure turps u can heat slowly and stir with piece of wood ( like an old ruler or something ) you will notice it is slowly becoming a thick sludge Good! when it is all melted take it off the heat and take a small paint brush and slowly cover your surface of the trunk or table ( do not worry about the thickness make it sloppy once you have gone over the area let it dry over night come back in the morning and take a cloth and wipe quickly you will notice it has become hard and it is quite easy to polish your end product should look pretty amazing under the liberon wax will be your french polish glow and the layer of wax over the top you should have a 2 dimentional look. with rustic furntiure the wax will have gone into grooves and dints and it will give the impression that this has taken 30 40 50 years to get this awesome finish.

Gee I hope this helps I always kept this to a small circle of country pine dealers so now you know how we did it : )

Hope this has helped vote Yes if it has



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