A Passion for Finishing

What is it about the French?
French toast.
French kissing.
French polishing.
French revolution.
English mustard.

So many woodworkers hate finshing. They invest so much time, effort and passion into creating the item, but let it all slip away by not taking the time to get the best finish possible. And yeah, I’m just as guilty. I try not to be, and it isn’t necessarily for a lack of desire, but a lack of knowledge.

When we do try to finish, we rush it, jump for easy solutions, a finish in a can, a wipe in a bottle. And there are some excellent modern solutions for sure. But we know there are some great finishes, from a time that really understood timber, and the one that is the best known, revered (and feared) is French polishing. It is the finish so many others claim to emulate.

Instead of ignoring French polishing, why not embrace it? You could read up on it, learning all about the tools, techniques, formulas and methods from an expert, or find an expert to learn from by doing a class. Perhaps one that not only can demonstrate a good French polish, but can pick one out on antique furniture. Even one that is a master craftsman, International Member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen in Britain, and member of the Victorian Antique Dealers Guild. Guess that describes one person: Bryan Neville Beechey! (I included all three names as he sometimes goes by one or the other).

He runs courses in French polishing, and has written the book!


Click here for more info on the book, and courses, and his website on French Polishing.

Click here for a pdf preview of a few pages of his book

I was lucky enough to have Neville give me a signed copy when I met him at the Ballarat Wood Show. I haven’t read the book closely yet: need some quiet time to really digest all the info contained therein. Perhaps we should encourage Neville to run some courses in Melbourne (if he doesn’t already!)- why should only Colac have well polished furniture? 😉 I see the future: a French Polishing class over a weekend at the Woodworking Warehouse, and I might finally finish my Hall Table properly (no- still not done 😦 )

If you have been fortunate to have done Neville’s course, let us know in the comments, and even better, show us some of the resulting articles!

One Response

  1. […] A review of my book from Stewart at Stu’s Shed […]

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