What is French Polishing about?
A Brief Company History
What do our Customers have to say?

The term French Polishing, to many means ‘only for antiques’, or only for ‘solid wood furniture.’ The other favourite is that old commercial for the yellow pages when the young lad lifts up the phone and says,

“ French polishers? You could save my life!”

I have yet to be called for that reason but the repair is familiar.


These myths need to be put to rest. Certainly antiques were French Polished. Many of them too were finished with varnishes or pure beeswax.


 In the late 18th century, Adam, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton, were using figured and decorated veneers over solid hardwood to embellish their furniture. Veneer being a thin  layer of wood can be French polished, or varnished, the same as solid wood.


By the mid 19th century the timbers to be covered in veneer were less expensive pines and softwoods.  Today man-made chipboards, ply’s and MDF are the chosen base materials.


‘French Polish’ is the name of a shellac polish, as well as the technique. Button, Garnet, and Pale, are also shellac polishes. The finish achieved, can be from a light sheen to a full and deep shine. The deep shine is the one that most know as being french polished.


The wood used, the piece, and customer preference, determine the finish. Traditionally grand dining tables, and pianos are given the deep shine. Oaks and Pines simply have a sealing coat of polish before a wax finish.



Anything made of wood can be polished. The table, and the chest of drawers, antique and the not so old are regulars in my workshop. Picture and mirror frames, walking sticks and I was even asked to renovate an old radio cabinet.


Wood is a beautiful material to work with and to look at. The grains, and textures are unique to each piece. Modern ‘quick’ finishes can take the same time to apply, as a light coating of shellac polish. They take longer to dry and the finishes are poles apart. A hardwood stair handrail will look good, and it will feel silky smooth to the touch when finished with French polish and wax.

We can bring your wood back to life.

No job too big or too small.



        We are 'Makeover Artists for Wood.




Barcombe Wood Finish was established initially on the first of April 2000. (Ten years later we started a web site!). In 2003 Andrew was offered a position in the woodshop at Rolls Royce Motor cars. A very interesting opportunity. The standard and quality of work was second to none and  having aquired more skills, in 2009 Barcombe Wood Finish Ltd had its own make over bringing the qualities of the best car in the world with it. Customer testimonialsWhat do our customers have to say?

"With my sincere thanks, a beautiful result."

For the restoration of a Rosewood writing box.

"thank you for completing the refurbishment of the book cabinet and sideboard. They have made difference to the Officers Mess."

from The Officers Mess 3PWRR 


Thank you for the splendid work on our  furniture."

Mr Mrs R from West Chiltington


Many thanks for bringing back our Ercol pieces so beautifully restored yesterday."

Mrs P from Worthing. 

Andrew says;It is sometimes award enough to see a finished piece back in its home but to receive letters of thanks from my customers is very very satisfying.

© 2018 Barcombe Wood FInish Ltd

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tel 01903 700753