French Polishing

The Achilles' Heel of Luthiery
ruby@magpage.com
Posts: 1511
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
Location: Chestertown Maryland

Re: French Polishing

Post by ruby@magpage.com »

Diane
That's a lovely job of finishing on a very nice looking guitar

Ed
Ed M
Diane Kauffmds
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: French Polishing

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Thank you!
banjopicks
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Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: French Polishing

Post by banjopicks »

Thanks very much for the tutorial Dianne. It's been a long time, many years since I've used this type of finish but I want to get away from spraying nitro and shellac may be on my next instrument.
Diane Kauffmds
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: French Polishing

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

I completed the guitar today, so it'll be posted in the show it off section of the forum.
jread
Posts: 285
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:52 am

Re: French Polishing

Post by jread »

Adding on to this great thread to see if there is any advice around getting shellac to be "less glossy" but still smooth. Ie, a nice satin finish.

I'm getting pretty decent at glossy french polish but I've had several people tell me that my finish is "killer" when it's just a wash coat. A wash coat of shellac looks surprisingly similar to our mahogany Martin 00L which is not pore-filled and has a satin finish. Some people strongly prefer that over a glossy look.

So, If would like to use shellac but get a more satin or semi-gloss, is it better to just stop French Polishing before it gets all glossy or polish all the way to a shine then dull it? I've read that shellac is not appropriate for this but have had our OP suggest buffing it back w/ fine grits. For me, taking the shine off of French Polish just leaves it looking like there's tiny scratch marks everywhere. Stopping the polishing sessions after a build up but no polishing to a gloss seems like a bad move for some reason.

Stopping early works better on spruce. My current build looks great with a satin like finish on the top but the back is rosewood and any effort I take to dull the finish just looks like damage. I'm going to ask my customer to consider a glossy back and sides and a satin top which Diane (OP) prefers.
Diane Kauffmds
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: French Polishing

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Just stop at the point where you want it. If it's too shiny, I've used 0000 steel wool to evenly over the too shiny fp finish (I prefer satin), then I've simply quickly spirited off again and stopped when I'm happy with the shine level.

Alternatively, you can 0000 it, then use micromesh and stop where you like the shine.
Danl8
Posts: 707
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Location: Chadds Ford, PA

Re: French Polishing

Post by Danl8 »

I didn't see this thread when originally posted, but glad to see it now. Beautiful guitar, Diane!
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