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Finishing How you make your work look great!

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Old 09-12-2008, 03:44 AM
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Default French Polish

I wish there were a way for me to shoot video and share it.
I struggled with French polish for a long time before all the little nuances just finally came together. It would have been SO much easier to have someone take 30 minutes and just show me.
How much shellac on the pad, how much oil, how tight is the pad, how to hold it, how much pressure, move how fast, when it feels like this, what does that mean ? ? ?
Things I've learned
Linen vs cotton is like a rotex vs a bumpy rock. It just makes things work right. Wool in the core, but if it is dyed wool, the dyes may bleed eventually, which keeps you from reusing a core the next day, the next week.
Like drywall mud, less is more. Early mistake was too much shellac in the pad. This can give you sticky results. A teaspoon at a time works much better for me. Oil, early mistake again, too much. At first, you need a little to glaze over the surface, but once its there, it doesn't take but a drop now and again to maintain the right glide. And too much you just have to remove later anyway.
4F pumice. Powder of the finishing gods. Inside the pad between the cloth and the core, early on in the process, removes tiny irregularities and fills pores. Pumice is white when dry but translucent when wet. In shellac, it is just transparent. You'll never see it or know it's there. On open pored woods it makes a world of difference in look.
The linen cloth will likely abrade away if you use pumice faster than it would without. If it gets glazed and starts to fray, move the core over a few inches. You can move around the cloth a few times before its burnt up.

Intermission
:cool_ shades: brought to you by Fred

Load the pad like a waiter pours a water glass - away from the clientele. A drip spoils the day.
Movement is pretty fast. And just moving the elbow wears you out fast, letting the wrist flex back and forth sideways adds speed to the pad and decreases fatigue. It also forces your hand to relax and not grip the pad too tightly. You want just enough grip to hold it firm. I used to think you had to squeeze ever tighter as you went, but I don't anymore. When the pad quits working, recharge a dab, and go again.
If you ever spit shined a pair of boots, you did little swirls, then figure 8's, then long passes . . . point being, whatever you did, it was purposefully random. So is this. I'll swirl, then 8, then make long sweeping arcs at the end.
You be the judge. This is the underside of the blanket chest lid.
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: French Polish

I appreciate the thought RW, intermission, but my head was already spinning from all that detail. I need quiet time for intermission. I'll probably have to wait for the movie to understand this. Thanks anyway.

That board sure is pretty!

Last edited by MichaelKellough; 09-13-2008 at 05:30 PM.
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