P.T. Bali Woodwoorld offers French Polishing as an optional finish
for the interior wood surfaces only. Because French Polishing requires a
large number of coats and intermediate sanding, there is an additional
charge for this option. French Polishing is NOT suitable for wood that is exposed
to the weather.
For anyone who wishes to
make their home as “organic” as possible by eliminating all man-made
toxins, plastics, solvent or acrylic based paints, hydrocarbon based
carpets (nylon, polyester), etc., French Polishing is almost a must. To
understand why, read the section below on the origins of Shellac, the base
component for French Polishing.
French polishing on
flooring will become dull and bare during its use, although the color of
the stain will remain. This will give an antique look. Unlike other
stains, lacquers, varnishes and paints, French polishing will not scale
when exposed to rain and sunlight, since the denatured alcohol evaporates
instantly when applied leaving the stain color of the Shellac embedded in
the grains of the wood.
|A floor treated with French
polishing will give an antique look over time.
French polishing is one of the
classic finishes for wood. Although French polishing came to the fore
in the late 19th century, the underlying premise of using Shellac has
been used for nearly 4000 years.
The "Organic" origins of
resins come from the Coccus Lacca bug, indigenous to Indonesia,
Thailand and India and are actually the insect's resinous
Lacca, a scale insect that feeds on certain trees, produces
gummy substances thru its pores, which are actually the insect's
resinous secretions which hardens into a protective coating
called "lac". This lac is collected and then crushed washed and
Ironically, for a finish that has such a dubious start in life,
Shellac has many applications in today's world. The resin
provides a non-toxic, thermoplastic coating that is approved by
the food and drug industries as a coating on fruits (where the
resin prevents molds and spores) and drugs where it acts as a
slow release enteric coating on many today's medicines.
Shellac has excellent adhesive properties and can be polished to
a high gloss or rubbed out to a satin or flat sheen as desired.
Shellac has usually a clear
(blond) or amber (orange) color. Some ready to use variations come
pre-mixed with denatured alcohol. It is also possible to use "pure"
Shellac flakes that can be mixed with alcohol.
The secret of the proper use of
Shellac lays in the number of "cuts". Each pound of Shellac flakes
that is added to one gallon of denatured alcohol equates to one pound
cut. Normally, Shellac is not used over a three pound cut.
The trick of the Shellac is
that it dries very quickly since the alcohol evaporates almost
instantly. This allows one to apply many thin film layers of the mix
quiet quickly, resulting in a very even coat of paint.
All Shellacs imbue some bit of color to wood.
They also won't yellow as much with age as other varnishes and
Shellac dries hard and won't gum-up like oil
finishes. It is easily repairable, has an outstanding clarity and
really pops the grain of those wild grained woods.
Once you have seen
a Shellac finishing ain't no going back to any other finishing.
Click <here> to return to the Introduction page