French Polish Like a Pro DVD

Article - October 5, 2010

French Polish like a Pro is a DVD from Southern California hobbyist woodworker, Vijay Velji. Obviously from the title, you can guess that Vijay will show you how to French Polish. This is a technique that involves shellac, oil, alcohol, and a lot of elbow grease. The resulting mirror gloss finish is unmatched! As if covering this technique wasn’t enough, amazingly, this 30 minute DVD manages to go much deeper. To really understand the technique of French Polishing, you need to familiarize yourself with shellac, how it behaves, and how to make it. Vijay explains all of this in simple terms that anyone can understand. At the risk of sounding trite, he demystifies the topic. Here are the primary areas covered in the DVD:

  • How to make a shellac solution
  • The “cut” – proper ratio of shellac flakes to alcohol
  • How to construct polishing pads
  • Preparation of the wood surface
  • Pore filling
  • Bodying
  • Burnishing
  • Effect of moisture on shellac

Now there’s nothing particularly unique about Vijay’s French Polishing technique. It looks fairly standard to me. And although French Polishing is in the title, that’s just a small part of what I personally gleaned from this DVD. For instance, Vijay points out that shellac is misunderstood and has a bit of a undeserved negative reputation in the world of finishing. I am sure you folks have heard many times that shellac has poor water and alcohol resistance. You’ll be doing a double-take when you see the results of Vijay’s tests where he exposes a French polished surface to water and alcohol for several hours with little to no effect on the finish. I love a woodworker who puts his money where his mouth is!

If you have any interest at all in shellac or French polishing, this DVD is a “required viewing”. As someone who has used shellac for years as a sealer and general problem-solver, I am beginning to think it deserves a serious upgrade in my finishing hierarchy.

Its worth noting that Vijay just had an article published in the Nov./Dec. issue of Fine Woodworking: Shellac’s Amazing Journey. And on Wednesday, October 6th at 9pm Eastern, we’ll be having a live Guild interview with the man himself! We’ll discuss his adventures with shellac and get down to the nitty gritty on durability, longevity, and application. Join the Guild today to participate in the interview.

Check out this preview of the DVD: