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Old 11th Jan 2012, 11:21 am   #65
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield. UK.
Posts: 669
Default Re: French polishing for beginners.


Many thanks Kevin for adding the picture of the baled cotton waste. It never fails to amaze me what useful information and tips turn up in these threads.

I did a quick web search for baled cotton waste and the results covered; cotton fibre processing waste into mulch; top dressing or potting mix and briquetting or pelletizing on one site with cotton cleaning rags and cotton baling machines on others making me wonder if baled cotton waste is going the same way as skin wadding in becoming difficult to obtain.

As a total novice to French polishing a few years ago I had great difficulty in tracking down the correct "skin wadding". I spent days surfing the web and tried lots of local companies; eventually I phoned a local upholsterer only to find that he had recently retired but that he would be happy to give me the bit of skin wadding he had left which he kindly did; at least having this bit of skin wadding I now knew what it looked like.

The picture below shows the roll of skin wadding I bought from restoration Materials in Bury. The material is made up of a sandwich with an inner thick layer of what looks like cotton wool but not the kind of cotton wool that can be bought anywhere; this as the name implies is covered both sides with a skin of extremely fine fabric. This roll when bought was very cheap and for my use will last a lifetime. Each cabinet restoration only requires a single piece of wadding about 9" square so this roll will do many restorations.

Another wadding supplier is John Penny at the following website;

Out of interest I buy my hide glue from John Penny's which I use for veneering and can highly recommend it.

Unfortunately many of the materials which were commonly available only a few years ago are now hard to obtain. Not on topic but a good example is the trouble and frustration I've just had in buying a strip of leather to make a honing belt from. I spent many hours surfing the web and phoned a number of local companies but suddenly I found such a piece of leather to be rarer than gold. It measures 2" x 36" x 1/8" thick so it was not anything special. It cost a lot of money but eventually I bought the leather made up to my specifications and jointed to form a continuous belt from a company in Frisco USA.

For me the hardest part about French polishing was not actually learning the technique but in buying the correct materials which I found most frustrating at the time.

Kind regards, Col.
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