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Old 2nd Dec 2009, 5:15 pm   #21
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

That does look good!! I hope when I try I'll be able to do it that good too
there's a factory unit 2 doors down from where I work with a Meguiars sign on it, I always wondered what they did!! I might go bang on their door one lunch time to see if they sell the stuff from there. I shall have to try some of that swirl remover on my pye, which I used t-cut and burnishing cream on to try to make it look nice.. it still looks hazy in certain light (I used halfords spray lacquer on it ). I also don't particularly like t-cut much due to it being hard work to get off, and it always seems to leave a nasty greenish white powdery deposit behind on some surfaces where you can't get at to shift it easily!

regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 2nd Dec 2009, 6:39 pm   #22
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerodyne View Post
The point about these is that they are basically tinted aerosol lacquer (toned lacquer can be purchased in bulk). Their action is more like paint than stain, i.e. they tend not to soak into the wood grain but 'sit on top' and were used to make slightly differing veneers 'match' by obscuration!
Thanks Tony I did suspect toners sat on top of the grain.

I had an export GEC receiver with B7G valves so a latish model I guess that had a very glossy lacquer finish. The grain however was almost invisible being hidden by some sort of obscuring coat. A very good set with good bandspread but pretty boring looking.

I'm pleased to see that everyone on here likes shiny cabinets. Almost twenty years ago I entered my Ferguson 378 AC into Chas Miller's first concours event at Shifnal. I thought I'd made a beautiful job of the cabinet, admittedly not up to Col's standard and was quite annoyed when Gerry Wells called it a toffee apple. I didn't really expect to win but the winning set was grubby looking with a slack grill cloth. I've still got the Ferguson and still enjoy it.

Thanks all,

Jim
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Old 2nd Dec 2009, 7:59 pm   #23
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Jim, there are those who think that finishing a cabinet to the very high quality exemplified here by Col's work is a 'blasphemy' and that 'patina' (muck and scratches) is essential to remain honest about a set.
Why?
Beats me. Antiques from two centuries ago might be best left alone, woodworm, wear, dirt and all. Surely not radios. I know which I'd prefer to have in my home!
It's the difference between conservation and restoration. The latter is my preference every time. How can a scruffy radio with loose grille cloth win a concours d'elegance?
Gerry's a legend in his own lifetime but that doesn't mean he's always right.
-Tony
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Old 3rd Dec 2009, 2:49 pm   #24
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Moderators,

I would like to nominate this excellent thread for a well-deserved "sticky".

Edward
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Old 3rd Dec 2009, 3:53 pm   #25
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

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I would like to nominate this excellent thread for a well-deserved "sticky".
And I'll definitely second that!

Regards
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Old 4th Dec 2009, 12:39 pm   #26
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hi,

Once again many thanks for your kindness.

I believe you are right Robert as the original finish on this cabinet was very thick and could have been Garnet polish which might explain why the veneer colours were so poor; by applying the coat of raw linseed oil the veneer colours really jumped out and this made a tremendous difference. Finishing with Button polish enhanced the colour rather than obscure it; also I had the time to spend working on the cabinet whereas to the factory time cost money and applying linseed oil would have severely slowed down production.

I wonder how many excellent radio sets have ended up in landfill due to having nothing more seriously wrong other than a scruffy cabinet because as Mike correctly states we usually only see the grubby ones covered in years of neglect.

Iím pleased to hear you have suffered the same problems with T-cut Lloyd and think you will be delighted with Meguiars swirl remover; Iím interested to see what happens when you visit the firm with the Meguiars sign outside also please let us know how you rate this product once you have tried it because Iíve only ever seen it mentioned in the states.

Iím sorry to hear your story about the concours event Jim and can well understand your feelings after putting your heart and soul into a cabinet restoration to have it so rudely dismissed by Gerry; the comment was uncalled for and flippant and hardly in keeping with encouraging you to ever attend again. Please donít sell yourself short Jim because looking at this another way it could be considered a back handed compliment as Iím sure your efforts must have been similar to mine to bring forth such a comment due to the brilliant shine. I hope the owner of the winning set has had time to reflect on it.

A cabinet doesnít have to have a glossy finish just because its French polished or lacquered and if desired a mat or satin finish can be achieved by the additional step of cutting back. This cutting back is usually done with the use of ď0000Ē wire wool and wax polish; a ball of wire wool is dipped in the wax scooping a bit up and then applied using straight strokes to the surface finishing with a buffing using a clean soft cloth.

Iíve never had much success with this method as the wire wool being random strands appeared to cut in varying degrees depending on how the wire wool was presented; some strands cutting a bit deeper than others. Trying to start a stroke using wire wool against an up stand such as a moulding proved difficult in trying to obtain a uniform appearance. I always end up with a sliver of wire wool embedded in my skin giving me electric shocks every time I touch anything so wire wool is disliked by me.

Iíve seen some beautiful satin finishes produced using wire wool where the user unwrapped the wire wool into a flat very fine layer using this with straight strokes so perhaps more practice is required on my part.

We have much in common Tony regarding the finish of a cabinet. I would never knock or criticize another personís choice of cabinet finish because after all; surely the owner has the last word. Iíve kept my head down a bit expecting the term ďover restoredĒ to crop up which it did in a recent edition of the BVWS Bulletin. The cabinet in question was finished to better than new standard and a credit to the fine workmanship of its owner who I may add was actually a role model for me when I first joined the Society. At the time this upset me because I felt rather than criticize; more good would come from encouragement as we all enjoy our hobby in different ways. I could only live with a scruffy set until I could get my hands on it and restore it after all in another 70 years it might be scruffy again giving someone else pleasure restoring it.

Thanks Tony for the additional toner information and Iíd like to add a few thoughts on the subject. I agree totally that cutting through on corners is a major hazard and so easily done in a number of stages whilst restoring a cabinet and must be guarded against. Your reference to using dyes for French polishing is spot on.

I had another restless night in bed last night as I was thinking about using an airbrush for applying dye for anyone seriously into French polishing. I bought a brand new compressor with two airbrushes as a friend informed me he had used an airbrush for applying shellac. I couldnít get mine to spray only produce vast amounts of fumes so gave up. I would need to experiment but think it highly possible with practice to actually apply dye or stain much more accurately with an airbrush than by using a spray can and the cost would be low regarding material. (My compressor and two airbrushes cost approximately £60) Have you ever seen this done Tony or done it yourself? By using an airbrush more control could be exercised together with the dye or stain not obscuring the grain but enhancing it.

Like with Tonyís information Iím always interested to hear in depth detail on re-finishing a cabinet as I still have a lot to learn.

This Bush is now working; after pulling the valves and testing them and checking only to find decent voltages on all the pins I did a bit of disturbance testing to find the fault was only a poor aerial connection; this was strange because I had already tried the connection.

Iíll spend a bit of time and convert my notes into an article and submit it for the editorís consideration for inclusion in the ďBulletinĒ. Regards, Col.
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Old 5th Dec 2009, 4:25 pm   #27
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

I'm definitely into shiny cabinets too! Toffee apples are nice anyway. If I want teacup stains and finger marks, I can always add my own later.

I'm still a relative novice, but thought I would pass on some hints from the professionals who taught me french polishing:

- avoid rounding the edges when sanding by keeping a thumb pressed against the edge of the work underneath the sanding sponge or paper

- they sealed the wood with sanding sealer first rather than french polish, and then cut it back before applying the polish. I prefer this way, having tried both ways

- they dipped their rubbers straight into the polish, although I didn't ask them to explain why

- they also taught me not to use gloves for polishing, as they thought it important to feel what you are doing with the rubber. It's not at all hard to get the polish off your fingers if you wash them in hot water with a splash of household ammonia added BUT not sure about the health implications of this apart from the risk of skin irritation. Anyone know?

I hope these are of help!

Best wishes

Ben
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Old 5th Dec 2009, 5:30 pm   #28
Aerodyne
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Col, I believe that there's a product on the market called (something like) spraying French polish. Personally I find it hard to see how normal French polish - shellac base - could be sprayed without sputtering or blocking the nozzle continuously, unless diluted to an unusable degree. I therefore suspect that the so-called 'Spraying' type may have a cellulose base rather than a meths and will in all likelihood have a formulation that bears no relation to true French polish.
I could be wrong, though!
-Tony
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Old 5th Dec 2009, 5:34 pm   #29
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Quote:
they sealed the wood with sanding sealer first rather than french polish, and then cut it back before applying the polish. I prefer this way, having tried both ways
Presumably, cellulose sanding sealer, then, Ben? I've used this over many years and find it excellent, either for subsequent French polishing, spray lacquering or other finishes.
-Tony
[
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Old 5th Dec 2009, 7:20 pm   #30
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Thats a fabulous job Colin. I'm tempted to ask you if I could post my Goblin Time Spot off to you for similar job done, given its the same size and shape! Seriously though, I think the finish you put on some of your radios is far better than the original factory finish. Great job.
John
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Old 5th Dec 2009, 8:08 pm   #31
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hello Tony

I'm using Mylands Lacacote, but not sure whether they used the same or cellulose sealer. Do you think the cellulose is better?

Regards, Ben
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Old 5th Dec 2009, 11:46 pm   #32
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hi,

Thanks for the information Ben. I'm an experienced glass fibre laminater and ended up with mild dermatitis in my hands which cleared after leaving the job so now I'm very careful with what I handle; I only use warm water and washing up liquid hence it takes ages to get shellac off my hands if I don't wear gloves. Stain is even worse as it bites deep.

Like Tony I've used sanding sealer for many years but only used mine whilst wood turning and its the Cellulose based kind which is not a nice product to use in a confined workshop as I'm looking at the instructions on the tin;

Highly flammable; Harmful by inhalation; Keep away from sources of ignition;Take precautionary measures against static discharges; No smoking; Do not breath vapour/spray: Avoid contact with skin and eyes; Do not use in confined spaces with little or no ventilation. Reading this I don't know how I dare remove the cap off the tin?

Mylands Lacacote sealer looks a much better option because its thinned with meths and can be applied by mop or rubber and I note it's stocked by Restoration Materials so I'll buy some on my next visit and dispose of this cellulose type I have. Any product containing meths still requires careful handling but in my opinion is a safer bet than cellulose and can be applied directly over dried linseed oil.

The best french polishing jobs are grain filled with shellac; this uses more shellac and takes more time to accomplish but is the time honoured way and the way I work as I'm not in production and enjoy the process anyway.

I'm of the same opinion as you Tony regarding spraying French polish; I thinned shellac right down until like water but as already stated created one heck of a fog whilst trying to air brush it; I also have large spray guns but was worried about clogging these up with dried shellac.

I did a quick web search and found spraying french polish is available but I'm unsure what solvent would be used in this product as it is descibed as made with modified solvents and it can be purchased at; http://www.wsjenkins.co.uk/polishes.htm

Many thanks for the kind words John please form an orderly queue.

Thanks to Ben I've learnt something new and will now change to meths based sealer. Out of interest a quick grain filler many years ago was to add a handful of powdered chalk to shellac and this was used on furniture backs the mixture being agitated frequently during use. Regards, Col.
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Old 6th Dec 2009, 10:43 am   #33
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hello Col,

I'm glad you've found the sealer subject helpful.

Another thing I've found good for removing polish is Comma Manista (for example, see http://www.wilcodirect.co.uk/index.p...oducts_id=1260). I think it would be safer than diluted ammonia, as it's based on coconut, lemon and it's got a gritty texture which helps scrub the polish off. That said, I can understand that there's something to be said for avoiding getting it on in the first place, and that takes us back to the gloves...

Regards,

Ben
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Old 6th Dec 2009, 11:00 am   #34
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hi Ben
The name 'Lacacote' seems to suggest that it is in fact cellulose-based. Who knows these days! I suggest that its a case of horses for courses - if you are definitely going to French polish an item, perhap the shellac product is most 'authentic'. If however you intend to lacquer with cellulose or similar, the cellulose sealer might be the one to choose. It's worth saying though that either can be used for any finish as, as far as I am aware, shellac sanding sealer is unaffected by cellulose - and vice versa.
The only reason I tend to prefer the cellulose sealer is its ease of use: shellac products are a little messy for the less-than-professional worker. As Col says, wear cheap hand protection or you'll have the devil's own job getting the stuff out of your fingernails.
Everything has its vices, though and cellulose products are highly volatile, so beware of the fumes if, like me, your lungs are somewhat compromised.
Neither type of sealer is primarily intended to grain fill but the shellac type will do so given patience. Grain filler can be bought in tints as a paste, but it is messy stuff in my experience. I've seen French chalk added, as Col mentions.
-Tony
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Old 6th Dec 2009, 11:59 am   #35
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hi,

I hope this thread encourages even more members to have a go at French polishing as more information is added. I've never seen french polishing basics covered before in such detail and sincerely wish I had this information together with suppliers years ago rather than have to struggle the way I did.

Thanks once again Ben; I've just done a search on the Comma Manista hand cleaner and find it on sale locally through Wilco Motosave. Wilco have 43 stores and it can also be bought online at £3.69 plus UK delivery £2.95. 700ml. by clicking on the link.

I've never heard of this product but it looks to be perfect for my needs and I'm more than happy to buy some.

I'd like to add a bit more information on tinted shellac as mentioned in Tony's post #20. As experience is gained virtually any colour of polish can be made by the addition of powdered colour sold for the purpose of colouring shellac and once again this is is available from Restoration Materials. The colours are powerful so a little goes a long way. For a poor cabinet Garnet Shellac hides a multitude of sins. Regards, Col.
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Old 6th Dec 2009, 2:38 pm   #36
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hi Lads,

Just to prove that anyone can have a go here's a few pictures of my Pye P45 that I've been working on. I have to say I wouldn't have got interested in cabinet work except for Col's excellent threads here and his limitless patience in helping me via email. Anyway I think I'm slowly getting there and have to recommend French polishing.

I'm pretty useless at this sort of thing as a rule and tend not to enjoy it, however this has been a real eye-opener. First using a cabinet scraper to prepare makes the job enjoyable instead of miserable like stripper. Secondly the satisfaction of French polish is enormous, you do need patience but unlike either Danish Oil (easy but rubbish finish) or Lacquer (tricky work, smelly chemicals, but good results) it has given good results - first go, and been a pleasure.

Anyway here's my pics so far - before I muck the whole job up trying to make a PYE logo!

Dom
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Old 6th Dec 2009, 2:46 pm   #37
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert G0UHF View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by igranic View Post
I would like to nominate this excellent thread for a well-deserved "sticky".
And I'll definitely second that!

Regards
Edward and Robert - the thread is now well and truly stuck.
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Old 6th Dec 2009, 3:48 pm   #38
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hi Col

The Manista does take more perseverance/scrubbing than ammonia solution, but it's probably as good as it gets without resorting to nasty chemicals. Let me know how you find it.

Regards

Ben

Last edited by radioben; 6th Dec 2009 at 3:57 pm.
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Old 7th Dec 2009, 12:01 pm   #39
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

Hi,

Thanks Ben I'll let you know; I've just bought a tub of Manista and it looks promising; it also smells nice.

A splendid job Dom and what a transformation. I'm so pleased you are the first to show your success with scraping and french polishing as I know how much effort and determination you've put in on this cabinet over the last few weeks and its a credit to you. I agree about the deep sense of satisfaction experienced after completing a cabinet this way; I feel it every time making me want to do another. It's been a pleasure to help you.

The coat of raw linseed oil has really brought the wonderful colour out and I'd like to see a picture of the completed set. Regards, Col.
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Old 17th Jul 2010, 10:49 am   #40
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Default Re: French polishing for beginners.

What an interesting post, and what an outstanding piece of hard work, stunning end results, the radio looks perfect...kind regards...Alan.
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