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French Polishing WoodFixers

Choosing the Right Shellac for French Polishing

Choosing the right shellac is key for a successful French polishing project. With this WoodFixers guide, discover how to select the perfect shellac for different wood types and projects.

Good day, woodworking fans! When it comes to French polishing, not all shellacs are created equal. Today, at WoodFixers, we’re revealing the secrets of choosing the right shellac for your project. Let’s get started!

Understanding Shellac Colours

Shellac comes in various colours, ranging from super blonde to garnet. The colour of the shellac can significantly affect the final look of your piece:

  • Super Blonde: This is the lightest shellac, offering a clear finish that minimally alters the wood’s colour. Ideal for lighter woods or when you want to retain the wood’s natural colour.
  • Blonde: Slightly darker than super blonde, it gives a rich warmth to the wood.
  • Amber: As the name suggests, it adds a golden hue to the wood, enhancing its grain and figure.
  • Garnet: The darkest shellac, it provides a warm, reddish-brown finish. Ideal for darker woods or antique restorations.

The Wood Type Matters

Different woods respond differently to shellac colours. Lighter woods like maple can be significantly altered by darker shellacs, while darker woods like walnut might benefit from the warming effect of amber or garnet shellac. Experiment with small amounts to find what works best for your wood.

Shellac Grade: Buttons, Flakes or Premixed?

Shellac comes in various forms, each with its own pros and cons:

  • Buttons: Shellac buttons need to be dissolved in alcohol, but they offer a long shelf life and a fresh finish.
  • Flakes: Similar to buttons, they need to be dissolved before use. They also offer a fresh and high-quality finish.
  • Premixed: Ready for use, this is a convenient option. However, it has a shorter shelf life and the finish might not be as fresh as when you mix your own.


Choosing the right shellac for French polishing can be an adventure in itself. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all shellac; it’s all about what works best for your specific project.

If you need professional help with French polishing or any other wood restoration projects, the team at WoodFixers is ready to assist. Explore our services and get in touch!

Stay tuned for more woodworking wisdom from your friends at WoodFixers.