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French Polishing WoodFixers

Common Problems in French Polishing

Facing issues during your French polishing process? Here's a list of some common problems and their solutions.

Hey there, woodcare enthusiasts! Today, we’re tackling common problems that may pop up during the French polishing process. At WoodFixers, we believe that understanding these challenges is the first step to overcoming them. So, let’s dive in and learn how to troubleshoot!

Issue 1: Blooming or Blushing

This issue appears as a milky or cloudy look in the finish, often caused by humidity. To solve this, wait for a dryer day to polish or use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the air.

Issue 2: Streaking or Drag Marks

These are often caused by an overly dry rubber or excessive pressure during application. To prevent this, ensure your rubber is well lubricated and apply with gentle, even pressure.

Issue 3: The ‘Orange Peel’ Effect

This bumpy, uneven finish can occur if the shellac is applied too thickly. To avoid this, apply the shellac in thinner layers and allow each layer to dry before applying the next one.

Issue 4: Tacky Finish

If your finish is sticky to the touch, it could be that the shellac hasn’t fully dried. Patience is key here. Let the shellac dry thoroughly before continuing with the process.

Issue 5: Shellac Not Dissolving

This is often due to using denatured alcohol that’s not strong enough or shellac that’s past its prime. Use fresh shellac and ensure your alcohol is at least 99% pure for best results.


While French polishing is a delicate art, don’t be disheartened by these common issues. With a bit of practice and patience, you’ll be able to achieve that dream high-gloss finish!

If you’re still having trouble, the team at WoodFixers is here to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch for professional French polishing services.

Keep an eye out for more WoodFixers guides to make your wood restoration journey smoother and more enjoyable!