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EXPERT FRENCH POLISHING & REPAIRS LOCATED IN STOCKTON-ON-TEES

Learn more about our amazing services

To begin the French polishing process, the wood surface is carefully prepared by sanding it smooth and filling any imperfections or pores. Then, a small amount of shellac is dissolved in alcohol and applied to the surface using the rubber pad. The pad is moved in a circular or figure-eight motion, evenly distributing the shellac and allowing it to penetrate the wood grain. Successive layers of shellac are applied, with each layer being allowed to dry before the next is added. As more layers are built up, the surface becomes smoother and more reflective, eventually achieving a deep, rich shine.

Arrowsmith are an established business that specialises in Antique Furniture, Bespoke Kitchens (Designed & Installed), Bespoke Pine & Oak Fitted Furniture and French Polishing in Stockton on Tees, Middlesbrough and Darlington.


Arrowsmith supply solid pine and oak furniture for the home. We offer a wide selection of high quality furniture, from bedroom furniture including wardrobes and chest of drawers, to dining room furniture including extending dining tables and dining sets.

However, French polishing is a delicate process that requires patience, skill, and attention to detail. It is not suitable for all types of wood or finishes, and improper application can result in streaks, blotches, or other defects. Additionally, the shellac used in French polishing is susceptible to damage from heat, moisture, and harsh chemicals, so proper care and maintenance are essential to preserve the finish.

Overall, French polishing is a time-honored technique that continues to be prized for its unmatched quality and craftsmanship. Whether used to finish a new piece of furniture or to restore the luster of an antique, it remains a testament to the skill and artistry of woodworking.

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French polishing is a traditional wood finishing method revered for its luxurious, glossy appearance and ability to elevate the natural beauty of wood. At M Arrowsmith Ltd., we specialize in this meticulous craft, drawing on over 135 years of expertise as a fourth-generation family business. Our dedication to the art of French polishing ensures that each piece we handle is restored to its former glory, showcasing the exquisite detail and character of the wood.

The process of French polishing is as intricate as it is rewarding. It involves building up numerous layers of shellac, a natural resin derived from the secretions of the lac bug, applied with a pad made of cotton or wool known as a "rubber." This labour-intensive technique requires immense skill and patience, but the results are nothing short of stunning. The finish achieved through French polishing is renowned for its depth and clarity, bringing out the wood’s grain and colour in a way that other methods simply cannot match.

At M Arrowsmith Ltd., our craftsmen are true experts in French polishing. They combine traditional techniques with a keen eye for detail to create finishes that are both beautiful and durable. Our commitment to quality means that every piece is treated with the utmost care and precision, ensuring that the final result is a masterpiece of restoration.

However, the beauty of French polishing comes with the need for special care. The shellac surface, while elegant, is delicate and can be easily damaged by harsh chemicals or abrasives. To maintain the pristine condition of a French-polished piece, we recommend regular dusting and gentle cleaning. These simple maintenance practices help preserve the luster and integrity of the finish, ensuring it remains a stunning focal point for years to come.

Trust M Arrowsmith Ltd. to deliver exceptional French polishing services for your antique furniture. Our extensive experience and passion for this traditional method guarantee that your cherished pieces will receive the highest standard of care and craftsmanship. Let us help you bring out the true beauty of your furniture, preserving its elegance and historical significance for future generations.

Antique furniture is more than just wood and fabric; it is a priceless portal to the past, a tactile connection to history, and a testament to timeless craftsmanship. To ensure these treasures continue to be cherished by future generations, proper care and meticulous restoration are essential. At M Arrowsmith Ltd., we understand the profound value these pieces hold. As a fourth-generation French polishing company, we have been dedicated to the art and science of furniture repair and restoration for over 135 years.

Since our establishment, M Arrowsmith Ltd. has built a legacy of excellence in the restoration industry. Our extensive experience and unwavering commitment to quality have earned us the trust of countless clients. We take immense pride in our work, knowing that each piece we restore carries stories and memories that deserve to be preserved with the utmost respect and skill.

Our team of seasoned professionals is deeply passionate about antique furniture. We approach each project with a blend of traditional techniques and modern innovations, ensuring that every restoration is both authentic and enduring. From minor repairs to extensive restorations, our craftsmen possess the expertise to handle a diverse range of needs. Whether it’s a cherished family heirloom or a valuable collector’s item, we treat each piece with the individualized care it requires.

French polishing, a speciality of ours, is a method that epitomizes the elegance and refinement of antique furniture. This painstaking process involves applying numerous thin layers of shellac to achieve a finish that is both lustrous and durable. Our craftsmen are masters of this technique, ensuring that the beauty of the wood is brought to life while maintaining its historical integrity.

At M Arrowsmith Ltd., we believe that restoration is not just about making furniture look new, but about honoring its history and craftsmanship. Our comprehensive services include structural repairs, veneer replacement, surface cleaning, and polishing, all tailored to meet the unique needs of each piece. We utilize only the finest materials and time-honoured techniques to ensure that the original character and charm of your furniture are preserved.

Trust M Arrowsmith Ltd. to provide the highest quality service for all your antique furniture restoration needs. With a heritage rooted in dedication, skill, and passion, we are committed to ensuring that your treasured pieces continue to be a source of beauty and historical significance for years to come.

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Image by Mitchell Luo

Get In Touch With Us

As a fourth-generation, well-established French Polishing company, M Arrowsmith Ltd. takes pride in providing high-quality services in wood refinishing and furniture restoration. If you have any questions about our services or would like to book a consultation, please feel free to get in touch with us via email using the contact form below.

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