French Polishing in London & Surrey

Since 1990

JM French Polishing was established in 1990 and has a wealth of experience and skills gained over many years working for the antique trade, the commercial sector and private clients.

We undertake jobs of all sizes: from a piece of antique furniture or a modern boardroom table, to architectural fixtures like staircases, doors and panelled rooms. We also sand and re-finish wooden floors.

A Personal, Professional Service

At JM French Polishing we pride ourselves in providing a personal service, with all the care and attention you would expect from a small business. We are fully insured.

When calling us you will receive free advice from a qualified tradesman and - if necessary, a free visit to your home or place of business to appraise the work. Once options have been discussed as to the best method to apply to your job - whether it is a dining table, wall panelling, a staircase, doors, or flooring - we will provide a free estimate.

What We Do

We specialise in on-site polishing and cover London and Surrey. Services include:

There are sometimes several options and choices regarding the finish of your job. JM French Polishing are qualified to offer suggestions and information on all finishes regarding their durability and colour, and can also offer up to date product knowledge.

What is French Polishing?

French Polishing is a process, not a material. The material is shellac which is a resin secreted by the female Lac beetle to form a cocoon in trees in India and Thailand. It is dried into flakes and then diluted into alcohol to make a liquid shellac.

The wood finishing technique of French Polishing results in a high gloss surface achieved by applying many layers using a rubber pad (made from wadding and white linen). Different sheens of finishing can be achieved using fine wire wool to matt the surface or waxing to achieve a satin finish.

Although French Polish is sensitive to damage and modern lacquers are more durable, it is easier to patch repair French Polished surfaces and blend into the existing finish.

Find out more about French Polishing and Shellac.

Modern Lacquers

Cellulose lacquer is a hard, fast-drying nitrocellulose based material that is replacing French Polish in the furniture manufacturing trade. It is designed to be sprayed, but through years of experience we have perfected the skill of brushing lacquer, so we can bring this modern hard-wearing material to your home or site to polish architectural woodwork or furniture.


Oil is a natural product and penetrates the wood to bring out the natural colour and enhance the grain. Oil protects the timber from within and (when using a matt oil) can give the surface an invisible protection. It is a great finish to apply to kitchen work surfaces because it is micro-porous. This means it does not crack, flake, peel or blister - and it is water and dirt repellent. It will even resist wine, cola and food colourings.

Our clients say...

We are very pleased with Jean Marc's excellent, careful work on our bannister (going up two floors), stripping off the white paint and bringing out the original wood in a light oak colour that suited the rest of our Edwardian house.

Jean-Marc also polished two damaged tables, bringing them back to perfect condition, and fixed a wobbly piano stool.

We keep admiring his work, and would certainly recommend him!

Judi and Kevin Conner, London W6.

Hi Jean-Marc, we are very pleased with the work. As well as the furniture being restored and now looking just as we wanted, I particularly noticed that you were very respectful of being in our house, being careful to lay sheets and keep things as tidy as possible. Best wishes,

Mr Jewell, Croydon, Surrey

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