French polishing was introduced to this country from France early in the nineteenth century. The technique was soon developed and adapted to suit the burgeoning English furniture trade and it quickly became the universal method for finishing fine furniture until well into the twentieth century. There is still nothing to compare with the depth and beauty of a good traditional hand polished finish.

At ParagonRestoration, we aim to give you a thorough grounding in the practical skill of french polishing. You will be shown every facet of furniture refinishing from stripping to final polishing together with associated techniques including staining, colouring and grain filling. In fact, you will learn everything you need to create a truly professional finish.

Of course, it is not always necessary to completely refinish an item of furniture. We will look at how to revive existing finishes as well as how to remove and disguise marks and blemishes. You will be taught all you need to know to practise and develop your technique both in the workshop and at home. No previous experience is needed. We look forward to welcoming you to the course whether you are a professional engaged in the furniture trade or an individual in search of an absorbing and rewarding hobby.

Bring along that old table, workbox or writing slope and restore it to it’s former glory!

3 & 5 Day French Polishing Courses

Our courses cover the french polishing process from start to finish and include the following topics:

Wood Stripping
You will be shown the correct way to strip and prepare an item of
furniture prior to finishing.

Surface Repair Techniques
The various methods employed in disguising marks and blemishes, filling indentations, wood graining, and colouring will be carefully explained.

The principal types of wood stain will be considered.

Grain Filling
The technique of grain filling will be demonstrated as part of the preparation for polishing open grained timbers.

French Polishing
The different kinds of french polish will be introduced and every stage of french polishing will be covered in detail from ‘skinning in’
to ‘bodying up’ and final finishing.

Everything you need will be provided on these courses and in addition you will be given a set of course notes to take home with you.

The Five Day Course

The Five Day Course is intended for those requiring a thorough grounding in french polishing and surface repair techniques.Every aspect is considered step by step, and you are given ample opportunity to practise everything that you have learned. Once the basic techniques are mastered you will apply them to items of furniture in order to develop your confidence and expertise.
If you are a professional furniture restorer or an enthusiast wishing to take the subject more seriously, perhaps as a source of income, you will find this course invaluable.We recommend that you bring at least two items of furniture with you.

The cost of this residential course is £655.00 (including 4 nights bed and breakfast accommodation)

Non residential price is £475.00

The Three Day Course

The Three Day Course is a popular course and a good introduction to French polishing. You will be taken through all the stages,as with the 5 day course, required to produce a good French polished finish on furniture of your choice.

The various techniques are considered in detail and notes will be provided as a reference at the end of the course. We recommend that you bring at least two pieces of furniture with you.Advice is always available regarding selection of furniture and we are able to provide pieces for a nominal sum.Contact details are given.

The cost of this course is £375.00 (including 2 night’s bed and breakfast accommodation)
Non residential price is £285.00

As a complete beginner I was a little apprehensive but I have really enjoyed learning the process of French polishing and I feel confident I can tackle my remaining chairs.

R.S. 2016

I did the French polishing at Paragon.It was extremely well organised and the tuition from Matt was excellent and he created a very enjoyable and friendly environment in which to learn.I met a great bunch of people and had a very productive week learning new skills. I would definitely recommend the course and all the helpful staff at Paragon.

F.C. 2018,