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Couple of interesting French polishing articles.

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Peri

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custard

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I'm really intrigued by the use of 200 proof Ethanol as a medium, but it's very, very expensive :)
If you're that serious about French Polishing you could apply to HMRC for a user's permit for Industrial Denatured Alcohol (IDA), sometimes called "Industrial Meths". The permit is free, you can apply on-line, and you don't even need to be VAT registered. I've never known anyone be refused one of these permits.

Armed with this permit you can then buy 99.5%, uncoloured, Industrial Meths. I buy mine from Astor & Williams, but there are plenty of other suppliers.

I should point out that opinions vary, even amongst professional finishers. Some say 99.5% Industrial Meths is essential to make a decent polish.

Others will buy good quality 96% meths and leave it on a south facing window ledge for several weeks, the purple dye is fugitive so it'll fade in the sun. Here's an example, the bottle on the right was every bit as purple as the bottle on the left until it spent a sunny summer in a south facing window in my workshop,

Meths-01.jpg



Then there are others, including some extremely talented polishers, who just use the cheapest 94% meths from their local hardware store, and still deliver impeccable French Polished work with all the brilliance and clarity that you could wish for.

I guess what I'm saying is that finishing lends itself to alchemy, myth, and out and out BS. You'll hear lots of different prescriptions for how the job needs to be done, most of them mutually incompatible! But over the years I've seen beautiful work done with just about every technique you can imagine. The only thing I would say though is that polishing different woods tends to favour different approaches, so keep an open mind.
 

Trevanion

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If you're that serious about French Polishing you could apply to HMRC for a user's permit for Industrial Denatured Alcohol (IDA), sometimes called "Industrial Meths". The permit is free, you can apply on-line, and you don't even need to be VAT registered. I've never known anyone be refused one of these permits.

Others will buy good quality 96% meths and leave it on a south facing window ledge for several weeks, the purple dye is fugitive so it'll fade in the sun. Here's an example, the bottle on the right was every bit as purple as the bottle on the left until it spent a sunny summer in a south facing window in my workshop,
Very informative post, Custard!

I've never personally looked into it but I always thought you only needed the permit to buy and store more than a gallon of meths, I didn't realize you could use it to buy purer, undyed spirit.

Reading your tip on fading out the dye in the past, I've actually tried the leaving the bottle of meths on the southern window cill trick for a few weeks during the summer but mine hasn't really seemed to have lost much colour at all, it must be low quality... all dye and no alcohol! 😂
 

Peri

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Cheers Custard.

After watching that Australian guy the other day I think I've been bitten by a new bug.

I had a tin of old 'ready-mix' polish that must be a couple of years old, but I gave it a try on some scrap and actually got a sort of half decent finish, if you squint at it a bit from the other end of the shed :D

Emboldened, I've ordered some flakes and I'm going to see what I can do.

In my shed I have about a litre of acetone and 5L of IPA ..... are either of those an acceptable meths substitute?
 

marcros

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I have used both meths and ipa to mix flakes. I am not an expert in any way and I usually brush it on as a finish but I didn't notice a difference with mixing it.

acetone is a different solvent, I would avoid that. I have no idea if it would work but I would guess not.
 

Cabinetman

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Custard, you never cease to amaze me, what are you don’t know isn’t worth knowing.
I will dig out my old books to see if there are any handy step-by-step instructions/methods/ tips to get people started. As Custard said everybody has a different idea and a lot of it is quite arcane. Ian
 

Droogs

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IPA would work. You want something that will flash off very quick
 

Cabinetman

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As promised,these are beginners tips from my dads old Woodworker annual from 1952 unfortunately I don’t have the 1953 version to continue it but I do have some more detailed in-depth articles on some of the different processes if anybody wants them I’ll put them on here. Ian sorry I think the last two photos are the wrong way round.
BA0156A5-FEA9-4B79-8612-40660DEC8886.jpeg
CF36DE88-EE00-41A8-8459-5A81126264D5.jpeg
EABFA4FF-CC46-46C0-8107-268044CAB854.jpeg
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