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FRENCH FAILURE....Help

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lynuke

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Hi folks,
I apologize if there is a similar topic else where but I can't find one.
I am trying to cut my teeth french polishing and I have seen to of hit a problem. I have layed down a good few layers of polish over the last few days which as resulted in a lovely deep shine. The problem I have now hit, is streaking. On my final pass, I am running my rubber with the grain as i have read in research but I seem to be left with greasy streaks. I have tried spiriting off at the end but i still have streaks. I can only assume it is oil that I have dabbed on the rubber coming to the surface. I have tried a couple of methods i.e meths in the polishing rubber and meths in a fresh rubber but with no luck.
So I am hoping someone out there may have the answer to my incompetence. :oops:

Thanks
 

Matt@

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whats the overall dimension of the surface you are polishing? as small surfaces are notoriously tricky to polish without messing them up :wink:

Not knowing whats causing the problem you are having, the way I would retreive things is as follows.

1. ensure surface has no roughness.
2. make up small rubber (with no polish or meths in) and dab small amount of oil on the face and work up and down making sure the entire surface becomes a very very thin oily film. Once surface has this film, change to a brand new rubber with no oil, meths or polish in and work up and down pressing hard. After a couple of sweeps, move the cloth around the rubber to fresh cloth to its face and continue. Then change the cloth again so you keep introducing clean cloth to the rubber face.
3. After 15 minutes of the above get another brand new rubber with nothing in it and lightly dampen the rubber face with meths (dont pour the meths on or in the rubber nor dab it in meths - rather dampen the face using say some cloth which is itself damp with meths - DONT USE WET!
4. work up and down with the clean rubber and damp meths, changing the cloth face of the rubber every 2 go's until the oil starts to go. On say a 1m x 0.5m table top, this might take 30 mins, changing the rubber face many many times.

The above is a virtual silly person proof way to get out of trouble and make something of a mucked up finish.

Make sure rubber has cotton wool inner and well washed 100% cotton outer.

main reason for screwing up a finish is too much meths and melting the already polished surface in the quest to remove the oil.
 

lynuke

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Hi Matt,
I am working on a drop leaf table so I have 3 panels approx 2'6 x 1'6 and 2 small doors one either end I seemed to have got close to what you have advised, but not without issues. I have been using the small doors as test area in my quest for oil free panels. I can well and truely say I have learnt not to use to much meths. (nice dull patch where i burnt through). Through trial and error of changing rubbers I have got 90% of the oil off, but still have a few streaks. Reading your post it seems I am using the same spot on the rubber, dampened with meths long past its sell by date. To be perfectly honest I did not realise staying on the same spot of cotton for much more than a couple of passes would have an effect. But I did ask the question to learn.
I will give it a bash tomorrow and let you know how I get on.
Thanks for the advice.
 

Matt@

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changing the face of the rubber for new cotton every few sweeps is total over the top but it makes for a more succesful outcome if there is too much oil around as all you tend to be doing with a well used rubber face is stirring the finish around and not getting anywhere cos the rubber is impregnated with oil (which will have seeped into the wadding) and in the pursuit of ridding the oil from the surface you add more meths which then starts buring the polish like you say! its all a balancing act which comes good with practice but the way i've highlighted should mean you can only improve things not make em worse....

edit
to see whether the streaks you have are oil, get the surface with the streaks against the light and draw your oil free finger across it and see if it leaves a smear. If yes, then try skipping the "more oil process" I mentioned and just use meths. If no smear, the streaks may be the meths pulling it up so use a bit more oil first.
 

tudormaker

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I agree with Mat, I have in the past spent all day working on a table just using the rubber, then after a few days or a week sanded it all back, ensuring that I didn't go through the polish already done just to build it all up again.
The oil makes it easy to apply the polish but getting rid of it was always the hardest part.

Terry
 

houtslager

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nah, that's the easiest part truely.
The hardest is NOT BURNING through when one is "spiriting off"
made me laugh when I had an apprentice trying it out. I let him try for a few table tops, then told him
he had no feel for the polish and too stick to spraying.

The thing with polishing, is it is half art and half magic. You either can do it or you can't.
Most makers that I knew in the UK farm out the finishing as they couldn't be pineappled to learn it properly, or their shops did not have the room only for finishing.,
even the great and famous maker David Savage has commentted on this art and gets someone else to do it for him.

K
 

Mr T

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Not very helpful now I know, but the secret is in using as little oil as possible. It's even possible to do it without any oil at all.

Chris
 
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