French polish(redirected from French polishing)
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a substance used to finish articles made of wood. It forms a smooth, transparent coating with a mirrorlike shine and brings out the texture of the wood. The most widely used French polish is a 10- to 20-percent alcohol solution of shellac, which is applied to the prepared surface by hand, using a pad soaked with French polish and a few drops of linseed oil; the oil facilitates application. Polishing is accelerated by applying French polish over a layer of shellac varnish; polishing machines may be used for this purpose. A special type of French polish is used to finish nitrocellulose coatings. It consists of a 7-percent solution of pyroxylin, cyclohexanone-formaldehyde resin, and a plasticizer in a mixture of organic solvents. A mixture of this polish with regular French polish may also be used.