Guitar French Polishing Class


Guitar French Polishing with shellac is an ancient craft that has been handed down for many generations. I am very passionate about French polishing; as it pertains to my work, and in the passing on of this important aspect of our craft of lutherie.

This French Polishing Course Is now available online!

Last week I had the great pleasure of teaching a Guitar French polishing class which lasted 3 days and covered all the basic, and some advanced areas of French Polishing Such as:

  • French Polishing Materials
  • Wood Preparation
  • Traditional Pore Filling with Pumice
  • Body Coats
  • Leveling
  • Final Rub-out.

The French polishing technique I use on my guitars which I covered in this class is traditionally based, though I have developed many of my own techniques over the years. The core of this class is built upon what I learned while studying with my teacher and good friend, master luthier and French Polisher; Eugene Clark.

The resulting finish of this technique is a super high gloss coating that doesn’t check and does not compress or limit the voice of the guitar. This natural finish gives the wood a richness, warmth, and depth, that is unmatched. When comparing it to modern finishes many people have described it as; “Like looking at a real diamond compared to a synthetic diamond” It is the every same finish I use on my archtop, steel string, and nylon string guitars.

I truly enjoy teaching this because I believe the proper French Polishing technique embodies the core aspects of the art and craft of lutherie. I encourage anyone interested in building hand made guitars to learn this art of French polishing even if they may not use it on all of their guitars. Understanding the chemistry and finishing process, as well as the physical calisthenic and technique; will aid them in many other areas of their work as it certainly has in mine.

 My wonderful students, Dave and Jackie, made incredible progress by day 3 and were applying a beautiful, hard, and glossy shellac finish like pros. We also talked about many other aspects of guitar physics and design as well, and had some really delicious coffee too!



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