French Polishing

French polishing is a process that was adopted and refined by the French in the 18th century, and is used to finish wood with a surface that can vary from a satin to high gloss appearance. The solution used in this process is made up of Shellac (the excretion of the Lab Beetle) dissolved into alcohol. This solution is then repeatedly hand applied with a special pad, using a great deal of skill and patience. The French polish finish was first seen on some English boxes during the Regency period, but became almost exclusively used on boxes throughout the rest of the 19th century.