Salary Range
€18k - €30k
Job Zone

French polishers prepare and treat wood to produce a smooth finish. They mainly work on furniture but may also french polish fixed timber, e.g, doors and panelling.

Work Environment

French Polishers typically work in the following Career Sectors:

The Crafts Industry
Art, Craft & Design

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The Work

French polishers prepare and treat wood to give it a smooth finish and bring out the beauty of the natural wood. They work on both new pieces of furniture and old or antique items. Sometimes they work on fixed timber, such as panelling and doors in old houses, business premises and churches.  
French polishers prepare an item by stripping off layers of old paint, varnish or lacquer using chemical strippers, wire wool and sandpaper. They fill in any holes or dents in the wood using wood filler to make sure that the item has a smooth surface. They carry out simple repairs using basic carpentry skills; more complex repairs are sent to a cabinet maker or craft restorer.  
Having prepared the wood, they must choose the stain they need to produce the required colour. Mixing stains is an art in itself and some french polishers keep records of the mixes. The stain is applied with a brush or rag.  
The french polish is applied using a piece of cloth with wadding inside it, known as a rubber. The polisher covers a small area at a time until the desired effect is achieved. They sometimes apply other finishes too, such as lacquer, which is often applied by spraying, plus varnish, oil and wax.  
French polishers normally wear gloves, overalls and a facemask when mixing and applying chemicals. Mass produced furniture is not normally French polished. However French polishers may work in factories advising on how to achieve surface finishes using automated processes.


Further Information

Qualities - French Polisher

You will need to be patient and careful, with a good eye for colour. The work processes are methodical and you need to pay attention to detail. Sometimes, especially when working on old furniture, you will use simple carpentry skills to make repairs. You need to have normal colour vision.  
You may need to be able to work alone and as part of a team. Where you deal with clients, you should be able to advise on treatments and explain finishing processes. You should also be able to estimate costs and provide written estimates of the work involved. Good numeracy skills would be beneficial.  
You will also need to be physically fit as some lifting and bending may be involved.

Interests - French Polisher

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

Entry - French Polisher

Pay & Salary - French Polisher

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €18k - €30k

Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

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