French Polishing & Antique Furniture Restoration
Traditional hand french polishers based in Warminster, England. Specialising in the meticulous sympathetic restoration of fine furniture and pianos
WHAT IS SYMPATHETIC RESTORATION?
Sympathetic restoration means restoring furniture using the same tools, materials, and techniques that would have been available when the piece was originally made. An 18th-century cabinet maker did not have access to a high-powered electric sander and spray gun, therefore these modern tools shouldn’t be used when working on period furniture. The aim of sympathetic restoration is to restore a piece while conserving all of its antiquity, patina, and history. While doing things by hand takes time, this is the only way to guarantee that a 200 year old piece of furniture will last another 200 years.
The Superb Sustainability of Shellac
French polish, also known as the finish of kings, is widely considered the best finish achievable in the world. Offering unrivalled depth and colour, and sharing the same light refraction properties as valuable gemstones. This 300-year-old finish can only be achieved by hand, it takes years to learn and a lifetime to master. Shellac, the raw ingredient of french polish, is one of the most sustainable resins available. A natural biodegradable side product left behind by the lac beetle as part of its natural life cycle. This resin is then farmed by local communities in certain areas of Asia where these insects flourish. No equipment or energy is required, only a reused piece of cotton, the elbow grease of the polisher, and many thousands hours of practice.
A Long History of Fine Furniture
For over two centuries, the Long family has been crafting, polishing, upholstering, and restoring fine furniture. In 2017, Alistair Long, the grandson of the master carpenter and French polisher Geoffrey Long, embarked on a journey of his own, upholding the family's legacy with a restoration company that continues the handcrafted traditions of seven generations.
Over the past decade, Long French Polishing has diversified its services, embracing a broader range of French polishing applications. Today, our work extends to the finishing, restoration, and enhancement of high-end kitchens and country houses. We frequently collaborate with esteemed interior designers to deliver exceptional results. Our dedication to classic craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail has earned us recognition in publications like Country Life Magazine.
We have been using Alistair for a number of years now for all of our
piano casework repairs and polishing. His work is exceptional and I
would happily recommend him to anybody. The care and skill he puts into
the job and the obvious love of his trade shine through.
We use him for all types of finish from French polishing through to
modern finishes and all woods.
Hannah North, General Manager, All Instruments Ltd