What is French polishing?
French polishing is a process, not a material. The material is shellac which is a resin secreted by the female lac beetle to form a cocoon in trees in India and Thailand. The shellac is dried into flakes, and then diluted into alcohol to make liquid shellac. The wood finishing technique of French polishing results in a high gloss surface achieved by applying many layers using a rubber pad. Although French polishing is sensitive to damage and modern lacquers are more durable, it is easier to patch repair French polished surfaces and blend them into the existing finish.