French Polisher

Job Description:

French polishers use traditional skills to treat wood and restore furniture and items like staircases, doors and musical instruments.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • decide on the type and colour of wood stain to use
  • mix and apply the stain
  • apply french polish and other finishes, like lacquer, paint, varnish, oil or wax
  • repair furniture

If you are self employed as a french polisher you may also need to:

  • market your business
  • deal with customers
  • order materials
  • do paperwork and manage your finances

Working environment

You could work in a workshop or in a factory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.



You’ll need:

  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • concentration skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • training with a professional body


Doing a higher national diploma or degree in furniture design, decorative arts or furniture restoration can be useful if you want to start your own business.


You can learn polishing and finishing skills on some furniture making and restoration courses.

In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Furniture Finishing Methods
  • Diploma in Furniture Restoration
  • Diploma in Furniture Design and Making


Apprenticeships that may give you some of the skills needed for this role include:

  • Furniture manufacturer
  • Wood product manufacturing operative
  • Bespoke furniture maker
  • Carpentry and Joinery

Other Routes
You could do a specialist training course in french polishing with a professional body.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 42-44 hours of work. You could be required to freelance/be self-employed and manage your own hours.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could: progress to supervisor or manager.

You could start your own business.