FRENCH POLISH, a liquid for polishing wood, made by dissolving shellac in methylated spirit. There are four different tints, brown, white, garnetand red, but the first named is that most extensively used. All the tints are made in the same manner, with the exception of the red, which is a mixture of the brown polish and methylated spirit with either Saunders wood or Bismarck brown, according to the strength of colour required. Some woods, and especially mahogany, need to be stained before they are polished. To stain mahogany mix some bichromate of potash in hot water according to the depth of colour required. After staining the wood the most approved method of filling the grain is to rub in fine plaster of Paris (wet), wiping off before it "sets." After this is dry it should be oiled with linseed oil and thoroughly wiped off. The wood is then ready for the polish, which is put on with a rubber made of wadding covered with linen rag and well wetted with polish. The polishing process has to be repeated gradually, and after the work has hardened, the surface is smoothed down with fine glass-paper, a few drops of linseed oil being added until the surface is sufficiently smooth. After a day or two the surface can be cleared by using a fresh rubber with a double layer of linen, removing the top layer when it is getting hard and finishing off with the bottom layer.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)