Job type

French polisher

£17k - £30k

Typical salary

42 – 44

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Skilled, specialist work creating and restoring finishes on wooden furniture
  • You'll need patience and care, along with specialist skills learned through training
  • You could work for a company or be a freelancer

As a french polisher, you'll restore furniture and items such as staircases, doors and musical instruments.


  • Deciding on the type and colour of wood stain to use
  • Mixing and applying the stain
  • Applying french polish and other finishes like lacquer, paint, varnish, oil or wax
  • Repairing furniture


If you're self-employed, you'll arrange your own hours, sometimes including long hours and weekends to meet deadlines. You may sometimes travel to collect and deliver furniture, or to carry out work on-site.

You'll need

To be a french polisher, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail, persistence and determination, the ability to come up with new ways of doing things, concentration skills, the ability to work on your own as well as with others, and physical skills such as movement, coordination, dexterity and grace.

You could get this job through a college course such as furniture finishing methods or furniture restoration.

You could also do an apprenticeship as a furniture restorer, which will usually take 2 years to complete, involving on the job training and time spent with a college or training provider.

Doing a university course in furniture design, decorative arts or furniture restoration can be useful if you aim to start your own business.

You could do a specialist training course in french polishing with a professional body, such as The British Antique Furniture Restorers' Association.


With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager. You could even start your own business.