French Polishing is the process of applying shellac very thinly with a French rubber to obtain a very flat, glass like finish as seen on pianos. This process is very time consuming & requires a high level of skill.
I've been working as a French Polisher for over 38 years.
I started to learn my profession at the age of 16 with S&B French Polishers of Dulwich Village, Southeast London as an antique restorer and French Polisher. My first 5 years were spent working on a bench learning to restore antiques & carrying out on-site work for the Department of Environment in such places as Hampton Court, The Houses of Parliment, The Foreign Office & The Sainsbury wing of the National Gallery.
I have worked for Shapland & Petter as a Foreman polisher on projects such as Broad Gate when Liverpool St Station was rebuilt.
Not all furniture is finished with French Polish. As the saying goes "A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing" as a badly restored antique could lose half it's value.
Depending on how old the building is and the knowledge of which materials would have been used at the time they can be maintained or restored to their former glory.
The use of two pack acid catalyst lacquers on most new staircases these days adds longevity and gives them a scratch and slip resistant finish.
Exterior doors whether they be stained or natural need to be sealed all over with a good exterior material before they are hung to give maximum protection to the base. For interior doors lacquers have superseded French Polishing as it's faster, more affordable & gives you any finish you require.
Floors old or new can be catered for by either sanding, or in the case of listed buildings, stripped by hand to keep the integrity of a floor over 200 years old. There are many good materials, be it for residential or commerical & depending on the amount of wear and tear your floor will encounter.
If you are thinking of having bespoke wooden vanity units, wardrobes or partitions I can colour match & give the finish you require. I had the good fortune to work through Kilby & Gayford for Freddy Mercury at his former residence in Logans Place, Earls Court, Olympia, polishing two fitted units to match his existing units in his lounge.
Places I have worked
Houses of Parliment
what I offer
We have known Mark in a professional capacity for about 8 years and have always been impressed with the breadth of his experience and training, and in particular his knowledge and love of wood and antique furniture. He has done a number of projects for us inlcuding the restoration of a baby grand piano which we aquired in a very poor state, Mark managed to restore this to the beautiful piece of craftsmanship it was originally.
The Plant DoctorI have loved & collected good quality antique furniture most of my life, obviously these need to be restored or maintained in as good condition as the original maker intended. This is a task for a very skilled craftsman. I have known many such craftsman over the years and Mark Cottle is one of the very best I have encountered.
We were fortunate enough to meet Mark Cottle at a very prestigious bespoke house where he was French Polishing doors, skirtings, architraves & the solid oak stairs we were providing.We have since then passed his details onto numerous clients who needed his services and have only received praise for the high standard of work he produces. We would not hesitate to recommend him.
Ian Riley & John Latimer
I have worked alongside Mark for many years and on many projects so have witnessed his work first-hand, the clients we have shared have all been extremely impressed with him. He is without doubt a highly skilled French Polisher and a reliable colleague.