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French polisher

Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter


£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a french polisher

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree

More Information


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

  • Level 2 Furniture Finishing Methods
  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Furniture Restoration
  • Level 3 Diploma in Furniture Design and Making

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


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

  • Level 2 Furniture manufacturer
  • Level 2 Wood product manufacturing operative
  • Level 3 Bespoke furniture maker
  • Level 3 Carpentry and Joinery

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Other Routes

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

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You could apply to join The Guild of Master Craftsmen for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll 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.

    Career path and progression

    Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

    Career path and progression

    With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager.

    You could start your own business.

    Current opportunities

    Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

    Current opportunities

    Apprenticeships In England

    Level 2 Craft Carpentry & Joinery Apprenticeship

    • Wage: £9,984.00 Annually
    • Location: Epsom

    Apprentice Upholsterer

    • Wage: £10,433.28 Annually
    • Location: Haslams Lane, Derby

    Courses In England

    Level 2 Furniture Studies

    • Start date: 02 September 2024
    • Location: Hereford

    OAL Level 1 Diploma in Furniture Occupations

    • Provider: BURNLEY COLLEGE
    • Start date: 02 September 2024
    • Location: Burnley

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