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French polisher

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You don’t need any formal qualifications, but some employers may ask for GCSEs, or equivalent.

A college qualification in a relevant subject like furniture restoration, furniture design, or decorative arts could also be helpful. Doing a university course in these subjects can be useful if you aim to start your own business. 

If you don’t have any qualifications, carpentry and other practical skills would be useful.

A driving licence may be useful, especially if you aim to be self-employed.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • a methodical and patient approach
  • maths skills
  • practical skills
  • customer service skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • 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

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000 to £18,000

Experienced: up to £26,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

If you work in a factory, you’ll usually work around 40 hours a week, which may include shift work.

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. 

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager.

You could start your own business.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018