Arts & crafts

French polisher

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

Annual Salary

£13,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 1% fewer French polisher jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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

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.

£13,000 to £30,000

Starter salary: £13,000 to £18,000

Experienced salary: up to £26,000

These figures are a guide.


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.

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager.

You could start your own business.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • a methodical and patient approach
  • maths skills
  • practical skills
  • customer service skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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