All Wakker concertinas are French polished. French polishing is a wood
finishing technique, not a material. It is a method of
applying many (50 to 100) very thin coats of shellac dissolved in
alcohol. Unlike other finishes, each newly applied thin
coat of shellac will be absorbed by the previous layers, resulting
in one smooth layer of shellac, instead of many
The word 'polishing'
refers to the repetitive motion necessary to apply the shellac.
In the 19th and early 20th century French polishing
was used on high end musical instruments because of its superior
gloss and deep color.
With the introduction of the much cheaper an faster spray finishes during the
early 20th century, French polishing was reserved
only for the most exclusive instruments. The only draw back of the traditional
French polishing technique is that it is very time consuming; French polishing a concertina takes up to 9
hours. On the other hand, the finish of a French polished instrument can be perfectly
We still follow the traditional 19th century method of French polishing, but
use modern shellac recipes, which we make in our own
studio. The result is a tough 'invisible' finish that protects and allows
the wood to breath at the same time.