French polisher

Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would use traditional hand skills to prepare and treat wood. You’d work on new furniture or restore old pieces of furniture.

You might also work on fitted items such as staircases, wall panels and doors, and musical instruments like pianos.

You would:

  • Decide on the type and colour of wood stain
  • Calculate quantities
  • Mix and apply the stain
  • Finish with French polish (a special varnish)
  • Apply several coats of French polish until the finish you want is achieved
  • Apply other finishes, such as lacquer, paint, varnish, oil and wax, usually by spraying

You may also do simple carpentry and repairs, although a cabinet maker or restorer would deal with more complex work.

Customers will expect you to be careful with their furniture; it will help if you are patient and methodical in your work. You’d estimate the costs of the work and explain it to customers.

If you’re self-employed you’ll need to deal with the business paperwork.

Working conditions

Hours

At a factory, you will usually work around 40 hours a week, sometimes including shift work. As a self-employed French polisher you will arrange your own working times, sometimes including long hours and weekends to meet deadlines.

Travel

You may travel occasionally to collect and deliver furniture or to carry out work on-site. A driving licence may be needed.

Environment

You would work in a factory or workshop.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Helping customers
  • Solving mathematical problems
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role.

Some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5 especially for Modern Apprenticeships.

You can enter a Furniture National Certificate courses (SCQF level 5) with two National 5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Art and design (required by many courses)
  • Maths (required by many courses)
  • Other design-centred subjects
  • Practical technologies subjects

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show creative and craft skills such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5) or a Higher National Certificate in Furniture (SCQF level 7).

Once in a job you may gain relevant qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Finishing Furniture: Hand Finishing or Spray Finishing (SVQ level 2) or Finishing Furniture (SVQ level 3).