A furniture polisher or finisher stains, polishes and finishes new or old wooden furniture, doors or panelling.
You could be:
preparing the wood by sanding and filling in holes and chips
removing old paint spots, varnish or lacquer using paint stripper or sandpaper
mixing the stain and applying it to the wood, using a brush or by spraying it on
finishing the wood with varnishes, waxes and lacquers, and perhaps a fire-retardant finish which complies with the Health and Safety and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) legislation
if required, polishing the wood with French polish (shellac dissolved in methylated spirits), using a padded cloth
keeping up to date with new techniques and equipment.
You may also repair and restore antique furniture using specialist methods such as marquetry or gilding.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for furniture polishers can be around £15,000 a year. With some experience this can rise to around £20,000. With a number of years’ experience, possibly in a specialist area, earnings can be around £28,000 a year. Income may be increased by overtime and bonuses.
You might work at home or in a workshop, factory or studio.
You may visit customers' homes to carry out repairs.
Factories and workshops are often noisy and dusty.
Some materials used are toxic and very strong smelling.
You may wear protective clothing and a face mask and ear protectors.
You have to bend and stretch and sometimes lift heavy weights.
You might have to work overtime including weekends.
You may get direct entry to a job through a training scheme such as a Modern Apprenticeship.
You may complete a full time college course in subjects such as furniture craftsmanship, furniture restoration or furniture production and design. These include polishing and finishing. You could do a National Certificate (NC), National Qualification (NQ), Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND). Entry requirements for NC or NQ courses vary from no formal qualifications to 2-4 subjects at National 4 or 5. For entry to HNC or HND courses you need 1-2 Highers.
You could also start out by taking a short course at college. City of Glasgow College offers relevant courses, including Furniture Restoring: Polishing. This could help you build up the necessary experience for entry to a full time course.