Scientific American 50, 31.8.1850
This is an alcoholic solution of shellac, some of the softer resinous gums are usually added, but too much of them renders the polish less durable. Highly rectified spirit, not less than 60 over proof, should be used. Rectified wood naptha is sometimes substituted, to which the unpleasant smell is the only objection. 1st. Orange shellac 22 oz., rectified spirit 4 pints, dissolve. 2nd. Shellac 3 oz., gum sandrac ½ oz., rectified spirit 1 pint. 3rd. Shellac 4 oz., gum thus. ½ oz., rectified spirit 1 pint, dissolve and add almond or poppy oil 2 oz. 5th. Shellac 10 oz., seed-lac 6 oz., gum thus. 3 oz., sandaric 6 oz., copal varnish 6 oz., rectified naptha, or dissolve 8 oz. each of seed-lac, gum thus. and sandarac, separately in a pint of naptha; and 1 lb. of shellac in 8 pints of naptha. The mix 6 oz. of copal varnish, 12 oz. of solution of seed-lac, 6 oz. of solution of frankincense, and 12 od solution sandarac, and 5 3/4 lbs. solution of shellac. Let the copal varnishes be put into the tincture of shellac, and well shaken, and the other ingredients be added. A correspondent informs us that this polish cannot be excelled. 6th. Copal ¼ oz., gum arabic ¼ oz., shellac 1 oz., pulverize, mix and sift the powders, and dissolve in a pint of spirit.
French polish is sometimes colored with dragon's blood, turmeric root, &c. The general directions for preparing the polish are to put the gums with the spirit in a tin bottle and set it on the stove or in water, so as to keep it at a gentle heat, shaking it frequently. The cork should be loosened a little before shaking it, taking care that there is no flame near to kindle the vapor. When the gums are dissolved let it settle for a few hours and pour off the solution from the dregs. The method of using it is to have a roll of list, over the end of which five or six folds of linen rags are placed. The polish is applied to the linen with a sponge and a little linseed oil is dropped on the centre of it.