Finishing courses using French polished shellac. Traditional and modern approaches.

Traditional finishing...

Hybrid finish...

Learn how to finish using shellac with the traditional technique of French polish.

Are you interested in sprayed finishes? You have further information at the end of this page.


From wood preparation... up to the final shine.

 Achieving spectacular results in finishing is not as difficult as it seems to be. Of course it will take years to master and get the perfect finish, but you can speed up the learning process and get better result sooner.

This is a practical course, face to face, and flexible so you can adapt it to suit your needs.

Full finishing course

It has an aproximated duration of 2 days and you will learn how to prepare the wood for the finish, the sealing process, the porefilling techniques, the finish body build up and the final polishing. From how to sharpen the cabinet scraper to tips and tricks on how to sand the surface, traditional and modern sealers, methods and products to fill the grain, the Pómez stone technique, how to make a pad or "muñequilla", how to mix shellac flakes cuts, how to apply and work the shellac on, and many tip for difficult areas and advices to control your final polishing.

Shellac only course

The aproximated duration is one day and it includes everything from making the pad or "muñeca" up to the shellac application. It doesn't include surface preparation and is ideal if you bring your own instrument ready to finish or if you already have experience preparing the surface.

And also...

The course is imparted at my workshop, located in Úbeda (Jaén - Andalucía), a beautiful town World Heritage, a Renaissance  city, full of monuments and interesting places, definitively worth it to visit and enjoy with the family.  Cultural leisure, foods and activities in Úbeda  and the surrounding area is excellent, with many accommodation options. I can help you to get the lodging option that best suits you. Included with the full course, you get a guided visit with, a specialized company in tourism and olive oil turism. The course also includes as a gift an AOVE (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) bottle, the same we will use during the finishing process, from Centro de Interpretación Olivar y Aceite. You will also get the finishing pads (muñequillas) and all the materials you will need to keep on practicing and finishing.

In this course you will learn:

  • Sharpening and using the scraper
  • Tips and advices about the sanding process
  • Preparation work of the wood prior finishing
  • The sealing process
  • Porefilling work using Pómez or synthetic products
  • Making the "muñequilla" or pad to rub on the shellac
  • Building layers with the pad or "muñequilla"
  • Formulas and shellac flakes mixing cuts
  • How to work and apply on the shellac. Tips for difficult areas and advices on how to control the final polishing results

Ready to apply the finish?

If you are interested in making this course, just contact me to book a date. You can get in touch with me here, or send me an email at, or phone me (+34) 635047120, or contact me through Facebook or Twitter @pacochorobo.


Are you interested about synthetic products and want to learn more about sprayed finishes?

Modern sprayed finishes applyied with HVLP guns have become the industry standard since many years ago. The protection level they add to the wood against the use or external agents are unbeatable and they also produce mirror finish results. At a mass-produced level they are also cheaper than the artisan finishes, but the risks about their usage and toxicity is really high they are very dangerous for the health. Also, their optimum application method, is a double-edged weapon, because despite the fact the spray gun allows for flawless finishes, you can also apply an excess of product and inhibit the sound.

If you are interested in learning how to use the HLVP gun as an additional tool for your finishines, we could include it in the full course and redistribute the rest of contents. You can learn how to setup the basic equipment, how to dial in the gun to use several products and also I can show you the correct technique to apply sprayed finishes. For instance the spray gun is very useful to apply shellac as a sealer, to reach difficult areas, for multilayer finishes with colors, to add shades and hues, dying in an even way when using water based products and also to apply low-toxicity water-borne finishes. The correct use of the spray gun, general concepts about spraying finishes and their practical application on musical instruments, all of that you can learn it here. Once you learn the techniques, you can apply them to any product you like.

And what about polyurethane, catalyzed finishes and nitrocellulose?

I try to avoid this products in my own workshop because of the toxicity and the related risk for the health, and they are not needed to learn the basic techniques of spray guns. If you are not able to add color to a paper sheet with just plain dyed water, you will never achieve professional results, no matter which products you use.

Unless you have access to all the needed equipment, a dedicated paint booth specially designed for this products and, of course, all the protective equipment legally licensed to safely work, I DO NOT recommend using them. I recomend you to send your instrument to a professional finisher if you are totally decided to use this type of products on your instruments.


One to one, step by step in my workshop

One to one course

Video lessons course

Online course

Here you will find a course to suit your needs and preferences... if not, make your own tailor made course!