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the pad from biting into the surface and dragging as the pad is moved around, a drop or two of linseed oil is added to the pad as a lubricant. This oil makes the cured finish appear cloudy, so the last step is to use an alcohol-dampened pad to remove or "spirit off* the oil. Knowing how much oil to add, and removing it without damaging the finish, requires a good deal of skill.

Padding lacquer is French polish (shellac and alcohol) with the lubricant already added. The lubricant is refined turpentine or mineral oil that's volatile enough to evaporate after it's no longer needed. By having an evaporating oil included, padding lacquer frees you from having to master the critical steps of adding, then removing, the oil yourself. The technique for applying padding lacquer differs significantly from that for applying French polish. But the pad is made up the same way.

Making the Pad

The pad used for applying padding lacquer is simply cheesecloth, cotton or wool wadded into a ball that you can hold comfortably in the palm of your hand. The material must be lint-free, and the bottom surface that contacts the wood should be smooth with no wrinkles.

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