There arc some old finishes that should have a polished look of perfection. A shellac finish, and particularly the so-called
French polish finish, is typical. The Chinese lacqucr finish is another of these. And so is the deep-gloss varnish finish, made with a number of coats of clear varnish and polished to a mirror finish. (This is the finish you see in TV commercials for furniture wax. The camera shows you the reflection of the user in the table top and points out that no competitive product can produce this degree of shine.)
Such finishes usually are not distressed, and the owner hopes they will be just as polished and mirror-like on their hundredth birthday as they were when new. You may be restoring such a piece. If so, you still should save the old finish if possible, but you may not want the natural distressing that has occurred. In this case, a total rcfinishing may be the answer.
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