From traditional French polish to contemporary spray shellacking, from patinating to polishing to plating, from gold-leaf gilding to lacquering to decorative painting, we take tremendous care with our finishes. As the final touch on a carefully crafted piece of furniture, the finish is designed to underscore and deepen its perfection.

Traditional French polish

Traditional French polish is time-honored savoir-faire practiced primarily on furniture. The technique entails applying several thin coats of shellac using a cotton or wool rubbing pad, a skill developed in France in the 18th century that became very popular throughout Europe and North America in the 19th century.

Like all forms of savoir-faire, this technique evolved over time and with technical advancements and the development of new materials. Pads that were once made of cotton or wool might now be of rubber or foam, though the process itself remains unchanged. It is a complex technique requiring great patience, skill, and control. Each coat of shellac, once dried, must be polished before the next coat can be applied. The process can take weeks or even months, depending on the nature of the project. Be it a reproduction of a Marie-Antoinette harp, a coffee table, or an inlaid panel, we entrust projects involving this meticulous procedure to our most experienced artisans.

While this classic method has largely been replaced by more modern means of shellac application, the Rinck workshops still practice the French polish technique, making it available to clients who may prefer this type of finish for its quality, beauty, and exceptionally deep and dazzling shine.

Contemporary spray varnish

Paint-gun technology dates back to the 1890s, when engineers began developing devices that used pressure to spray liquids. This technology was first used in the automotive industry to apply an even coat of paint to cars. Over the years, spray guns were improved, allowing not only finer and more accurate paint spraying, but painters could also use it to apply varnish and shellac, which have thicker textures that require even greater precision.

This savoir-faire found its place in the furniture industry around the 1930s, as cabinetmakers and other woodwork specialists discovered they could produce high-quality finishes with greater speed and accuracy. In the decades that followed, the technique’s popularity grew until it became the most-used finishing method. This remains true to this day, though such application does require experience and skill.

Ever since Rinck’s founding, strong emphasis has been placed on the importance of the finishes that give even greater beauty and elegance to our creations. This is why finishing work is performed by trained and experienced varnishers in both our fitting and furniture workshops. Varnishers have a chemist’s flair – they are very familiar with the products and their compositions and are therefore able to produce any type of varnish: matte, satin, gloss, or high-gloss. They have an artist’s flair, as well, working hand-in-hand with our designers, applying their savoir-faire in researching and developing new, creative, original, high-quality finishes. Rinck has channeled the depth and breadth of its expertise into developing a Finishes collection based on approximately thirty finishes created using a variety of application techniques.

The Sequin finish, for example, is the result of a cleverly placed electrical system that burns off part of the veining, while the Orbe finish uses a more traditional coloring technique enhanced by a spray of gold droplets before the matte varnish is applied.


Patina is a subtle art, a kind of poetic alchemy that brings out the beauty of materials and objects by giving them a unique aura. Over the centuries, artisans have mastered this technique, which entails applying pigments, colors, layers of paint, and even wax to a surface to give it an aged appearance, as though nuanced by time. Patinating can be performed on numerous different surfaces, including wood, metal, plaster, and stone.

The Greeks and Romans were the first to use patinas to embellish their statues and bas-reliefs. This savoir-faire, which had vanished for ages, was rediscovered by Renaissance artists, who would use it on their paintings and sculptures, creating the illusion that the pieces had survived for centuries. In the 18th century, it became a common practice in furniture, applied to imitate the appearance of aged furnishings, very fashionable at the time.

This savoir-faire is highly prized to this day, continuing to inspire artists and decorators with its capacity to add character and a venerable appearance of authenticity to contemporary objects they design. The nuances and textures created by patination are beyond compare; it is an art that leaves the impression of the gentle wear or harsh ravages of time, evoking memories of the past. A patina plays ceaselessly with light and shadow, for singular surfaces with a life of their own.

The process of creating the patina varies with the surface to be treated, but depends particularly on the desired result. It may involve the use of chemicals to speed the aging process, or natural substances to create textured effects. The layers of paint can be sanded, scraped, or faded, for example, each resulting in a specific appearance. Ultimately, the patina can leave a surface looking as though it has aged naturally with time, with scuffs, stains, areas of varying wear, and color nuances. It can also give a new surface an old or rustic appearance by creating the illusion of texture and depth.

In short, patination is a form of savoir-faire intended to esthetically imitate a surface that has survived centuries of use, which generates a distinctively appealing and authentic aura.


Polishing has been used since antiquity to give metals and other materials a smooth, shiny finish. The earliest examples found thus far date back to ancient Egypt, where artisans were already polishing gold, silver, and copper to create jewelry or valuables. This use has also been seen on Roman and Greek artifacts.

Over the centuries, polishing became a more advanced skill with the introduction of new tools and techniques, ultimately leading to the creation of automated polishing machines and other innovations. Progress was evident by the 18th century, when it was possible to mass-produce metal parts with a high-quality finish.

Today, this savoir-faire is applied in many different fields, such as the automotive or aeronautical industries and, of course, interior design and furniture manufacturing, to ensure a high-quality finish.

In concrete terms, polishing is a finishing technique that involves rubbing the surface of a material, such as wood or metal, to create a smooth, shiny, reflective surface. It is performed using a variety of tools, such as felt pads coated with polishing paste or polishing discs, high-quality abrasives. Though polishing machines do exist for large-scale production, our workshops polish exclusively by hand to ensure an impeccable result on different surfaces or objects, such as a metal vanity or desk, or wooden panels to line a dressing room.


Plating is a technical process that consists of applying a layer of metal to a surface for purposes of protection, such as shielding steel from corrosion, as well as for purely aesthetic reasons. In specific industrial contexts, it is known as galvanizing. There are different plating methods: The one we practice most frequently in the Rinck workshops is known as thermal spraying. This process is performed at room temperature and entails melting the metal with a flame or an electric arc and then spraying it with a spray gun onto the surface to be coated.

We also perform cold plating, when a substance resembling a metal powder is mixed with water or resin, depending on the purpose and desired esthetic, and then applied using a brush, roller, or spray gun.

Plating can be performed on all surfaces and materials, such as decorative wall panels or furniture. Once the metal is applied, many surface finishes can then be created for contemporary flair, with metal that appears aged, matte, satiny, polished, patinated, or even oxidized.

Gold-leaf gilding

Gold-leaf gilding is a subtle alchemy between gold and the material it covers, a priceless form of savoir-faire that has been practiced since the dawn of civilization. In ancient Egypt, the funerary objects and sarcophagi of the pharaohs were covered with a thin layer of gold. The Greeks honed the technique to its finest expression, creating sculptures and statues that were entirely sheathed in gold leaf. In the Middle Ages, the technique was commonly used in churches and cathedrals, with gold decorating altars, candlesticks and candelabras, and liturgical objects including magnificent illuminated manuscripts. Gold-leaf gilding gained greater popularity during the Renaissance, when craftspeople applied gold to furniture, picture frames, mirrors, and other decorative objects.

Today, gold-leaf gilding remains a sought-after art that lends refinement and prestige. Artisans and specialized master craftspeople have kept this ancient savoir-faire alive and, though the methods and tools have evolved, gilding’s timeless charm, aesthetic appeal, and symbolism remain unchanged.

As a premium decoration technique, it calls for artistic mastery and manual dexterity and, in the Rinck workshops, is used to create unique and high-quality pieces. Our craftspeople apply it to interior architecture, for example, to decorate ornamental elements such as cornices, moldings, or columns. On our contemporary furniture creations, such as the games table in the Hébé collection, gold leaf serves as an ornamental element that adds elegance, light, and mesmerizing effects of texture and shine.


Lacquer, known in some cultures as “Chinese varnish,” is a plant resin produced from the sap of specific Asian trees that have been grown and harvested for this resin for thousands of years. Lacquer is an iconic artform in Asian culture and has been used in China for more than 3,000 years for its protective properties, acting as a waterproofing and age-resistant agent on wood, and even a food preservative. It is mainly associated with decoration, such as sculpture, painting, and creating complex and colorful patterns on furniture. It was in China that the technique was perfected and raised to an art form.

In the 18th century, the use of lacquer spread into Europe, becoming very popular in interior decoration. European artisans learned this technique born in Asia and appropriated it by creating their own style with Western motifs. In 1730, the Martin brothers invented an imitation plant lacquer using tree resin called copal, giving birth to what is known as vernis Martin, Martin varnish, or French lacquer. As chemistry progressed in the 19th century, it became possible to formulate high-quality shellac varnishes that could compete with plant-based lacquer. These are known as European lacquer, Japanning, or Western lacquer. Certain decorators of the Art Deco movement, such as Jean Dunand, updated these formulas, leading them to become more widespread.

Lacquer, be it the original plant-based or the European variety, is always applied in the same way. First, it requires substantial preparation of the surface to which it will be applied, as this will give it its appearance of depth. Once the surface is ready, the lacquerer can apply the layers of lacquer. A single layer takes several days to fully dry, and is then polished with increasingly fine abrasives before the next coat of lacquer can cover it. Needless to say, this manual process is lengthy and tedious.

While lacquer is still widely used today, natural lacquer is limited due to its rarity and high cost. Smooth, pleasant to the touch, supple, waterproof, and resistant to aging, plant-based lacquer has a very slight translucency that creates the appearance of depth. Its remarkable properties make it ideal for our interior design projects that require a high-quality finish.

Rinck’s craftspeople use either the plant-based form or the European shellac form, depending on the desired result. They are committed to bringing this heritage and ancestral savoir-faire to life through their work. There are endless creative possibilities to be achieved through the multiple application options, allowing our artisans and designers to express their talent and unique artistic sensitivity. Wall panels, everyday objects, classic and contemporary furniture, articles of Eastern or Western inspiration – lacquer possesses endless potential.

Decorative Painting

Decorative painting is a technique that involves using paint to create patterns, textures, and decorative effects on walls, furniture, and other decorative objects. It has been practiced for centuries in cultures across the globe to beautify interiors. There are many decorative painting techniques that can imitate marble, wood, or even patina.

This art dates back to ancient times: Sophisticated murals were discovered in the ruins of Pompeii from the first century A.D. In the Middle Ages, the walls of churches and cathedrals were decorated with religious paintings. The colors are vivid and the scenes often complex. These popular frescoes were often painted directly onto the walls using pigments mixed with water. During the Renaissance, decorative painting became more refined. Artists began using perspective techniques to create the illusion of depth and dimension, and later decorated nobles’ palaces and homes. Over the centuries, decorative painting continued to evolve, keeping pace with artistic movements and trends.

Today, it is still a sought-after technique in interior decoration projects, as it means one can fully personalize a space and make it unique. At Rinck, our painters are able to produce contemporary visuals as well as imitations of period paintings. They are superbly skilled at creating a wide variety of styles, patterns, and textures and have mastered applications in contemporary furniture creations, as well.