L-Art du Menuisier, a 200-year-old series on carpentry written by André Roubo, mentions a small device made of broom straw for polishing wood. The polissior, as Roubo called it, had faded from memory up until a few years ago, when it was revived by craftsman Don Williams.
"This polissoir as close the original as we can make it, using full-length broom straw bristles and ultra-heavyweight waxed linen cord wrapping to accomplish the overall diameter of somewhere between 1-3/4 and 2 inches," says Williams. "It is somewhat looser than the woven 2-inch polissoir, but not really enough so that you can sense any difference in how it works."
Williams says the polissoir is great for compressing and polishing wood surfaces, and acts as both a smoother and a grain-filling tool.
Williams created the tool by enlisting the help of a nearby broommaker, who was able to build him several polissoirs with varying bristle strengths and widths.