How to Customize an Espresso Machine: Material

CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE

When you decide what type of material you want for your portafilter handle, group cover, or steam knob, you have a couple of choices. There is hardened acrylic, similar to the handle of a high end kitchen knife. But many people are drawn to the feeling of a piece of solid, well finished wood, something to replace the stock plastic that came with their machine. 

wall of different types of lumber


TYPES OF WOOD

Eastern Hard Maple, also sometimes called Rock or Sugar Maple, is white with a light gold to red hue, known for a very fine, straight grain and little variation, even between different trees. Maple is famously durable and is often used for high end furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and perhaps most importantly, bowling pins and alleys.

White Oak is famously straight grained and actually can vary quite a bit in color, anywhere from lighter white to reddish or even as dark as walnut! Durable and naturally water resistant– Vikings used it to make their longboats– oak is also associated with Mission-style furniture and cabinetry.

Black Walnut is the most variegated, coming in multiple shades of dark brown to reddish brown, and patterns that can be wildly different even within one plank of wood. Fun facts: most woods tend to darken with age and exposure to UV light, but walnut actually gets lighter. Also, walnut is the only dark brown wood that is native to the United States. 

walnut portafilter handlesrocket appartamento steam knob in egg carton

THE REAL STUFF

There are some places where buying a customized element to your machine means someone slaps a wood-patterned sticker on something and ships it away (SHAME!) Even worse, some manufacturers use tropical and African hardwoods, also known as "exotic hardwoods." The practices for harvesting these types of wood have been linked to organized crime, labor and human rights violations, illegal logging, deforestation, and climate change. 

Not here! All of the hardwood used at Pantechnicon is sustainably grown and harvested from the United States and is then hand milled to our specifications by our Production Manager, Adam Borkoski.

Buying from US manufacturers is one way we support sustainable forestry at Pantechnicon. It helps rainforests stay intact, helps protect local ecologies from transported invasive species, and means our carbon footprint (and yours) is minimized because we aren’t shipping something in from another country. 

 

THE FINISH

The process Pantechnicon uses to finish all of their wood components isn’t a stain. Stains are meant to make everything look the same. 

Part of the joy of having a custom machine is knowing that it’s one-of-a-kind. Following that spirit, all the wooden elements at Pantechnicon are finished with a food-grade wax and oil blend that is durable and also highlights the unique variations in the wood grain. Embrace the individuality! 

 walnut and brass custom brew paddle