Keeping up Appearances: Care and Maintenance

One of the most commonly asked questions we get here is how to maintain the finish on our custom wood hardware. Fortunately, it doesn't take very much work to keep everything looking as beautiful as the day it came out of the box!

The most commonly used finishes are transparent coatings, like lacquer, shellac, or synthetic resins such as polyurethane. These are made of resins that are dissolved in an oil or water based solvent and applied either by spraying or brushing.

The finish is applied, the solvent evaporates, and the resin hardens, adhered to the wood surface. Depending on the kind of resin, there are varying degrees of water resistance, and some finishes can fail or wear off after repeated exposure to water and heat. 

Pantechnicon Design uses a mixture of wax and oil derived from rapidly renewable vegetable oils. This type of finish sinks into the wood, and can highlight any imperfections or scratches in an object, so every part is carefully inspected to ensure there are no flaws before finishing. 

When the mixture is applied, it enhances the color and natural grain of each piece, all without the use of stain. After the solution is absorbed into the wood, hand buffing polishes the surface for a satiny feel in the hand. 


comparison of brew paddle before and after finishing

Because this formula sinks into the wood grain it won’t crack, peel or flake. This gives excellent water resistance, and helps protect your steam knob, group cap, or portafilter handle from dirt, sweat, and the occasional spray of espresso (things happen). 

Cleaning requires just a damp cloth to wipe off any dirt or coffee goo. Do not place the portafilter handle (or any wooden utensils, for that matter) in a dishwasher to clean, as the high heat and excess moisture will cause warping and cracking. 

For long term care and maintenance, we recommend using a food-grade mineral oil or a beeswax compound (recipe below) to condition the wood, restore the original luster, and maintain water-resistance. Using cooking oils such as olive, coconut, or canola can potentially leave a rancid odor. 

If the wood surface is starting to look dry, apply the oil or compound all over with a cloth or rag, wipe off any excess, and let sit for a few hours or overnight. The next day buff with a clean, soft cloth until the surface is shiny and no longer tacky.

Proper care will keep the wooden parts of your customized espresso machine looking their best for a lifetime of delicious coffee!

4 ounces beeswax
16 ounces (2 cups) food-grade mineral oil
In a medium saucepan, melt the beeswax over low heat until fluid. Add the mineral oil and turn off the heat, stirring to combine well. Pour the oil/wax compound into a wide mouthed mason jar (or other container) and allow to cool. “Butter” can be used on all wood surfaces, including spoons, cutting boards, and will last indefinitely.  Added bonus: the beeswax smells like honey!


Don't want to make your own? You can also use this!