Welcome to The Box Junkie!
To create fine furniture, you must capture the beauty in the finest timbers. Normally it takes the dedication and skills of master craftsmen to bring the full natural beauty of the finest timber to life.
After years of study and development the master craftsmen of Constantia have taken time proven recipes of past masters, applied a little modern day understanding of chemistry and firmly resolved to use only the finest natural and organic ingredients.
The result is a range of finishing products which bring out the very finest patina with unimaginable depth, clarity and lustre and provide long lasting durability for all interior and exterior conditions.
Finishing is a chemistry that encourages experimentation. There are no limitations to the possibilities. We provide the following information as a guide only.
If you can’t find answers to your queries on our website please contact us for further information.
Deepens the natural tone and colour of all raw timbers to promote an old world patina. Can be used over existing finishes to even colour and brighten finish.
General Application: Apply sparingly using a lint free cloth or brush. Leave for up to 1 hour and rub dry.
An extraordinary hard wearing organic interior or exterior matte oil finish for timber, steel, stone and cork.
General Application: Apply sparingly or liberally by brush or lint free cloth according to the specific job. Wait until “tacky” and rub dry with a clean lint free cloth.
Wet or Dry paper and/or “00”, “000” steel wool (taking care not to leave fragments in the finish) may be used to cut back between coats.
Electric buffers with lambswool heads are ideal to assist with penetration and even coverage.
Note: Choose a good quality lambswool buffing head to avoid wool deterioration ruining the finish. Keep the buffer moving over the surface in even strokes.
Approximately 1 – 24 hours drying time (depending on the climate/environment.)
Apply as many coats as needed.
A high grade French Polish of superior lustre, clarity and depth. Although similar to shellac it has greater resistance to water, wear and temperature.
General Application: Using a good quality brush or Cloth Rubber (see menu: Tools, Polishing materials and maintenance, on how to make your own) apply coats in even strokes, following the direction of the grain.
Wet or Dry paper and/or “00”, “000” steel wool (taking care not to leave fragments in the finish) may be used to cut back between coats.
Approximate drying time is 1 – 24 hours (depending on the climate/environment.) Can also be applied by spraying.
Cleans and restores all finishes and brightens old and neglected timber surfaces and finishes. Ideal for delicate French Polishes.
General Application: Use a lint free cloth and apply sparingly and vigorously in the direction of the grain. Rub dry with clean, lint free cloth. “00”, “000” steel wool can be used in place of cloth for heavier grime and build up.
Is a blend of finest natural waxes promoting a deep lustre on all timber surfaces and finishes.
General Application: Use very sparingly (the wax is highly concentrated) for maintenance on existing finishes. Apply in the direction of the grain in small areas at a time, using a lint free cloth. Buff off almost immediately. Repeat application for increased gloss.
A blend of the finest pumice powders, designed to assist in filling the timber grain.
General Application options:
Option 1: Sprinkle dry over freshly applied (wet) Chinese Wood Oil and/or Seedlac and rub/buff vigorously in the direction of the grain.
Option 2: Mix with even parts of Red Oil and Seedlac/Chinese Wood Oil to make a paste or slurry and apply vigorously in the direction of the grain.
Option 3: Can be used dry as a fine abrasive when “matting off” or “cutting back” finish.
A super fine cream used to burnish French Polish to a high gloss.
General Application: Use a lint free cloth or polishing pad to apply cream vigorously in the direction of the grain.
Buff hard with a clean, lint free cloth.
For repair and restoration work. Available from Constantia.
For smooth and even application of French Polish and other finish. Made with the finest materials for a professional finish.
We prepare pigments and stains for various colour requirements. Please inquire by email or phone.
Steel Scrapers are an excellent tool for preparing timber surfaces for finishing. Available for purchase. Please inquire by email or telephone.
Scraping provides a higher visual depth of grain as it cuts the timber fibres as opposed to tearing them (which occurs with sanding.)
Successful use of the scraper depends primarily upon its correct sharpening. It should remove shavings similar to those from a plane, but much thinner.
In choosing a scraper, select one of medium thickness. If too thick, it will require a great deal of exertion to keep it bent and will prove to be tiring. On the other hand, a thin scraper will rapidly become hot and burn the hands. The quality of the metal in the tool will determine the longevity of the cutting edge, particularly when used on an abrasive timber such as Jarrah – this tends to be reflected in the purchase price although not always.
The edge must first be made square and smooth. If re-sharpening a used scraper, remove the old burr with an oil stone held flat against it. Be careful not to round the edge. (Note, new scrapers need to be sharpened before use).
The scraper is then held in a padded vice and draw filed with a fine cut mill file along the edge, as shown in fig 1. The corners are slightly rounded to prevent their digging in when the scraper is used.
The square edge is next rubbed on an oilstone to remove the file marks.
It should be held vertically as in fig 2. and gripped with a rag to prevent damage.
The burr formed must be rubbed down as before by applying the scraper flat to the oil stone as in fig 3. followed by a few rubs in the vertical position.
The blade is then replaced in the vice and the cutting burr made as shown in fig 4. with a few firm strokes of a steel burnisher of or ticketer along the margins of the edge. Note that the burnisher is making an angle of less than 90 degrees to the scraper.
All four edges of the two long sides are treated in the same way, and the turned up burr can then be felt with the thumb.
After being in use for a time the edges will lose their keenness and it will be necessary to turn them again.
To do this the scraper is held flat and the burnisher drawn along each side in turn, as shown in fig 5. the blade being held perfectly flat. The turning process is then repeated.
This rubbing down and turning with the burnisher can be done several times, until it fails to produce a keen edge, after which the scraper must again be rubbed down with a file and stone.
It is not the size of the working burr that determines the quality of the scraper as much as it’s evenness and sharpness. An ideal way of testing for nicks in the cutting edge is to gently draw the edge of a fingernail along it – imperfections will be instantly felt by snagging the nail, ideally the edge is as smooth as a razor.
The method of using a scraper is shown in fig.6.
The scraper is inclined to the wood surface at an angle which varies – generally from about 60 degrees to 45 degrees according to the angle at which the burr has been set and the nature of the timber being worked on.
If the scraper digs in the angle is possibly too steep – if cutting action seems slight then the angle may be too shallow, or possibly the tool requires resetting – aim for very fine small shavings.
The cutting action of the scraper is shown in fig.7.
The scraper is held in both hands and the thumbs press in the center as shown in fig.8.
The difference between a scraped and a sanded finish is illustrated in fig 6. Sandpaper has a tearing action whereas the scraper has a shearing action similar to a plane. This enables the observer to see into the structure of the wood when it is finished.
Properly used, the scraper is ideal for cleaning up hardwood, to take the marks left by the plane and to remove tears from wood. It is also used for cleaning veneers that may be removed all together by a plane, and can be invaluable in restoration as it minimizes the loss of aged timber from the surface, and can reduce sanding requirements dramatically.
The scraper should be lightly oiled with a machine oil after every use, or at least before being put away for the day – rust should never be allowed to build up on the surface of the tool as it may eventually interfere with the setting of the edge and render the tool useless. Scraper protectors either accompany the tool from new or can be made from woolen beige or similar in order to protect the fine cutting edges – nicks in the cutting edges make fine finishing difficult if not impossible without leaving marks. Excess oil should be completely removed before using the scraper, this avoids oil stains.
The rubber is made up of two parts.
1. The pad of absorbent material (such as wool flock), to which the Seedlac is applied.
2. The cover, which contacts the work.
The pad need be no larger than palm size and the working part must be smooth with no creases, like a mushroom. The cover is made of a lint free cloth such as linen and is smoothed over the absorbent pad. Not more than a teaspoon of Seedlac is “started” through the cover by banging the pad onto the work. It is advisable to make pads for each finishing medium (Red Oil, Seedlac.)
A rubber should not be left lying on the bench where it can dry out, the material in it will soon congeal and it may not be possible to restore the rubber. Rubbers should be stored in air tight, screw top jars, one for each finishing medium. Occasionally a few drops of the correct thinner should be shaken into the container to keep the rubber moist – check rubbers weekly to avoid drying out. This precaution is essential if the rubber is not to be used again for several days.
It is a good plan to work up a stock of rubbers, so that an operator is not faced with the problem of starting a fresh job with a completely new rubber. A practical way of doing this is to remove the outer layer of absorbent material of a rubber after a job has been completed and replace it with a new piece.
Brushes used for Chinese Wood Oil can be cleaned using Mineral Turpentine.
Brushes used for Seedlac can be cleaned using Methylated Spirits.
Only Constantia Organic Finishes Thinner should be used to thin either Chinese Wood Oil or Seedlac.
Two important rules should be observed when using abrasive paper:
1. Always work with the grain.
2. Avoid excessive pressure.
Circular or cross strokes during sandpapering break up the cell structure of the timber. The resultant marks are most difficult to remove – this particularly applies when stain is to be used afterwards. Remember that finishing will not hide your preparation it will enhance it.
Excessive pressure during sanding does not allow the grit on the paper to fulfill its cutting purpose. Heat due to friction from the overloaded cutting surface causes the grit to break away from the paper and scratch the job.
Hold the sanding block at 45 degrees, with the long edge facing the direction of travel. This helps to prevent the edges of the sandpaper from catching on the timber and tearing.
Dry sanding – for raw surface preparation before finish is applied. General grades of paper to use : 80, 120, 180, 240, 320 grit open face. These would suit most timbers – start with the finest grade that is suited to the current surface. DON’T MISS A GRADE !
Wet Sanding – after finish is applied and allowed to cure an intermediate or final step is to ensure the surface is flat by wet sanding. Wet sanding is not recommended if the finish is very thin as it is most important not to rub through the finish to the timber surface. If this occurs it may not be possible to disguise and the finish may need to be completely taken back to the original surface.
General grades of paper to use: 400, 800, 1200, 1500 grit wet & dry. Used wet with (typically) diluted Red Oil as a lubricant depending on the type of material being cut back, thinned wood oil is excellent as a lubricant for cutting back oiled surfaces, as it adds a coat of oil at the same time.
Steel Wool – Can be used both dry or with oil on raw or finished timber – useful for compound curves etc. Use a generous handful, not little pieces which are inclined to cut unevenly. Ensure steel wool is refreshed often as it will not work effectively. Make sure all particles are removed from surface by blowing or wiping with a clean soft cloth or tack rag before proceeding to next step.
General grades to use are: “0”, “00”, “000” and “0000”. “0” is fairly loosely equivalent to 180 grit paper, “00” to a very worn 360 grit. “000” and “0000” grade steel wool are referred to as french polishing grades.
Note; regardless of the abrasive, the finer the grade, the faster it cuts, as there are more cutting edges for a given area.
For using a scraper to clean up sanded surfaces, refer to the tool section.
Suggested procedures for common timber species: Jarrah, Mahogany, Cedar, Blackwood;
Apply two coats of Red Oil liberally and allow to penetrate for up to an hour before wiping excess from the surface. Wait 6 to 24 hours and apply a second coat according to desired colour. Red Oil increases “Patination” or “Depth” through a reaction with the timber.
Suggested procedures timber species: Quercus group such as American Oak, European Oak and Pine;
Apply Chinese Wood Oil in the same way as Red Oil.
Red Oil or Chinese Wood Oil provide a useful base preparation for some possible options as follows :-
Option 1 – Satin Matt Finish:
Apply three or more coats of Chinese Wood Oil over seven days (allowing 6 – 24 hours between coats or until finish is dry) and thoroughly wipe excess off before oil is “tacky.” Rub the surface vigorously.
Keep using the same lint free rag to apply the Chinese Wood Oil storing it in a glass jar or plastic bag between coats to prevent it hardening.
Caution: Oily rags can combust so please store in a safe area away from other materials to avoid fire hazard.
If you do not wipe off excess Chinese Wood Oil thoroughly, you can apply the final coat with fine steel wool or wet and dry paper (500 – 800 grit) to provide a cutting action. Place a little Chinese Wood Oil in a tray or dish. Chinese Wood Oil Thinners can be mixed with Oil to thin if necessary. Dip a generous handful of steel wool or wet and dry paper into the oil and cut only in the direction of grain. Wipe off the excess thoroughly with a lint free cloth to arrive at a quality finish.
Additional coats of Chinese Wood Oil will add to the lustre of the finish and by now only thin coats should be applied. This avoids wastage.
When Chinese Wood Oil is cured (dry) use a good hand sized pad of “000” steel wool or fine (800 – 1200 grit) wet and dry paper to evenly cut back the surface with the grain. Pat the wool pad frequently to dislodge the build up of waste material. Take care not to leave fragments in the finish.
Burnish vigorously with a soft, dry, lint free cotton cloth – press firmly, rub hard, generate some heat!
Repeat as desired.
More coats of Chinese Wood Oil will only improve the lustre further.
Further coats on the change of season, will improve the finish especially if the item is outdoors, or exposed to the elements.
Option 2 – Eggshell to Gloss Finish:
Apply three to six coats of Seedlac, (see section on Seedlac for application details) with four hours between coats. After the second coat, “000” steel wool may be used to cut back. Take care not to leave fragments in the finish.
Seedlac (in warm weather conditions) is tack free in 10 minutes and touch dry within 1 hour. Full hardness can take between 2 weeks to 3 months depending on the prevailing conditions, as the solvent must evaporate.
Option 3 – Eggshell (Wax) Finish:
Further to option 2; Subsequent coats of Seedlac applied and cut back (using wet and dry paper of 800 or 1200 grit, a square cork block and Thinned Red Oil as a lubricant or “000” steel wool used dry as above) will give an increased depth of finish.
Apply Lincoln Wax for enhanced gloss.
Option 4 – Blond Timbers:
All timbers darken to a greater or lesser degree over time through exposure to air and light.
Chinese Wood Oil is better suited to enhance light timbers such as the Quercus group (American Oak, European Oak) and Pine.
Apply two coats of Chinese Wood Oil (waiting 12 to 24 hours between coats) and wipe the excess from the surface before it dries (approximately 45 minutes but faster in warm weather).
Apply three to five coats (or as many as required for desired outcome) of Chinese Wood Oil. “000” steel wool may be used to cut back between coats.
A glossier finish will require more coats.
Very porous materials such as Pine etc. will require more Chinese Wood Oil than denser timbers such as Silver Ash.
Finish with Lincoln Wax for added patination.
In French Polishing it is usual to work with thinned Seedlac: 50% thinners, 50% Seedlac.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN ABBREVIATED INTRODUCTION TO POLISHING.
The first step in French Polishing is filling.
Choose a pad to be used exclusively for filling. Thin the Seedlac and fill the pad (not through the cover!) using only about one or two teaspoons. Rub the pad over the surface of the wood using a circular motion fig.9. Occasionally add more thinned Seedlac.
Sprinkle just a little fine Wood Grain Filler on the surface as you continue to rub the pad over the wood. The Wood Grain Filler will grind off fine wood dust, mix with it and be forced into the pores of the wood, filling them. Because of this mixing, the colour will match the surrounding wood closely. Continue this process until all of the pores are filled.
Once the pores are filled, allow the Wood Grain Filler at least 12 hours to cure before proceeding.
Use a new pad to start building a film of Seedlac on the surface. This pad is filled with thinned Seedlac. Sprinkle a few drops of Red Oil onto the pad cover to lubricate the motion of the pad.
Work in quick circular strokes and keep the pad in constant motion. If the pad is left stationary for the slightest instant it will stick and mar the work. Feed the pad from the back with more Seedlac as the pad dries.
Let dry for 24 hours before applying the next coat. Do not attempt to start again after a few minutes, your rhythm will be gone, and the surface will be sticky and difficult to work without marking.
About three coats (minimum) are needed to achieve a high gloss finish.
Once you have achieved a surface build up your final step remains. The Red Oil used to lubricate the pad needs to be removed from the surface, this process is called Spiriting.
Allow the last coat to dry for at least 24 hours. Change to a new pad and fill with a small volume of Seedlac Thinner. The pad should be almost dry.
Rub the pad with the grain, use very light pressure, to remove the Red Oil.
Do not go over the same spot twice, or you will soften the finish.
Rest for two hours, then repeat if necessary.
A lot depends on touch and much can be gained through practice.
If you take time you will be rewarded with beautiful finishes.
To produce an open pore finish, the pad is filled with diluted Seedlac and is always moved with the grain.
No Red Oil is necessary.
The trick here is to stop polishing as soon as the pad gets sticky. Move to a new area attacking only those areas you can cope with in a session.
Note; that it is a mistake to assume that by applying more Seedlac you will achieve a faster finish. The pad should never be wet or dripping. If you get impatient you may find yourself with twice as much work in repair.
Pay attention to the weather conditions, a cold dry day is very difficult to work effectively. The temperature is very important; 25 degrees C is the minimum ambient temperature required. On a hot & humid 35 degree C + day, you can build up an astonishing depth of finish in a short time. Note; mind you don’t perspire onto the work.
A two week job in the Summer can be a two month job in the Winter, so pick your time with a little care and observation.
When brushing Seedlac, temperature and humidity are very important factors. All surfaces should be absolutely dry, and the humidity in the workshop below 70%.
For a wash-coat use Seedlac mixed with 50% Seedlac Thinner. The second coat should be mixed with 25% Seedalc Thinners, and the top/final coat, with Seedlac undiluted.
Note; The first coat is termed the wash-coat. It sets any fibres raised by the sanding operation, seals the wood and prevents any creeping through of its resinous content. It also gives increased resistance to wear.
The recommended consistency for brush application also applies to spraying. The best results can be obtained by spraying Seedlac in a fan pattern, holding the gun approximately 6 inches or 150 mm from the work surface.
The gun should be kept in constant motion to prevent piling up of material. The edges should not overlap too much and the surface must be completely covered.
The operator should work rhythmically with a minimum of waste motion and over spray, always maintaining an even air pressure. The technique of spraying has to be acquired after careful experiment under local conditions.
Generally the pressure at the gun for each coats varies. When applying a wash-coat try 25psi (175kPa), and for sealer and top-coat 30-35psi (200-240kPa).
Spraying of Seedlac should never be attempted when the relative humidity is over 85% or temperature is under 18 degrees C.
25 degrees C @ 60%-80% humidity is ideal.
Seedlac is a solvent release product. Apply 2 full coats wet on wet (straight after eachother) or several thin coats about 12 minutes apart, to gradually obtain a film build up of approx. 0.3mm.
Spray at 30psi (200kPa). Dust free from 5-10 minutes, tack free from 20-30 minutes, dry from 1 hour (depending on weather conditions and thickness of application.) Increased pressure will cause finish to move or mark.
Wet sanding using Red Oil (mixed in equal parts with Chinese Wood Oil Thinner) and/or cutting with fine steel wool may be conducted after 3-4 hours (depending on weather conditions and the thickness of the application.)
A penetrating oil finish, Chinese Wood Oil is usually applied with a rag but can be brushed. Cover the timber with a generous amount and allow to penetrate. Rub excess with lint free rag before it dries. Leave 4 – 24 hours (depending on weather conditions) before applying further coats.
Repeat coats of Chinese Wood Oil will increase sheen.
Fine steel wool and/or wet and dry paper may be used to cut back between coats.
To fill open grained timbers and create a smooth finish, flood the surface with Chinese Wood Oil and use 600 grade wet and dry paper to wet sand (dipping paper into Chinese Wood Oil) the surface. The sanding dust combined with the oil will produce a filler that will help fill the pores. Steel wool (grade “00” and finer) is sometimes recommended for this purpose but take care not to leave fragments in the finish.
Before the Chinese Wood Oil begins to cure (dry) and becomes tacky, wipe the excess from the surface with a clean lint free cloth. This method works well with timbers such as Walnut or Cherry that have relatively small pores. Timbers such as Oak or Mahogany that have larger pores may need an additional fill for which Wood Grain Filler is very satisfactory. Apply a coat of Chinese Wood Oil to the timber and then sprinkle a little (a pinch between finger and thumb is sufficient for approximately 125 square cm) Wood Grain Filler onto it. Sand the wet surface with 600 grade wet and dry paper. The sanding will make a paste of timber dust mixed with pumice that will blend the colour of the wood and fill the pores. Continue sanding until the pores are full, adding pumice as necessary.
When you have finished sanding, wipe any remaining Wood Grain Filler with a lint free cloth.
Note; Ensure you remove all excess oil with a lint free cloth as it may cause your finish to appear uneven. If this does occur, fine steel wool or wet and dry paper may be used to cut back surface.
Further applications of Chinese Wood Oil mixed (in equal parts) with Chinese Wood Oil Thinner may be applied using 00 (or finer) steel wool, or alternatively 800 or finer grit wet & dry paper and a cork block. Cut back the entire surface evenly in the direction of the grain until satisfied.
After every 5 to 10 applications of Chinese Wood Oil, this process is recommended in any case to ensure a flat surface throughout the job.
Apply as many additional coats of Chinese Wood Oil as you wish to achieve the desired finish. Allow at least 6 hours between coats (depending on the weather)
After your first few coats, there is no reason to apply heavy coats.
When the final coat of Chinese Wood Oil is cured (which may take up to a week depending on the weather conditions), burnish the surface by rubbing vigorously with a clean soft cloth, lamb’s wool or electric buffer to finish.
An interesting patination can be produced by cutting back with “0000” steel wool, used dry and frequently turned. Burnish vigorously with enough pressure to cause friction and thus heat.
For a higher gloss Seedlac or Lincoln Wax may be applied.
Note; the higher the gloss achieved, the more visible any defects will be, so if the finish is too shiny cut back as described above until you are happy with the result.
WARNING: DO NOT STORE OIL RAGS AND OTHER MATERIALS IN YOUR BUILDING – DISPOSE OF ALL USED MATERIALS CAREFULLY AND DO NOT ALLOW A BUILD UP TO OCCUR.
The likelihood of fire should be taken seriously. A full container of oil allows little room for oxygen, but a partially empty one may allow enough to remain to gel the contents, so do not permit a large air space to remain in the container. (An old tradesman’s trick is to put marbles in the jar to take up the air space and keep the jar full as material is used) or de-cant Chinese Wood Oil into a smaller (glass) jar.
Lincoln Wax is a blend of purely organic naturally occurring materials that are indefinitely sustainable.
The resulting cream is completely non-toxic, easy to use, long lasting and very durable wax that offers exceptional value for money. (Many customers report over five years use per jar!)
In over forty years of our own research (including more than twenty five years of direct public trials) we have specifically formulated this wax for the feeding, stabilising and on- going protection of all finishes. It may safely be used on all finishes to provide an enhanced “patina” and sets hard.
Lincoln Wax is a simple to use yet very effective protective finish, and must be used to be appreciated. It cleans the surface during application, repels wood boring insects, resists water, low level heat, dust, finger marks, oils, alcohols etc.
It is non-toxic and smells delightful.
Using a small pad made from lint free cotton (e.g. sheet, old t-shirt/shirt etc.) smear the wax on sparingly in the direction of the grain.
Leave on no more than a few minutes (working a small area at a time) and rub the surface vigorously with a clean cotton cloth to remove excess wax and enhance sheet.
When complete, a final vigorous rub with a third, clean cloth, may be used to burnish.
An initial 2 – 4 coats of Lincoln Wax are required (leaving 24 hours between coats) and further coats may be applied as necessary.
This is a concentrated wax so use sparingly.
Excess build up may be gently cut back with “000” or “0000” grade steel wool, available from Constantia.
If waxing a surface with a heavy build up of grime/dirt (such as near a door handle or similar) it is recommended that Cleaner Restorer be used first to cleanse the surface in preparation.
Whilst using Lincoln Wax be sure to replace lid to prevent dust and other airborne particles from falling into the jar.
Lathe work should be finished to the fineness obtained with 320 grit paper. Steel wool may be used, or one of the specialists tools now available. A technique using small sanding discs mounted in an electric drill, and bearing on the work whilst rotating at low speed also gives very good results.
Chinese Wood Oil or Red Oil is applied using a rubber cupped under the timber while the lathe rotates at its lowest speed.
Chinese Wood Oil is applied more liberally than when hand polishing, in order to prevent the heat caused by friction, from making the rubber snag into the wood.
It is a much faster way to apply finish to the timber than by hand and bodying up for filling of the grain occurs very quickly. Wet and dry paper 1000 or 1600 grit and fine steel wool can be used with good effect on the lathe.
Note; KEEP THE SPEED LOW!
BEFORE STARTING THOROUGHLY CHECK THE CONDITION OF THE TIMBER AND STRUCTURE etc. AS IT MAY NOT BE WORTH THE TIME AND EXPENSE TO PERFORM A FULL RESTORATION.
To prepare the surface, it may well be that the item requires stripping, in which case there are several options depending on the obstinacy of the existing finish. Commercial strippers, stripping baths (but not caustic, which will discolour some woods, and affect some glues), burning with a blow lamp (mainly for architectural fittings) and heat guns, all have their application and use.
Stripper is also available from Constantia.
Do not hurry whilst stripping, let the stripper do the work. More than one coat may be needed in corners, deeper details etc.
The timber is washed with water after stripper and is then ready for sanding.
Follow aforementioned application instructions for Constantia finishes.
Built up wax, polish, shellac or dirt may also be removed with Cleaner Restorer.
Apply liberally using a lint free cloth, fine steel wool, tooth brush or stencil brush (for carved and hard to reach sections) and then rub hard with a clean lint free cloth to remove residue.
Cleaner Restorer has a mild etching effect for removing oxidised finish, dirt etc. that has built up over time and contained organic plant oils to assist with scratch prevention.
If oxidation or dirt is excessive repeat the process.
Apply Lincoln Wax.
Make sure to always prepare your surface well prior to finishing as this will determine your final product.
As the volume of Chinese Wood Oil and Seedlac decreases with use, decanting contents into smaller (glass) containers will reduce oxygen exposure and increase shelf life.
Good quality abrasives (i.e. scrapers, sand paper, steel wool, sanding pads) and application tools (i.e. brushes, cloth and lambswool polishing pads, lint free cloth, spray guns) ensure finishes are applied evenly and with reduced risk of particle damage from deteriorated equipment.
Be mindful of the climatic conditions when finishing. Artificial heating is useful in colder weather.
A smear of Vaseline on the top and thread of the container not only helps seal with less pressure, but also helps with undoing it later.
Keep the lid closed to increase shelf life.
We offer solutions to a variety of finishing queries. If it is not in our manual, please phone or send us an email.
Constantia organic finishes offer the greatest enhancement and protection for any species in solid and/or veneer.
Because we do not add chemical dryers to our products they rely on the natural climate. Heat, friction and oxygen activate a polymerisation (drying) so in warm conditions, with good air flow, our products can dry within 30 minutes or sometimes less. We normally recommend leaving 6 – 24 hours between coats. In colder conditions, artificial heating is recommended to hasten drying time. The Chinese Wood Oil can also be warmed by placing container inside a bowl of boiling water (water capsule.) Although we recommend our product as it is, driers can be added to assist with this process. Finishes will harden further over the week/s following final application.
Synthetic Lacquer sits on the surface of the timber whereas the Chinese Wood Oil penetrates deeply into the grain and covers the surface to form an in/on skin. As the timber expands and contracts continually the lacquer becomes more brittle and eventually crazes (cracks) and flakes under the pressure of the movement. Chinese Wood Oil however, expands and contracts with the timber and will not crack and flake. Maintenance is far easier with Chinese Wood Oil as it does not require complete removal prior to reapplication.
Since 1977, Constantia products have been used on food preparation areas, children’s toys and swings with no ill effects reported.
Constantia products should only ever be thinned using Constantia Thinners. Many years of trial and experimentation occur to create the correct compatibility for thinning our products.
Constantia’s Organic Finishes come highly recommended for use on areas under the greatest duress. Chinese Wood Oil is particularly known as one of the longest lasting, most durable finishes on the market and is used by Flinders Ports to maintain timber and steel (substantially slowing oxidation) on their boats. Gates, fence posts, floors, doors and frames are all ideal surfaces for the tough, heat and water resistant properties of Chinese Wood Oil. Maintenance is simply conducted without the complete removal of previous coats necessary. Chinese Wood Oil can be applied to stone to preserve the natural beauty and steel to minimise oxidation substantially slowing the rusting process.
All timbers vary in grain size and can draw (absorb) more in some areas than others. One (or more if required) of the following options are recommended to trial:
– Wet sand with wet or dry paper (400-600 grit) and Chinese Wood Oil mixed in equal parts (50/50) with Chinese Wood Oil Thinners. This will assist to dissolve and cut the finish to flatten and fill.
– “oo” (medium) grade steel wool can also be used to cut back the surface either dry or by dipping into Chinese Wood Oil. Make sure to refresh the steel wool regularly as worn wool will not effectively cut. Wipe hard with a lint free rag. Further to this steel wool may also be dipped into an equal (or stronger if required) mix of Constantia Chinese Wood Oil Thinner and Chinese Wood Oil.
– Electric buffers with either a lambswool head or cotton pad are very effective at creating heat and friction to flatten and create an even finish and encourage penetration into the grain.
The full Constantia range work in harmony to cover all your needs but each product can be used for individual applications and there will be times when only one product is required to fulfill the task at hand. Observation and personal taste determine how many coats are necessary. As our products offer the highest enhancement and protection even the smallest quantities are powerfully effective. For an ‘open-grain’ look 2 – 3 coats may be sufficient and for ‘higher sheen’ finish 3 – 8 coats may be applied. Constantia Wood Grain Filler substantially assists in filling more open grained timbers and can be applied dry over wet oil or mixed into a paste and rubbed into the grain. Applying oil with abrasives such as wet or dry paper and steel wool can assist in creating a ‘slurry’ of wood dust and oil that works very effectively as a grain filler. When the surface becomes discoloured and faded or dry looking, a light cut back can be performed and subsequent coats applied.
Our Finishing manual provides further information on all our products and we offer an experienced advisory for all email and telephone inquiries.
Our guarantee: Constantia Organic Finishes are some of the safest, easiest to apply, longest lasting and most beautiful products on the market. They are fully backed by an expert advisory and a family of esteemed clients. Constantia have been a trusted producer in Australia since 1977.
The Constantia Chinese Wood Oil, Seedlac and Lincoln Wax can be used over the top of stains and pigments to seal and protect. It is recommended that stains and pigments are applied darker than would be required as some of the colour will penetrate with the Constantia product into the grain making it lighter. Always trial using a test piece to accurately gauge desired quantity and compatibility.
Constantia Grain Filler is ideal for open grained timbers. It can be applied in the following ways;
Option 1: Sprinkle dry over freshly applied (wet) Chinese Wood Oil and/or Seedlac and rub/buff vigorously in the direction of the grain.
Option 2: Mix equal parts of Red Oil, Seedlac and Chinese Wood Oil to make a paste or slurry and apply vigorously in the direction of the grain. Wipe excess off with a clean rag.
Option 3: Useful as a fine abrasive when ‘matting off’ or ‘cutting back’ finish.
Brushes used for Chinese Wood Oil can be cleaned using Mineral Turpentine Oil. Brushes used for Seedlac can be cleaned using Methylated Spirits. Only Constantia Organic Finishes Thinner should be used to thin Chinese Wood Oil and Seedlac.