Product Review – Ciranova UN1CO Stain & Oil

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I’ve been fighting with topcoating products recently – especially those that can give me that stripped wood look. So, I was delighted to when the lovely Kate of Colour Me KT, suggested Ciranova UN1CO Stain and Oil which she did this fab ‘how to use’ video on.

Ciranova UN1CO is, as the name suggests, a product which stains and oils in just one coat. It’s been designed primarily for floors which should make it a super hardwearing product and more than adequate for furniture.

The test case

I posted this yew veneer sideboard on social media. I had uncovered the true beauty of the veneer and didn’t want to cover it. Everyone loved its stripped natural wood beauty against the black painted frame. My challenge was that pretty much all the topcoating products I use (including oils, waxed and varnishes) darken the tone of the wood. The picture here (that everyone loved) is still a bit dusty from sanding. It was ‘whiter’ than it would be once topcoated. I wanted to keep the bleached look.

Mixing the product

UN1CO has a matt finish and comes in a range of colours. It seemed like a good choice for this piece. I chose ‘Smoke’ which has a cream/grey tint. UN1CO is supplied as a two part product. You mix one part hardener to three parts colour. I used a paper bowl and a fork to mix it up.

I mixed up about half of this small 150ml kit. I poured the amounts by eye – very naughty of me – next time I will definitely measure out properly!

Both products poured easily and mixed up really smoothly. I was actually expecting it to be more difficult having used lots of ‘gloopy’ oil products before. This was not gloopy at all and felt more like a smooth emulsion paint. Once its mixed, you leave it for 10 minutes before using.

Application

To help make sure the product moves around easily, Ciranova recommend wetting the surface prior to application. This is a good idea anyway as it will remove any sanding residue. As you can see once the piece was all wet, the yew looks darker. That bleached effect has been lost and this is what most topcoats would do it it. I think I’m on the right track choosing this tinted product for this piece.

UN1CO can be applied using a cloth, brush or sponge. I took the sponge route – just a simple kitchen sponge. Kate recommended dabbing the product across the surface when you start.

You then wipe the product across the surface in the direction of the grain to distribute it evenly. At this point, I admit that I started to panic. The product was pretty thick and the colour dense – I possibly used too much colour in my mix. It was like I’d covered the entire surface with a thick emulsion paint. Not to be deterred, I grabbed my trusty blue shop towel and started wiping off the excess even though the instructions say to wait 15 minutes.

Satisfied with the results, I moved on the the drawers and doors. In retrospect, it would have been much easier to remove them as the product did ‘overshoot’ with my sloppy sponge. I’ve now got to touch up the black but its no biggie – just a bit more work. I did find that the product wiped off the metal hinges easily without leaving any stain so that’s a bonus.

The process

I was possibly a bit overconfident with the doors after my success with the top. I covered both doors before wiping off the excess. UN1CO dries quickly! As you can see below, after wiping off the excess this time, I was left with a bit of a blotchy finish. I did another session wiping any excess off all the surfaces after a further 15 minutes. It was still slightly blotchy so quickly pulled out my orbital sander and a lambswool bonnet and it buffed that all off no problem. Phew!

Buffing was actually a really good call. It gave the finish that extra boost and it truly feels like velvet now. One final point I’d make is that the colour does seem to develop a bit over time – I’m guessing as the stain and oil soaks in – apparently the product is ‘slightly walkable’ after 24 hours so ‘touch dry’ and takes up to 2 weeks to fully cure.

What a transformation!

Conclusion

Ciranova UN1CO is a great, easy to use tinted oil product for finishing furniture. The matt finish is very on-trend and the tints change the way the base wood looks. It feels dry immediately after application and the two week cure time seems excessive but (if you didn’t know) most paints, oils varnishes and waxes take at least 30 days to cure properly!

You do need to be quite careful to work quickly over smaller areas wherever possible but this is certainly not much different to most products I’ve used. I would recommend working on pieces horizontally – the streaky door issue might have just been me but as this product is for floors, I think horizontal would be a good call wherever possible .

Despite it being a one coat product, if you are looking for a subtle finish and to keep the woodgrain, I would probably say its best to do 2 very thin coats over a couple of days and build the colour up slowly.

At £14.95 for a 150ml kit, and given I used less than half of this for a sideboard, its also great value for money! Buy it from Colour Me KT here or ask me to work on a piece of furniture for you here!

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