Monday, 18 May 2009

Product Review - Renaissance micro-crystalline wax polish

Product: Renaissance Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish
Manufacturer / Distributor: Picreator Enterprises Ltd
Technical Details: A refined micro-crystalline wax with no acid component
Summary: A refined wax polish designed and formulated by the British Museum for the long term conservation and protection of museum exhibits. This product is now a universally respected standard conservation material because of its high quality and wide scope for use.
Suitable for: Designed to protects items in museums. Freshens colours and imparts soft sheen. Protects surfaces eg paintings, metals, ivory, marble, metals, leather.
  • A high quality product researched, designed and used by the British Museum
  • Used by conservation framers
  • very easy to use and produces a soft sheen on wood
Think Again?
  • Finding this product easily in the shops (try online as an alternative)
Suppliers: Available from
One of the suppliers suggests that "regulations" mean that it cannot be exported from the UK by a retailer. However Picreator has details of its distributing agents outside the UK.

When I started using natural wood frames for my artwork, I wanted to find a wax polish which would protect the frame while not staining it or damaging it in any way. Plus I really didn't want any sort of 'high gloss' sheen.

I came across Renaissance Micro-crystalline wax polish entirely by accident while browsing in Cornelissen's. However its label immediately suggested that this was the sort of product I'd been looking for. When I tried it out it did exactly what I wanted and I'm very pleased with it. I'd liken it to the very best face cream. You only need a small dab, it spreads wonderfully well, absorbs into the wood brilliantly, buffs up nicely and generally makes everything look a lot better!
Used by restoration specialists to revive and protect furniture, leather, paintings, metals etc. Freshens colours, imparts soft sheen. Very long shelf life (approx 20 years) as long as it is
not exposed to heat.
Cornelissen Gilding Catalogue - Lacquers and varnishes
What I didn't realise is that it had been created by conservation technicians in the British Museum research laboratories in response to concerns about commercial waxes. Apparently the commercial waxes - based on beeswax and carnuba wax contained acids which spoilt finishes over time (in accelerated aging tests). The product was developed in the 1950s and has been made since 1968 by London based firm Picreator who produce a variety of materials for professional conservation and restoration.

The product is made in three sizes (all of which are available in trade quantities from the manufacturer Picreator):
  • a 3 litre can - suitable for large scale usage only by a museum or trade user, frame shop, conservators and finishers
  • 200 ml can - targeted at the general market and or domestic user
  • 65 ml can (2.28 fluid oz) - this is the trial or gift size and is the one I bought. It cost me £7.00 but you can order it online for £4.00
RENAISSANCE WAXis used in the following places in the U.S. - The Smithsonian Institute, Colonial Williamsburg Conservatory, Abraham Lincoln Residence, Vicksburg Military Park and Museum, Henry Ford Museum, Academy of Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NRA Museum, Rockefeller Restorations, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Hilton Hotels, BYU Museum of Art, National Ornamental Metals Museum, as well as other museums, government agencies, craftsmen, collectors both professional and amature alike.
In the United Kingdom it is used in the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Buckingham Palace, Military Museums at Aldershot, H.M. the Queens Royal Armourer, The National Museum of Antiquities - Scotland, Royal Armories (London & Leeds), The Imperial War Museum, Windsor Castle, and The Tower of London.

Dennis Blaine Restoration Product (USA)


photoshop masking said...

Great review!!! Thanks for sharing!!

Julie Ford Oliver said...

I actually phoned the BM after seeing this wax in an art store in Santa Fe, N.M. and a very nice chap was willing to tell me all the details I needed to know. I now wax my watercolors with it when I use Yupo or Aquaboard. Love the sheen.

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