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Bristol Home Classic Clear Application Features Maintenance F. A. Q. Order Here


The application of Bristol Finish requires the same basic preparation steps as any conventional varnish or paint product.  The surfaces to be coated must be dry, clean and smoothly sanded, and any unsound coatings must be removed, as they will compromise the bond.  Any discoloration in the wood should be removed (sanded out or bleached).  Teak oil coatings must be removed with two-part teak cleaner.

The old saying is completely true - proper and thorough preparation accounts for at least 90% of your final appearance.  If you cut corners, your appearance will reflect your shortcuts.

Preparation Procedures
All glue joints must be fully sealed, and wood attached to hull or deck surfaces must be properly bedded to prevent moisture intrusion and rot. If joint bedding is suspect and cannot be replaced, we recommend caulking all edges of the piece. If you can insert a piece of paper between the wood and the mounting surface, there will be a problem with moisture intrusion. 

Clean the joint with a knife or razor blade, and flush thoroughly with acetone or lacquer thinner. Caulk the entire edge with 3M 5200, forcing into the joint as far as possible with a fingertip, and wipe up all excess. Allow to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions.

 5200 retains far more long-term flexibility than polysulfide caulks.  It also provides a vast increase in adhesion, which is very important for caulking this type problem area

A small bead will not prevent removal at some later date.  If you are caulking the bedding surfaces completely, use polysulfide material, or 5200 only on pieces that should always remain in place.

Apply Bristol Finish as described in Application Procedure over the wood and the caulked joint.

When you are applying tape, back the tape away from any joint by 1/32" or so, to insure that no wood is left bare.

Weather Considerations
When working outdoors, there are four challenges to face- rain or dew, sun, temperature and wind. These factors cane wood is exposed to dew or rain, it must be tho make any job more difficult, no matter what type of coating product is used, although Bristol Finish is more tolerant of extreme conditions than other varnishes are. Above all, common sense will help more than anything else. Always remember, the weather is not subject to your schedule- it's the other way around.

Rain or Dew: It is very important that the wood be completely dry (less than 18% moisture content) before applying Bristol Finish . If bare wood is exposed to dew or rain, it must be throughly dried by being allowed to sit for at least 2 hours after the surface is wiped dry. You cannot just wipe off the surface and immediately begin application, as moisture penetrates very deeply into wood cells. You can speed the process up by using a hair dryer or heat gun to draw out all excess moisture, and then saturating the wood liberally with acetone.

Wind: Very windy days are just not good for this type of work. Your brightwork will be covered with dust, grit and trash. Too much wind can cause skin-drying (and solvent pop) or too-rapid drying and excessive brush marks. Common sense would tell you that very windy days are best spent on tasks other than painting or brightwork.

Sun and Shade:  Bristol Finish may be applied in full sun or shade. Naturally, shady conditions are much easier to deal with. Full sun can cause a temperature differential between the coating material in the pot and the surface it is applied on. When working in full sun, you may experience bubbling, caused by the expansion of trapped air. There are several ways to either prevent or compensate for the effects of air expansion.

The most important consideration is to not over-brush the coating. Over-brushing will aerate the coating, and will almost guarantee the formation of bubbles. Good brushing technique is called for. If minor bubbling is noticed right away, you can brush back over the fresh area with another coat, breaking and "melting out" the bubbles. This technique will not work if the coating has set too far past the non-sticky stage.

You can also add more Reducer to the working mixture. This will give more "open time" and allow trapped air to escape.

Previously Varnished Surfaces

Properly applied over existing varnish in good condition, you will see the same longevity for Bristol Finish as if applied to bare wood.  New coatings should be allowed to cure fully to prevent the solvents in Bristol Finish from blistering or wrinkling the underlying finish.  To check compatibility, apply a small test area of Bristol Finish before coating large areas.

Wash if necessary to remove dirt and salt.  Rinse thoroughly and dry.  Sand by hand with 220 or 240 grit paper to remove all gloss, oxidation and surface defects.  Do not sand sharp corners or edges, but scuff with a 3M #7447 red  ScotchBrite pad.  Remove the sanding dust and lightly wipe with a tack rag.

New or Bare Wood
For teak, use any good two-part teak cleaner to remove excess oil, stains or discoloration from weathering. For other wood types, use a mild one-part wood cleaner if required. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and fully rinse to remove all residue. 

Allow the wood to dry completely for a minimum of 24 hours.

Sand as required, starting with an appropriate grit and progressing in steps. A progression of 80 grit, 150 grit, and finally 220 grit is suggested. Do not stop sanding with the 80 grit until the wood is completely smooth. The finer grits are only used to minimize the size of sanding scratches. Any ridges or high spots that are not sanded down will cause thin areas in the coating, which could suffer premature failure. Remove all sanding dust and wipe down with acetone or lacquer thinner.  Lightly wipe with a tack rag to remove any remaining dust.

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