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Thread: bristol finish mast refinish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Oxford, MD
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    Default bristol finish mast refinish

    Having just re-finished my main and z masts , I thought a few may be interested in another data point for Bristol Finish. I had considered a few products, but decided on the bristol product for various reasons. Others on this list had mixed reactions to the product so I figured I'd add in my experience. Generally I am not at all certain I would use it again, it depends on how well it holds up.

    Firstly, it runs about $60 per quart, and a quart it took to get 4 good solid coats onto my 35 ft spruce main. The Z took about half that. I had to wood one entire mast surface (the nominally south facing surface), but otherwise I was putting it on over a good existing coat of something. I do not know how or when these masts were previously refinished, but it looked like varnish as it curled out of my scrapper.

    I had refinished a short portion of the main that I could reach from the deck last year with cetol, just to see how it would hold up. A year later it looked ok, but you could remove it with but an easy swipe with sandpaper. I'm not sure how that relates to weathering, but it certainly was not a hard durable finish.

    I did 4 coats over a two day period when the weather was in the 50's by day, 30's at night. I recoated after 2 or 3 hours and it was fine, even at the lower temperatures. This was all done under cover, but outside. The need to take advantage of the occasional days of good temperatures was a strong point in favor of using Bristol finish. It was slower to dry fully, but not excessively so. I only mixed what I needed, so I have no good feel for pot life.

    Someone did mention that it was runny and sloppy, but I found it no more so than most every other product I've used. However, it did surprise me when I finished the 4th coat on the main just before dark. I had brushed it out pretty well, but apparently it had a few too many hours to set up given the falling temperatures. Come morning the bottom side was filled with little 'icicles' of that very expensive BF. I sliced them off with a razor blade, wiped them well with lacquer thinner, let it all set in the sun for a couple of days, then lightly sanded and added a 5th coat just along that surface. Surprizingly it came up fine. Not sure I would have gotten away with that with a varnish, but then I would not have been varnishing at dusk.

    I would be careful using this stuff inside, it put up a pretty good vapor. However it did clean up well with Lacquer thinner. Some folks around here love the stuff, but we'll see.

    I'll send a picture when I figure out how to do that...
    Pete Dunbar
    Oxford MD

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
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    7,498

    Default

    Thanks for the in depth posting on Bristol Finish Pete. I tried it and ended up taking it back to the dealer. The main problems were the nasty fumes and the fact that the product fish eyed even on the third coat. How did the color look once you had a build up? What did you use for brushes?
    JG

  3. #3
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    Oct 2000
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    Wellesley, MA USA
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    Default

    Please report back annually.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Oxford, MD
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    Default

    Jay, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by fish eye, but it certainly has a propensity to sag. If you wanted a first class finish you would have to pay attention to it as it cured and set. I was content with just a good buildup and did not sand between coats, which turned out as expected -- not a perfect finish.
    The color was very clear. The sections that I wooded turned up lighter than those that I left the old varnish on, so it did not deepen much at all. Slight miscolorations that existed prior for whatever reason, remained (the top 2 ft of my main was finished much lighter than the rest, the bristol finish did not darker or deepen that section).
    I used my usual natural bristle brushes; they cleaned up well (better than a couple of my fingers in fact).
    I don't see myself going up the masts for maintanence coats any more, so it will be interesting to see how well this holds up. I will keep you posted.
    Pete Dunbar
    Oxford MD

  5. #5
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    Sep 2004
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    200 Bay Street Berlin, MD. 21811
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    Pete.. thanks for the synopsis on Bristol.. I'm always looking for alternatives.. Think I'll take this one off my list...
    Still thinking about crabcoat though....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Port Townsend WA
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    Fish eye is a term used for tappioca like round spots in a finish. This often happens if silicone wax has been used on an automobile finish prior to a repaint. In the case of Bristol Finish, I was using it on fresh wood that had no sealing or other contaminates on the surface. The BF that was left in the mixing container actually fish eyed on the surface as it dried! I did experience the runs and sags you spoke of and I was in doubt that the color depth would equal that of traditional varnish.
    I was happy to hear that you were able to clean it out of your brushes.
    I used throw away brushes for my experiment. I am still considering using it for mast trucks and spreader tops in place of varnish, just to see if it will hold up as advertised.
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Jan 2005
    Location
    Oxford, MD
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    tough challenge for it to hold up on spreader tops Jay -- I'd be interested in how it works out.
    I've always used a couple three coats of zspar 'spar buff' for the tops of my spreaders and jumpers. Otherwise they just get eaten up in the high MD summer sun. Looks strange on the sawhorses, but it disappears once the mast is stepped and you look up into that sky.
    Pete Dunbar
    Oxford MD

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Port Townsend WA
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    I have never had a problem with keeping a mast varnished. It is a seasonal ritual in California to rig a chair in the spring and sand on the way up and varinish on the way down. Spreader tops and mast head trucks do take a bit of a beating. I would just wonder if BF would give a bit more protection between trips up the sticks.
    Jay

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