Professional Tips & Suggestions

The following suggestions are from Steve Houmis. He is a an Instructor of Furniture Finishing and Hand Tool Classes at Woodcraft #556 In Virginia Beach, VA. Steve has been building period reproduction furniture for over 50 years.

“Below are the methods that have yielded good results with Bristol Fnish interior water based finishes.

All of my experience has been with bare wood, so that is all I can speak to.

Spraying Bristol Finish Interior Water Based Finishes:

Sand the surface to be coated to 220 grit. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth to raise the grain, sand again with 220grit. Repeat this procedure one more time and sand again with 220 grit sand paper. Wipe the surface clean with a micro fiber cloth. Seal the surface with either a couple of coats shellac or water based sanding sealer. It should be noted that the shellac with impart an amber tint to the surface. If you find this unacceptable seal with several coats of a water based sanding sealer.

After the sealer has cured sand the surface lightly with 320 grit paper taking care not to sand through the sealer. If you do reapply sealer and repeat this step. Wipe the surface clean with a microfiber cloth.

Strain your Bristol finish through a 125 micron paint filter into your spray cup. I have found that a 1.3-1.5 mm tip works best for spraying this finish with my Apollo HVLP system. Spray medium coats of the finish. Allow the finish to dry before re-coating. It should be noted that this finish like most water based finishes is not very attractive as it comes out of the gun. Resist the urge to wipe it off and be patient. Come back in an hour and you will be pleased. If you allow the finish to dry for more than four (4) hours sand lightly with 320 grit and wipe down before re-coating. Apply at least two more coats for maximum durability. This finish will produce a beautiful long lasting finish that rivals the durability of two part catalyzed finishes.

Steve Houmis”