Paint Brushes, Searching
For production painting, there’s nothing like a quality brush that picks up and releases paint quickly and efficiently. What should you look for in a good production brush? As it turns out, several things.
for the Perfect Brush
by Susan Brimo-Cox
there’s nothing like a quality brush that picks up and releases paint quickly and efficiently. So, it stands to reason that when “time is money,” “you’re only as good as your tools.” What should you look for in a good production brush? As it turns out, several things.
“A good paintbrush is a combination of many different factors,” points out Ben Waksman of Corona Brushes Inc. in Tampa, Fla. “First you must start with the best raw material available, whether synthetic filaments or natural bristles.”
Industry experts report that nylon is the longest-wearing filament used in brushes. Nylon, as it turns out, can be tipped easily, too. What’s so important about tipping? Tipping affects how a brush will spread paint. Each manufacturer has its own method for tipping, but the procedure basically consists of sanding or abrading the tip of the filament, so it is not just a blunt end.
Polyester, which is a stiffer filament, is also used in brushes. However, when they are used in conjunction with nylon filaments, the polyester filaments are usually shorter so they add stiffness but don’t wear when the brush is used.
When it comes to natural bristles, 100 percent China Bristle — from long-haired Chinese hogs — has been the preferred brush for oil-based finishes.
The flexibility of a brush is an important consideration.
As Bruce Schneider, sales technical support manager for Purdy Corp. in Portland, Ore., observes, “Correct mixes of different lengths and stiffness of filament give a painter the kind of control to maximize production.”
Not only does the proper flex help distribute the paint evenly, it helps the brush maintain its shape to avoid excessive spreading and loss of control. To apply a coating properly you want to avoid pulling or pushing the coating; or flinging or spattering, for that matter. A good brush will prevent these problems.
If you need a brush for a smooth fine finish you’ll need one with very fine filaments. As a rule, the softer and more finely finished the tips of the brush are the less brush strokes the brush will leave, and the better the final appearance.
For fine oil-based finishes, again, professionals turn to China Bristle, often in combination with ox ear hair. Ox ear hair is very soft and fine, so you experience a better finish. However, it is on the expensive side.
For production, a brush also needs to pick up and hold a lot of paint, then spread the paint consistently as it’s brushed out over a distance.
Charles Scaminace, national marketing manager for The Sherwin-Williams Company in Cleveland, puts this aspect into perspective. “The more paint which can be delivered to the painting surface in a fast and efficient manner, the higher the rate of production and the quicker the job can be completed. It is not only important for a paint brush to hold a lot of paint, it is equally important for it to release the paint smoothly and evenly to achieve the final appearance desired.”
Typically, the bigger the brush, the more paint it holds. But it’s not as simple as that, explains Bob Ricksecker, advertising manager for the Wooster Brush Co. in Wooster, Ohio. While the width and thickness of a brush are obvious, don’t forget to consider any spacers located between the bristles. “You’ll see spacers in the center of a brush. How they’re positioned affects how much paint a brush will hold,” he says.
Most painters need a selection of sizes and styles of brushes, but what makes a good all-around brush? Generally, a brush that is not too stiff, not too soft and one that works for a variety of coatings. What you are looking for is a good balance between paint capacity and the quality of the finish. Nylon/polyester mix brushes usually fall into this category.
One more thing: Make sure the end of your brush has the right trim. You’ll need to be able to make nice clean cut lines where straight line work is required.
So, you see, paint brushes are not all the same. It pays to do your homework — in faster production and finer finishes.