Apr 8, 2007

Brushes Closeup

Brush technology never stands still, but filament technology has undergone exceptionally dramatic changes recently. Because the filament is the single-most important component of a brush, having a firm understanding of its workings is vitally important whether you’re buying a replacement brush, upgrading your existing brush or tweaking your system process for production efficiency.

Unless you’ve carefully archived the last ten years of my articles, it’s likely a number of new brush developments have escaped your attention. But all this new filament technology doesn’t necessarily mean brushes have become better performers or easier to use. If you’re looking to replace your old brush with a brand new one, you’ll find it’s more difficult than ever to do it without some knowledge with literally hundreds to choose from. The hard part is deciding what features are most important to you, and determining what other brush characteristics you’ll need to fulfill ultimate production potential.

Some painters tape everything off therefore most any brush will do but for those of you who paint on the cutting edge of technology seeking maximum performance to give you an edge over your competition, then there are some factors to take into account before selecting a brush. Let’s take a look at the filaments of two brushes in more detail and how the ends of the filaments are finished.

Sherwin Williams BrushSherwin Williams Brush. The ends of the filaments are flagged on this example.
Benjamin Moore 651-25Benjamin Moore Brush. The ends of the filaments are chisel tipped on this example. No flagging.
Benjamin Moore 651-25 Benjamin Moore Brush. This brush has various filament lengths that ultimately define a chisel-like profile.

NOTE: Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore make many brushes with different purposes, I selected one from each end of the spectrum for this example.

Notice the following in the photos above
1) The bulkiness of the Sherwin Williams brush in comparison to the Benjamin Moore brush.
2) Tipping versus flagging
3) The sharpness of chisel tipped brushes
4) Needle-like filaments on the Benjamin Moore brush
Benjamin Moore 651-25 Benjamin Moore 651-25
Purdy Nylox-Glide Purdy Nylox-Glide
Purdy Pro-Extra Glide Purdy Pro-Extra Glide
Purdy XL-Glide Purdy XL-Glide
Compare Brushes For side by side comparison
Compare tipping/flagging Compare tipping and flagging

More information on what to look for in quality precision brushes.
Revised 2-24-2009

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