Apr 5, 2007

How to Determine a Great Paint Brush

Benjamini Moore 65125The ideal brush for latex and acrylics will be non-flagged with various tapered filament lengths, chiseled tips, effectively pick up and release paint smoothly with a load capacity to go 7’ while staying sharp and true to the line you cut.

Blend of Filaments A general purpose brush for latex and acrylics will have a blend of two filament types often nylon and polyester. The percentage of the blend and taper ratios indicates the suitability, capability and performance of the brush over various surfaces using various products.

brush_bm Filament Lengths Thumb through the filaments. The filaments should have various lengths. Paint is held in the center of the brush as well as the tapered tips. Filaments with equal dimension along its length are “level” filaments. Filaments with a diameter larger at one end (the butt) than the other are “tapered” filaments. Snap a sharp round double-ended toothpick in half, this is similar to a tapered filament.

Tapered Chiseled Tips Filaments will be thick at the butt with precision tapered tips that release paint gradually, evenly and smoothly. Chiseled tips provide substantially sharp cuts in comparison to flagged tips.

Taper Ratio characterized by noting the ratio of the thick to the thin diameter of a filament. Standard synthetic tapered filaments are found in ratios such as 15⁄10, 12⁄8, and 9⁄5 where the numbers reference the diameter in thousandths of an inch (mils).

Hold Capacity To go a distance of 7’ with one load it must have large hold capacity. To determine this, pinch the filaments about ½” from the base of the ferrule, the less dense the more hold capacity.

compare02 Sharpness The sharpness of a brush is determined by the taper ratio and overall quantity of the filaments. Determine the sharpness of a brush by pinching the brush ¼” up from the tapered tips. Sharp brushes will produce a blade-like tip when you pinch.

Quality Filaments DuPont’s CHINEX, TYNEX and OREL

CHINEX is (S-R-T) Solid Round Tapered self-flagging modified soft nylon with an irregular surface, more expensive than polyester, stays stiffer longer, better shape and stiffness retention, cleans nicely, long brush life, abrasion resistance 7 times greater than natural china bristle and low moisture absorption.

TYNEX is nylon type 612 and softer than CHINEX with twice the abrasion resistance of OREL.

OREL is polyester, offers stiffness retention and bend recovery, three times the abrasion resistance of hog bristle.

Each are quality filament types found in brushes with their own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Some brushes use a blend of one, two or three of these filament types to make a brush unique with specific characteristics and features. Extra-firm brushes generally have more polyester than nylon while softer brushes are made of all nylon or mainly nylon with some polyester.

Looking for the DuPont S-R-T name on a brush is by no means an indicator of a great brush. While the filaments are quality - the blend of filaments – the various filament lengths – the cut and taper ratios make or break a brushes precision characteristics and what the brush is capable of or best suited for.

Tynex® is a registered trademark of DuPont for its brand of nylon filament. Only DuPont makes Tynex®.

If your project requires solvent based products such as polyurethane, stain, sanding sealer, varnish or oil-based paint, you will want to purchase a china bristle brush. China bristle comes in white and black. White China performs well with oil-based stains and clears while black china produces nice results with oil-based paints which are generally thick and heavier to spread than stains and clears.

In this photo you can noticeably see a difference in quality compared to the $12 brush shown above.

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