Feb 12, 2009

Tapered Chiseled Tip Precision Brushes

Some corners you just don’t cut!

Precision brushes offer many advantages over those that are not such as fast accurate tapeless cuts with many other benefits. The sole ability to be free from masking tape not only saves money but also countless labor hours. A precision brush allows you to cut farther, faster, more accurately and more easily. Many guys think a brush is a personal preference but I don’t. A brush is simply capable or not capable of doing certain things (PERIOD). Are racing tires going to perform well in snow? I do however think a brush handle can be a personal preference. So, all that said, is it your personal preference to be handicapped by your brushes inability to do great things for you and make your life easier? It may be, but if your goal - like mine - is to maximize every damn second on the job and earn top dollar for your hard work then you need one.

All brushes have learning curves, all of them. What you may or may not know about your cutting-style is that you probably nurse your current brush and manipulate it to do what you need it too. You have grown accustom to working the brush instead of the brush working for you. I won’t argue that you can’t get the job done, eventually - but a precision brush will increase your production rates substantially. I study watching other painters manipulate a brush to get a straight line – all the constant repositioning is eating up your time. I’ve seen guys take multiple loads of paint and reposition a brush a few dozen times simply cutting the side of a casing. I had the whole casing cut in the time it took some of them to cut 18”.

So let me ask you this... Can you take a single load of paint and cut the side of a stained casing in one swift stroke accurately with your current brush? If you can then great but if you cant... keep reading.

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How to determine precision capable brushes 
Take a look at the photo above, one brush stands out as thinner, sharper and more tapered and beveled than the other three. A precision brush will be non-flagged with various tapered filament lengths, chiseled tips, ability to pick up and release paint smoothly with a load capacity to go 7’ (the side of a casing) while staying sharp and true to the line you cut. A precision paint brush with optimum hold capacity can allow you to take a single load of paint and cut a sharp edge over a distance of 7’ accurately in one swift stroke (without) repositioning the brush. That is what a professional precision brush is capable of much like a studless Blizzak tire is capable of stopping and cornering on ice better than any other tire on the market. Those tires are designed to do specific things well.

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

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Filament Lengths Just because a brush has various filament lengths doesn't mean it will be a precision brush as you can see in the photo above, again one brush stands out as sharper, more beveled and a chisel profile vs. the other three. Thumb through the filaments. The filaments should have various lengths that combined offer a chisel profile to the brush as you can see on the brush (far right). 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. Notice all the various filament lengths in the brush below.

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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. In addition, a brush with a rounded-off profile can’t and never will be as sharp as one cut blunt at the end. Would a steak knife be as sharp if it had a rounded edge? What happens with rounded profile brushes is this – the hump or convex profile becomes a handicap and serves as a pivot point not allowing adequate contact of the filaments on the outer edge of the brush to make good sharp contact with an edge, the result being – constant repositioning of the brush as you try to reposition the center cluster of filaments to be out of the way to cut close to something.

Over time a paint brush will automatically develop a convex or triangular shape due to excessive wear depending on how often you alternate the brush while cutting, it’s at this time the brush should be replaced as it’s sharpness is drastically reduced.

tapered_tip002 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 somewhat determined by the size of the wood plug in the center of the brush that creates a cavity to hold paint. To determine this, pinch the filaments about ½” from the base of the ferrule, the less dense the more hold capacity. You would think by looking at the photo above the first three brushes would have greater hold capacity over the one on the far right. Not always true, while all four brushes are equal in thickness at the butt (above the shiny metal) the filaments are thin allowing more paint to set in the same area. Take two bowls full with equal amounts of water, place a golf ball in one and a tennis ball in the other. The tennis ball obviously will make the water overflow more than the golf ball.

Sharpness The sharpness of a brush is determined by the various filament lengths, taper ratios 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. In addition, if you were to take your finger and touch the tips while you have them pinched, they will feel sharp like needles. Its this sharpness that I believe is what makes a true precision brush capable of fast accurate cuts that maintain a constant solid wet edge.

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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.

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®.

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