Even with all the new additives and manufacturing processes now used to make painting easier, a first class finish can often be ruined if you don’t have a good paint brush. So don’t waste your money buying a brush that will have a limited life but buy the best quality you can afford and look after it.
Pure hog’s bristle
This is the very best quality, with bristles set in rubber mastic which is then vulcanized to hold them firmly. The rough-textured bristles hold paint well and the natural taper at the tips enables you to apply a smooth, even coat.
A good check for pure bristle is to bend the bristles back to 90 degrees to make sure they are well bulked and have a stiff, springy feel. A good length of bristle (known as the filling) is also important so is price -the more you pay the better the brush.
Artificial fibre bristle
This is either cheap animal hair or ny1on,-the closest synthetic material to pure bristle. Although the bristles may be well bulked they will not have that all-important springy feel. And, being smoother, they will not hold the paint nearly so well or bind sufficiently at the tips. This will result in brush marks on the finished surface. The worst of the cheap brushes contain the minimum of bristle causing a ‘mouth’ through their centre. You can see this if you bend back the bristles and it becomes even more noticeable when dipped in the paint. This type of brush holds very little paint and the bristles are likely to work loose as you are painting. Even worse is when the ferrule (the metal band joined to the handle and covering the bristles is loose and moves when in use.
All brushes – even the best quality will shed hairs at first; before you use one for the first, dip it in clean water and brush it out on a rough surface such as an outside wa11 of your house. Wash it in soap and water to remove dust and any loose hairs, rinsing out thoroughly in clean, cold water. Finally, dry it out by first squeezing the bristles and then spinning the handle between your palms. Leave to dry. Before using, ensure the brush is thoroughly dry, as moisture will affect your finish. This is particularly important with oil-based and gloss paint. With water-based and emulsion types, paint will trickle down the handle if the brush is damp. especially when working overhead.
Used for painting window frames, this brush has bristles cut at an angle to allow for the normal 3mm overlap onto the glass. (With an ordinary brush, even in the steadiest hand, you get smudges on the glass.) You can make one yourself by cutting to an angle the bristles of an old brush.
Crevice and radiator brushes
The long wire handle can be bent to any shape and this, with the shaped head, allows you to paint awkward areas, such as behind radiators and pipes.
For short periods between painting you can wrap the bristles tightly in kitchen foil or a plastic bag(which is preferable to putting the brush in water) as this will delay the paint from drying on the brush. A brush to be used with oil-based paint frequently over several weeks is best stored by suspending the bristles in a container with a mixture of three parts white spirit (not paraffin) and one part linseed oil. Before using the brush again, wipe out the bulk of the liquid and brush off any surplus on a clean dust-free piece of wood or hardboard.