Post details: Choosing the Right Brush


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Choosing the Right Brush

With all the different kinds of brushes, you may "bristle" with confusion. Our guide tells you how to choose the right brush for your painting.

We've all heard the old adage that you need the right tools to successfully complete a job. Although nobody would base-coat a big space with a little liner brush or apply small details with a fan brush, you may find our information useful for those times when your brush choices aren't quite so easy.

Natural vs. SyntheticNatural vs. Synthetic

Natural Kolinsky red sable hairs are unsurpassed for absorbency and strength. They are the standard by which the industry judges all brushes (including synthetic).

But with today's technology for producing a variety of fibers at a reasonable cost, synthetic brushes, which are best suited for acrylic paints, have become the popular choice for most decorative painters.

Brush Sizes

Manufacturers usually assign sizes to brushes by the metric measurement of their flattened ferrule openings. (The metal ferrule connects the brush head and the handle.) For example, a #1 brush measures 1 millimeter, a #8 brush is 8 millimeters, etc. Anything less than 1 millimeter is designated by the number of units less than a millimeter (a #10/0 liner, for example, measures 10 units less than 1 millimeter). And if you've ever wondered why one manufacturer labels a brush 1/4" and the next manufacturer calls it a #6, it's simply because one chose the metric system, the other selected familiar fractions.

Better Homes and Gardens



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