Brush maintenance, please help a noob

I have been spending a lot of money lately on brushes, as I've just started doing model ships.

I've been using paint thinner purchased at a local hardware store to get paint off the brushes to reuse them when i need to use a different color. This seems to have an effect on the integrity of the brushes. Sometimes the bristles get "spread out" and no longer have a fine point, sometimes they just won't hold paint afterwards. Is there a certain kind of cleaner that's used for cleaning brushes/paint for model building?

So here are some questions:

1) What are the best "brand" of brushes? I've noticed nylon, sable and some other types. Which should I use.

2) What is the best method to use the same brushes when I need to use lots of different colors? Should I buy one set of brushes for each color?

3) If I don't need a set dedicated to a specific color, what kind of cleaner should I use to prepare them for re-use?

4) What is the best method to clean the brushes? Is soaking them in paint thinner for a few hours destorying my brushes?

I'm sorry if these questions are naive or lacking common sense or if they can be found in the group's archive. But I've found a great hobby here and I would like to be involved in this community as much as possible.

--=20 Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo ar=EDs.

Reply to
Kester Teague
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I haven't found a "best brand", but I do choose them by shape and size...hmmn...

Sable artists brushes are by far and away the best I've found. They are also the most expensive, but with proper care I've had sable brushes last for many years. Be sure to keep the little tube that comes fitted over the end of the brush to protect the bristles - that's key. If the brand doesn't come that way, choose another brand.

You can also use a small scissors or blade to trim away "fly away" bristles over time...I call this "grooming" a brush. Over time my 0 brushes become 00, then 000, then 0000...until I can't use them. My favorite detailing brush is a #1 round sable, though.

I use one brush (or set) with all my paint colors.

I prefer to use the same type/brand of cleaner/thinner as the paint I'm using. I use enamels almost exclusively. I clean them with thinner and then put that protective tube back on the end before I put the brush away.

I don't soak my brushes - I clean them immediately after use by dipping in a bottle of thinner and swishing, then drawing across a paper towel until clean. If you let the bristles rest on the bottom of the bottle for long you'll destroy the shape of the brush - and that's what that tube over the end is there to preserve for you.

Not at all...hope I helped.

Reply to

Red Sable artists' brushes are the best ,to clean them I use what ever thinner is best for the paint ie:turpentine or lacquer thinner for enamel ,alcohol or water for acrylic.

I have small baby food jars that I clean my brushes in ,on the bottom of ther jars I have a coil made from 1/8 diam aluminium wire which I slowly swish the brush over .I dry the brush on a piece of paper towel. When the brush has dried I wet the brush with my toungue and shape it back to the shape it should be and let it dry. I also have some artists brush cleaner ,its like a small pot of pure soap ,which I use periodically to clean the brushes . I think mild dish washing soap and warm water will be ok ,shape the brush while the bristles are warm and they will hold their shape. I store my brushes in a desk top pencil holder bristles up and with the protective tube over the bristles.

Never stand the brush on the bristles in thinner this will destroy the shape of the brush forever. Don't use the brush as a scrubber either ,buy cheap nylon brushes for applying pastels and weathering mud etc.

Reply to

I agree that the appropriate thinner is correct for cleaning brushes, as you have to dilute and wash the paint out. However, the thinner need not be the expensive special manufacturers thinner that you use to thin paint that has gone too thick.

White spirit (mineral spirits in the US, I think) works well for cleanup of enamels, even Revell, which should not be diluted with white spirit for application, as it upsets the chemistry and makes the paint take weeks to dry.

Water works well for acrylics, if you get to them fast enough. A little detergent in it will help. Otherwise you will need alcohol. Acrylics dry very quickly, and I'd advise against leaving any brush too long - wash them out any time you have to stop painting for even a few minutes.

I usually finish by washing the brushes in soap and water, reshaping them and leaving them to dry. This takes some more residual paint any residue of thinner out of the brush and seems to help them keep their shape longer.

Reply to
Alan Dicey

Use natural bristles for lacquer or enamels- anything you will be using paint or lacquer thinner with. Nylon bristles are only for acrylics and other water based paints.

Clean brush immediately after using. Do not let brush stand in thinner (unless supported somehow- do not let them sit on their bristles). By cleaning IMMEDIATELY after each color, you can use the same brush for many colors. I use about an inch of thinner in an old baby food jar. I have another jar with alcohol in it for cleaning when I use acrylics. I use the lids to cut down evaporation but have a half inch hole in lid so I can dip brush into it without removing top. Then, I also made a little hinged mechanism that covers that hole, but I can tilt back with the brush when I put it in, then flip back to cover hole when I am done cleaning brush.

Like another poster, while I thin Testors enamels with Testors thinner (it works better than regular paint thinner) I CLEAN brushes and airbrush with regular paint thinner/turpentine.

Kester Teague wrote:

Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota

Oops, following up my own post, bad form I know. I just wanted to add that I keep a jar of white spirit with an eyedropper in it when I'm painting, and clean the brushes by dropping white spirit onto the ferrule and letting it run down into the bristles,saturating the brush, then wiping off the diluted paint. Repeat until the brush releases no more pigment. This way I avoid the dirty brown jar of thinners, which I'm convinced is not very good for cleaning brushes after a while. Especially if you want to paint a light colour. My way, the unused thinners are still uncontaminated.

Reply to
Alan Dicey

For brush sizes of 0, 00, and 000, there is really only one way to go: Winsor Newton "Series 7" brushes. They cost a lot initially, but last forever, when properly cared for. They also have the uncanny ability to point themselves, when the ferrule is tapped against something. And remember...when discussing fine/detail brushes, it is not the size that matters, but the ability to form and maintain a pointed tip. Any brush smaller than 000 holds far too little paint, to be useable. For brushes bigger than 0 size...any less expensive, soft brush, will be okay. Use separate brushes for enamels, and for acrylics (i.e. don't mix the media). And no matter what medium you paint in, and no matter what you use to clean the brushes...coat the bristles with something like "hair conditioner" (Suave, VO-5, etc.) after the cleaning, and use your fingers to reform the point. Store them upright (bristles up).

Reply to
Greg Heilers

Even for an old hand, the advice you guys gave is great! I recently purchased a complete set of brushes from Hobby Lobby, where were an off brand and on sale. The quality of these particular brushes is excellent, so if you know what you are looking at, you can save some cash. In fact these brushes were exactly the same as my Polly S brushes I paid top price at a hobby shop, which have lasted me ten plus years. Thanks for the refresher on brush maintenence! Hawkeye

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