Brush With Greatness
When choosing a brush to apply a finish to your project, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the choices. Diane Shattuck, a professional finisher with decades of experience, provides these tips to help you choose the right brush. Turn the page to find out what characteristics to look for in a brush to lay down the best finish your project deserves.
It's all about the bristles
The bristles work by wicking up the finish when dipped into the container. Use brushes with finer bristles for applying thin-viscosity finishes to facilitate the wicking action. Diane recommends dipping the brush no more than 1⁄4 " into the finish to keep the finish from wicking up into the ferrule (the metal band that binds the bristles to the handle), making the brush difficult to clean. As you move the brush across the project, the brush should release a nice, even film. Different types of finishes require different types of bristles [Photos A–D, Sources].
Invest in quality
Look for these three bristle characteristics in a good brush: a chisel shape for better flow of finish, tapered profile to hold more finish, and flagged tips for a smoother brush stroke. These result in a more even finish.
When shopping for a brush, consider it an investment. Better brushes cost more but pay off with better results and less frustration. A good-quality brush, well-cared for, should last for years.