Brush Tips

IMG_5256I’m often asked how I apply my finishes. And while I have sprayed a fair amount of pieces throughout my career, I prefer the brush. Some of that might be driven by the type of furniture I predominantly make (18th century), but I think it’s also driven by the medium with which I most often finish – shellac.

I’m not saying shellac can’t be sprayed, but it brushes so well I found myself drifting away from the gun more and more. Eventually, I gave up spraying it entirely, even though I had a full-fledged spray booth.

When woodworkers hear that, the next questions I’m asked are, “What kind of brush do you use? And does it really matter what kind of brush it is anyway? They all spread finish, right?”

To some extent that’s correct; they all spread finish, but they don’t do it equally. This week marks the completion of a three part series of articles I’ve done for 360 WoodWorking subscribers (you know you want to subscribe, so click here) on finishing. In the latest installment I talk about shellac (a lot, among other types of topcoat finishes) and I even show how I apply it. In the process of writing the article I tried an inexpensive polyester brush and compared it to my preferred badger-hair brush. Below you’ll find a short video in which I compare the two brushes. I’m willing to bet, when you see the two brushes in action, you’ll be heading to the Jamestown Distributor’s website (high-quality brushes at about half the price of most woodworking finishing suppliers) to order you own badger-hair brush.

— Chuck Bender

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