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Varnish Brushes


CaseyLouque
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What would be a good recommendation for varnish brushes?
I checked International violin it seems they carry red sable and cow hair.

just don't want to waste $20+ dollars on a brush I will end up replacing

I currently use a taklon "synthetic fiber" brush. 

If there is a much better alternative or your favorite brush still available I would like to hear from you and wouldn't mind taking a look.

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What type of varnish? How thick varnish?

I've used expensive synthetic sabre brushes and natural bristle brushes from art store (I always wash it well and block access of hair bugs and it has served me for 15 years) but I also liked ULTRA cheap brush from my children's IKEA brush set I tried just for the fun as the hair looked promising. I like to shorten the bristles a bit to get stiffness I want for my varnish (fresh honey consistency) and I use very fine sandpaper to "clean up" tips of the hair. So far with good results.

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I find that high quality brushes are mandatory for high solvent varnishes, less so for low solvent ones. However, for the latter the quality of the brushes could impact their duration (also depending on the type of solvent) so high quality brushes could last much longer than the cheaper ones. Establishing which is the least expensive option is not always straightforward.

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I have used some medium and medium-high quality artist's brushes (and still have them), but at the moment I am using some ultra-cheap bag-o-brushes from the Walmart hobby department for my thin, high-solvent varnish.  They don't seem to be dissolving, yet.  They work great, and I prefer them over the more expensive brushes.  However, they're too wimpy to use for thicker varnish.

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15 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

I find that high quality brushes are mandatory for high solvent varnishes, less so for low solvent ones. However, for the latter the quality of the brushes could impact their duration (also depending on the type of solvent) so high quality brushes could last much longer than the cheaper ones. Establishing which is the least expensive option is not always straightforward.

I agree.  I like a natural bristle mop style.

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Let's share some favorite brushes or fibers. For stiffer varnishes top quality white hog bristle is pretty great. Goat and semisynthetic goat and hog bristle brushes can be nice too for a tighter, less brush-mark-y stroke. Kolinsky and Mongoose are amazingly smooth but difficult to get. Semisynthetic Siberian squirrel might be in the goldilocks zone for me. Love to hear what others are into.

 

Joe, I've never used a mop brush but saw you show them in your VSA clip. Please tell me what you especially like about that profile

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Let's share some favorite brushes or fibers. For stiffer varnishes top quality white hog bristle is pretty great. Goat and semisynthetic goat and hog bristle brushes can be nice too for a tighter, less brush-mark-y stroke. Kolinsky and Mongoose are amazingly smooth but difficult to get. Semisynthetic Siberian squirrel might be in the goldilocks zone for me. Love to hear what others are into.

 

Joe, I've never used a mop brush but saw you show them in your VSA clip. Please tell me what you especially like about that profile

Mop brushes have a thickness at the ferle and a sensitive tip.  You can both brush and stipple with this brush.  Proper angle and pressure allow the outer brisles to wrap around the back of the brush....no drag lines.

on we go,

Joe

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6 minutes ago, joerobson said:

Mop brushes have a thickness at the ferle and a sensitive tip.  You can both brush and stipple with this brush.  Proper angle and pressure allow the outer brisles to wrap around the back of the brush....no drag lines.

on we go,

Joe

Awesome, thanks! Was that hogsbristle you were using? Looking forward to trying these out!

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My first two fiddles I used a Purdy 1" moose nylox? but didn't care for the amount of cleaners needed afterwards to make the brush usable for the next time.

Then I tried the sponges. I didn't care for the possible puddles in the low areas so that didn't last long though they do apply some material evenly when needed.

Around fiddles eight or later I was using a cheap water colors kids kit brush.  It was alright but a bit long on bristle.  I was also finding out that I was getting done applying varnish before even getting started.  I like to paint and wanted the experience to last a bit longer timewise.

So spent a few dollars on a 10/0 and 3/0 fines - they might splay out widthwise  a 1/4" but allows enough length of time to enjoy putting violin varnish on.  Instead of being done in five minutes these later forays can or could go on for an hour or two.  Never kept track of time.  A good thing is being able to go to the sink and clean up with soap and water even though using an oil finish. 

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