Brush: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cleaning brushes.

The term brush refers to devices with bristles, wire or other filaments, used for cleaning, grooming hair, make up, painting, surface finishing and for many other purposes.

Configurations include twisted-in wire (e.g. bottle brushes), cylinders and disks (with bristles spread in one face or radially).

A common way of setting the bristle in the brush is the staple or anchor set brush, in which the filament is forced with a staple by the middle into a hole with a special driver and held there by the pressure against all of the walls of the hole and the portions of the staple nailed to the bottom of the hole. The staple can be replaced with a kind of anchor, which is a piece of rectangular profile wire that is anchored to the wall of the hole, like in most toothbrushes. Another way to attach the bristles to the surface can be found in the fused brush, in which instead of being inserted into a hole, a plastic fiber is welded to another plastic surface, giving the option to use different diameters of bristles in the same brush


Brushes for cleaning

Brushes used for cleaning come in various sizes. They vary in size from a that of a toothbrush, to the standard household version accompanied by a dustpan, to 36" deck brushes. There are brushes for cleaning tiny cracks and crevices and brushes for cleaning enormous warehouse floors. Brushes perform a multitude of cleaning tasks. For example, brushes lightly dust the tiniest figurine, they help scrub stains out of clothing and shoes, they remove grime from tires, and they remove the dirt and debris found on floors with the help of a dust pan. Many kinds of specialty brushes are used for cleaning vegetables, cleaning the toilet, washing glass, finishing tiles, and sanding doors.


Paintbrushes are used for applying ink or paint. These brushes are usually made by clamping the bristles to a handle with a ferrule.

Short handled brushes are for watercolor or ink painting while the long handled brushes are for oil or acrylic paint. The styles of brush tip seen most commonly are:

  • Round: Long closely arranged bristles for detail
  • Flat: For spreading paint quickly and evenly over a surface. They will have longer hairs than their Bright counterpart.
  • Bright: Flat brushes with short stiff bristles, good for driving paint into the weave of a canvas in thinner paint applications, as well as thicker painting styles like impasto work.
  • Filbert: Flat brushes with domed ends. They allow good coverage and the ability to perform some detail work.
  • Fan: For blending broad areas of paint.
  • Angle: Like the Filbert, these are versatile and can be applied in both general painting application as well as some detail work.
  • Mop: A larger format brush with a rounded edge for broad soft paint application as well as for getting thinner glazes over existing drying layers of paint without damaging lower layers.
  • Rigger: Round brushes with longish hairs, traditionally used for painting the rigging in pictures of ships. They are useful for fine lines and are versatile for both oils and watercolors.


Some other styles of brush include:

  • Sumi: Similar in style to certain watercolor brushes,also with a generally thick wooden or bamboo handle and a broad soft hair brush that when wetted should form a fine tip.
  • Hake: An Asian style of brush with a large broad wooden handle and an extremely fine soft hair used in counterpoint to traditional Sumi brushes for covering large areas. Often made of goat hair.
  • Spotter: Round brushes with just a few short bristles. These brushes are commonly used in spotting photographic prints.

Manufacturing process of a brush handle

The first requirement when manufacturing a cleaning style brush is to start with the brush block. This can vary in wood type, the most commonly used handles comes from maple. Once the wood type is selected it is then cut into planks with in a certain width requirement. Throughout this process workers mark down where the cracks or knots are in the wood and draw a red line across the flaw with a special wax crayon. A laser can read this line as the planks are moved forward, cutting the line with a saw. Shortly after the blocks are cut to the appropriate length, moving on to the shaping of the block known as molding.

Once the wood block is set in place for molding, a series of saws cut the block to the required thickness. A machine called the shaper follows this action. The brush handle is placed in the machine, revolving and slicing away the outside edge. This only cuts away half of the block. To keep in good profile the same actions are done to the opposite side. Each model uses a different shaper machine. The machines must stay sharp for the blocks to remain smooth and accurate. Carbide cutters are used in these machines rather than steel because carbide is much harder and more durable.

Decorators' brushes

The sizes of brushes used for painting and decorating is given in mm or inches, referring to the width of the head.

Common sizes are:

  • ⅛ in, ¼ in, ⅜ in, ½ in, ⅝ in, ¾ in, ⅞ in, 1 in, 1¼ in, 1½ in, 2 in, 2½ in, 3 in, 3½ in, 4 in.
  • 10 mm, 20 mm, 30 mm, 40 mm, 50 mm, 60 mm, 70 mm, 80 mm, 90 mm, 100 mm.

Bristles may be natural or synthetic. If the filaments are synthetic, they could be made of polyester, nylon or a blend of nylon and polyester. Synthetic filaments last longer than natural bristles. [1]Natural bristles are preferred for oil-based paints and varnishes, while synthetic brushes are better for water-based paints as the bristles do not expand when wetted.

Handles may be wood or plastic; ferrules are metal (usually nickel-plated steel).

Artists' brushes

Artists' brushes are usually given numbered sizes, although there is no exact standard for their physical dimensions.

From smallest to largest, the sizes are:

  • 10/0, 7/0 (also written 0000000), 6/0, 5/0, 4/0, 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30. Brushes as fine as 30/0 are manufactured by major companies, but are not a common size.

Sizes 000 to 20 are most common.

Artists' brushes are most commonly categorized by type and by shape.

Types include: watercolor brushes which are usually made of sable, synthetic sable or nylon; oil painting brushes which are usually made of sable or bristle; and acrylic brushes which are almost entirely nylon or synthetic. Turpentine or thinners used in oil painting can destroy some types of synthetic brushes. However, innovations in synthetic bristle technology have produced solvent resistant synthetic bristles suitable for use in all media. Natural hair, squirrel, badger or sable are used by watercolorists due to their superior ability to absorb and hold water.

Shapes include rounds (pointed), flats, brights (shorter than flats) and filbert. Other shapes include stipplers (short, stubby rounds), deer-foot stipplers, liners (elongated rounds), daggers, scripts (highly elongated rounds), egberts and fans.

Bristles may be natural — either soft hair or hog bristle — or synthetic.

  • Soft hair brushes are made from Kolinsky sable or ox hair (sabeline); or more rarely, squirrel, pony, goat, mongoose or badger. Cheaper hair is sometimes called camel hair, although it does not come from camels.
  • Hog bristle (often called china bristle or Chunking bristle) is stiffer and stronger than soft hair. It may be bleached or unbleached.
  • Synthetic bristles are made of special multi-diameter extruded nylon filament. and are becoming ever more popular with the development of new water based paints.

Artists' brush handles are commonly wooden but can also be made of molded plastic. Many mass-produced handles are made of unfinished raw wood; better quality handles are of seasoned hardwood. The wood is sealed and lacquered to give the handle a high-gloss, waterproof finish that reduces soiling and swelling.

Metal ferrules may be of aluminum, nickel, copper, or nickel-plated steel. Quill ferrules are also found: these give a different "feel" to the brush.

See also

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BRUSH (from Fr. brosse, which, like the English word, means both the undergrowth of a wood and the instrument; if the word in both these meanings is ultimately the same, then the origin is from a bundle of brushwood used as a brush or broom, but this is historically doubtful, and others connect it with the Ger. Borste, bristle), an instrument for removing dust or dirt from surfaces or for applying paint, whitewash, &c., composed of a tuft or tufts of some fibrous or flexible material secured to a solid basis or stock. Brushes made of the twigs of trees like the birch and provided with long handles are often called brooms, and the same term is applied to some brushes used in the household for removing dust (e.g. carpet-broom, whisk-broom) but not to those used for applying paint. Among the numerous materials employed for the manufacture of brushes of various kinds are feathers, pig's bristles, the hair of certain animals, whalebone, rubber, split-cane, broom-corn (a variety of sorghum) and coir.

Brushes are of two kinds, simple and compound. The former consist of but one tuft, as hair pencils and painters' tools. The latter have more than one tuft. Brushes with the tufts placed side by side on flat boards, as plasterers' brushes, are called stockbrushes. The single tuft brushes, or pencils for artists, are made of the hair of the camel, badger, goat and other animals for the smaller kind, and pig's bristles for the larger. The hairs for pencils are carefully arranged so as to form a point in the centre, and, when tied together, are passed into the wide end of the quill or metal tube and drawn out at the other end to the extent required. The small ends of the quills, having been previously moistened, contract as they dry and bind the hair. A similar effect is produced with metal tubes by compression. Compound brushes are - first, set or pan-work; second, drawnwork. Of the former, an example is the common house-broom, into the stock of which holes are drilled of the size wanted. The necessary quantity of bristles, hair, or fibre to fill each hole being collected together, the thick ends are dipped into molten cement chiefly composed of pitch, bound round with thread, dipped again, and then set into a hole of the stock with a peculiar twisting motion. In drawn-brushes, of which those for shoes, teeth, nails and clothes are examples, the holes are more neatly bored, and have smaller ones at the top communicating with the back of the brush, through which a bight or loop of wire passes from the back of the stock. Half the number of hairs of fibres needed for the tufts to fill the holes are passed into the bight of the wire, which is then pulled smartly so as to double the hairs and force them into the loop-hole as far as possible. With all brushes, when the holes have been properly filled, the ends of the fibres outside are cut with shears, either to an even length or such form as may be desired. The backs are then covered with veneer or other material to conceal the wire and other crudities of the work. In trepanned brushes the bristles are inserted in holes that do not pass right through the stock, and are secured by threads or wires running in drawholes which are drilled through the stock at right angles to them. The ends of these drawholes are plugged so as to be as inconspicuous as possible, and the method avoids the necessity of a veneer on the back. The Woodbury machine, one of the earliest mechanical devices for the manufacture of brushes, which was invented in America about 1870, produced brushes of this kind. One of the most important purposes to which brushes have been applied is that of sweeping chimneys, and so far back as 1789 John Elin patented an arrangement of brushes for this purpose. Revolving brushes for sweeping rooms were patented in 1811, and the first patent in which they were applied to hair-dressing appears in 1862. Many inventions for sweeping and cleaning roads by means of revolving brushes and other contrivances have been introduced, one of the first being that of Edmund Henning in 1699 for "a new engine for sweeping the streets of London, or any city or town." Brushes with tufts formed of steel wire are used for cleaning tubes and flues of steam boilers, for the purpose of removing the scale formed by the products of combustion. Steel-wire brushes are also used for cleaning scale from the interior surfaces of a boiler, and for removing the sand from the surface of a casting. Occasionally such brushes are revolved in a machine, for more convenient use on the article to be cleaned or polished. Snyer's patent elastic clutch or coupling, used for such purposes as coupling up or disconnecting a steam-engine from a line of shafting or dynamo, consists essentially of two disks, the adjacent faces of which are provided, one with a ring of brushes made of flat steel wire, the other with a number of finely serrated teeth. One of the disks is movable longitudinally on its shaft, and with the brushes clear of the serrations the clutch is free. On bringing the disks together, which may be done with the engine running at speed, the elasticity of the brush permits the motion to be imparted gradually and without shock to the standing part, until both rotate and are locked together. These clutches are very powerful, and are capable of transmitting as much as 3000 horse-power.

In dynamo-electric machinery the device used to conduct current into or out of the rotating armature is termed a "brush." There are usually two brushes to each dynamo or motor, and they are placed diametrically opposite, lightly touching the commutator of the armature. It is important that there should be good metallic contact between the brushes and the commutator, and at the same time the frictional resistance resulting from the contact must be a minimum. To effect this result brushes are variously made. A kind of brush frequently used consists of a number of copper wires laid side by side and soldered together at one end, where the brush is held. Brushes are also made of strips of spongy copper cut like a comb, which give a number of bearing points on the commutator. Very good results are obtained from brushes made of copper gauze wound closely until it takes the exterior form of a rectangular block, which is held radially in a spring holder, and bears at the end on the commutator. In place of the gauze block "brushes" of hard carbon blocks are frequently used (see Dynamo).

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Simple English

A brush can be a lot of different things. All brushes have a long part at one end to hold (the handle), and hairs or bristles (short, hard hairs or pieces of plastic) on the other end (the head), and we use them for cleaning, making hair look good, or painting.


Brushes for cleaning

There are a lot of sorts of brushes for cleaning, for example toothbrushes or brushes for cleaning the floor.

Paint brushes

We use paint brushes for putting ink or paint on paper. In computer software there are sometimes ditigal paintbrushes for making pictures, too.

Paint brushes can have three shapes:

  • Round: The long, close-together bristles of these brushes mean they can hold more paint. This is why many artists like them for painting large things and for color washes.
  • Flat: These are good for spreading paint.
  • Fan-shaped: These mix paint well.

Brush care

  • Clean paint from brushes after you use them. This is very important for oil and acrylic paint because when the paint is dry, taking it off can break the brush.
  • Never leave brushes in water (etc.) with the bristle end down. This is because the bristles can change shape.

Sizes and materials

We can buy brushes in different sizes and materials. Here are some sorts.

Decorators' brushes

The sizes of brushes used for painting and decorating (changing the colour or look of a room) are usually in mm or inches. This shows how wide the head is.

Here are some sizes:

  • 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 7/8", 1", 1¼", 1½", 2", 2½", 3", 3½", 4".
  • 10mm, 20mm, 30mm, 40mm, 50mm, 60mm, 70mm, 80mm, 90mm, 100mm.

We can buy brushes with natural or synthetic (man-made) bristles. Handles (the part of the brush we hold) may be wood or plastic.

Artists' brushes

Artists' brushes usually have sizes with numbers, but there is no standard.

From smallest to largest, the sizes are:

  • 7/0 (also 0000000), 6/0, 5/0, 4/0, 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30.

We use sizes 000 to 20 most often.

Bristles may be natural -- either soft hair or hog (pig) bristle -- or synthetic (man-made).

Artists' brush handles (the part of the brush we hold) are often wooden, but the cheapest brushes may have plastic handles. Many cheap handles are made of unfinished wood; better quality handles are of finished wood.

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