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Waterborne Brush Praise followed by Brush Cleaning Question

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Forum topic by Lee Barker posted 04-12-2012 04:19 PM 1144 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2312 days


04-12-2012 04:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing brush cleaning

Full disclosure: I am in no way attached to Gramercy or Tools for Working Wood.

I bought one of these=, the 2” persuasion.

I brush a fair amount of GF semigloss. I have used expensive synthetic brushes as well as cheap synthetic brushes and the result has always been less then flat, requiring considerable sanding.

Last night I started finish on three projects of various species: alder, big leaf maple, some walnut, and, whoa, juniper. This brush is amazing. If someone came in and kyped it, I would pay double the thirty bucks to replace it. It’s the kind of brush you carve your initials in, and deep.

Typically I sand with 220 or 320 after the first coat of WB. (note: I sand to 180, spray with water, then sand to 220 before finish.) After the first coat with this brush, it was so flat and smooth that I sanded very lightly with 800! It will be interesting to see if it still takes 6 or 7 coats to get the depth I want.

Here’s my question about cleaning: Last night I rinsed the brush generously in warm water, till it was clear, and then applied some dishwashing detergent. I massaged that thoroughly, rinsed thoroughly, and then blew the moisture out with my air gun. as I usually do in brush cleaning.

This morning the brush was, um, kinda mussed up and dense feeling in the center. It loosened up as I brushed. I cleaned it the same way but left off the airgun part. It is hanging vertically over the sink. I’ll add a post after I get it ready for reuse, which will be about two hours after the cleaning.

I’d appreciate your insights and experienced with cleaning a brush with very fine bristles like this one, most especially if you use WB products.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"


5 replies so far

View Terry Ferguson's profile

Terry Ferguson

203 posts in 2129 days


#1 posted 04-12-2012 05:47 PM

As you know, water borne finishes can dry quickly in the brush, even while using it. The fine and thick hairs hold the finish much more so than the cheap brushes that I use.

Here is info about your brush from their site – assume you have read it – if not:

“The step for cleaning a brush is the same for all types of finish. Wash the brush in soap and water until the soap sudses to its maximum, and wrap the brush in paper to keep it clean and cause the bristles to dry straight. Construction paper (like the kind of paper your brush came packed in) is best because it absorbs water best, but any type of paper will work. Hold the wrapping in place with masking tape or a rubber band.

Our Gramercy brushes have very fine ox-hair bristles, which can become bent and intertwined during washing, so it’s best to comb them straight before wrapping. A hair comb works well.”

-- Terry Ferguson, Bend Oregon

View gfadvm's profile (online now)

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2151 days


#2 posted 04-13-2012 02:06 AM

For some reason dipping your brush in water before using water based finish seems to make it clean up easier. I also second the comb comment. I comb mine with the detergent and this seems to keep brushes from getting ‘clumpy’.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2312 days


#3 posted 04-13-2012 02:49 AM

Wetting the brush first is an old trick—the finish then won’t dry and bond with the bristles.

I did three more coats today and I’m still giddy with delight over that humble tool.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2312 days


#4 posted 04-13-2012 08:52 PM

Conclusion, after 5 more coats on the projects:

The brush is as good as I experienced at first. It takes some patience to clean it because there are so many bristles. I was final rinsing with my hand holding the bristles, and periodically I’d pull it out of the water and squeeze, and the milky material was still present for a long time. Patience.

The brush is superior also in tipoff.

It did not work to leave some moisture in the brush. It made the first few brush strokes streaky. So I went back to blowing the moisture out very thoroughly before commencing each recoat.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2152 days


#5 posted 04-19-2012 03:32 PM

wire brush it out – basic brush cleaning protocol

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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