Questions & Answers
Below you'll find some of our most asked questions and we do our best to provide simple answers. Please contact us if you have further questions or if you would like further information on any of the answers given below. We'd love to hear from you so feel free to reach out to us.
FREE SHIPPING ?? Really?
Yes, with $35 minimum brush order! Applies to our line of open stock short handled brushes shipped anywhere in the continental USA. This includes Princeton, Silver, Jack Richeson and Loew-Cornell short handled brushes. If you should also order a heavy or bulky item, a small shipping fee will apply. We do not try to "make money" on shipping charges, therefore our charges are very minimal. Brush sets and packaged brushes do not qualify for free shipping.
What is meant by “lowest everyday prices”?
These are the prices we sell at everyday. If you find a lower everyday price, excluding sale prices, we will be happy to reimburse the difference. Please contact us.
What brushes should I use for acrylics?
In our line of brushes, most brushes are a "Tacklon" or "Tacklon mix". This fiber was developed to replace the natural fibers that did not stand up to the riggers of acrylic paints. Tacklon brushes made by Silver, Priceton, Loew-Cornell and Jack Richeson all will hold up well to acrylic paint if they are cleaned thoroughly and well taken care of.
What brushes should I use for oils?
Sable brushes are the best for oils. We have Kolinsky sables available. Golden Taklon can also be used for oils with very good results.
What would you suggest for watercolor?
The entire Silver Black Velvet line are excellent choices for watercolor. This unique blend of natural squirrel hair and black synthetic filament creates ideal working tools for the watercolorist, silk painter, and artists working with inks, dyes, acrylics or gouache. Squirrel hair holds large amounts of color and releases it with perfect control.
Also available here you will find the Princeton "Long Round" series and the Loew-Cornell "Ultra Round" series, which are both great Tacklon watercolor brushes.
What brushes do you recommend for fabric?
Fabric brushes come in two types: soft, white nylon and synthetic bristle. White nylon will be more durable and is recommended for smooth, lightweight fabric, detail work and fine blending. White Nylon are also a good choice for fabric.White nylon bristles are stiff yet flexible. Synthetic brushes were developed for heavy or textured fabrics like sweatshirts, canvas or linen. Brushes come in rounds and flats.
What should I use for cleaning brushes?
We have many fine cleaning agents that will not harm you or your brushes. The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver, Pink Soap, Power Wash and Kiss Off are just some of the wonderful helpers that will help keep you and your brushes clean and ready to go the next time.
What is a synthetic brush?
In artist brushes, this synthetic fiber is actually a polyester. Taklon is a trade name commonly used. Each filament is tapered, ending in a fine point. Often the filament is dyed to make it softer and more absorbent. Synthetics are generally less expensive than a comparable quality natural hair brush. They are less prone to damage from solvents, easier to clean and can be used with watercolor and oils and are better suited for acrylics.
What are bristle brushes?
As its name implies, bristle is a stiff hair derived from a hog, pig or boar. Its resilience is ideal for oils on canvas. Natural bristle has a split tip called a flag. This flag helps the brush hold maximum paint and acts as an extra “paintbrush” during application. Natural Bristle is one of the best buys on the market for brushes.
How are brushes sized?
Numbering brushes provides order for brushes within a series. The order is determined by the size of the ferrule opening. Natural bristle brushes are measured using the English system, which means a size 12 is equal to 1 inch. In turn, a size 6 is 1/2 inch, a size 18 is 1 1/2 inches and so on. Long handle, synthetic brushes designed to be used as an alternative to bristle brushes are also sized this way.
Natural soft hair and other synthetic brushes are measured using the metric system. One millimeter is equal to a size 1, 3mm to size 3, etc. It is difficult to measure and assign a value to any measurement less than 1mm. So when a brush is sized 10/0, 3/0 etc, it becomes quite hypothetical. Roughly translated, 3/0 means 3 units less a millimeter. In a series of brush sizes 3/0, 5/0, 10/0, 20/0, the 3/0 is the largest and the 20/0 is the smallest.
It is important to note, there is no industry standard that manufacturers must follow. Sizing for various types of brushes is often rooted in tradition and the country of origin.
What is a natural hair brush?
Among natural hair brushes, there are specific sounding names which actually refer to a broad range of hair types.
Red Sable – brush hair obtained from any member of the weasel family with red hair. Quality and characteristics of weasel hair vary greatly. The finest soft brush hair is that obtained from the Kolinsky, an animal found in cold regions of Russia and China. Hairs from the tail of a male Kolinsky make the best brushes. Red sable hair has a natural thickness at the belly which provides superior spring and snap. Because of their strength, spring and absorbency, high-quality red sable brushes are considered to be the best for watercolor. Oil painters use red sable for producing smooth, flat precise stokes, subtle blending or when working with thinned oil paint.
Ox Hair – generally taken from behind the ears, is silken and durable in strength but lacks a fine tip. Often dyed red and used in moderately priced watercolor and stroke brushes. A brush labeled red sable may also include ox hair mixed with weasel hair.
Camel Hair – an all-encompassing term for a variety of animal hairs, NONE of which are camel. Hairs commonly used in camel hair brushes include ox, goat, squirrel and pony hair. Camel hair mops can be perfect for blending oils or doing watercolor washes; squirrel hair for lettering and china painting.
Squirrel Hair – often categorized among camel hair brushes, but also merits individual mention because it is used in so many styles of good quality brushes for a variety of tasks: lettering quills and stroke brushes for sign painting, large round watercolor wash brushes and china painting brushes. These soft, fine, absorbent hairs offer a fine point but little resiliency, so are best used in lighter mediums.
Visit our Q&A page to find answers to some of our most asked questions.
See Brushes in Action
We have brush demos for several popular brushes available for viewing.
Let Us Know What You Think
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