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Fine detail brushes

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  • Member since
    August, 2017
Fine detail brushes
Posted by laskdjn on Friday, August 04, 2017 2:07 PM

So, I've tried a few brands of brushes for painting fine details.  I try to keep a size 0 and a size 000 or smaller for my fine detail painting.  For completeness sake, also, my brushes have all been some sort of synthetic bristle.

And almost every time, it seems the bristles on the small round brushes form a hook at the very tip of the brush, regardless of how gently I use them.  My last 000 brush tip started to curl during the first use.

How do I prevent this from happening?  Can I fix it once it has happened?  Is there a brush that just doesn't do this at all or at least less?  Please, if possible, recommend a brand/model.

 

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by modelmaker66 on Friday, August 04, 2017 2:20 PM

Windsor and Newton series 7

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Friday, August 04, 2017 2:22 PM

Try a brush with natural hairs, such as a kolinsky sable. The oils in the hairs allow these brushes to keep a finer tip much longer than synthetic fibers. Wash them out carefully after every painting session, gently shape the tip with your fingers, then store upright to protect the tip. 

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Friday, August 04, 2017 2:24 PM

So, it's sable or nothing?  Last time I went to Blick's looking for brushes, I saw a bunch of different bristle media......bristle, camel, sable.

I think the Series 7 is sable, so I guess I just gotta suck it up and buy the expensive sable ones.

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Friday, August 04, 2017 2:46 PM

If the cost is a consideration, you may want to consider the brushes marketed to war gamers, such as the lines offered by Citadel or Gale Force Nine. These are natural fibers, but a little less costly than the art store variety. I picked up a set of five detail brushes (0 - 5/0) in the Flames of War set for under $10 at the local comic book/game store last year. 

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Friday, August 04, 2017 2:51 PM

KnightTemplar5150

If the cost is a consideration, you may want to consider the brushes marketed to war gamers, such as the lines offered by Citadel or Gale Force Nine. These are natural fibers, but a little less costly than the art store variety. I picked up a set of five detail brushes (0 - 5/0) in the Flames of War set for under $10 at the local comic book/game store last year. 

 

 

It's a minor consideration, but that's good info and I'll have to check them out.  How do you like those brushes?

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Friday, August 04, 2017 3:15 PM

They work very well with Vallejo acrylics and they have managed to keep sharp tips over the year. The 5/0 works well enough in painting eyes in 1/35 scale, so I'm pleased with them. At roughly $2 each when bought in the set, I really can't be overly critical.

  • Member since
    August, 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Friday, August 04, 2017 3:26 PM

I picked up a couple of brushes from Hobby Lobby, a 10/0 and 18/0 (painters touch 7000).  Not that expensive in the scheme of things.  But the wife painted, so I'm used to paying the price.

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Friday, August 04, 2017 3:37 PM

KnightTemplar5150

They work very well with Vallejo acrylics and they have managed to keep sharp tips over the year. The 5/0 works well enough in painting eyes in 1/35 scale, so I'm pleased with them. At roughly $2 each when bought in the set, I really can't be overly critical.

 

 

That's good news as I paint with Vallejo, also.  I'll definitely be looking closely at these if I can find them.

 

goldhammer

I picked up a couple of brushes from Hobby Lobby, a 10/0 and 18/0 (painters touch 7000).  Not that expensive in the scheme of things.  But the wife painted, so I'm used to paying the price.

 

What media are those brushes made out of?

  • Member since
    August, 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Friday, August 04, 2017 5:45 PM

I believe they are nylon, but can't swear to it.  Going back in Sat and will verify.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Friday, August 04, 2017 8:21 PM

laskdjn

So, it's sable or nothing?  Last time I went to Blick's looking for brushes, I saw a bunch of different bristle media......bristle, camel, sable.

I think the Series 7 is sable, so I guess I just gotta suck it up and buy the expensive sable ones.

 

 

In the long run, I think they're worth it.

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Friday, August 04, 2017 11:25 PM

I look at it this way.

W/N series 7 run around $15 a brush for 000 or 00 or other super fine tip sizes.  I have a set of synthetic brushes of same size with the kolinsky shaped fine point.  They ran me $3 a brush.  

I am on my second set of the synthetic in 4 years.  At this pace it would take me 20 years before I equal the cost of the series 7 brush.  I have one 000 series 7 and have compared it to my sythetics.  I am able to get just as much contol with the synthetic as the series 7.

Since the only factor is life of the brush as the sable brush will last longer but not 20 years longer and I would have to buy new series 7 brushes as they wore out, I figured to stay with the synthetic brushes.

Unless I was a figure painter and needed to use them for all my painting needs I did not see any reason to spend the money.  This is just my take on it from more of a cost/use basis since I could get the same results from both types.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, August 05, 2017 9:35 AM

For really small detail, I use a toothpick- those double ended ones that come to a small point.  I shake my paint jar, take the top off and set the top down upside down on the bench. Now, I dip a toothpick tip into the paint remaining in the cap.  That puts on a little bit- just the right amount- of paint on the tip.

Not much paint is on the tip- you have to refresh it frequently.  But that is a plus for working with fine detail. It will not flow out when it wets the surface and make a big blob.

That end of the toothpick only lasts one session.  Once any paint hardens on it, it doesn't work as well.  You can then use the other tip next time, then discard.  Toothpicks are so cheap, and have so many uses in modeling, that I always keep a supply in a dispenser on my bench.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Monday, August 07, 2017 10:29 AM

Don Stauffer

For really small detail, I use a toothpick- those double ended ones that come to a small point.  I shake my paint jar, take the top off and set the top down upside down on the bench. Now, I dip a toothpick tip into the paint remaining in the cap.  That puts on a little bit- just the right amount- of paint on the tip.

Not much paint is on the tip- you have to refresh it frequently.  But that is a plus for working with fine detail. It will not flow out when it wets the surface and make a big blob.

That end of the toothpick only lasts one session.  Once any paint hardens on it, it doesn't work as well.  You can then use the other tip next time, then discard.  Toothpicks are so cheap, and have so many uses in modeling, that I always keep a supply in a dispenser on my bench.

 

 

 

That's a good tip, I've tried to use toothpicks in the past but it always ended up either too much paint or too little paint.  I'm probably doing something wrong.

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Monday, August 07, 2017 10:31 AM

route62

I look at it this way.

W/N series 7 run around $15 a brush for 000 or 00 or other super fine tip sizes.  I have a set of synthetic brushes of same size with the kolinsky shaped fine point.  They ran me $3 a brush.  

I am on my second set of the synthetic in 4 years.  At this pace it would take me 20 years before I equal the cost of the series 7 brush.  I have one 000 series 7 and have compared it to my sythetics.  I am able to get just as much contol with the synthetic as the series 7.

Since the only factor is life of the brush as the sable brush will last longer but not 20 years longer and I would have to buy new series 7 brushes as they wore out, I figured to stay with the synthetic brushes.

Unless I was a figure painter and needed to use them for all my painting needs I did not see any reason to spend the money.  This is just my take on it from more of a cost/use basis since I could get the same results from both types.

 

 

And that makes sense, except for the last couple times I've bought new 000 brushes, the tip seems to start to curl after the first time I use it.  I never thought I was being rough with my brushes, and I clean my brush gently and use that Master's Brush Cleaner and Conditioner.

  • Member since
    August, 2007
  • From: back country of SO-CAL, at the birth place of Naval Aviation
Posted by DUSTER on Monday, August 07, 2017 9:09 PM

laskdjn;

 

As you can see from the suggestions above there are many reasons /solutions to your question. I would say for you to take a step back and review the steps you are taking (as you have had the same problem on more than one brush).

 

1.    Make sure the cleaning agent is correct for you type of paint you are using-OK seems silly but you need to eliminate “things”

 

2.    How are you cleaning the brush?  Rubbing it on the bottom or sides of the cleaning container/jar? Switching it with hard excess agitation?

 

3.    Are you sure the inside of the ferrule (the metal part with the bristles coming out) is clean?  Paint trapped there will cause problems for any type of bristles.

 

4.    After the bath and rinsing wipe the brush on a soft cloth to see if any color comes out. If it does repeat the cleaning steps. (usually just once or twice is rarely enough for complete cleaning)

 

5.    Once the brush shows clear/clean the application of a conditioner may be done. Note:  the conditioners available can range from expensive to free and all have some value. For instance, I use a hand soap called Fells-Naphtha, a pure soap without any additives (the bar will last you years) then form the point of the damp bristles.   Also, saliva can be used for a final “shaping” of the point. -it’s OK to wet your fingers then form the brush-thou old timers will be seen putting it in their mouth.  

 

6.    Store your brushes (cleaned and shaped) upright in a jar, coffee cup, vase, whatever. Reapply the plastic point guard that may have come with the brush, if you wish -but be very careful to not disturb the bristles

 

I know this is just a repeat of points given but the main idea is to find the root cause of your brush problem (which I believe is in the final shaping and storage) and then correct it.

Good Luck 

Steve

Building the perfect model---just not quite yet  Confused

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 8:57 AM

I paint with acrylics, so I gently roll my brush along the side of a solo cup filled with water at approximately a 45 degree angle to the side of the cup.  I then wipe my brush on a paper towel at a similar 45 degree angle to the paper towel until no water is wicked off or paint comes out.  After that, I moisten brush again and use the Master's Brush Soap/Conditioner.  Once clean, I rinse it out again and use my lips to reform the tip.  Then I store my brushes in another solo cup with the bristles pointing up.

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Monday, September 11, 2017 1:42 PM

Thought I'd give an update here.  As many here suggested, I went out and got some sable hair brushes to replace the synthetic ones.  I just wanted to say you all who suggested that were correct, and also thank you.  My problem with curling tips doesn't occur with the natural hair brushes and it has made brush painting much more enjoyable and easier.

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Monday, September 11, 2017 2:06 PM

I have used Sable and Camel hair brushes for years and swear by them.

Just an idea I use for tips that curl or wear out..... get a sharp X-acto blade, place the tip of the brush on a piece of glass and trim off the bad part. Dont use a "sawing "motion. Just a straight up and down cut.   You can also create a very fine point this way.

                      Dont worry about the thumbprint... paint it rust and call it "Battle damage" !

  • Member since
    February, 2006
  • From: Boston
Posted by Wilbur Wright on Monday, September 11, 2017 3:07 PM

Recently I've been painting figures more. The W&N series 7 are worth the money, but so is also spending $5 dollars each for fine brushes at Michael's Crafts. I do both.

Look at how you are cleaning your brushes. They should always be put away with the plastic tube over the bristles and stored upside down. Meaning the bristles are facing down. Gravity will take care of any moisture left in the bristles this way.

Another thing I do is even when using acrylics for small work, which I don't do very often,  before I put the brush away I also clean it with mineral spirits last... after the thinner for acrylics.  Then store upside down.

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