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ceramicfundamentalist

Brushes

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What is it that makes bamboo brushes so much better for ceramic materials than regular brushes? Bamboo brushes work with slips, underglazes and glazes, but i've never been able to get a regular brush to work the same way. a regular brush just doesn't seem to hold the material, or it will "stick" as your drag the brush across the surface. is it the type of bristles used? is it the way the brush is constructed? and most importantly, does anyone know of a good source for brushes for use in ceramics?

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I'm guessing that by "regular brush" you might mean a synthetic? I dislike synthetic brushes such as nylon or taklon for ceramic fired products. I find the synthetics best for acrylic/latex applications because the consistency and formulation of those products adhere better to the brush. Here's a great comparison of the different "hair" types in brushes: http://www.dickblick...info/brushhair/

 

My favorite brush for fired ceramics detailing is a sable brush (Kalinsky sable being one of the best). I was taught with sable many years ago and still find they give the best result because of the way they hold the water based ceramic fired products (glazes, stains, underglazes, one-strokes, etc.) Sable is a more expensive brush, but with proper care, they last a long time. I do not use sable in large brushes for overall coverage as they are cost prohibitive. A soft fan brush or bamboo brush is fine for that.

 

My favorite brand of brushes are David Hoff's original green handled sable brushes. He has since switched to a new brush line by Royal & Langnickel. These are less expensive and great brushes, but his original are the best if he still has some left. You would need to call or email about the green handled brushes if you are interested. http://www.shop.davi.../Brushes_c2.htm

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Guest JBaymore

Quite often "good" brushes are made to be "good" for applying a completely different decorating medium. That medium is usually paint of some sort. Often not even in a water based carrier.

 

The typical ceramic materials, suspensions of finely ground minerals and rocks and such in a pure water carrier, don't act all that much like paints. Many fude (that you likely are calling "bamboo brushes" above) are designed to apply sumi on an absorbent rice paper substrate..... which is a finely ground particulate of carbon mainly in a water based carrier. This ink is maybe a bit closer to the ceramic pigments that we typically use.... and the absorbency of rice paper maybe more like bisque or dry clay, and maybe why those brushes seem to work better for us.

 

I've found that the best brushes for ceramic pigments are ones that I have made myself using deer tail hair and horse mane hair and horse tail hair. Occasionally skunk hair.... but getting it is a minor problem wink.gif . The structure of the coarse thick hair gives a good brushing quality and the brush holds a lot of pigment/slip/glaze.

 

Recently we had HAMADA Tomoo-san demonstrate at the college at which I teach. I had asked him to specifically give us a demonstration of his use of overglaze enamels. The first thing he did before starting to apply them was to take a pair of scizzors to the commercial fude-style brushes and trim the outer hairs completly off ....leaving only the coarser inner hairs.

 

best,

 

................john

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One of the best brushes I've ever used for ceramics was made from Squirrel. It had a simple wood handle, but the squirrel hair was so soft and supple yet durable enough to use on ceramics with out shredding. I often use course bristle brushes to impart the brush marks on pots. What was nice about the squirrel hair was that it left almost no detectable brush marks because the hair is so fine.

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