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Axus – The Joy of Sash (Brushes)

Listed under Axus Decor, Blog, brushes, guest post, hildering Posted Jan 09 2013

This review on Axus sash brushes is a guest post by Charlie Budd of Charles Budd Decorating.

Most decorators will use the biggest brush they can, to do a particular task. Bigger brushes (generally) hold more paint, and you can lay off a larger area more quickly with a big brush. But there are times when you need a smaller brush, with fine control – particularly for doing tasks like painting window bars, and that’s where sash brushes come into their own.

axus sash for window bars

(French windows painted with an Axus Decor 15mm Sash Brush with Little Greene oil-based eggshell in Celestial Blue. Photo by Charles Budd)

Many painters also use them for painting the moulding of panel doors.

They work equally well in oil-based and water-based paints.

Synthetic bristle sash brush

I first came across Axus sash brushes in November 2011, at the National Painting and Decorating Show. For ethical reasons, I don’t like using natural bristle (mostly harvested from hogs in China) so I had been looking for sash brushes with synthetic filaments for several years, but to no avail. I bought a set of four brushes to trial, and I loved them from the first time I used them. Right from the beginning they seemed to have several advantages over the natural bristle sash brushes I’d used before:

Some characteristics of Axus Decor sash brush

• The filaments were finer, so gave a better finish.

• The filaments didn’t swell and stayed fine with water-borne paints, so they were much better than natural bristle when using these paints.

• The brushes kept their shape, and gave good, clean lines and corners.

• They very rarely lost any filaments, whereas I found bristle ones did (at least any of the brands I ever bought). The filaments also didn’t wear quickly – so they lasted longer.

I have never bought another brand of sash brush since buying my first Axus. They are inexpensive, but great quality.

Axus stainless sash brush selection

Axus Decor pointed precision brush setAxus Decor Grey Pointed Precision sash brushes come in 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm and 30mm diameters. I rarely use the larger sizes, as I find the smaller two sizes will do nearly anything fiddly, and I can use angle-cut brushes like the 2” Wooster FTP for anything which the 12 and 15mm can’t do.

Unlike some sash brushes, the ferrule is stainless steel, so if you’re a professional decorator who uses the Brush Mate system for oil-based paints, you won’t get the horrible running copper salts problem from sash brushes which use copper as a ferrule.

axus sash brush stainless steel ferrule

Axus sash brush Availability

You can currently buy a set of Axus decor Grey Pointed Precision Brushes from MyPaintBrush.co.uk for £12.99

I’d definitely try all the sizes, then continue to buy the ones you like best. Mind you, if you look after them, they’ll last you a long while. When they do wear, you can also trim them back into shape somewhat with a good pair of scissors.

For squeezing into all sorts of fiddly angles, these brushes are great – that’s why they’re the Joy of Sash.

Stratford on Avon painter and decorator Charlie Budd is a good friend of the site and a prime example of a good decorator who has the passion to continually improve his level of service.

In recent times, Charlie has been adopting and applying (and questioning me consistently about) the techniques and products illustrated and recommended on the Traditional Painter site. The economy may well be stalling, but constantly striving to push his quality, efficiency and cleanliness on the way up, Charlie’s approach to decorating is standing him in good stead.

A quick tip – these sash brushes will work well in tandem with the Roll and Go kettle from Go!Paint. Dutch style handles for Dutch styled kettle brush clips!



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19 comments to “Axus – The Joy of Sash (Brushes)”

  1. chris spence

    Great review charlie.
    Glad to finally see you putting your knowledge out there.
    Can only be a benifit…
    Good man

  2. Charles Budd

    Thanks Chris, with so much still to learn, it can be difficult to feel confident in recommending products or processes, but I suppose the worst that could happen would be that I could be shot down in flames!

  3. steve hampson

    Just read your comments on the Axus Sash Brush,i must disagree they do not hold there shape at all, we bought three sets(Brewers) for a heritage job,Georgian sashes,the guys& girls were quite excited trying out a new product first time out in Zinnser 123 they went to pot!! all the bristles splayed and refused to hold there shape, straight back to Brewers and back to our Purdys & Escodas (great spanish brushes)

  4. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

    Hi Steve, it’s never good to hear when kit lets you down. I have run it past guest poster Charlie who uses them all the time and polled the Traditional Painters, too, to try gauge how these brushes perform in different hands.

    3 different viewpoints all seem to agree that a) the brush is a bit on the stiff side and b) if kept wet, they keep their shape. c) they arent everyone’s cup of tea (but to be fair, no brush pleases all the people all the time, d) paint choice has a big impact on how a brush performs. e) if the sun or wind dries paint out on the brush, it is tricky even with a good brush / paint combination to work for too long without regular cleaning.

    Below, the italics is feedback I have had from 2 guys I know, who know these brushes quite well.

    A nice amount of spring is good, but bristles being slightly stiff isn’t all bad

    on the flip side this helps it to stay in shape and produce a nice line, you just don’t press down as hard, let the brush do the work.

    Do they lose their shape easily? Doesn’t sound that way, unless they dry out in use, or they weren’t dunked before use.

    ” if you keep them wet, they’re fine. Maybe it’s something to do with 123 drying quickly? Hmmm… I’ve been using them with Impra Profilan Opac this week – with a dollop of floetrol in it, it gives a lovely finish! “

    and

    “I left an Axus fitch in water all day yesterday and yes it bent slightly but a wash, spin out and reshape and there is nothing wrong with it! Maybe they had a bad brush and maybe the user…”

    Obviously they didnt work for you with Zinsser 123 on an exterior, is it worth asking Axus to give you some more to try out?

  5. Bruce Kennedy

    Good evening Steve, further to your comments that you left regarding our sash brushes I was very surprised and concerned that you had an issue with them.
    Everyone that has bought them has been very happy with them so obviously your comments came as a big shock.
    Could you please let me know what Brewers store you bought them from as I would like to speak to the manager and ask him if they’ve had any other complaints.
    We take everyone’s opinions very seriously and if there is a problem then will try and rectify it as we want you the end user to be apply with all our products.
    Please advise when you have a spare moment.
    Thank you,
    Bruce Kennedy
    Area Sales Manager for Axus Decor

  6. steve hampson

    Hi Bruce, the store was Brewers in Corby, Contact Andy or Ian,
    The issue is with the smaller size brush in the three packs we bought the smaller size has tended to flare out,we look after our kit & treat our brushes like precious objects, we are happy with other Axus products Gloves especially, rollers are good, we thought we had hit Gold dust with these Sash brushes as synthetic ones this size are as rare as hens teeth.Maybe a rouge batch i hope so.

    The brushes were rinsed through after opening

    They were never left to dry out

    The paint kettles have a brush clip so the brush is never fully immersed in the product.

    A clean pot of water/solvent is always used to rinse the brush/brushes as they go.We use split kettles/pots

    They are cleaned thoroughly and wrapped at the end of play every day,our bristle brushes are rubbed with tallow.

    We have Not had an issue with the larger Brushes in the pack
    as of now.

    I thank you for your interest and any help would be more than welcome as we are more than happy with other products in your range.

    kind regards Steve (This Old House)

  7. Bruce Co Axus Decor

    Good evening Steve,
    Thank you for your reply and all I can do is apologise for the problems you have faced.
    For the amount we have sold this is possibly the first complaint we have had regarding this issue; so I’m at a complete loss of words which is very rare! The general feedback is the smaller one is by far the best one as its longer in bristle and more flexible to use, not a single person has ever said that it splays?
    If I could and you don’t mind could I pass this back to the Traditional Painters as well as Charles Budd and ask if they or he have had a similar issue with the 12mm?
    I will also speak to my colleagues and office regarding this and see if we have had any other comments regarding the issue you’ve had.
    Thank you once again,
    Kindest regards for now,
    Bruce Kennedy
    Area Sales Manager for Axus Decor

  8. steve hampson

    Hi Bruce thanks for the reply,i suggest you check out painters pit stop painterspitstop.com/showthread.php?tid=3000&page=2 two posts above Charlie] Budds post a few other people have issues similar to mine Regards Steve

  9. Charles Budd

    Maybe there is a bad batch of the brushes? On a recent exterior, I used a single 12mm Axus brush in Little Greene oil-based primer undercoat and eggshell for about 6 solid days in total. No problems. I cleaned it in white spirit maybe 3 times a day on dull days, and maybe 5 or 6 times on sunny, hot days. I seem to remember having some splaying on the larger brushes some time ago, but I rarely use the larger ones, and when I’ve occasionally used them recently they’ve been fine. Just to be clear, I’m not being favourist, I did an open-minded side-by-side comparison between the Axus and the Wooster Peintpro, and I preferred the Axus. If I found an alternative which was better than Axus, I’d use that (sorry Bruce, but true!) I don’t know whether some people get better results with straight brushes, or with natural bristle brushes (which I don’t use, for ethical reasons), but I am happy with my Axus sash brushes.

  10. Bruce Kennedy

    Steve, it’s very strange as you are the only person who has had an issue or at least until now it seems!
    I’ve had a look at the Painters Pit Stop from your link and you are quite right, there does seem to be a trend going on, as I said earlier you have brought it to my attention and I thank you for that.
    I just wish others would’ve done the same, unless we get feedback we can not address the issues, please be assured as I’ve said before as a supplier we take every step possible to make sure we supply the correct tools and that they do what their made for.
    I will tell the office and hope that they will also address the problem, I only work for them so it’s out if my hands unfortunately but I will report this.
    One again please accept my apologises.
    Kindest regards for now,
    Bruce

  11. Bruce Kennedy

    Charles, thank you for your comments, it is very much appreciated.
    I also do understand the point you raised and I accept that as you now me by now, I’m just frustrated that no one has
    ever said a bad thing about them until now.
    As you know and perhaps I should look but I do not go onto the Painters Pit Stop anywhere as often as I should, the TP forum and Twitter is enough for me plus I would never leave the house!
    Anyway thank you again,
    Kindest regards for now,
    Bruce

  12. c montague

    Hi I have had the same problem with the axsus sash brushes they started off good in waterbased material but after washing them out a couple of times they started to splay. Then I used them in oil and they were no good at all they splayed

    its such a shame I thought I had found the answer to my sash brush problems. the Hamilton sash is also on good any ideas for a good quality sash brush.

  13. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

    Hi Chris

    can you clarify what size brushes and what paint did you use them in?

    There is plenty of feedback around the trade that quite a few decs have been caught out by the alkyd hybrid water-borne paints like Aqua – synthetic brushes dying slowly (or quickly, depending) almost regardless of how well you clean them.

    look forward to your feedback, cheers

  14. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

    Hi Chris, How do you clean them, is the paint drying on the brush, how long did you use them before you gave up? Are you using hybrid paints?

    As I am sure you will appreciate, if you “go public” with a criticism it is only fair on the supplier to give them a full response, so they can try rectify your issue and also gauge if it is a widespread problem or an isolated incident or a duff batch.

    Likewise, when we get comments saying xyz product is brilliant, without any context, it isn’t that helpful either.

    I am sure I am guilty of generalisations at times, but we are working hard to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in products, especially brushes, where quoting “personal preference” is an easy way out of analysing exactly why a brush does or doesn’t hit the spot.

    Look forward to your input.

  15. Ivor peters

    Hi, I have used Axus Sash brushes nod love their paint holding capacity. They are an ideal shape and wash very well, indeed the most hard wearing and have kept their shape…..

  16. Axus Decor

    Goof morning Ivor,
    That’s great to hear, thank you.
    Kind regards,

  17. chris911

    Hi i have just purchased some La Sirene blue and yellow sash brushes from brewers in my opinion they are the best i have used so far. any reviews?

  18. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

    Not familiar with that brush, Chris. If you have used them and love them, please tell us why you rate them so highly. (What paint did you use, any conditioners / thinner added, what size brushes, what were you painting, how did they perform during the day, how are they for cleaning?) cheers

  19. Charles Budd

    I haven’t seen those Chris. Are they natural bristle or synthetic?

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