First impressions of Wooster FTP angle Oval Sash paint brush
Wooster Brushes are taking a concerted tilt at the popular Proform Picasso with 3 angled Oval Sash brushes: the FTP OS, the Alpha OS and the Silver Tip OS.
When I was asked to test out the FTP, apart from thinking, How lucky are we decorators to live in an age of true competition between fantastic brush makers, 4 things spring to mind:
– The Picasso is still a phenomenon for emulsioning;
– The Chinex bristle is a phenomenon for its versatility;
– Angled sash brushes are like the marmite of brushes for UK decorators (you either love ’em or hate ’em)
– The original angled Wooster Silver Tip is a phenomenon of quality v price
FTP-Picasso – not quite comparing like-for-like
I suspect the Wooster Silver Tip Oval Angled sash is where the truest like-for-like comparisons with a Picasso can be made, because the ST and the Picasso seem to share the same (or very similar) chemical treated bristles. (I remember that hypothesis from a conversation with a Wooster guy at the 2011 trade show.)
I have the 2.5″ FTP OS oval angle sash brush here, and this is what I see.
First impression of 2.5″ Wooster FTP OS
Does it knock Picasso off its pedestal? (It is certainly big enough to try!)
When I pulled it out the envelope my first though was “Blimey, it’s massive!”
For a 2.5″ it is a big brush. Looking at it, it strikes me as a site-work emulsioning brush that will deliver long precise cuts, day after day, beating the pants off cruddy 4″ brushes from Homebase. And good for banging out panel doors in any paint you have laying around.
Through the eyes of a kitchen painter, where we like a bit of finesse haha, it is, however, a brute when compared to the nimble Corona Kingston Chinex.
The Picasso is shallow oval, Woosters are deeper oval
My second impression of the FTP Chinex OS when holding it next to a Picasso, is that it doesn’t seem very oval. Wrong! The width of the reflections on the ferrule give a good idea of how pointed (or not) the ovals are.
Ovals in the Wooster style – like the Alpha – are quite rounded at the ends and just get bigger towards the centre, giving a massive volume of bristles.
Compared to a slimmer oval Picasso, and especially next to a conventional flat Corona Excalibur Chinex bristle brush, the FTP OS has a lot of lot of bristles, and long too.
Does it matter that the Wooster Angled oval sash brushes have more bristles than a Picasso, which is a big volume painter anyway? I don’t know if it does for cutting in. Using a Picasso, you can cut-in your full arm length in one pass. Can you you extend your arms to meet the capacity of a bigger volume brush? No.
For painting panels by brush, of course, volume of paint available in the bristles matters. And we all know a chinex bristle brush will keep its shape and deliver the paint as you press, and will cut dead straight lines easily and precisely.
So, how many times to reload to finish a 6 panel door? Answers on a postcard please.
All brushes are not created equal
Professional brushmakers must get upset when painters diss their products without a second thought. There is a lot of design thought in one of those tools.
These are all 2.5″ oval brushes.
They are not the same shape for starters. Different handles too. Different weights. And brushes are used by painters with different hand sizes, different grip… This is why we have favourites. Pity we can’t always explain why one brush feels good and another doesn’t!
If you pick up an FTP and pay attention to its design, you will see how the designer has given us some help with holding it for maximum control and comfort.
For cutting in:
On the FTP OS (or Wooster Alpha for that matter) it doesn’t look like it, perhaps, but I have total control of that brush.
That is due to the ridge cut out of the stock, just below the ferrule. On the back of the brush, my middle finger is wedged nice and tight in position, unable to slide off. Easy.
For general painting
Again the designer has this exactly right.
I have 3 fingers wedged nicely round the back.
If that ridge wasn’t there, it would be a very hard job to control this massive brush. Or impossible even, it is like a baseball bat handle. But as it is, that little design tweak on the handle (nothing to do with bristle technology) gives you total control over the bristles.
And see how much leverage you have with your hand being so far down the handle. And kept away from the painty end too, no need to touch the ferrule. Clever huh!
For what it is worth, this is how I naturally hold the Picasso for cutting in.
I tend to have a hold on the ferrule when laying on paint on flat areas. It works a treat, but has me thinking, that compartively speaking, the Picasso is an agile, relatively slim angle oval, it is comfortable, but could be even moreso with that Wooster style grip ridge. But it can’t have one, because its slim stock precludes chipping any thickness out of the handle.
Who’d be a designer, because for all the nice handle set-up on the Wooster FTP OS, something went wrong with the end result of the ferrule!
Wooster FTP OS build quality?
Clever handle design, lovely bristle technology, but comparing that ferrule on the FTP with the Picasso, there is a disconnect between the handle/stock and the brush head.
Or see the tightness of ferrule on the FTP OS compared to that beautiful “little” Corona Kingston Chinex brush?
Build quality decides whether or not a brush is good or a promising failure. We don’t want to be paying top dollar for throwaway kit. Let’s hope the Wooster brushes haven’t made any material changes to the quality for the angled oval generation.
– Only time will tell, but if I were a betting man, this new Wooster FTP OS will sell, and I hope it adds to the growing story of raising standards in UK decorating. Painting production and quality can go higher in UK, and improve profitability and value for money, if UK painters would only embrace advanced synthetic brushes from overseas companies.
British brushes? The only one worth looking at is a specialist in natural bristles, the rest who are making brushes suitable for modern water based paints seem to be focussed on the DIY market.
– In a kitchen painting scenario, is there a “Bull” version please, so we can lose that telegraph pole handle?
– I have long rated the original flat 2.5″ Wooster FTP Chinex as an outstanding all-round brush. It spreads huge amounts of wall paint, trim paint, chalk paint, oil paint; the Chinex bristles are strong enough for pushing heavy paint around, but it also lays off lightly.
Desert Island disc style, if you had only one brush to work with, and you want to shine for speed and quality under normal site conditions, the FTP would be it (or one of them?).
But, in emulsion paint, you get fantastic results too with a Picasso, and it has a few wow factors of its own, not just orange, but the balance is quite something, and accuracy. So don’t go jumping on the next trendy bandwagon and start throwing away your Picassos, just because!
Band wagons are costly vehicles. I saw the Wooster stall in 2011 completely mobbed, then in 2012 the crowds were herding over to Purdy whose Monarch Elites they wouldn’t touch with a barge pole in 2011…
We are working on the definitive brush selector at the moment. Every brush company has a gem, and we will help you find them for the paint you are using.
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