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How do you load a paint brush

Listed under Blog, brushes Posted Apr 22 2020

How do you load a paint brush? To its full capacity. This is an update from 2014.

I hope you do not load a paint brush like this. 

How to load a paint brush - Little Greene acrylic eggshell

And start painting.

It is great that only about 2/3 of the filaments are covered in paint. But it is not ready to start painting. I don’t suggest you paint out the tin either. A kettle is usually best.

Best brush when loaded properly

To judge whether a brush is any good or not, it is only right to use it as designed.

The above picture of the Picasso shows that it has just been dunked from new into acrylic paint. If you removed the excess paint on the edge of the tin and started painting, you would be using it at about 1/3 of its painting capacity, or maybe even less.

How a paint brush works

The Picasso, for instance, is designed with a reservoir in the middle of the brush. When fully charged this reservoir serves paint to the tips of the bristles. The harder you push or press down, the more paint is pushed from the reservoir to the tips. The longer you can get paint out the stock, the longer a line you can strike. So you need to fill the reservoir. But if your brush’s reservoir is half empty, you have only charged half your brush and you will curse the shining reviews. At half full, you won’t know exactly what the brush is capable of doing.

There was a longer in-depth explanation of loading paint into a Picasso from Jack Pauhl, but it seems to have dropped off the internet.

Before loading a brush with paint

Synthetic bristles should be moist to work well. Synthetic bristles need to be dampened with water before they ever see a tin of paint. This priming or soaking principle then continues when you first dunk the bristles in the paint. 

You should spend a couple of minutes charging your brush, charging the reservoir, if it has one, before you start painting. And then during use continue charging, loading and priming the bristles. It can be 20 mins at least of hard use before a brush is working as nature intended. If it is a new brush, take 20 minutes before you start, to judge whether it is any good or not. And if you keep your eyes open, you will find that a good brush gets better and better with use.

how to load a paint brush. Wooster sable

This is the progress made with a Wooster Ultra Pro sable, my first ever Wooster brush back in 2014. Most reviews I have seen say it is too flimsy and best used as a laying off brush. To be fair, at the start, on the left, it seems to be a bit rubbish at cutting lines. However, by persevering and increasing the paint load, it gets better and better with the same amount of paint from each new dip. In the end you run out of arm.

The 2.5″ Fox original brush designed by Traditional Painter Martin Guest is like that. It holds more paint than you can use in a single cut.

Small is beautiful

pin striping brush

A tiny 2.5″ sword liner is a super fine specialist brush for pin striping. Think “go fast stripes” on cars. The big mistake is to dip it gingerly into the paint. For skinny lines, load that puppy till it is all but dripping. Until then, forget 24″ of uninterrupted skinny lines of beauty.

The photo is from this video, jammed full of info, that will draw many threads together, especially how load a paint brush.

Thanks for reading about how to load a paint brush. Hopefully it will save you many hours of work and revive your interest in older discarded brushes.

And maybe the video, which is one of a series of 3, will spark an interest in pin striping.

Do you sell paint brushes?

No, we have never had a store. We used to have an affiliate referral dealio with a couple of suppliers we dealt with. If you liked what we wrote and clicked on a link because you wanted to buy what we were talking about, we would have received a small commission on the purchase.

However for many years we have had no commercial interest in the products we recommend. It is easier that way.

Our aim is to shine a spotlight on the best of the best, doing our bit to help raise the bar in UK decorating. Therefore we still link to suppliers, old and new, whose products we recommend(ed) based on our personal experience on real world jobs. Tecnover are the latest wonder supplier to come on our radar! Read Ron Taylor’s excellent review.

Are you biased?

Yes sir! We aren’t a specialist review site but we review. Specialist review sites seem to just trial anything and everything and rank endless products from 1 to 10. To me that just complicates matters. After a few false dawns, the main principle here is that if a decorating product doesn’t merit 8-10/10 after months of use, we generally forget it.

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