Store and Go gel – brush storage system for oil and water based paint
A couple of weeks ago Neil Callender, Traditional Painter in Dorset and Wiltshire had the pleasure of meeting Jop and Tom from Hildering Innovations to see and discuss the Store and Go gel brush storage system. An hour later, he headed home with a few goodies to try out.
To the untrained eye it looks just like a tin full of a gel, which in a way it is, but it’s the gel which is the clever part.
Not only can you store your oil brushes in it, but you can also pop in your waterbased brushes into the same container.
You will find the gel is stiff enough for the brushes to stand up on their own, but the container does come with some handy clips to hold the handles safe and sound.
Once in the gel, there is no colour exchange from brush to brush, as it seals around the bristles. Then you pop on the top and your brushes will stay soft and ready to go for many months, without the need to top up any fluid.
Which brushes where and how?
I would recommend storing the water-based and oil based brushes opposite each other, just to stop them touching in transit, but to try it out, I did put two brushes together, one in white oil and another in green water-based paint. I had no problems whatsoever.
It doesn’t matter what style or make of brush you use, as the gel also contains an anti rust and anti mould system, so your brushes are really in good hands. Yes, even brushes with copper ferrules are fine, so no more green handles when storing.
To use a brush from the gel, you just wipe of the excess on the grey lip inside the container, (or into a spare pot if you want to keep the main gel store as contaminant-free as possible). If any gel is still on the bristles, just give it a quick wipe with a cloth or paper towel and away you go.
All in all, 2 weeks in, I truly think this Store and Go! is a great system. To be able to store oil and water brushes together in the same container is a brilliant idea – and at a cost of under £20, what’s not to like?! Will keep you posted and updated.
This is a reminder of the Brushmate, the longstanding mainstay option for storing oil brushes, a reliable option except it really has not been able to cope with new style brush handles, and it can be a bit smelly!
A bit of extra info
I had a good chat with Jop, and he had some extra advice and insights into this very innovative brush store system.
Life of the gel
It will keep brushes in good condition for up to 12 months, if you keep the container sealed at normal room temperature. When exposed to the air, the life is shortened, but still good for many months under normal use, assuming you are replacing lids properly, not leaving to bake in a van.
If you do need a replacement sachet of gel, they are available for not a lot of money.
Viscosity The system works because the paint cannot mix readily with the gel, due to viscosity differences. When you dunk a water-based paintbrush in water, or an oil based brush in solvent, it is the similar viscosity of the paint and water/solvent that causes the paint to blend with the water/solvent. When oil or water-based paint comes into contact with this gel, such blending of materials is not possible.
The smart way to keep brushes in prime condition during use and overnight / long term
You are advised to maintain good trade practice and clean brushes periodically with a comb, or if waterbased paints start to dry out, especially at the stock, clean off in the Clean and Go! their cleaning pot with the grid.
Eco credentials The clean gel is water-based and biodegradable.
Eventually, where you use gel for oil brushes, a slick of oil paint is likely to appear on the gel, at which point you would dispose of it as a paint product.
Compared to cleaning brushes out under a running tap, the amount of fluid / waste production of the Clean and Go! and Store and Go gel combination is minimal. In effect the system could be responsible for significant ongoing reductions in contamination of water courses – quietly and effectively addressing the paint industry’s dirty secret about the flip side of user-friendly water-based paints.
If you don’t remove the gel from bristles before painting, does it affect the paint?
The simple approach is to wipe the excess gel off by scraping against the side of a “snots” container and then finish cleaning off any traces of gel with a good wipe in a rag.
If there are traces of gel still left on the bristles when you dunk your brush in paint, it is not ideal, but neither is it that big a deal It has been tested in use by Dutch contractors in all sorts of situations for a long time now, and they aren’t complaining of gel related paint issues.
Oil and water brushes together, really?
Yes really, but if you have a lot of each sort of brush on hand, say you are a contractor with 2 or 3 painters using same storage containers, it has been shown that a sensible approach is to have one container for each sort of paint brush, to avoid “losing” your brushes.
There are also little aids, with different colour partitions for the individual containers. But technically speaking, if stored in gel, you won’t get the transfer of paint from one brush to another that you might expect after say using a Brushmate, (which when overloaded, sometimes turns into a fair ground steady hand challenge, extricating a brush without knocking another brush.)
A bit about the team behind Store and Go!
Jop and the Go Paint team have been over to the UK a few times to demo their decorating wares and will be at the National Painting and Decorating Show in Coventry again this year.
If you appreciate a different painting perspective to the norm, I think you would do well to check out the Go Paint! product line designed by Jop Timmers. The novel range includes brush cleaning, brush keeper, brush care, kettle / roller trays. It is part of the Hildering company, one of Europe’s most important paint packing businesses.
Feedback on development of Jop’s innovative product designs comes principally from Dutch professional painters who it appears have saved themselves a small fortune in brushes since using the gel system.
At Traditional Painter we are also getting very useful info while trying to get the most out of the products. To date, the tendency is to look Stateside for a lead with water based paint(ing) but just over the narrower drop of water, there is lots to glean from a trade who have been prohibited from using oil based paints indoors for 10 years now. So their onsite experience with waterbased paint is especially useful.
There is certainly a culture gap between the Dutch and British approach to painting, but at Traditional Painter we are trying hard to get our heads around the differences (see all the brush cleaning options we know of now, plus Matt Evans on various Dutch brushkeepers/cleaners) and learning new tricks from the Dutch masters! They are worth it 🙂
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