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gimmellsmom
06-09-2010, 09:00 PM
Now that I'm doing so much varnishing I'm trying to find the best way to clean my brushes (especially the dear ones) - just wondeing what others do?
Currently I bring them home in a baggie with thinner, then wash with wollite - seems to work, but wondering if there's a better way?

I recall this being a sub topic to another thread, but couldn't find it!

Michelle

wizbang 13
06-09-2010, 09:03 PM
I like to massage a good brush with go jo hand cleaner.

dsharp
06-09-2010, 10:24 PM
I clean several times with thinner then oil with atf and wrap bristles and ferule in brown paper bag material. I assume you're talking natural bristle. Buy a spinner from sherwin williams to keep your hands out of the thinner as much as you can.

Lew Barrett
06-09-2010, 10:31 PM
There are as many techniques for cleaning as there are people cleaning them, but you can bring science and tool acquisition to the party.

You'll want a brush spinner and a brush comb, anyway, so get them now. I know....brush comb; it's an odd construct. Anyway, you want those. And you want a few one gallon milk containers; empty of course. Now...put all this stuff to use in a way that maximizes clean and minimizes solvent use. You will want to spin the brushes six or seven times into one of the containers, using a third container (I like used plastic cups from things like cottage cheese) into which is placed a small amount of solvent. Load the brush with the thinner, spin and repeat. Empty the brush this way seven times, pouring a small amount of solvent onto the cottage cheese cup each time; just enough to load the brush you are cleaning. The last time, the solvent must run clear. In fact, you can run it clear a couple of times; varnish is insidious and can fool you into thinking you have a clean brush when in fact you haven't gotten there yet. Spin the last few "clears" onto the second milk container; you can use that stuff for your first several rinses the next day.

I invented this system to minimize solvent abuse, and it seems to work. I can clean a three inch brush using about 4-6 ozs of thinner, all of which is recovered for disposal or reuse later. I find that most of the varnish remains in suspension (unlike with paint where it settles) so used "varnish" thinner is pretty much suitable only for disposal.

I like the atf suggestion; sounds easier than suspending in Diesel ( I do neither at the moment). Might give that a try! I save the packaging the brushes come in (if they do) or use masking paper; same idea as the brown paper wrap. I have a sealed (large) container with tight closing top for brushes to live in at the boat house, and bring them home for the winter. I have Purdys and Hamiltons but I am not above using disposals for a lot of jobs.

Make sure you tease the brushes with your brush comb after cleaning and before next use.

I think Jay Greer wrote a tutorial (different than my approach) so try searching that.

ARW123
06-10-2010, 02:30 AM
Hole through handle, wire through hole, suspend in jar of linseed oil, cover jar.

Mrleft8
06-10-2010, 07:50 AM
If you're going to be using it (the brush) again w/in a week, just suspend it in turpentine. No sense cleaning it every time. I used to put them in zip-lock bags and store them in the freezer, but that was annoying in the end.

BerniniCaCO3
06-10-2010, 08:58 AM
I hail from the world of painting and sculpture, and one of the best suggestions made to me was this oil soap/gel called "goop" and sold at walmart for $1.50/(quart?)

I work a fair amount into it, and then under water swirl the brush around on a plate.

Mind you, that works excellently for oil paints; so I'm just assuming your varnishes are of a related class.
It's also the gentlest cleaning method I've come across, which is important when you have $80 sable brushes.

Otherwise, concur with the others about soaking in simple turpentine. Be careful that what an art store sells as odorless turpentine, is really just overpriced mineral spirits, and won't dissolve everything that real turpentine does.

I often keep two jars with rings to hold the brushes, and a third empty one. When one gets too filthy, I move to use the second. By the time the second jar is filthy, most of the paint has settled to the bottom of the first jar and I can decant it into the third empty one, wipe out the inside, and reuse. Good to save turpentine; it's not that pricey, but I can't pour it over brushes like it were tap water.

wizbang 13
06-10-2010, 09:20 AM
Go jo is the same as goop, but better smelling. I'm an artist also. I buy $60 Isabey brushes by the half dozen.

yzer
06-10-2010, 10:01 AM
The caps on plastic (HDPE) milk jugs don't seal well enough for storing flammable solvents like mineral spirits. Use the heavier grade metal or plastic containers that are specifically made for these products. I like the one-gallon metal cans. You will notice that HDPE containers for mineral spirits are heavier and less prone to leakage, wear and puncture than milk jugs... there is a reason for that.

I use Ace Hardware ox hair brushes for varnish and have used some of these for many years. I have over a dozen in various sizes. I clean these with several passes in 100% mineral spirits. I don't risk chemical incompatibility issues by re-using mineral spirits: virgin mineral MS only for my brushes. I moisten and work the brushes with the correct brushing thinner just prior to varnishing.

After cleaning the brushes I work the bristles until they are dust-free and as dry as practical. Then they are loosely wrapped with paper towel and stacked horizontally in my brush box. The box travels with me between home and the boat.

I keep a jug of clean MS at the boat and a funnel and another jug for waste MS. Waste MS is stored in the tightly capped jugs at home until I take a batch in for recycling on a hazardous waste day.

Brush spinners sound like a fine idea but I never felt the need for one. I have only one 26-foot wooden boat to maintain.

Lew Barrett
06-10-2010, 11:00 AM
To be clear: don't store solvents in milk containers; just spin into them. You have to store the solvents safely. They will destroy light plastic containers in time, just as motor oil or gas will. They are not suitable for storage.

Storing brushes in the freezer only works for so long. Eventually you need to clean the brush or toss it. Suspending in Diesel or other oil as mentioned (and I did) is another method, but it's a pain to do at the job site/boat yard. For that matter, you can suspend in just solvents overnight. But eventually you will come to a point where you need to clean or toss. There are systems available (or have been available) for hanging brushes in oil/Diesel. System has it's pluses and minuses.

To underscore: Always use a fuel safe container for transfer of used solvents which then must be disposed of . Don't mistake my suggestion of use of milk cartons (or very light plastic) for long term storage. It's simply a way ro keep from spraying yourself and your world with varnish laden solvent. Sooner or later, you will need to clean a brush if your intention is to keep them.

Whatever you do, you have to get the varnish cleaned out of the ferrule or the brush is not useful until you do. If varnish does set up on a brush, the job of making it useful again just got ten times harder.


Whiz; when you use GoJo or the like, do you not clean the brush first?

Emma56
06-10-2010, 11:33 AM
This is a great thread I bought a high end brush . But it had a short life because I could not remove the varnish at the handle end of the brush . This varnish thing is not as easy as I first thought

wizbang 13
06-10-2010, 12:07 PM
Sure I clean the brush first. I use a spinner in a five gal bucket,several rinses, but ,as you say, the TEENIEST bit left on kills the brush. The hand cleaner keeps the natural bristle soft, soft ,soft. Another trick for short time storage is to use empty "brick packs", soymilk/juice containers. The top can be folded over around the handle of the brush to prevent solvent from evaporating. this trick even works with ketone thinners, like one uses with 2 part paints. 2333N for example.

yzer
06-10-2010, 12:10 PM
Lew's ideas regarding economical use of mineral spirits is right on the mark. There are ways to reduce the amount of MS required to clean a varnish brush.

A one-quart plastic paint or epoxy mixing cup works well for suspending or cleaning brushes up to 3". Before varnishing I'll fill the cup with enough MS to cover most of the ferrule. If I'm done with the brush or need to switch to another then I can just plunk the brush into the cup where it will hold until cleaning.

I may have a couple of brushes holding (suspended) in that cup before I'm done varnishing and ready to begin brush cleaning. Be sure that MS flushes through the ferrule during each pass. You can get by with less MS after the first pass: tilting the cup and the brush to flush all of the bristles and ferrule. After a few passes the MS will appear to remain clear after cleaning. At that point you should do a couple of more passes with clean MS before putting the brush away.

Hwyl
06-10-2010, 12:29 PM
I'm disagreeing with people whose work I like, but I tend to shy away from brush spinners, they are really hard on the brush. Be interesting to see a spinner that spun in the other axis, so the bristles are in tension.

wizbang 13
06-10-2010, 12:32 PM
The spinner does" tease out"the bristles. Hand cleaner is like cream rinse for frizzy hair. It relaxes the brush.

Hwyl
06-10-2010, 12:34 PM
Yo can clean your inflatable with hand cleaner too.

RodB
06-10-2010, 01:13 PM
The best system I have seen for cleaning brushes is to use four or five one quart or half gallon bottles filled with cleaning solvent... turpentine, kerosine, mineral spirits, diesel fuel etc ... each numbered from #1 thru #5.

Each time you clean a brush, pour the solvent from bottle #1 into a cleaning container (I use a meat loaf pan or a West epoxy mixing pint container) and put the brush into the container pressing carefully (trying not to damage the brush ends) working the solvent through the bristles. Once it seems as clean as its going to get... put the brush in a spinner and spin out the excess solvent.

Next pour the dirty solvent from the cleaning container back into cleaning solvent storage container #1.

Nows a good time to use the brush comb to separate the bristles up to the ferrel. Next: Pour clean solvent from container #2 into the cleaning container and repeat the process.

Continue on with the same procedure until you are at container #5... The brush is spun for a final time then stored properly... One method for natural bristle brushes... it is recommended that after cleaning with solvent... to then wash them out with mild soap and water and hang them to dry.... then wrap them up in stiff construction paper for storage or newspaper being sure to maintain the shape of the brush bristles.

When at the "Port Townsend in the Water Boat Festival" last year, I attended the varnishing seminar and was impressed with the expertise and methods shown. They were using a very nice brush storage system, an approx 1.5 quart container that allowed the brushes to be stored immersed in a 50% solution of raw linseed oil and Turpentine. A similar one is available from Jamestown Distributers. As this container was not cheap... I decided to see what I could come up with. .... so I just looked around in local stores and found a perfect container to use for this purpose.

The following photos show a nice large bird feed container from Pet Smart that is converted into a sealed brush storage system, fitting two lengths of brushes. I have one for varnish brushes and one for paint brushes. It is filled with some quality Turpentine and raw Linseed oil 50:50. This storage method allows the natural bristles to maintain their shape and softness over time and they are ready in minutes to produce a nice finish.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%202009%20Aug/varnishbrushesinstoragesolventbest.jpg

Note the simple rubber grommet on a 3/8" dowel results in a nice airtight seal for the container.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%202009%20Aug/grommetinplasticcontainer.jpg

Note, the cleaning solvent bottles become more and more filled at the bottom with sediment from paint and varnish. As time goes by, you can pour off the clean solvent on top of the container and pour it into a new container. (I use large gator aid bottles). You can pretty much continue to use the solvent in these bottles for a very long time.

I prefer Turpentine as it is compatible with the same turpentine in my storage container. Kerosine works fine too as mineral spirits. Some very experienced artisans on this forum use diese fuel for a cleaning solvent.

When you are ready to use a brush it is easy to shake out the turpentine and linseed oil by singing it by hand which keeps the bristles in their natural shape better than spinning. The residue from the storage solution is very compatible with the varnish or paint that will be loading into the brush....

On spinning the brushes, I use a 3.5 gallon bucket (which I store my spinner in) and dump the residual spun out solvent into cleaning solvent bottle #1 after finishing the cleaning process.

Good luck,

RodB

Lew Barrett
06-10-2010, 03:15 PM
I'm disagreeing with people whose work I like, but I tend to shy away from brush spinners, they are really hard on the brush. Be interesting to see a spinner that spun in the other axis, so the bristles are in tension.

It's OK! Everybody has a system that works for them. Cleaning brushes is a PITA, except that unless you figure out what works for you, you are doomed to using disposables. I usually "reset" the bristles with a brush comb after the last spin so the brush doesn't have the Carrot Top look.

If you are going to use disposables, I like ProForm. But:
1. They are nylon and
2. They're just expensive enough to make you want to clean them, thus voiding their original purpose!

Jay Greer
06-10-2010, 04:38 PM
My Linzer Russian Boar hair varnish brushes are over fifty years old and still in top condition as varninsh work puts very little abrasion on the bristles. But, almost no one I work with has the patience to clean and store brushes in the manner that I do. But here is the way experience has taught me to keep varnish brushes in top condition.
I use three five gallon buckets of thinner that are filled half way to the top. Lids keep the thinner from going stale. Wearing gloves I flex and squeeze the brush under thinner, working in each rinse till no color of varnish can be seen when sueezing an upset brush. After rinsing in the third bucket, each brush gets three more rinses in fresh thinner, which is then poured into the last bucket.
I then store the brushes that are wrapped in the black paper from a photo album and stand them on end in thinner up to just above the ferruls. The paper from photo albums is almost like blotting paper and is stiff enough to keep the brushes chisel edges. It also absorbs residual varnish. I prefer not to use a spinner as it splays the bristles and spoils their shape. The container I use is a one gallon plastic mayonase jar, stolen from Zerkelbach's Market. Even with this care, varnish will still build up in the heels and the brushes need soaking in liquid sandpaper.
After soaking overnight, the heels are gently worked with a metal toothed brush comb. And, then with a small wire brush. Next, the bristles are flipped against a round pipe until dry followed by flipping them against the palm in a beam of sunlight from a crack in the shop door. When no more flakes and nerds of varnish can be detected floating in the light the brushes are good for another five years of use.
Jay

RodB
06-10-2010, 04:49 PM
Thanks Jay... it seems I remember you using kerosine or diesel fuel for a cleaning solvent??

I guess I may have to rethink using a spinner...?

RodB

Lew Barrett
06-10-2010, 08:37 PM
And again for the record, I did say Jay would be along!

I would respectfully argue that (assuming you put them away clean) how you store your brushes is more important than if you use a spinner or not, especially for an amateur painter whose brushes may not see as much use as a pro metes out.
On the other hand, I know plenty of pros who use brush spinners.

While I will admit that as much as it galls me to have a good brush ruined I don't worry and fret over them overtly. I just hate painting with a dirty brush and reasonable economy means eventually one has to come up with some sort of system.

Years ago I developed my variation based on the cleaning technique being used at Native Brightworks. They use(d?) a variation of Jay's three bucket technique, from which my own approach was derived, but as I recall, they used more buckets! And they spun the brushes into milk cartons, hence the genesis of my approach!

Going from one bucket to another in a reverse variation of Solera distilling is pretty much standard practice.

None of this is to say Jay's (or Hwyl's) technique isn't superior, but I have greater problems with keeping brushes than if they are spun or not and my deal works for me.

gimmellsmom
06-10-2010, 09:10 PM
Thank you all!
As I get to my finish coats (and start with much higher end brushes) it's much more important to reuse and care for the brushes.
As always, great advice - thank you.
Pictures to come soon!
Michelle

Jay Greer
06-10-2010, 09:39 PM
I would like to ,respectfully, add that my brush cleaning methods are not my own but those of "Dirty" Dick Dickson who was the head painter at the old South Coast Company in Newport Beach CA. When I went to work for him, putting the Angleman Sea Witch Ketches together, he would drive me nuts with his demands for clean work and fastidious brush cleaning and storage. When I showed up the first week he told me that my brushes were crap and to go out and buy the best set I could find with my first weeks pay. He was right, because those brushes are now fifty five years old and still as sweet to use as the day I bought them after they were broken in. Another thing that Dick would not tollerate was wet material in the groove of a paint or varnish can which, causes runs and sticky material down the sides. Plus splashing as the lid was hammered down. He always made me dip material out of the can with a soup ladle just to keep the groove clean, a practice that is now hard to convince my son of.
Jay

Lew Barrett
06-10-2010, 10:01 PM
Of course it is hard to convince him Jay! Think what it does to the flavor of the soup!

But a good...no great.... idea, and another utensil to clean :D But I am stealing a couple of ladles today. I know just where to find them! FYI, I am adding this tip to my repertoire!

Have I mentioned recently how being self taught is like having oneself for a lawyer?

RodB
06-10-2010, 10:02 PM
Jay...

I'm curious, what brushes would you buy today if you had to start over? Epiphanes round or tapered?

What are the best brushes available today?

RodB

Todd D
06-10-2010, 10:46 PM
I am a bit of a heretic in that I just throw my brushes away after use. Of course I use foam brushes :D

Jay Greer
06-11-2010, 10:04 AM
I gotta admit that I will use a foam brush for quick and dirty work. But I don't like the way the smear the material on and drip from the varnish can to the work. A proper varnish brush retains material in its bristles and offers full control of the amount applied permitting accurate feathering on the last stroke from dry to wet.
Of todays brushes, there isn't much available that is really top level by comparison to what was used in the heydays of fine varnish work. Epiphanes brushes seem to be of good quality. The oval and rounds are intended for use on curved surfaces such as spars and moldings. Still for working on flats, a flat brush is your best friend. Boar hair brushes are available from Hamilton Acorn Ltd. of England. Their Perfection Gold brushes are made of boar hair and are about as good as can be found today.
Jay

PhilJ
06-11-2010, 10:09 AM
Jay Greer's system is the same as the painters at Vic Franck's used 35 years ago- a numbered series of buckets of thinner, dunking the brush and working the bristles by hand from ferule to tip. Then into the next bucket, and so on, until the last, which was almost virgin thinner. One guy would do it with a smoldering cigarette parked in the corner of his mouth!

I use the same procedure in my home shop (with a respirator instead of a cigarette) but on a smaller scale, with new one-gallon paint cans instead of fives. The lids are stamped "1" "2" "3" to keep me from getting mixed up. You would be amazed how fast and painless it is, and the brushes come out really clean. I don't have a spinner but if you raise the front of your foot and tap the ferule against your toe you can get a surprising amount of thinner out of the bristles. Do it outside. You can also put the handle between your hands, like you are praying, and rub them against each other, getting the effect of a spinner. I prefer the toe-tap.

I've found that if you let even the most polluted thinner from can #1 stand for a few months the funk coagulates at the bottom and the rest is pretty clean. Eventually #1 can gets so filled with crud you have to toss it. #2 gets promoted to #1, etc., and a new can becomes #3.

The old thinner that has sat for a while gets decanted into thinner cans with the label "Adulterated" across the front. Good for cleanup but obviously not for mixing with paint.

Bob Cleek
06-11-2010, 07:39 PM
If you let your used thinner settle out for a while (like weeks... months) when you decant it, you'll have damn near perfectly clean stuff to use again. Of course, it does lose a bit of its strength, but it is still fine for cleaning brushes. Let it sit for a good long time. Even if you cleaned a paint brush in it and it's colored same as the paint, in short order there will be a clot of that paint at the bottom of the can and the thinner will be crystal clear. You can then pour it into another container, carefully, so as not to stir up the sediment, and put dirty back into the can. This works until there's so much clotted paint at the bottom of the can that you don't have room. Then you can just toss the can with the crud in it.

Of course, this doesn't work if you leave the can to slosh around in the back of your pickup!

Lew Barrett
06-11-2010, 09:01 PM
Settles a lot faster with paint than with varnish. Varnish seems to stay in solution a lot longer; like forever, less two days.

nedL
06-11-2010, 10:14 PM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b8df10b3127ccec36bfbd8007400000010O02Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/
:D

gimmellsmom
06-11-2010, 10:17 PM
Funny story about learning from the masters - commodore commented today on my bright being scratched (daughter & I sanded in prep for next coat) and how it had been good enough... I said it was nowhere "good enough"!
"Where did you learn this crazy varnishing stuff?"
I thought of Jay & Bob & Lew...
Just new methods of dispensing knowledge!

xtiffer
06-12-2010, 12:55 AM
I must give my vote to Badger brushes.
I have used them now for over 20 years and the first one is still going strong.
They would, however, be useless without a brush-spinner, absolutely vital piece of kit.
If I an ever forgetful enough to let one get clogged then I find a few hours in Nıtromors followed by a long soapy clean works wonders.
Cheers,
Chris

Tom M.
06-12-2010, 01:41 AM
I don't like brush spinners either, although if I was a pro under time pressure I might think differently. Instead, I use the method first shown to me by that old German painter who had a half hour painting show on PBS. ("an we FIRE it in! FIRE it in! Anyone remember that? He would "fire" in his highlights on bushes and trees and stuff). Anyway, he'd take his big ol' 4 inch brush, clean it in solvent, then rattle it back and forth across the round wood leg of his easel. Bob Ross ("happy little trees") did the same thing, except he'd give that damn giggle after doing it. Works good, and doesn't frazzle the brush nearly as much as a spinner. I wonder if beating the bristles like that shortens their life.....

CharlieCobra
06-12-2010, 08:31 AM
I dunno Tom, I do the same thing m'self...

Jay Greer
06-12-2010, 10:49 AM
I never spin or flip out the last of the wash thinner prior to wrapping the brushes for storage. The weight of the brush in the storage bucket keeps the bristles forced down to the crease of the wrapping which, keeps the ends of ther brushes chisel shaped. I have a hunk of three inch pipe near my brush washing buckets. I just flip the brushes against it before starting a new job, after unwrapping them. .
Any residual material that has not been washed out or asorbed by the paper wrapper gets flipped out against the pipe. Brushes are now 55 years old and still good.
Jay

Harry Miller
06-12-2010, 04:47 PM
What timing. I just bought my first "good" brush - badger - from Lee Valley and was planning, or maybe just hoping, to change my negligent brush cleaning habits. When I read what Lew said about a spinner I thought, "What's that?" Well now I have one along with a host of new ideas. Ain't life great?

Tom Freeman
06-12-2010, 05:31 PM
I've picked up a few great tips from this thread. I'm lucky if my brushes last 50 days, much less 50 years. Maybe I'll change my errant ways. :)

Windsong
06-14-2010, 04:41 PM
Every pro knows to just tap some nail hole holes in the can groove to make for a clean and easy close of the lid.
Cheers
Lars

Ed Harrow
06-14-2010, 07:14 PM
Uncle Dick

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g65/wlgtoo/Spring%20Lane/Family/DSC_0231.jpg

Left his brushes to my father. My father gave me some of (Great) Uncle Dick's brushes. The remainder were safely stored in a bureau at my mother's, or at least they were until somebody threw them out... I was sick.

Uncle Dick's brushes are so experienced that they clean themselves :-P

Lew Barrett
06-14-2010, 09:59 PM
Every pro knows to just tap some nail hole holes in the can groove to make for a clean and easy close of the lid.
Cheers
Lars

Sort of, most of the time but not really. We all tap the three holes, but it is not as if there is never any problem with that system.

What they need to do is improve the packaging. They have needed to do that for 50 years. A can with a screw top spout from which you can pour into the working pot. How hard would that be for them to figure out?

Ed Harrow
06-14-2010, 10:11 PM
... A can with a screw top spout from which you can pour into the working pot. How hard would that be for them to figure out?

"Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble..." Fish the stuff out as mentioned above. However, seems to me, tho the bubble aspect is troubling, something along the idea of box wine packaging has a certain allure.

Paul Girouard
06-14-2010, 10:22 PM
something along the idea of box wine packaging has a certain allure.



The sacrilege , my God Ed this is a damned near the most outrageous thing I've read on this forum. I may just have to "push the button" on this one. Young eyes reading this sort of thing! My God man have you no moral compass , No sense of shame ! The audacity of this type of statement should get you a life time Ban!

Varnish , BOAT varnish,,,, out of a wine box type container!!!! Next you'll be agreeing to letting the women drive the boat, or vote for even!

Ed Harrow
06-14-2010, 10:34 PM
... My God man have you no moral compass , No sense of shame ! ...
...

Oh, minimal at best; but I can find you a guy who's so crooked when he dies they won't have to dig a hole to bury him, they'll just screw him into the ground. It's amazing what monsters a death in a family lets loose... But wait, this was about cleaning varnish brushes - thankfully I don't have to do that.

xtiffer
06-14-2010, 11:41 PM
Anybody notice how our great administrator posted here a questionable opinion which has now been removed ALONG WITH MY REPLY.
Sorry but what happened to free speech?
Cheers,
Chris

Paul Girouard
06-14-2010, 11:46 PM
If you're going to be using it (the brush) again w/in a week, just suspend it in turpentine. No sense cleaning it every time. I used to put them in zip-lock bags and store them in the freezer, but that was annoying in the end.



So THATS what the special in the pub was , I should have known it's wasn't ribs you where serving :D MM WAS right!

Paul Girouard
06-14-2010, 11:50 PM
Anybody notice how our great administrator posted here a questionable opinion which has now been removed ALONG WITH MY REPLY.
Sorry but what happened to free speech?
Cheers,
Chris




You had something other than your post #33?

Using Badgers for brushes is just cruel! Badgers have feelings to ya know!

You should be ashamed , more so than that Ed Harrow who wants to sell boat varnish in wine box containers!

This thread should be axed by The scot for post such as you two have dared subject us to:D

Don Z.
06-15-2010, 01:49 AM
Sort of, most of the time but not really. We all tap the three holes, but it is not as if there is never any problem with that system.

What they need to do is improve the packaging. They have needed to do that for 50 years. A can with a screw top spout from which you can pour into the working pot. How hard would that be for them to figure out?

Just one more reason to go with Epifanes!

http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/woeimages/Varnish/EPI-KIT2.jpg

xtiffer
06-15-2010, 06:26 AM
You had something other than your post #33?

Using Badgers for brushes is just cruel! Badgers have feelings to ya know!



Yes, I replied to a post by Mrleft8 who hated Epifanes and thought it never dried.
I playfully suggested the use of Epifanes Brush Thinner in my reply. Both posts are now gone.
I guess I should have taken the FAQ seriously:)
My Badgers are very well loved and get more care and attention than I do.
Cheers,
Chris

georgel
06-15-2010, 12:18 PM
The best system I have seen for cleaning brushes is to use four or five one quart or half gallon bottles filled with cleaning solvent... turpentine, kerosine, mineral spirits, diesel fuel etc ... each numbered from #1 thru #5.

Each time you clean a brush, pour the solvent from bottle #1 into a cleaning container (I use a meat loaf pan or a West epoxy mixing pint container) and put the brush into the container pressing carefully (trying not to damage the brush ends) working the solvent through the bristles. Once it seems as clean as its going to get... put the brush in a spinner and spin out the excess solvent.

Next pour the dirty solvent from the cleaning container back into cleaning solvent storage container #1.

Nows a good time to use the brush comb to separate the bristles up to the ferrel. Next: Pour clean solvent from container #2 into the cleaning container and repeat the process.

Continue on with the same procedure until you are at container #5... The brush is spun for a final time then stored properly... One method for natural bristle brushes... it is recommended that after cleaning with solvent... to then wash them out with mild soap and water and hang them to dry.... then wrap them up in stiff construction paper for storage or newspaper being sure to maintain the shape of the brush bristles.

When at the "Port Townsend in the Water Boat Festival" last year, I attended the varnishing seminar and was impressed with the expertise and methods shown. They were using a very nice brush storage system, an approx 1.5 quart container that allowed the brushes to be stored immersed in a 50% solution of raw linseed oil and Turpentine. A similar one is available from Jamestown Distributers. As this container was not cheap... I decided to see what I could come up with. .... so I just looked around in local stores and found a perfect container to use for this purpose.

The following photos show a nice large bird feed container from Pet Smart that is converted into a sealed brush storage system, fitting two lengths of brushes. I have one for varnish brushes and one for paint brushes. It is filled with some quality Turpentine and raw Linseed oil 50:50. This storage method allows the natural bristles to maintain their shape and softness over time and they are ready in minutes to produce a nice finish.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%202009%20Aug/varnishbrushesinstoragesolventbest.jpg

Note the simple rubber grommet on a 3/8" dowel results in a nice airtight seal for the container.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e239/Prestoboat/Misc%202009%20Aug/grommetinplasticcontainer.jpg

Note, the cleaning solvent bottles become more and more filled at the bottom with sediment from paint and varnish. As time goes by, you can pour off the clean solvent on top of the container and pour it into a new container. (I use large gator aid bottles). You can pretty much continue to use the solvent in these bottles for a very long time.

I prefer Turpentine as it is compatible with the same turpentine in my storage container. Kerosine works fine too as mineral spirits. Some very experienced artisans on this forum use diese fuel for a cleaning solvent.

When you are ready to use a brush it is easy to shake out the turpentine and linseed oil by singing it by hand which keeps the bristles in their natural shape better than spinning. The residue from the storage solution is very compatible with the varnish or paint that will be loading into the brush....

On spinning the brushes, I use a 3.5 gallon bucket (which I store my spinner in) and dump the residual spun out solvent into cleaning solvent bottle #1 after finishing the cleaning process.

Good luck,

RodB

Nice trick.. back in the late 60's I used to play chess with and occasionally work for a yacht painter in seattle. He had developed a brush hanging /storage system much like yours using ammo cans. Your bird feeders have the advantage of the brushes being visible. The ammo cans are almost bullet proof and have high quality rubber seals.
gojo for long term dry storage sounds like a neat trick. I use tarkelp as a hand cleaner which is not suitable for that purpose as it has an grit in it. So I will buy some of the G. stuff for my brushes.