Facts About Paint Brushes

from Sears "How to Paint with Master Mixed Paint" c. 1950

The following article describes natural brushes, usage, care, and selection as well as a separate section on nylon brushes.

Varnish or enamel brushes

For varnishing, always use a new, clean brush or one that you keep purposely for varnishing. Don't use an old paint brush! Sears brushes are thoroughly cleaned and washed at the factory, yet dust may have settled on them before you are ready to use them. To ensure that no dust particles get into the varnish or enamel from your brush, dust it out and wash with turpentine before starting the job. If the brush is one that has been used, be sure there is no old, dried varnish on the bristles or you will have trouble with specks in the finished work.

After you have started to varnish or enamel, if you intend to leave the work overnight, put the brush in a can of turpentine or paint thinner. You will find it convenient to keep a can of turpentine always on hand. Before using the brush again brush it out thoroughly to get the turpentine or paint thinner out, and work the vanish or enamel into the brush thoroughly before you continue with the job.

When you have finished varnishing or enameling, clean the brush out thoroughly with turpentine, benzene, or kerosene, then wash with warm soap suds, rinse in clear, warm water and shake the brush well. While it is still damp, smooth the bristles down carefully and wrap in heavy paper which should be tied on at the ferrule. Store in a dry, cool place.

Lacquer brushes should receive the same treatment with this exception—lacquer thinner should be used to clean the bristles before washing with soap and water.

Should you neglect to clean your brushes and they become hard and seemingly useless, don't throw them away. Liquid brush cleaner will quickly revive brushes to service again. It leaves bristles soft and pliable and will not harm bristles, hands, or clothing.

For easy brush conditioning and storing, we highly recommend the use of Master-Mixed Brush Conditioner for all except neoceta brushes. The above brush conditioner is a fibre container in which a vapor maintains or softens paint brushes while keeping them dust free.

Paint brushes and enamels

Remove any loose bristles from a new brush by simply running your fingers through the bristles three or four times. If you want to put a paint brush away overnight during a painting job, it should be placed in turpentine or raw linseed oil, ferrule deep. When you have finished painting, follow the preceding instruction on the care of brushes. This will prolong the life of your paint brush.

Kalsomine brushes

Remove any loose bristles from a new brush. After each day's use, kalsomine, whitewash, and paste brushes should be washed thoroughly with warm water and hung up to dry with bristles downward. A good brush will last the average user a long time if it is given a little care. When you have finished kalsomining, you'll find it will pay to spend five or ten minutes in properly cleaning and putting away the brush.

Note: It is never advisable to leave brushes in water. The water may cause the handle to swell and split the ferrule. If left for any length of time, the water will destroy the elasticity of the bristles and cause them to become flabby.

How to use a brush

Grasp a brush firmly by the handle—hold it just above the bristles. Keep the handle as nearly as possible always perpendicular to the surface. Press down firmly if spreading paint. Ease up and brush a little slower with varnish or enamel. These materials should be "flowed" on with a long, even stroke. Excessive brushing tends to create air bubbles in the finish. Don't try to cover a large surface with one brush full. Just dip far enough into the paint—half inch to an inch or so—to take up a load that will not drip on the way. Always start a new brush full a few inches from completed portion and end up by bushing into finished part. On wood surfaces the last strokes should be in the direction of the grain. Quality Material PLUS Quality Brushes go a long way toward producing a Quality job.

How to choose the right paint brush

Here is a simple guide to aid you in your selection the proper brush.

For compete details regarding specific paint brushes see our General Catalog or visit any Sears Retail Store.

For applying liquid roof coating to a rood do not use a paint or kalsomine brush. I quid roof coating is an extremely heavy material which must be scrubbed on by a brush specially designed for this purpose. So we recommend the use of a regular roof brush. You can insert a broom handle into the hole provided in these brushes for handy use.

Nylon Brushes

Nylon brushes can be used in oil and water paints, synthetics, lacquers, calcimines Rinse in solvent and then wash with hot water and soap. If may be necessary to scrub strongly to remove the last vestiges of the old paint. Rinse thoroughly in cold water until all traces of paint and soap are removed. Comb the bristles straight, wrap and lay away to dry or store in Master-Mixed Brush Conditioner.

Caution: This information is presented only as an historical reference. Certain materials and processes used in the past have been shown to result in exposure to damaging carcinogens and hazardous compounds. Do not rely on this information as a source for processes, procedures, or materials selection. Check with contemporary sources for more reliable and safer ways to select and use home improvement products.


Just want to look at the pictures? Subscribe to our image feed. Includes scans from our collection of original ephemera and current images of homes.

The Daily Bungalow