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This forum has been amazing for answers so far and I have found just about all my questions and more, but I have a question for you guys here:

How do you take care of your brushes? For myself, it seems that I only get a few good uses out of a brush and then everything goes south. I usually buy the Tamiya 3 pack of brushes so I have all the different uses but for some reason I can never keep the thin detail brush in good shape. the hairs splay out and eventually won't keep a point at all. Happens on the detail brush more than the others but then I use it more than the others as well. 

When I clean my brushes, I rinse them in water first (usually use the Tamiya paints or Mr. Color so water is OK) then I will use the thinner from the brand of paint I am using. Dip the brush in the thinner and then  use a paper towel to try and get the paint out of the bristles as much as possible. I use some pressure between my fingers and will sometimes roll the brush or bend it back and forth to try and get all the paint out of the base of the brush. I never push the brush into the towel point first and am always careful to try and keep it as composed as possible. 

Am I doing something wrong or it is just the type of brushes I am using? What can I possibly do to keep my brushes longer or do I have to buy new brushes every 4th or 5th kit I do? What is the standard for you other builders out there? 

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I have had most of these brushes for over 5 years.. I use both acrylic, and enamel paints with these same brushes.                                                                                

I clean them by first wiping the excess paint off on my rag, then rolling them gently against the inside of a glass of the appropriate thinner.

Never bounce the point of the brush off the bottom of the glass ! Then just wipe off on a paint rag or paper towel.. that's it, no extra rolling or trying to get inside the bristles.

If the brush starts to build up too much (from lazy cleaning or old thick paint) I give it a quick clean in lacquer thinner, fixes it right up. Beware of mixing polyester bristle brushes lacquer thinner, the bristles will curl and sometimes fall out of the brush ferule... 🙄

One thing that may help in not letting the brushes build up too much paint, would be to dip the brush into the appropriate thinner before dipping in the paint.

This helps in the flow of the paint as well.brushes2.jpg.c56b511863a03b227d579a83fdc443e6.jpg

Happy Building

Cheers

 

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56 minutes ago, VanSpence said:

This forum has been amazing for answers so far and I have found just about all my questions and more, but I have a question for you guys here:

How do you take care of your brushes? For myself, it seems that I only get a few good uses out of a brush and then everything goes south. I usually buy the Tamiya 3 pack of brushes so I have all the different uses but for some reason I can never keep the thin detail brush in good shape. the hairs splay out and eventually won't keep a point at all. Happens on the detail brush more than the others but then I use it more than the others as well. 

When I clean my brushes, I rinse them in water first (usually use the Tamiya paints or Mr. Color so water is OK) then I will use the thinner from the brand of paint I am using. Dip the brush in the thinner and then  use a paper towel to try and get the paint out of the bristles as much as possible. I use some pressure between my fingers and will sometimes roll the brush or bend it back and forth to try and get all the paint out of the base of the brush. I never push the brush into the towel point first and am always careful to try and keep it as composed as possible. 

Am I doing something wrong or it is just the type of brushes I am using? What can I possibly do to keep my brushes longer or do I have to buy new brushes every 4th or 5th kit I do? What is the standard for you other builders out there? 

I care for my brushes much like you have described. I use two different sets of brushes. I also use primarily Tamiya paints. After cleaning them in water, nothing more than a lot of swishing around in the water and then I do the same thing in a dedicated larger bottle of X-20A Thinner and gently towel dry and store bristles up right in an old tooth brush holder. The second set of brushes I use for any painting using Model Master paints which are generally lacquer based. I still start with a water bath and then a good swishing around in Model Master Lacquer Thinner after that I'll towel dry and store in the same manor. I can't remember the last time I had to buy any paint brushes. Maybe between what I do and Belugawrx's way of doing it you may be able to find something that works for you.    

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When cleaning brushes, always try and avoid bending the bristles, it does lead to them losing their shape. I also use a brush cleaner/preserver (available at art supply stores) regularly, to get any dried paint out of the brush. Keep the tips in their plastic tubes (to help hold their shape), or make some from tubing.

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One thing I (don't) do is dip the brush too far into the paint.  No more than one third of the length of the bristles ever touches paint; the paint never gets close to the ferrule (the metal part that joins the bristles to the handle).  This keeps dried paint from bunching up in the bristles, causing them to spread.  It's much easier to clean the brush too.

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I use a Silicoil brush cleaning tank. It's not as complex as it sounds! Since I use mostly enamels, I use their fluid, as  well, but mineral spirits would work fine, I'd think. It was made for oil painters, and is available in art supply stores, or, all over the place, online! I have brushes I still use, even after 40 years.

image.png.7551608860df5d69dcdc504754100f11.png

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11 minutes ago, Straightliner59 said:

I use a Silicoil brush cleaning tank. It's not as complex as it sounds! Since I use mostly enamels, I use their fluid, as  well, but mineral spirits would work fine, I'd think. It was made for oil painters, and is available in art supply stores, or, all over the place, online! I have brushes I still use, even after 40 years.

I am going to check that out ! thanks

 

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6 minutes ago, Belugawrx said:

I am going to check that out ! thanks

 

You're welcome! Hope it's a help. I bought most of my brushes at art supply stores, as well. There's no substitute for a quality tool!

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I use mostly lacquers, I’ll spray a bit into small bathroom paper cups.  I only use a bit of paint on a brush as Mark described and immediately clean the brush in lacquer thinner. Never leave the brush standing on its bristles in the jar, they will bend to the side and stay that away. I will roll the cleaned brush on fresh paper towel. 
 

I also keep my painting brushes separate from my weathering brushes as those see harder service. I clip the tips on those to mark them.

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After I wipe the brush off with my old paint rag I pour a little bit of the appropriate thinner into the jar's cap and swish the brush in it until the brush is clean, then I wipe off the brush and put it back in my storage box( an old silverware basket from a kitchen dish strainer.

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You guys have been amazing! Thank you so much for all your input. 

Seems that indeed the bad brushes is just me and the way I have been using them. Always thought I was doing the right thing but maybe at time I do get too much paint on my brush making it difficult to clean properly and possible I am too aggressive with trying to get the paint and thinner out of the bristles as well. 

I really appreciate all the comments and I will be implementing much of what you are all saying. Thank you so much for your time. 

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Maybe I've led a sheltered life, but I've not seen high quality brushes with plastic ferrules. If you're thinking the purple pond might be an option, look at your brushes first. If they have a metal ferrule, the purple pond will eat that away and the bristles will fall out...ask me how I know.

Edited by BigTallDad

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I use lacquer thinner for all paints in an old testors liquid cement jar.  I never use water as a solvent or cleaner.   Use same techniques as others have mentioned.  Let the solvent do the work.  clean brushes till no color comes out on your paper towel or whatever you are wiping on.   Then a couple more dips to make sure.   NEVER do anything to the bristles that moves them from their original orientation.

Store in a pencil container, brush point up or lay flat with nothing touching the point - it will deform.  You can shape your brushes after cleaning with a bit of spit on your fingertips.  Let it dry just that way in the point you want. 

If you have extra bad tip shape, you can massage in a bit of petroleum jelley (vaseline) to [maybe] help them come back to shape.  Now this will also keep paint from hardening up.  BUT, you will have to clean the brush of the vaseline before using the brush again.  And that can be tough to get it all out where it doesn't contaminate your painting.   

And an old sign painter trick I used back in the 80s that still can work is to soak the brushes in transmission fluid.  My sign quills were cleaned, then I would work transmaission fluid into the bristles.  Again, keeps enamel soft in there and will help the bristles keep their shape or reshape.   The lettering brushes were usually often laid on their sides in an aluminum tray wet with T fluid.   You must clean them before painting, but easier to clean than vaseline.  

Brushes do not last forever.  And you may have to pull an errant bristle out on occasion, if it refuses to stay part of the shape.  

I have one old brush that keeps hanging in there even though it has paint built up at the ferrule and the ferrule rattles on the handle.  I use a bit of super glue at the handle ferrule to hold it in place.  just can't let it go because it is still a useful, faithful brush.  

And I rarely use over a #1 brush.  If I need a brush larger than that, it's time to airbrush or spray can parts.  But I do have #2,4, and 6 in flat brushes I bought at a yard sale that are soft enough for larger areas though.  And the flat tip will chisel well enough to paint a shapr line holding the brush sideways or at an angle.  

 

 

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It may have already been said, but my method is as follows.

I use mainly natural bristle brushes first off.

And I use a variety of paints... Model master enamels, Vallejo acrylics, cheap craft acrylics and some lacquers, and even Nail "polish".

I keep a large and deep cup half full or warm water with a dab of dawn dish soap in it for acrylics and I keep a glass pickle jar half full of lacquer thinner as well.

The reason I keep it half full is to help prevent sloshing...

After painting, I pull the brush across a paper towel that is laying flat on my table... this is just to remove excess so I apply no real pressure.

Then I follow by quickly and vigorously swishing the brush in the appropriate cleaner... making sure not to hit the bottom or sides with the bristles.

Afterward I form the bristles to the appropriate shape with my fingers and then store it upright (bristles up) in a cup.

About 4 times a year I will rub a little hair conditioner into the bristles and thoroughly rinse under warm water.

I have had brushes that I use regularly for around 10yrs and they are still going strong.

Also another tip I could give, and I apologize if its already been mentioned but, do not load paint more than halfway up the bristles... otherwise it gets inside too deep and is hard to clean out without damaging the brush.

Just my .02

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I use nail art brushes and artist brushes mainly. Usually synthetic as I just dont get on with the horse hair ones. Most of my brush painting has been with humbrol enamels up until recently but I'm slowly turning to acrylics (tamiya, humbrol and whatever is free in the heller and revell kits) I usually give them a reasonable clean after each session at the bench but every 2 or 3 months I'll soak them overnight in dettol, then when I take them out I brush them with an old denture toothbrush, always from top of bristle to the bottom. On the nail art brushes it sometimes doesn't work but their dirt cheap (7 for a quid!) Maybe i should look for brush wash next time i'm in the art shop ordering styrene

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2 hours ago, stitchdup said:

I use nail art brushes and artist brushes mainly. Usually synthetic as I just dont get on with the horse hair ones. Most of my brush painting has been with humbrol enamels up until recently but I'm slowly turning to acrylics (tamiya, humbrol and whatever is free in the heller and revell kits) I usually give them a reasonable clean after each session at the bench but every 2 or 3 months I'll soak them overnight in dettol, then when I take them out I brush them with an old denture toothbrush, always from top of bristle to the bottom. On the nail art brushes it sometimes doesn't work but their dirt cheap (7 for a quid!) Maybe i should look for brush wash next time i'm in the art shop ordering styrene

If you are using mainly acrylics, you can make your own "deep cleaner" really easy and mega cheap.

Use a mix (doesn't have to be exact) of distilled water, Windex, a few drops of Dawn dish detergent, and a few drops of glycerin.

I use something similar from time to time to clean the few synthetic brushes I use for terrain, and other painting non model related.

Lacquer thinner usually works good for a deep clean also...

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6 hours ago, LL3 Model Worx said:

If you are using mainly acrylics, you can make your own "deep cleaner" really easy and mega cheap.

Use a mix (doesn't have to be exact) of distilled water, Windex, a few drops of Dawn dish detergent, and a few drops of glycerin.

I use something similar from time to time to clean the few synthetic brushes I use for terrain, and other painting non model related.

Lacquer thinner usually works good for a deep clean also...

Cheers mate, my dettol couldn't be any cheaper though, I get it from work free but i'll try a little dish soap in it too, it wont hurt

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