I have reviewed and raved about Winsor and Newton Series 7 Brushes before and its high time I did it again. These Kolinsky Sable brushes really are the best I have ever used and this was brought home to me over the weekend. I realised that I have been using some of these brushes for three years and they are still as good as the day I purchased them.
Series 7 brushes are manufactured using the winter tail hair of the Kolinsky Sable. This hair has excellent 'carrying' capacity due to the minute scales that cover the hairs. This means that you don't have to keep reloading your brush when working on small or intricate details. The hair also has exceptional spring and retains its shape even after long use.
I now have five Series 7 Brushes and although together this represents about £80 worth of investment I don't think that's bad considering the fact that I haven't had to replace any in three years and I can't see me needing to for some time to come. Of course I do my best to look after my precious brushes which has helped prolong their life as highly valued tools. I use the following simple rules to preserve and extend the life of my brushes and these rules can be applied whatever make you use.
- When painting work the brush in the direction of the hair not against it. This will stop the hairs from becoming damaged and bent.
- Always rinse brushes thoroughly in clean water between colours to stop paint solidifying in the base of the hairs. If you live in a hard water area it may be worth considering distilled water for this task.
- Never leave brushes sitting in water. It swells the wooden handle and unseats the hairs by dissolving the glue at their base.
- Clean thoroughly with a brush soap at the end of every painting session. I use Masters Brush Cleaner but any PH neutral hand soap will do fine.
- Reform the tip of the brush using one of the creases in the palm of your hand.
- Let brushes dry horizontally so water does not seep down into the handle.
- Once completely dry protect the tip with the plastic cover usually provided.
- Never store in an airtight box, this can result in fungal growth which will damage the hairs. Mine are store in a wooden pencil box with ventilation holes in the lid.
- Use cheaper 'disposable' brushes for drybrushing and other destructive tasks like applying glue to bases and for undercoating.
Happy painting folks!