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. My brushes have seen regular service over the last six months and still look and perform as well as they did when I first bought them. Indeed this was one of my primary reasons for investing in Series 7's as I was fed up of cheaper sable brushes becoming useless after only a few months.
Its worth mentioning at this point that there are different types of Sable available and that quality varies enormously from one type to another. Kolinsky Sable refers specifically to the winter tail hair of the male red sable. This is the best quality hair for brushes and is used in Series 7 Brushes; Red Sable is usually second grade Kolinsky sable or weasel hair; Black Sable is actually hair from the polecat. It has similar properties to red sable but is often limited to use with oil colours because it is more coarse than red sable; Brown Sable is hair from other parts of the animal other than the tail and is often dyed to give it a uniform colour. This hair is often used in lower quality bushes; Some brushes are just labeled Sable and these may contain any of the above hair types. Squirrel hair is also sometimes labeled this way; Finally we have Sabeline which is an imitation made from ox hair and dyed to look like real Sable.
With all my brushes I use Masters Brush Cleaner to help clean and preserve the hairs. However there are a few simple rules you should observe, whatever brushes you use, to extend their life.
- When painting work the brush in the direction of the hair not against it.
- Rinse brushes thoroughly in clean water between colours to stop paint solidifying in the base of the hairs.
- Clean thoroughly with a brush soap (or PH neutral hand soap) at the end of every painting session.
- Never leave brushes sitting in water. It swells the wooden handle and unseats the hairs.
- Let brushes dry horizontally so water does not seep down into the handle.
- Once dry protect the tip with the plastic cover usually provided.
- Never store in an airtight box, this can cause mold which will damage the hairs.
I have been so impressed with my new brushes that I decided to make a stand to hold them. The end result looks a little like a Samurai Sword stand. I have even been known to talk to my brushes muttering words like "precious" and "my pretty".