At some point, all good quality paintbrushes were created from imported Chinese hog bristle. Nonetheless, in recent years, nylon bristles have turned increasingly popular. This has been due primarily to two factors: natural hog bristles have become scarce due to the limitation of sources abroad, and nylon bristles have been improved a lot by new manufacturing processes which make “artificially flagged” or “exploded tip” bristles that challenge natural bristles in paint-spreading qualities.
When comparing paintbrushes of equal size and style for quality, you must inspect the bristles carefully. Good brushes must have a high percentage if bristles that have split or flagged ends, since these split ends are crucial to the paint-holding capacity of a brush, as well as to its power to spread paint smoothly. The bristles must vary in length so that the brush will wear evenly, and the shorter bristles should also have pecked tips or split ends.
Typically speaking, paint brushes with longer bristles cost more than those with shorter bristles (assuming the bristles are of the same quality). In addition, the more expensive paintbrush will be a lot thicker at the ferrule, suggesting that more bristles have been used making known it. However, the buyer should make certain that the brush doesn’t have an excessively thick filler block in the center. This makes the brush look thicker, but it leaves the brush literally hollow on the inside. Bristles must also feel springy and elastic when force is applied, but they should not fan out overly when the bristle tips are pressed against a flat surface.
In addition to selecting a good quality brush, the home painter should also carefully select the best size and style for the job at hand. As a rule, a larger paintbrush will require fewer strokes, and thus will make it easier to achieve a smooth, brush-free finish.
For painting cabinets, doors and trim, flat brushes 2V2 to 3V2 inches in width are virtually right. A 4-inch paintbrush is normally used for outside siding, shingles or stucco, while a round or oval-shaped brush works best on pipes and railings. For painting windows the handyman can choose a IV2 – or 2-inch angular sash brush (the bristle tips are cut off at an angle so the brush can be used edgeways).