The more paint your brush can hold, the less time it will take for you to complete your project.
You increase your productivity because you have to dip your brush in the paint fewer times.
This is where a China bristle brush can help.
But what are these brushes made up, what can you use them for and what are the different types you can choose from?
We will get into all these details and much more, in the article below.
What is a China Bristle Brush?
Simply put, this is a brush made from natural hog bristle.
It is perfect for use with oil-based paints, clear coats, varnishes, urethane, and stains.
The soft-flexible nature of the bristles will hold more of the materials as it is being applied to the surface.
Because the bristles of China brush are made from the natural hair of animals (such as hogs or badgers), they have natural filaments that are superior to even the best synthetic bristles.
This is because synthetic brushes lose their shape when primers or oil-based paint is applied.
Unlike natural bristles which are strong enough to keep their shape and not leave behind any brush stroke marks.
What is it used for?
This type of brush is used by professionals to hold more paint or materials so they can complete the job faster with no loss in quality.
However, you can purchase such brushes in the stores to help you become more productive when you paint.
They are labeled as China Bristle brushes on the store shelves.
You can find them in either white or black.
The China Bristle brushes are mostly used for stains, oil-based paints, and some types of varnishes.
Remember that you should not use latex paints with a Black China or White China bristle brush as this will ruin the brush.
Plus, never clean them with water as this will cause them to lose their shape and you will lose control when using the brush.
Differences Between Black & White China Bristle
The differences in the types of China bristle brushes come down to the manufacturer and the blend of natural bristles that are used.
The basic blends are Black China, White China, and Ox Hairbrush.
Each type can be combined with other natural or synthetic types to create a bristle brush.
This type of brush is best suited for enamel and oil-based paints along with primers.
The stiffness of the Black China bristle brush allows it to hold up better in carrying more paint.
White China brushes are best suited for stains, varnishes, and polyurethane paints.
The bristles themselves are finer and offer a better finish when using these substances.
However, be on the lookout for cheap knockoff brushes that will fall apart rather quickly.
This is most suited for the clear wood finishes that require the softest of bristles to apply.
Ox Hair types are usually blended with either Black or White China and some synthetic bristles as well.
This is to achieve the perfect balance of softness and stiffness to apply the product.
Are China paint brushes good for dusting?
Dusting brushes are useful when it comes to preparing or finishing surfaces.
These are soft flat brushes (with acryllic or synthetic bristles) that can be used for removing dust, dirt, or fragments of old peeling paint while refinishing.
I don’t recommend using your new China paint brushes for dusting purposes as there are other specific ones available on the market that are less expensive and more effective.
If however, you have some old paint brushes already stored you can use them for dusting surfaces like walls, wooden floors, electronics, etc.
Tips for Choosing the Right Paint Brush for Your Projects
Now, when you are ready to search for the right brush, the first tip is to avoid the temptation to purchase the least expensive brush as they are not all alike.
Instead, you should look at the materials used in creating the brush and pay what is necessary to get the results that you want.
In other words, you will probably have to pay more to get the most out of your brush.
It may seem off-putting to pay a considerable amount for a branded brush offered by Purdy or Wooster, but it will save you time and effort on your project.
a) Size & Shape:
Brushes come in different sizes from 1.5” up to 4” in width.
Choose the one that is best suited for the project you are about to tackle.
Fine work can be done by artistic brushes to touch up small areas like window trims, doors, cabinets, and other small areas.
And brushes larger than 4” in width can be used for decks, fences or other large flat areas.
When it comes to shape, the two basic shapes are angled and flat.
Angled brushes are great when dealing with corners while flat brushes are better suited for painting large, flat surfaces such as the siding on your home.
There are also chisel trim brushes or slanted bristles that are good for painting a straight line for trimming in corners and edges.
And a square trim brush in which the ends of the bristles are cut square. These are primarily used for applying paint over flat areas.
b) Handle and Ferrule:
A good wooden handle is better than a plastic one, so go with the wood.
The ferrule is the metal band that holds the bristles together on the brush.
The ferrule should be made from brass-plated or stainless steel so it will not rust.
Plus, they should be held in place with rivets or screws.
The cheaper kind in a chip brush is held in by glue which tends to fall apart after a while.
c) Ease of Cleaning & Maintenance:
Since China bristle brushes are good to use with oil-based paints, you should never clean these natural bristle brushes in soap and water.
Instead, clean them in thinner solvents that will keep the bristles from flaring.
After cleaning, always allow them to dry completely before placing them back into their keeper.
When buying a China bristle brush for oil-based paints, you should keep all these cleaning instructions in mind.
Are Chinex brushes the same as China brushes?
Chinex® is different from natural China bristle brushes because they are modified nylon bristles developed by the Dupont company.
These bristles are today used by many brush manufacturers, and they serve as a great alternative to natural bristle brushes.
Chinex® FTP® brushes are excellent at paint pickup to deliver a smooth, professional finish. Plus, these are easy to clean up as well.
Unlike nylon brushes, which soften in hot weather, Chinex FTP brushes maintain their stiffness even when they are exposed to heat and humidity.
What type of brush is good to use for water-based latex paints?
Synthetic-bristle brushes (with filaments made of nylon, polyester, or a combination of both) are usually recommended for water-based latex paints.
Nylon brushes, although very durable, may get softened in hot weather conditions or when used in latex paint for a long.
Polyester brushes, on the other hand, will maintain their shape even in hot weather conditions.
But they come with lower paint pickup and production properties which means you will need to spend more time loading your brush than painting walls.
The Bottom Line
Unlike blended nylon or polyester brushes, China bristle brushes are made from natural materials and are good for a variety of different applications.
To better understand which one to choose from between black China vs. white China bristle, it pays to know the differences.
Before you buy them from your nearby paint store, get a feel of the brush in your hand. Be sure that it feels right before you make the purchase.
If you are buying them from online stores like Lowes or Home Depot make sure you check the reviews to get an idea of how well they performed for others.
This will hopefully help you in making a wise decision.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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