Making of finest Kolinsky Sable Paint Brushes

Artistic Brush Enterprise

Art forms a great part in a person’s life, with everyone inclined to one form or the other. Among all types of art, painting holds a special position as it has a space to put across one’s feelings and thoughts. Working in a discreet form of art, painters mostly prefer to be specific and faultless relying on quality colors, brush, and even paper.

When it comes to selecting a painting brush, everyone – from students to renowned painters prefer Kolinsky sable brush by Artistic Supply Source. We at Artist Supply Source are known for providing the finest quality Kolinsky brushes in Russia and Internationally. Brushes from Artist Supply Source are a delight for any artist or painter who loves his or her work, which speaks about the superiority and eminence of our product.

Going through this blog, you will come across hard-work and methodology involved in creating famous Kolinsky brushes. I have personally visited factories preparing Kolinsky brushes in Russia, reviewed their work process, materials used, and quality maintained, before writing a word on it. The writings in this blog are excerpts of my experience and knowledge that I gained from my visits.

Manufacturing Process

The brush manufacturing process is a long cycle – especially for Kolinsky brushes, as they have to remain perfect in every aspect, be it size, shape, hairs or brush handle. The process followed is:

Preparing Natural Hairs for Tufts

Hair is the most important part of every Kolinsky brush – making it perfect for any kind of painting task. Hair for the brush is collected from tails of Kolinsky Sables, which are Siberian weasels. One of the world’s best hair refinement processes is performed upon the hair to remove all the oil from it. Hairs are washed, shampooed, and later baked for a few minutes, to improve softness and spring properties of the hair. Care is taken that hair is not over-baked, as it can make hair hard and brittle. The entire process is done byhands, so that you get ultimate hairs for your Kolinsky brush.

Hair Cutting

After undergoing cleaning process, hairs are removed from the tails through specialized cutting technique, done by hands. Hairs are separated using sharp scissors or sometimes by razors for a minimum loss while cutting. In order to create a perfect bunch, special care is taken while cutting that hairs so that one does not cut from the middle or in uneven shape. If hair is not cut properly, then it will not only spoil good hairs, but also the brush to be prepared from it. Hair cuts from every tail is neatly collected and tied in bunches.

Cleaning

Proper cutting of hair follows with proper cleaning. A Bunch of hairs collected is cleaned thoroughly to remove any debris, mud or parasites, attached to the hairs. The bunch is unsoiled with a help of comb and specially prepared brush, through hands. Cleaning process is done in such a way that it does not damage the hair – at butt or at tip and makes it straight and naturally pointed, towards upright. Another cleaning process is applied to the bunch to ensure that there are zero impurities or unwanted particles in the hair.

Sorting

Post cleaning process, hairs are sorted by hands according to their length and size. After sorting, separate bundles are made according tothe size of each hair. Kolinsky hair generally measures between 28 and 70 millimeters – the longer the hair, the more costly it is. Hairs are sorted in two types: pointed and cylindrical. Pointed hairs are costly and used for preparing brushes with a conic tip, while round tipped hair is used for preparing flat and bright brushes.

Sorting helps in deciding the size of hair required by each ferrule, as each brush has a separate purpose. Each hair is sorted personally so that minimum shaping is required to bring them in size. Appropriate combing is necessary so that hairs or brush do not stick, while using.

Tuft Making

The first step of preparing the brush is Tuft Making. Every care is taken to prepare the right tuft from the hairs. Hairs of required size and quantity are placed into brushmaker’s mold – which is hollow from inside, with hair topstoward the bottom of the mold. After placing hairs into brushmaker’s mold, tuft maker lightly pats it on the ground, so that all hairs reach the bottom of the mold. This helps to achieve the desired shape. Each tuft is made per specification of the brush and the size of the ferrule.

Tightening the Tuft

The prepared tuft is properly tightened with a durable string at the butt. This is basically done to prevent hair loss from the tuft. Binding of butt keeps the tuft in shape and provides proper strength. For higher quality brushes, tuft maker rolls hairs with his finger tips to achieve preferred shape.

While preparing flat or bright brush, string is wrapped for several times around butt and then it is placed directly into the ferrule. After placing, the string is unwrapped giving desired shape and size to the brush’s tuft.

For tightening the tuft of brushes having a long and narrow shape, a special technique called stacking is used by the tuft maker. In this technique, points are placed upward, while butts are downward. After tapping on the ground, the butts are tied with a string. Hairs, which are on the upper end, are rolled to given required shape. In this technique tuft contains hairs of all sizes.

Shaping

Shaping the tuft is an important task, which follows the tightening one. It is necessary that brush has required shape and size as demanded by painters. Shaping is done without cutting points of air because it not only damages the quality of hair, but also creates mouth on tip of the hair. In shaping, hairs are arranged in a line and in one direction to create the most even tuft. Hairs at the lower end of tuft which have uneven shape are either removed or rolled to get requisite bristle design.

Brush Construction

The hand-crafted tuft is then placed into ferrule, which is later attached to the brush. Ferrule is a metal cylinder which acts as a bond between tuft and brush handle. Ferrules come in two sizes: conical and cylindrical and have seam or seamless design. Prepared from standard metal, conically shaped ferrule is used for pointed brushes, while cylindrical one is used for flat or bright brushes.

After placing tuft into ferrule high quality liquid glue is poured into it. The glue helps in securing tuft inside the ferrule, so that its hairs don’t spurt out while painting. Glue also prevents hairs from getting separated from the tuft owing to prolonged use. If glue used is of inferior quality, it can get dissolved by thinner resulting into weakening of the tuft.

Finishing Touches

In addition to ferrule, a perfect handle is required to prepare an exceptional painting brush. Handles are mostly made from beech or hardwood and are slightly pointed on top. This is done so that ferrule can easily fit onto the handle. Diameter of a handle corresponds to the opening base of ferrule, however the length of handle is uniform for all brushes. Handles come in different types of raw wood and finish: varnished, dipped and many more.

The handle is inserted into the ferrule. Ferrule is crimped, so that it gets locked in the place and remains immovable. Finishing touches are made after a crimp, so that there is no uneven surface at the place. After that, the brush is tested on paper and after it passes the QC (Quality Check), it is fixed with gum Arabic to protect from wear and tear.

Elena Suslova shares her knowledge about finest quality art supplies and art supply sources based on her vast experience helping artists across North America. She provides customer support for Artist Supply Source company — major retailer of quality art supplies in the USA, Canada, and worldwide.