Preserving paint brushes


I have a collection of good brushes (natural bristle) that I keep for fine painting, such as varnishing. I just finished varnishing the new woodwork in a room we remodeled, and spent a lot of time picking loose hairs out of the varnish. I had the problem with both older and new brushes, so I'm thinking there must be a problem with the way I clean or store them, that makes the bristles brittle.
I clean them using thinner, then detergent, and finally fells naptha soap. Then I let them dry and keep them on a shelf. I recall seeing a device that suspended your brushes in, as I recall, kerosene, to preserve them, but it never explained what to do when you want to use one of these kerosene impregnated brushes; I didn't think wiping them and then using them was a good idea as I didn't want to get kerosene on my work, which left the option of cleaning them, then waiting for them to dry before using them, which could take a lot of time.
So what is the best way to preserve a good brush so it doesn't leave bristles in your work?
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I basically follow the instructions found here, eliminating step 5 and using step 6.
Rarely have any problems with loose bristles.
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Oh, sure, now you want a link, huh? Be like that!
http://www.ehow.com/how_2072861_store-paint-brush.html
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Some of us may be psychotic, but we're not telepathic.
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Not@home wrote:

I have a few loose bristles whenever I paint. I use good brushes, but never the most expensive. When I have a project underway, I wrap my brushes in foil and put them in the freezer overnight. If there is a longer delay, such as letting part of a paint project cure before going on to the rest, I store bristle brushes in mineral spirits. I use metal coffee can, a couple of inches of m.s., cut an "X" in the lid to stick the handle through and suspend the brush in the m.s. so bristles aren't resting on the bottom.
When I finish a project, I clean the brush thoroughly in clean m.s. Wring out as much m.s. as possible, use full-strength Dawn and work it into the bristles very well, esp. up to the ferule. Let it rest a while, rinse very well, shape bristles with hot water, dry upside down. It's possible the wood handle gets saturated with water or solvent, expands and loosens the hold on the bristles.

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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

Before using a brush, I wet it with the appropriate thinner, to reduce drying of the paint at the top of the bristles. I start cleaning by squeezing as much paint out of the brush as I can by folding newspaper around it an squeezing the paint out. I then rinse it thoroughly in paint thinner, using a little bit of thinner for each rinse (maybe 1/4-1/2 inch in container about brush size). I rinse repeatedly until the thinner no longer gets dirty. I re-use thinner by pouring the dirty thinner into an old bleach jug and leaving it a few weeks to settle, then decanting it into a cleaner jug. When I clean brushes, I use the recycled thinner for all but the last few rinse cycles, so even though I use a lot of thinner, I really don't. I never use water on bristle brushes used for oil based paint.
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Natural bristle brushes are for oil based finishes. Wash the brush out with solvent until clean. If you've gotten paint up into the heel, use a steel wire brush to get the paint out - I usually use one just a matter of course, brush only towards the tips. A good warm water and soap helps get out any residues. Flick as dry as possible. Rinse one last time in clean thinner, wrap in paper ( I use masking paper because the masking machine is hanging handy). Hang by the handle. I guess we all get an occasional loose hair, but I've not ever had enough to call it a problem. I think the oils in the thinner help keep the bristles soft.
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