On 6/3/2011 6:58 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
First you need to know what kind of poly you are using. Oil or water based.
Oil based, clean with mineral spirits or thinner. Water based, clean
with warm soap and water.
This all works well if you are planing ahead. If the poly is already
dried on the brush, toss it and plan ahead next time.
Cleaning a brush actually starts with preparation before using it.
Saturate the bristles with the appropriate solvent for your finish before
starting to use it. In the case of oil based polyurethane, that would be
mineral spirits. Make sure you get the solvent all the way up to the
ferrule. Shake out the excess solvent. When you are using the brush, dip
the bristles into the finish no more than half way up the brush. These two
procedures keep the finish from getting up into the ferrule where it is hard
To clean the brush after you are done with it:
1) Wipe off the excess polyurethane from the brush onto some newspaper or
2) Swish the brush in some mineral spirits three times using fresh mineral
spirits each time. Really work the solvent into the bristles on the last
3) Squeeze out the remaining mineral spirits using your hands and some rags
or paper towels or swish the brush in some lacquer thinner to help remove
the mineral spirits and replace it with something a bit more water soluble.
I do not use the lacquer thinner method.
4) Clean the bristles using water and something like LESTOIL or PINESOL.
Make sure you rinse out all the cleaning agent. I have started using
MASTERS BRUSH CLEANER instead. It is like a soap / shampoo made for
brushes. It does a great job and conditions the bristles, especially
natural bristles. Just follow the directions on the container.
5) Spin the brush or whip it to remove the remaining water.
6) Wrap the brush with paper to preserve the desired shape.
And after you have to sand it back down and start over because
of dropped bristles, it's false economy.
I've wiped it on with a rag - works great. Old t-shirt cut into 4"
squaresis fine. Cut off loose threads.
Cut the poly half to two-thirds with mineral spirits, stir well, and start
Once you wipe out any big streaks - STOP. It skins faster than you
would think and you end up with a mess.
Do lots of thin layers and lightly sand between coats.
Don't use a brush with artificial bristles for ANY oil base coat...use
You've obviously been ignoring your own advice as given lower down.
Quality brushes of any type, man-made or natural bristle work just fine.
Clean your brushes using whatever method is recommended by the paint
manufacturer, it usually says on the tin.
Even if the recommended method is some sort of organic solvent, give a
final clean with water and "fairy liquid" (or whatever liquid detergent
you use for washing up (the old way, by hand) in your parts. Rinse
thoroughly in clean running water and dry on paper towel.
Never leave brushes standing in a jar of solvent or brush cleaner. If they
need to be left for a while for a brush cleaner to work (If you always
clean properly you won't need to do this) they should be suspended so that
the ends of the bristles aren't touching the bottom of the jar.
Darn. Oh, well. It's a one-time job and money is tight so I might
have to pass on that. I don't like plastic bristles myself but the
deal was too good to pass on. The set came with about 6 brushes of
different sizes and cost about $2.99. thx.
You can blow the dust out, just not the paint.
A couple of other tips would be:
*Try not to get paint in the upper third of the brush.
Try. Painting upside down makes gravity the enemy.
*If you are using a water-based paint, very, very lightly
pre-wet the brush and use a brush spinner or very gently
flick the brush along its length across a board or something
to get most of it out. Water-based paint will load better
*When you do get paint in the forbidden zone and intend
to use the brush again, you might find a fine comb good at
removing it. Don't let the paint cake in that region because
it's no fun getting it out.
*The solvent/water (depends on the paint) cleaning followed
by a detergent and water
cleaning works nicely. Rinsing with pure water
to purge the second mix is the last step.
If you have a brush spinner, you can use that to dry
the brush or flick it along its length to drive off the moisture.
*When through cleaning, putting the brush in the supplied
cardboard sleeve you don't have would be nice. A gentle
winding with cling wrap also is good. This helps the brush
retain it's designed shape if you didn't mash it.
*Remember the name "Purdy". Great brushes. If you want
to hold a fine line or paint a particular angled area or cover
an area of certain width, they make dedicated brushes.
They're not cheap, but, just like ladies, if you treat them
well, age hardly withers nor does time stale them. Someone
here will tell you of a well-tended Purdy that could probably
be in Junior High by now.
*Ask your paint store about the foam "hot dog" rollers and
your paint. Sometimes you use them alone. Sometimes on
complex things like doors in combo with brushes. For certain
paints, the furry knap rollers are good too.
*Start high and work down low. That
way you don't drip on finished areas.
*If you have to stop in the middle of a painting project,
some people refigerate their brushes wrapped in cling
film. I haven't tried it. But if a brush gets gummy on a
hot day, I will stop for a cleaning before continuing.
*Ask about blue painter's tape. Ask how to get the
best edge seal by burnishing. Frog tape is mighty
fine but not mighty cheap.
*Don't believe every bit of the above is gospel or the
whole of it. Other people will have good ideas.
*Next time, say you're a lady to start. We don't often get
the chance to practice at the gentleman thing.
I have painted a lot of metal doors with the foam hog dog rollers. A
6" roller makes short work of doors, and since most metal doors on
commercial jobs are beat up anyway, this is an excellent solution. As
long as you work fast and don't reuse, they work fine with oil based
I use them on just about anything I can outside, including door and
window trims, siding trims, and anything else that has any kind of
texture that doesn't require smooth a finish.
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