What’s the Difference? Natural vs. Synthetic Brushes
Get the most out of these simple tools with a short brush basics lesson
About the only finishing tool less complicated than a brush is a rag. However, there are some essential things you should know about brushes before you start on your finishing journeys.
Basically, brushes fall into two categories, natural and synthetic. Nowadays, natural-bristle brushes are made primarily from Chinese hog bristle (China bristle). Some premium brushes using skunk, ox, and badger are available, but I doubt you’ll find them at your local hardware or paint store. Natural-bristle brushes excel with solvent-based products such as oil-based varnishes and polyurethanes, shellac, and lacquer. But because they absorb water, they become limp and lose their stiffness and shape with water-based finishes.
Synthetic-bristle brushes use manmade fibers like nylon and polyester. They can handle either type of finish but are used primarily for the application of water-based products.
Profiles and shapes The key features in a brush other than the bristle type are the…