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Brush Handle Flaking

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I've had a set of Rosemary & Co Series 10 brushes that are only a few months old and the finish on the handles near the ferrule are starting to flake off down to the wood.  The bristles are nice, I keep them clean, but this has happened on 3 out of the 4 brushes that I have and I'm wondering if I'm causing it somehow.  I don't let them sit in the water.

 

They get swished in the water and set on their sides when used.  I use Masters to clean them then let them air dry.  I had this happen on a set of reaper brushes too so I'm starting to think it's me.

 

Anyone else have this happen to them?

 

Thanks.

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How wet are they when you put them down to dry?  The only time I've had this happen it was a moisture issue, so if the bristles are sopping wet that might be a cause and you can try wicking off excess moisture before leaving them to dry.  It sounds like moisture expansion and contraction of the wooden handle.  If might be something entirely different, though, because I think they'd have to be real wet to soak up into the handle enough to do that.  

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I don't leave them sopping wet but They obviously get wet when rising.  When I'm done I put some masters on and form a tip then let it sit and dry.  I do tend to rinse frequently so they are wet a lot.  

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I have a few brushes that have had the finish slough off. It seems to be fairly random, except for the old-elf brushes. I figure the finish is coming off in clumps because they're old as elves ::P:

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Do you ever hit the wood against glass while rinsing? If the finish gets cracked so that water can get at the wood easier it can flake. Another way for the finish to crack is temperature. Going from a frozen mail envelope to a 70 degree house (or the other direction) can cause little cracks that can eventually lead to flaking.

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It is possible I'm whacking the side of the jar.  It is a glass mason jar.  The brushes aren't that old, only a few months,  I wonder if I should change to a plastic cup like I see them use on Reaper Toolbox.  Maybe that will be gentler in the long run.  Or maybe the Citadel rinse pot.  I'm sure it's way over priced (what from GW isn't right?).

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The only times I've seen that happen were with moisture or with Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner and Restorer, which will take the lacquer right off of brushes. Note that with moisture, if you let the brush dry out a lot (humidity in my house runs in the single digits at this time of year), that can cause just as much of a problem as a brush that stays very damp. Are you noticing the ferrules getting a bit looser (which can happen with very dry brushes)?

 

For a water cup, I'd recommend not using anything close to any vessel you would normally drink from. Paint water isn't really all that tasty1::D:

 

1 And it can be toxic, of course, if that matters to you. :poke:

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When you rinse, are you dipping the brush up past the metal ferrule into the water? If so, that probably doesn’t help. I have had flaking problems with brushes on occasion, and numerous brushes where I haven’t had issues. My main brushes are Windsor & Newton, and they seem to have pretty sturdy lacquer on the handles. The Reaper red handle brushes I’ve had problems with flaking, and then a couple of random brands here and there. Sometimes a high quality one, more often a cheapie brand.

My guess would be that Rosemary has a lighter lacquer coat and probably less varnish on that lacquer than some brands. They’re good brushes, but smaller/lighter handles and less time and product on the finish of those handles is likely one way they keep the cost of the brushes economical to make. I have some Rosemarys, just haven’t used them enough to have useful data on wearing.

Occasional contact with the side of your container should be fine whether it’s glass or plastic. Rinsing needs more of a swish through the water than knocking the brush against the side, so you can try to knock less or switch to a plastic container if you are concerned about that. I switched from a plastic container to a ceramic one since the weight reduced the incidence of me knocking over the water container. :->

You can also try to be a bit more thorough in wiping the general brush area free of water after a through rinse or painting session instead of just blotting the tip. The issue very likely is water related, but it’s hard to know whether that’s from cracks in the lacquer, or if you’re dipping the lacquered portion into the water, or if water is seeping up under the ferrule up to the lacquer section, or a combo of all of these.

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I use a folding 'Faber Castell Click&Go rinse cup which is mostly silicone, with some plastic in the rim. Nowhere as hard as a glass, so it's possible to knock the brush against the edge and not do damage. 

The wavy edge makes it possible to lay brushes down on top of it, and of course, it compacts down to a sensible size.

 

No damage on my Rosemary & Co Series 33 so far... 

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The only time I've had an issue is with cheap brushes I use for rough work.  They typically have inferior wood and thin lacquer coats and flimsy ferrules -- IOW, cheap brushes.  I've never had an issue with quality brushes.

 

I clean my brushes thoroughly -- using various brush soaps, swish them wildly in the cleaning water held by a plastic tub, dry (dab) them off with paper towels, and store them flat.

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I may have to pick up one of those Click & Go cups.  They look nice.  Plus I have a paint puck that looks like it should stick nicely to the bottom.

 

I picked off all the loose bits and painted a couple of coats of craft paint over the exposed wood and cracks followed by a couple of coats of varnish making sure to go up on the ferrule a bit to hopefully seal where the metal and wood meet.  Hopefully that will stop the flaking.

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I've had this happen to many of my brushes.  Invariably, it's the cheaper ones.  The W/N and DaVinci haven't done this. But the cheaper ones absolutely.  I don't own any Rosemary brushes, so can't vouch for the quality of them.  But every company has quality control issues once in a while.

 

I blame leaving the brush sitting in water.  If the lacquer gets cracked at all, if there's anyplace water can get through, it will, and then the wood will start to absorb it, swelling.  This cracks the lacquer and makes the problem worse. 

 

Having said that, it doesn't impact my painting.  The bristles are fine.  If the ferrule gets a little loose, I can fix that with a small bit of glue. 

 

 

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It's the same for me. The bristles are fine, it's just the flaking finish.  I E-mailed Rosemary & Co to ask if they had any care instructions to prevent it.  I honestly think this was caused by something I did and I didn't hide that fact when I E-mailed them.  Even so, they are sending me replacements no questions asked.  This is my first interaction with their support but the customer service has been excellent.

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