Why is it that after months of wholeheartedly working on a piece of furniture, we woodworkers feel a bit hesitant about the final step - putting on the finish? One answer may be that we don't have the confidence in our finishing tools that we do in our woodworking tools. Those who do a lot of finishing typically use a professional grade sprayer set up in a properly dust free area, have expensive and hard-to-maintain protective equipment, etc. But what about skilled woodworkers - furniture makers, restorers, luthiers and others - who do only occasional finishing? What should they do? The simple solution, of course, is to use a traditional professional grade brush, but this item has largely disappeared from the market - up until now. A brush is a tool like any other, and a great brush really makes the job of finishing easier.
As we do with all our Gramercy Tools woodworking tools, we did a lot of research and testing before we figured out the best features in finishing brushes. We found that most of the commonly available finishing brushes are dumbed-down copies of older, much better styles. That explained why there was less of a distinction between brushes, even expensive ones, than we would have liked. In the end we asked one of the last brushmakers in the United States to hand-make a brush to our specifications.
The Gramercy Tools brush is made of 100 percent European ox-hair. Ox-hair is very fine and has a wonderful feel to it. It will leave a virtually brush-mark free surface and will hold a fair amount of finish for a long, efficient and controlled stroke. This brush is useful even for French polishing, if you brush on a coat to get a head start before starting the rubbing out process. The brush is solid hair with no gap, so you can cover carving details and moldings, and go over edges and corners with no drips or splatters. The ox-hair is anchored in the brush with epoxy, so the brush won't deteriorate in solvents. The ferrule is top-quality stainless steel, so you can easily clean it in any solvent, including water, and not have to worry about corrosion - which can shorten the life of the brush and contaminate your finish. The handle is made of unfinished hardwood (in an attractive, traditional beaver-tail pattern) that is very comfortable in the hand and has a great balance. The brush has a hand-sculpted chisel tip for best performance. Our brushmaker told us to pack the brushes in a traditional paper wrapper that allows the hair to breathe and last longer. So we did.
We don't think you'll be able to find a better finishing brush for shellac, nitrocellulose lacquer, or any other typical thin finish material. Heavier finishes like varnish may be too viscous for this brush and break the thin hair. With care, our brushes will last for years and make finishing much easier and more rewarding. Cleaning a shellac brush is easy. For instructions, click here.. Cleaning a varnish brush is a bit harder. For instructions, click here.
Note: As these brushes are from natural hair they are unsuited for waterborne finishes. For brushes for waterborne finishes see the product listing below.
We stock 3 sizes. The 2" wide brush is the most generally useful, the 1" size is good for localized details, and the 3" size will make doing a large surface easier and quicker. Bristle length is 1-3/4" on all three brushes.
Handmade in the USA.
"There aren't any brushes that feel better in use than the Gramercy
Tools brush" - Bob Flexner
"The Cadillac of solvent brushes is made from pure ox hair. Very fine and soft, it will lay down a coat of varnish with almost no brush marks" - Fine Woodworking Magazine