Help support TMP

"Arrrghh! My paint brushes are splitting!" Topic

25 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Painting Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

World's Greatest Dice Games

A cheap way to pick up on the latest fad and get your own dice cup for wargaming?

Featured Workbench Article

Basing with DryDex Spackling

Using pink stuff for basework.

Featured Profile Article

My Wargaming Blood Revealed

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian gets his DNA results, and starts thinking about wargaming.

675 hits since 23 Dec 2020
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2020 1:36 p.m. PST

It's happened… despite rinsing, washing in soap and water, and conditioning my set of paint brushes now have divided bristles.
I've soaked ‘em in isopropyl alcohol.
I've soaked ‘em in (acetone-free) nail polish remover (don't tell the missus).
I've stirred them in boiling water for 5 minutes (Internet tip… apparently worth what I paid for it…)
No luck.

At the moment they're crimped in aluminum foil in the faint hope that the same site that suggested the boiling water is correct and the bristles will return to their original shape in three hours.
I ain't betting on it.
So now I can't paint. Halfway through my Uruk-hai army for the Battle of Helm's Deep, and now I'm stuck in limbo.
Can't go get new brushes either, as we're avoiding busy stores— and at this time of year, Michael's, Jo-Ann's, and Hobby Lobby are not the places to go if you want to avoid crowds. (We could do curbside pickup, but that can be crazy too).

I may resort to clipping off a few bristles, if I can. But the separation may be too far gone for that. (And it happened dang quickly, too.)

Phooey. Guess my painting is done for the time being.

Striker23 Dec 2020 2:16 p.m. PST

I had that happen once a long time ago, never again. I have a bunch of brushes ready to go, probably more than I'll ever use.

d88mm1940 Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2020 2:30 p.m. PST

I believe that this can happen if paint gets into the collar. Try to just use the tip of the brush. I can get 5-7 months or more if I'm 'patient' with the good brushes.
Also, don't paint for long stretches without cleaning the brush periodically. Maybe 10-14 minutes on a normal day, every 7-9 minutes on a hot day.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Dec 2020 2:35 p.m. PST

I find that nylon and synthetic brushes always split at the tip (at least 100% of mine do). This is why I only buy sable brushes these days. Sometimes a sable tip will split, but not as often. Once brush tips split ( or bend at the tip on nylons) they don't seem to ever restore to the original point again.

Perris070723 Dec 2020 2:54 p.m. PST

Sable is the way to go. Definitely.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2020 3:07 p.m. PST

Been pretty careful not to get paint in the ferrule, and clean ‘em between paint colors, rinsing often during the same paint, too.
But I've got several hours of painting in over the last couple of months, so it may just be the accumulated use has become too much.

My most recent ones have been Taklon. Thought they were good, at first.

Sable sounds like a good choice.

John Armatys23 Dec 2020 3:36 p.m. PST

As others have said, try to keep paint away from the ferrule (not easy…) and clean them with Master's Brush Soap link
(you will find a US supplier easily – it is made there).

Several applications might recover damaged brushes, using it with new brushes greatly extends their lives.

Since lockdown I've done OK buying brushes online.

And trimming bristles is not likely to help….

khanscom23 Dec 2020 4:26 p.m. PST

Brushes are an expense-- not a capital investment. Throw them away when they're worn and buy new. Don't overspend-- a $25 USD dollar brush may give fine service, but so do many lesser brushes. That's my philosophy.

Timbo W23 Dec 2020 5:10 p.m. PST

Probably nothing you don't know already, but use different brushes for water based paint like Vallejo and spirit based paint like Humbrol.

KSmyth23 Dec 2020 5:28 p.m. PST

I only use sable. They really do last. I paint daily and a good brush will usually last almost a year. My current go-to is the Army Painter Character brush for most jobs. It keeps a point and holds plenty of paint. They are about seven bucks and can be ordered from lots of places if your brick and mortar store doesn't have 'em.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2020 5:35 p.m. PST

Second the endorsement of Masters' Brush Soap. Now for the Yuck bit. Clean your brush as much as possible, rinse it in regular water and then in sugar water, and if it doesn't come to a decent point on its own, shape it to a point with your tongue and lips, then let it dry hanging down. The sugar helps keep the shape, and it will dissolve when you dip the brush in water before painting.

After that--curbside pickup or mail order. Buy more than you think you'll need for months, and buy more when you're halfway through those.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian23 Dec 2020 11:03 p.m. PST

I'll pile om with endorsing Masters' Brush Soap. I'm also a huge fan of Windsor Newton Series 7 brushes.

Fat Wally24 Dec 2020 1:04 a.m. PST

McKinstry +1

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2020 5:51 a.m. PST

I feel your pain, it stinks when splitting happens…

Striker24 Dec 2020 7:21 a.m. PST

In use Masters but also put pink soap in my was cup and have a plain water rinse cup. My cheap snakes are going on a year of near hour+ sessions. I don't use enamel to brush fyi. They get a weekly master's clean or every other week. Woo far no splitting and the tip lasts longer than the handle paint on some brands. I was going to try the hot water trick in some terrain brushes though. After the master's wash I do give mine a little dip in cheapo hair conditioner.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Dec 2020 9:09 a.m. PST

How about cleaning off the paint with water, then dipping the brush in a single malt scotch, then doing the brush licking thing?

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2020 9:23 a.m. PST

Go online to Dick Blick and get yourself some Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes and be done with it. In a few days you'll be back painting with a great brush that will last a long time.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2020 11:01 a.m. PST

I agree with khanscom and others on this point:

Brushes are an expense-- not a capital investment

I have plenty of brushes. They're neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. I wash them and reshape them frequently. When they lose their shape, they get used for dry-brushing. Eventually, they get thrown away.

Old ferrules could conceivably be used for weapon barrels, but I haven't actually done that. Old handles could also be used for something, I'm sure.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2020 1:24 p.m. PST

I saw someone use old ferrules shaped into a rectangle used for brickwork on walls and floors on foamboard, it looked fabulous once painted. Just scroll down a little bit and you will see.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2020 2:06 p.m. PST

Wow. Well, that's never happening on my work bench, though it's impressive as all get out as they say around here.

As for the brushes, I probably shouldn't complain all that much. Here's what I was able to accomplish before they went wonky:

All 10mm.
(For more info on the figs, here's the blog link: link )

Striker24 Dec 2020 3:05 p.m. PST

Old handles become paint stir sticks and mounting pins for small pieces of terrain. Throw an alligator clip on and it's super useful.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP25 Dec 2020 5:16 a.m. PST

What rules are you going to use for your figures? I love copplestones stuff.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP25 Dec 2020 6:07 p.m. PST

Throw an alligator clip on and it's super useful.

Great idea, now that pot is legal.

Acronim26 Dec 2020 1:53 p.m. PST

I never do it, but sometime I hear can recover the shape of the brush using hair wax conditioner. I never test it, but this have sense to me… if conditioner can comb and refurbish hair in the head, why not the hair in the brushes? Does somebody know anything about this?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2020 7:42 p.m. PST

@Bashytubits: I use GW's Batlle of Five Armies (Middle-Earth Warmaster) with some homebrew additions to the army lists.

I needed to put my newly painted figures into storage yesterday, and found I'd run out of storage room. Time to go shoppin' for storage and new brushes!

I love Copplestone, too, though I've found some issues with these figs:
1. The legs are thin and weak— a little too easy to bend and break.
2. Some of the figures "lean" on their integral strip bases— infantry lean forward, cavalry to the side. Sometimes you can carefully bend them back… but see issue #1.
3. Too much recessed detail for my painting skills— and with the basing scheme for Warmaster, a lot of that detail will never be seen, hidden by the front and back rows.
4. Lances on cavalry can interfere with unit placement— a raised lance is better than a horizontal lance (ditto for any long weapon that protrudes past the base edge— don't do that). Action is great, but practical utility is better at this size.
5. Some of his strips and figs are slightly too wide for the 40mm base width of Warmaster, resulting in units that have tiny gaps between stands when side to side. Not a big problem, but players will have to agree that the gap still counts as touching, especially at corners.

Tip for 10mm sculptors— less is more. Mass unit figs at this scale don't need purses, water bottles, daggers, and tiny belt buckles hanging from super thin belts (or in some cases, belts at all). These are "arm's length" figures for "arms length" gaming. Give us some big surfaces for strong colors and minimal "eye pop" details— just enough to hint at reality and depth. And in general, if it's below the waist, the less detail the better. The plastic BoFA figs are just about perfect, if a little small. The sculpted action is limited— they're pretty much at "parade rest"— but for the mass effect, that's just fine.

But even with all of the above, the Copplestone figures are some of the best out there. The half-orcs are great, and really easy to paint, and his horses are life-like and perfectly proportioned.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.