- Red sable comes from weasel and mink tails - both commonly
grouped under the name red tarter marten. To get the finest
quality red sable, only the best hair from the tails is selected.
Red sable is uniform in length, strength, thickness, and elasticity
(spring). It is expensive but makes the very best brush.
Sable - produces the best soft hair brushes. The conical
shape and scaled surface of each hair provide unrivalled spring,
point and colour carrying capacity. There are different qualities
of sable available.
- This is normally light color ox hair that is dyed to
look like red sable. Some lettering and watercolor brushes
are made with sabeline, mixed with sable, to lower the cost
of the brush.
Kolinsky Sable - It comes from the tail of a mink.
it is the best hair for watercolor and oil brushes because
of its strength, spring and snap. It comes to a very fine
point, and with proper care, will last many years.
hair (squirrel, ox, pony, goat) - The phrase "camel
hair," when applied to brushes, does not indicate hair
from a camel. Camel hair brushes received their name from "Mr.
Camel", who invented them. Camel hair is a trade term,
the finer grades of which are squirrel hair, while other grades
are pony and goat hair. Camel hair brushes are used for an extremely
wide range of services: whatercolor and tempera painting, washes,
renderings with ink;as dusters and "mops" in easel
painting; for lacquering, and touch-up.
- It comes from hogs in different parts of the world, but the
very best comes from China. Hog bristle is different than any
other natural fiber, since it forms a V-shaped split or "flag"
at the tip, and has a natural curve. This gives it a resistance
to fraying and it spreads paint smoothly and evenly.
Pony hair - It comes from an animal that is at least
two years old. It is very strong, but also soft. The very finest
pony hair comes from the belly of the animal. It is often blended
with other hairs for less expensive watercolor and touch-up
Squirrel hair - Blue squirrel is the most readily available
and comes in long lengths, as well as short lengths. It is generally
used for striping brushes and lettering brushes. Brown, or kazan,
is no longer as plentiful as it was several years ago. It is
generally found in the shorter lengths and used for stripers,
quills, and outliners. Both blue and kazan are very soft and
fine. They point as well as kolinsky, but have very little snap,
since the hair is not very resillient. Grey squirrel is the
hardest to find and the most expensive. It is more durable,
has more snap and makes a great quill or lettering brush.
- the correct weight and shape of a handle in relationship to
the weight of the brush head.
- the mid-section and thickest part of the brush head, or of
the individual hair filament itself. Sable filaments have excellent
bellies, which result in well shaped round brushes.
- a hair which is missing its natural tip. Finest quality brushes,
do not contain blunts or trimmed hairs.
carrying capacity - the amount of colour a brush is able
to absorb from the palette.
- the compressed section of the ferrule which holds the handle
to the brush head.
- an elongated round sable, most common for illustration work.
- the metal tube which supports the hair and joins it to the
- the natural, split tip of each bristle. Flags carry more colour
and are evident on the highest quality hog brushes.
- newly made brushes are pointed (set) with gum in order to
protect them in transit.
- bristle brushes whose hairs curve inward towards the centre
of the brush head.
out - the length of hair exposed, from the ferrule to the
- extra short and small sable rounds, used for retouching photographs
and other high detail work.
- traditional name for small round sables.
- bird quills were originally used for ferrules prior to the
development of seamless metal ferrules.
- very thin, long round sable, traditionally used for painting
rigging in marine pictures.
- brushes essentially made for water colour. Made from sable,
goat or polyester.
- sable which is sorted in bundles of equal length prior to
brushmaking. Resultant brushes are not as responsive as taper-dressed
/ Snap - the degree of resilience of the hair and its ability
to return to a point. Sable displays excellent spring.
- Kolinsky sable which is sorted into different lengths prior
to brushmaking for Series 7 brushes. Resultant brushes have
wider bellies and finer points.