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John Kinnane

Cheap Throwaway Brushes for Epoxy

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Ha s anyone tried this.

 

I bought a handfull of cheap brushes from the local supermarket (about $2.50 each). When I got home I got out my little tubes of superglue (also cheap stuff) and seperating the bristles while holding the brush upside down dropped superglue around where the bristles were held by the metal band to the handle.

 

After giving the catspaw 8 a covering of epoxy and taping the seams I only ended up with about half a dozen bristles on the boat which were easily removed. That was out of a total of 7 or 8 brushes.

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Using a brush to apply epoxy is not a very effective way, of laying down a uniformly even coating and it's pretty wasteful. Applying epoxy with a brush, even with the bristles cut down 50% (the only way they work reasonably well), usually just leaves a pool where the brush first hits and tapered streaks, of ever decreasing film thickness, in the direction of each stroke. Admittedly, there are occasions where only a brush will do, but for the most part, you don't need them very often.

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I use brushes for glass taping and at the shop we have brushes that have lasted for many weeks of work. With a new brush I tug hard at the bristles to remove any loose ones. Then just deal with the ones that fall out in the first use (make sure you get epoxy all over the brush and deep into the bristles. Clean brush in acetone and let dry/kick. Next day, swipe through the bristles with a wire brush if it's a little stiff and it will become perfect and soft again and no more bristles will come out. Continue to use until you either forget to clean it or it gets worn out. A diligent user could build a whole boat with one brush.

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I'm with Alan on brushes. Use `em, clean them, keep them going long as possible. I do a vinegar wash followed by denatured alcohol, occasionally acetone. Me so cheap I even clean off 1/2" flux brushes. Why? Hey, once they've been in the goo the bristles ain't going anywhere.

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If I'm applying epoxy to smaller parts, I usually use a foam brush.  It doesn't last long, but usually long enough to complete the job.  They work well for varnish as well.  When I'm done, I open the shop door and pitch it out side.  The next day, I pick it up and throw it in the trash  I avoid cleanup at all cost..

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Thanks to all for your comments. I wasn't enjoying the way the epoxy went on with the brush. So this morning went out and got a 4" roller. What a difference, so much quicker and a lot more economical. The results were a major improvement

 

Thanks again guys.

 

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You're on the right track. Brushes are great for filling fillets w/ thickened epoxy, but coating the hull works best w/ a roller or spreader - then tipping any runs that develop w/ a wide foam brush.

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Not a long process. I stab brush in vinegar, squirrel it around, wipe it off, then dunk in denatured alcohol, swish it, brush out on scrap wood, dunk & swish again, sling excess alky off = done. Maybe one minute total. Only use acetone on bigger brushes (1" plus) if the goo is starting to kick and getting gooier. If goo is kicking on the cheapo acid brushes > in the trash.

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I used 89 cent +- "chip" brushes -  1/2 to 3 inches wide--(bristles cut down about 50%) from the local craft store on almost all my CS 17 #307 build (and many acid/plumbers brushes) with quite satisfactory  results.  BUT,  it requires "grooming" them for 10-15 minutes each brush before use.  Most new brushes need grooming to pull out loose bristles and particles and particularly so  cheap brushes.  "Grooming" is using thumb & forefinger to pull the bristles and fanning them against 4 fingers rapidly for particles/dust.  Without grooming I got a bristle every 18 inches or so in the epoxy or varnish  and after grooming, maybe only 3 bristles in 17 ft., which can be easily "flicked" from the surface with the tip of the brush.  I don't re-use them, except for the 2nd & 3rd coats applied just after the prior epoxy coat "tacks" up (non-blushing MAS epoxy is my favorite).  All my cleanup is with denatured alcohol--harsher chemicals do bodily harm to me.  Even varnishing with "chip" brushes (full bristles--not cut down) comes out very well when I use Epifanes (no-sand between coats) Woodfinish Gloss, over epoxy but I've been varninshing for my whole life, it seems.

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I use the 2" chip brushes from Harbor Freight. 36 for about 9 bucks. The yellow spreaders from there are good. I use the purple sprayguns from there and throw them away after a use. It costs more to clean them than to open a new one in the box. I like really good tools so I only use throw away stuff from there. We could start a Harbor Freight thread. I am sure there is more stuff there that I don't use but should.

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