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Old 02-27-2013
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Varnish brushes

I'm pretty good at cleaning brushes, but wondered if there were any tricks for holding a brush over to be re-used the next day. Using a badger brush. I have 10 coats of varnish I'm planning to apply and dread the thought of all those intermediate cleanings.

Would a light cleaning and then just hang in mineral spirits until the next day work?
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Re: Varnish brushes

I usually give the brush a quick cleaning and then seal it in plastic wrap and its good to the next day or two. I've found disposable sponge to work just as well as a bager brush and less work.
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Re: Varnish brushes

I assume you're talking about a single-pack varnish like Epifanes??

If so, yes, hanging it (not just chucking it in a tin) in mineral spirits overnight is fine. If you just want a break for lunch, wrapping the brush as-is in plastic wrap and keeping it out of direct sunlight (or, even better, in the yard fridge!) will keep it for an hour or four..
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Re: Varnish brushes

Simple an easy. It's an old trick that I learned working in a marina. I've been using this technique for years without trouble.

1. Put about 1/4" of mineral spirits in a cup and work the brush back and forth until the liquid is amber/cloudy. Empty. Refill. Repeat.
2. Stand the brush in the spirits as vertical as possible OR hang using a heavy wire inserted through the handle and across the lip of the cup.
3. Ensure that the bristles are in the spirits and just touching the cup's bottom.

No need for more than 1/4" - 1/2" of spirits.
Don't store this way for more than a day or the bristles will permanently bend and what's left (if any) of the solids will settle.

4. The next day, remove the brush and dry using a vigorous "throwing" motion, 5-10 "throws".
5. Keep the spirits in the cup for your first cleaning.
6. Sand your work, while letting the brush dry a bit. if it's too wet, you'll thin your first coats of finish
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Re: Varnish brushes

This is what I use for my varnish brushes:



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Re: Varnish brushes

Another vote for the foam brush.
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Re: Varnish brushes

For those into 'serious varnishing' I recommend a look at Epifanes website. Although I used epifanes on my cabin sole, their recommendations for surface prep, brushes, thinning, recoating, etc. work with lots of wood finish products.
Here's a link: Epifanes Questions and Answers
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Re: Varnish brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaduction View Post
Another vote for the foam brush.
Agree, I have used both and can't beat the foam, and they are cheap, no need to clean, just use a new one for the next coat.

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Re: Varnish brushes

One trick for the hardware store foam brushes, they are coated to prevent absorbing stuff pre-sale so you have to "knead" them a little before use. I couldn't get good results until an old pro told me I wasn't using a piece of foam on a stick right.
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Re: Varnish brushes

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I'm pretty good at cleaning brushes, but wondered if there were any tricks for holding a brush over to be re-used the next day. Using a badger brush. I have 10 coats of varnish I'm planning to apply and dread the thought of all those intermediate cleanings.

Would a light cleaning and then just hang in mineral spirits until the next day work?
Ha-haaaargh, tis the time of year when a pirate's thoughts turn to varnishin...
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