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 In Finishing

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Brush differences. Brushes differ in their ability to keep their bristles from falling out, in the amount of finish they can carry and in their comfort. More expensive brushes, such as the oxhair brush (top), don’t reduce brush marks noticeably over the very cheap chip brush (middle), or the foam brush (bottom). The finishes themselves differ in how well they flatten out.

Putting some sense back into a simple task.

For most people, the first experience brushing comes with oil or latex paint, or with alkyd or polyurethane varnish. Each of these coatings is relatively easy to brush.

Paint is easy because it doesn’t have to go on perfectly; brush marks and other minor flaws are expected and accepted. Varnishes are easy because they dry slowly, so there’s plenty of time to spread them out evenly and get the brush strokes lined up with the grain.

Polyurethane varnish is the finish most widely brushed by amateur woodworkers, and it is the finish that is almost always used in instructions on how to brush (see The


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