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handmade brushes (previous clayart info)

updated tue 14 apr 98


David Cowdrill on mon 13 apr 98

The following information was provided by the always helpful and generous
folks on Clayart in response to my similar question about brush making:


Grasp an appropriate bunch of hair firmly. Note the shape of the
hair you hold and determine if that would be a good brush form. With
sharp sissors cut the hair at or beyond your fingertips. gob the
ends of the cut hair with silicone glue. While still holding the
hair, wrap the cut end with a fine srting or thread. I normally wrap
about twenty times and bring the wrapping down the brush head about
1/2 inch. Set head aside to dry.

Find suitable handle. I like Bamboo. Measure the interior of the
bamboo to find a diameter slightly smaller than the butt end of the
brush head. split the bamboo about 3/4 of an inch down the stalk (
four cuts). add additional silicone glue to the butt end of the head
and slip it into the split bamboo handle. wrap the split end of the
handle with fine string and allow to set 24 hours. I like to
decorate the brushes with copper and brass wire wrapping, gold leaf
and an occasional bead.

Avoid getting silicone on the working end of the brush head.

It's not really hard. most of the brushes you make will work well,
it is a lot of fun and they last until the mothes eat them away.
Practice, Pratice, prattic

W. Lowell Baker
The University of Alabama


I just happen to have taken a class on this topic and will pass on the little
I know:
Pick a part of the deer tail that is soft with thick bristles and cut out a
triangular piece with one edge of the triange being the outside edge of the
the tail. (I'm assuming you have cleaned the tail by now), Then get some green
bamboo and cut it off about 3/4 of and inch above a joint, clean out the
hollow part above the joint - this is where you will place the tail. Then
using a torch, sweat the bamboo so it color nicely. Then simply roll the hide
part of the tail (the triangle piece) so the shortest part of the triangle
piece of hide is in the center of the roll. Then glue this piece into the
bamboo with epoxy. You've got it. These a great for Iron decorations over a
glaze or whatever, and they make great gifts. Enjoy!


> < check out this web site for even better "brush" tail

I agree with everyone that is is so much fun to harvest our own supply of
hair, feathers, etc. but there are times when rabies and other things can be
a worry--especially if we want to do this with our students. JOY


I was going through some papers and came across a catalog that I thought
might be of help to some of you who like to make your own brushes. You can
get various types of animal tails (I like the coyote tails, at about $6
each) and other things. Saves those weird looks when folks see you
collecting road kill.

Anyway, here's the URL: Sorry I
don't know how to make this "clickable". The name of the business is the
Claw, Antler, and Hide Co., Inc. These folks are friends of mine, and I
know they'll try to find what you need if it's not listed. Hope this is of
help to someone.

Cindy Strnad
Earthen Vessels
Custer, SD


After wrapping your tail brush to a handle with fishing line or fine wire,
coat it (the wrapped part) with silicon as used for dry flies.
This will extend the life of the brush. Deer tail brushes are really great for
overglaze painting or just painting with oxides.
Marcia in Montana

>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I'm trying to find someone who can give me info on the technique of making
>brushes with bamboo handles. (More so than going to a Fly fishing shop and
>buying deer tails).
>Gene Gnida
David Cowdrill in Great Falls, VA (703) 430-2692