Angled Sash Brush
The bristles of an angled sash brush (sometimes called a "cutting brush") are cut at a slant, making it easier to paint clean lines. Use it for anything with grooves, like cabinets, furniture, or paneled doors, or when you are painting close to another surface, such as between window trim and walls.
Round Sash Brush
The round sash brush has a blunt, tapered tip with soft edges. It can cover a large area and is a favorite of faux and decorative finish painters, because the round shape gives greater control. Sizes, measured by the diameter of the bristle head, range from around 20 to 40 millimeters. Besides decorative painting, it’s also useful for small trim, like window muntins.
Related: Bob Vila Radio—Faux Painting
A very soft brush made of ox hair or China bristle (or a material that mimics it), a finishing brush will provide a fine, smooth look. Use it for furniture finishes or final coats in places that will receive close and constant attention, like kitchen cabinets.
Related: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
A standard square-cut brush has bristles that are also cut square. Flagged bristles, on the other hand, are actually split at the ends and look fuzzy. The split ends create more surface area and allow the brush to hold more paint and to release the paint more smoothly, thus giving a cleaner finish.
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Brushes made with nylon or polyester bristles (or a nylon/polyester mix) work best with water-based latex paints and finishes. They hold their shape and stiffness, and last a long time with proper care. They are also easy to clean; often running water is all that’s required.
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A natural bristle brush, made of animal hair, is ideal for applying oil-based paints, urethanes, and shellac. The tips are naturally flagged, which helps to ensure a smooth finish. The stiffer bristles make applying thicker, more viscous products easier.
Related: How to Paint With Oil-Based Paints
Short-Handled Trim Brush
A short-handled trim brush enhances control and makes painting trim or cutting easier, faster, and less fatiguing. It also allows for better maneuverability in tight spaces. Use it anywhere you’d use an angled sash brush. It’s especially helpful if you have a lot of trim to paint.
Related: How to Paint Trim
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