Contact   |     |   Shopping Cart
Donate Now

Brush Fill Material - Brushes 101


The filament is the working action of the brush and deserves plenty of attention in designing your industrial brush tool. Filament characteristics vary for each type of material and selection and are determined by the purpose the brush serves during use in the application.

Nylon Grit Abrasive Filament

Abrasive filaments combine an abrasive grit dispersed uniformly and impregnated through the nylon thread base in a special formulation to deliver durability, chemical resistance, strength and stiffness, even when wet. Filaments are available in a broad combination of grit sizes (2000 grit to 46 grit), loading (20% to 40%) and diameters (.012” to .060”).

This unique type of filament provides sharp cutting edges of grit, which can be held firmly against any surface, no matter how irregular its shape. As the brush moves against the surface, the flexible filaments bend at various angles to fit the surface contours, allowing the cutting edges of the grit to have continuous contact. Abrasive filaments are as aggressive on the sides as the tips.

WE OFFER FOUR ABRASIVE NYLON FILAMENT TYPES INCLUDING OUR EXCLUSIVE 3M™ ABRASIVE GRAIN 321 FILAMENT:

Grain 321 is a tough, hard and self-sharpening abrasive grain with a durable crystalline structure that increases the life of the product. The abrasive grain mineral is a proprietary product of 3M™. The mineral grain 321 used in our CeramiX® brushes wears away in smaller chunks leaving more mineral available to continuously work on the metal surface. CeramiX® cuts three-to-five times faster on ferrous metal surfaces compared to traditional abrasive nylons, and performs well under high stress and heat. Available in 220, 180, 120 and 80 grit sizes.

Material Ceramix

Silicon Carbide is harder, sharper and more aggressive than aluminum oxide and is preferred for finishing ferrous metals. Silicon carbide is generally available in 500 to 46 grit and diameter ranges from .018” to .060”.

Silicon Carbide

Silicate is a fine grade abrasive filament for fine finishing and cleaning. It is available in .008” diameter and 2000 grit for micro-finishes used most commonly in miniature twisted-in-wire brushes.

Silicate

Aluminum Oxide is more impact resistant compared to silicon carbide and is less likely to fracture and is preferred for finishing soft metals or other materials where a smooth finish is required. Aluminum oxide is generally available from 600 to 80 grit and diameter ranges from .012” to .040”.

Aluminum Oxide

The filament is the working action of the brush and deserves plenty of attention in designing your power brush. Each filament material offers specific benefits and selection is determined by the purpose the brush serves. We have standard power brushes available in carbon steel, stainless steel, brass wire, encapsulated carbon steel, urethane encapsulated carbon, urethane encapsulated stainless steel, bristle, black nylon type 6-12, Tampico, abrasive nylon and natural filaments like horse hair.

Wire filaments are often used in power brushes due to the sharpness and aggressiveness of their cutting surfaces. The harder wires like carbon steel and stainless steel are used on scratch-resistant surfaces, while softer wires like brass are used on more vulnerable surfaces and in non-sparking environments.

When extremely durable and aggressive filament is required one of our two abrasive nylon filament types is used:

  • Silicon Carbide is harder, sharper and more aggressive than aluminum oxide and is preferred for finishing ferrous metals. Silicon carbide is generally available in 500 to 46 grit and diameter ranges from .018” to .060”.
  • Aluminum Oxide is more impact resistant compared to silicon carbide and is less likely to fracture and is preferred for finishing soft metals or other materials where a smooth finish is required. Aluminum oxide is generally available from 600 to 80 grit and diameter ranges from .012” to .040”.

When polishing softer and more scratch-susceptible surfaces, nylon filament is typically recommended. Also, tampico is the ideal filament if the environment requires a filament that is resistant to moisture. Our technical sales team and engineers are always available to assist you in selecting the right filament for your application.

We can manufacture rotary brushes using any of our available synthetic, natural or wire filaments. The type of material selected will depend upon the desired characteristics. Fill may be stiff or soft, thick or thin, repel or absorb water, chemical or heat resistant, flexible to a greater or lesser extent, and resistant to bending or abrasion.

Other filament characteristics include brush density and bristle length. Choosing a crimped filament instead of a level or straight filament will provide you with a more dense brush appearance and a continuous, more even brushing action. The crimp is measured by amplitude, depth of the crimp, frequency and number of crimps per inch. Level or straight bristles provide a lesser brush density appearance. The measurement of the exposed filament is known as the trim length and is the working strength of the brush.

The last filament characteristic is the finished trim; choices include:

  • Flat trim is the most common finished trim providing a consistent, uniform brush face.
  • Tapered trim is common in applications to accommodate deflection on a surface.
  • Step trim is used for brushing irregular or uneven surfaces.

Tanis offers a variety of filaments to be used in stapled set brushes including synthetics, natural bristle and wire. The type of material selected will depend upon the desired characteristics. Fill may be stiff or soft, thick or thin, repel or absorb water, chemical or heat resistant, flexible to a greater or lesser extent, and resistant to bending or abrasion.

Other filament characteristics include brush density and bristle length. Choosing a crimped filament, instead of a level or straight filament will provide you with a more dense brush appearance and a continuous more even brushing action. The crimp is measured by amplitude, depth of the crimp, frequency and number of crimps per inch. Level or straight bristles provide a lesser brush density appearance. The measurement of the exposed filament is known as the trim length and is the working strength of the brush.

The filament or tuft diameter can range from, but is not limited to .078” up to 7/16”. The depth of the tuft holes will determine the block or core wall thickness required. Generally, the tuft holes are drilled and filled vertically, but depending on the application, the hole can be drilled and the filament inserted at either a flared or converged angle.

The brush filament is trimmed in the final processing stage to give the required shape.

TRIM STYLES AVAILABLE ARE:

Flat

Flat is the most common shape used unless there are specific reasons for using other shapes.

Bevel

Bevel reduces brush resistance and conforms to surface being brushed.

Concave

Concave conforms to the surface being brushed.

Convex

Convex conforms to the surface being brushed.

Step

Step is used for brushing irregular or uneven surfaces. Many variations are possible.

Double bevel

Double bevel conforms to the surface being brushes.

Combination step

Combination step is a combination of step trims conforms to the surface being brushes.

Chisel

Chisel or converging allows for greater concentration of brush fill to obtain more brushing action.

We can manufacture strip brushes using any of our available synthetic, natural or wire filaments. The type of material selected will depend upon the desired characteristics. Fill may be stiff or soft, thick or thin, repel or absorb water, chemical or heat resistant, flexible to a greater or lesser extent, and resistant to bending or abrasion.

Other filament characteristics include brush density and bristle length. Choosing a crimped filament, instead of a level or straight filament will provide a more dense brush appearance and a continuous, even brushing action. The crimp is measured by amplitude, depth of the crimp, frequency and number of crimps per inch. Level or straight bristles provide a lesser brush density appearance. The measurement of the exposed filament is known as the trim length and is the working strength of the brush.

THE LAST FILAMENT CHARACTERISTIC IS THE TRIM SHAPE, CHOICES INCLUDE:

Flat

Flat is the most common shape used, unless there are specific reasons for using other shapes.

Bevel

Bevel reduces brush resistance and conforms to surface.

Step

Step is used for brushing irregular or uneven surfaces.

Offset

Offset is a combination of trims which conforms to the surface.

The fill material selection is determined by the characteristics your application requires. We offer stainless steel, high carbon steel, horse hair, bristle, brass, nylon and various abrasive filament types as part of our standard brush offerings.

To learn more about fill materials, visit our Filament Styles page.

We can manufacture hand brushes using many of our available natural, synthetic or wire filaments, depending on the exact type of hand brush. Characteristics vary for each type of filament material and the ideal choice will depend on the desired application use. Filament may be stiff or soft, thick or thin, repel or absorb water, chemical and/or heat resistant, flexible to a greater or lesser extent, and resistant to bending or abrasion.

The most often used natural materials used in hand brushes are natural bristle and horse hair. Horse hair is a soft, heat and chemical resistant fiber great for polishing scratch-susceptible surfaces and for use in corrosive environments. Bristle is made from hog hair that naturally splits at the end making it ideal for holding and carrying liquids while maintaining its shape and stiffness.

The nylon filament options available in many of our hand brush styles are a great synthetic alternative to natural fibers that are extremely versatile and durable. Nylon also has excellent bend recovery, abrasion resistance and chemical resistance. All nylons absorb water in wet conditions reducing the filament stiffness. Nylon has the highest heat deflection temperature, but is prone to oxidation embrittlement with long exposures to high temperatures.

Many different wire filament types are available in our hand brushes, each with specific properties for efficiency in operation. Stainless steel is most commonly used for its extremely durable, ductile and corrosion resistant characteristics. Brass is a wire filament often used in our platers’ hand brushes for its high conductivity and corrosion-resistant properties. It is also an excellent choice for cleaning scratch-susceptible surfaces. Other popular wire options include tempered steel, nickel silver and phosphorous bronze.

Traditionally artist brushes only used natural hairs for the filament, but modern synthetic fibers offer a great alternative and are typically more economical. Filaments vary in stiffness, resilience, strength and each reacts differently to various types of paints and liquids. Softer filament options are great for details and a thinner paint, while thick, robust filament is ideal to push around heavy paints.

Artist Brushes

TANIS OFFERS THE FOLLOWING FILL MATERIAL OPTIONS:

  • Bristle is hog hair that carries liquids well while maintaining its shape and stiffness in use over a long period of time. Bristle naturally splits at the end which carries more liquid medium.
  • Ox hair is a fiber from the ears of cattle or oxen and is very silky to the touch. It is a strong, springy, resilient hair that is more rigid than sable and as stiff as natural bristle.
  • Red sable is reddish-brown in color and made from hair from weasel tail. It is soft to the touch, naturally forms a point and is less resilient to solvents and the chemicals found in oils.
  • Black sable is a natural hair typically from weasel tail. This high-quality hair carries a lot of fluid and is springy and soft and naturally forms a point, giving you a lot of control.
  • Pony hair is a fiber from the belly of a horse and it is strong, resilient, slightly coarse and very absorbent.
  • Camel hair is not actually from a camel, but is made from various inexpensive hairs mixed together like pony, bear, sheep and squirrel. This soft hair is used in the less expensive brushes.
  • Taklon is a synthetic alternative to the natural fibers and is versatile and extremely durable.
  • Gold nylon is a synthetic alternative and has excellent absorption qualities and the flexible, malleable fibers allow for easy contouring.

Many of our standard paint brushes use pure bristle fill because this soft, natural fiber has naturally split ends making it ideal for carrying and holding liquid. Pure bristle also has a tendency to maintain stiffness and shape over time. Bristle is soft and is perfect for use with thinner viscosity materials such as oil based paints, varnish or polyurethane. This natural bristle is not recommended for use with water or alcohol-based coatings as the bristle tends to absorb the heavier liquid, causing limpness.

Synthetic filament options such as polyester are an economical alternative that can be used with almost any paint or coating, but is most often recommended for water-based, latex and emulsion paints. One of our paint brush products, the Round Wire Chip Paint Brush, is available with stainless steel fill, as this is an effective brush for use in high temperature or corrosive environments.

There are various types of natural and synthetic fibers used in our standard parts cleaning brush products. Sometimes the filament is bridled with a binding wire to produce a stiffer and more controlled brushing action. This wire can be eventually cut as the bristles wear down, extending the life of the brush.

WE OFFER FOUR DIFFERENT FILAMENT TYPES IN OUR PARTS CLEANING PRODUCT OFFERING INCLUDING:

Tampico

Tampico is natural fiber produced from the agave plant. It has exceptional water retention characteristics, excellent biodegradability and superior heat and water and alkaline resistance. The soft-to-medium texture softens when it absorbs water.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene is a high-quality, versatile filament with chemical and acid resistant properties. Our polypropylene brush features a dome or pointed bristle shape.

Bristle

Bristle is a natural fiber from a hog that carries liquids well, while maintaining its shape and stiffness in use over time. Bristle naturally has split end making it ideal for carrying and holding liquid.

Horse hair

Horse hair is a natural fiber that is produced from the mane or tail hair and each provides a different stiffness and texture and is excellent for picking up and carrying dust and fine powders.