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Brush Construction Types

Anchor Set Brushes Tufts are wrapped around a piece of rectangular shaped anchor wire and anchored into the tufting hole. This style is especially useful in small depth tufting holes and where block thickness is at a minimum. Anchor set construction is common with toothbrushes and hairbrushes.

Cylinder Brushes Filaments are affixed to a core by either staple set construction, cord and epoxy, the winding of a strip brush coil around a core, or by combining multiple wheel style brushes side by side.

Disc Brushes Filaments arise out of a flat plate or disk that is spun such that the working surface is the face of the brush, as opposed to a wheel brush whose working surface is the edge of the brush.

Epoxy Set Brushes (Pitch Set) Tufts or a spread of filaments is set in place and attached using glue, epoxy or pitch. This style of construction creates a very strong and stable bond and is especially useful in applications where filament retention is essential. Traditional paint brushes are epoxy set.

Fused Brushes A fused brush is made joining the filament to the block using ether heat or RF to melt, weld or fuse the materials together.

Paint Brushes Traditional paint brushes are often made using epoxy for bonding and an internal card and external ferrule for stiffness control.

Paint Pad Brushes A painting pad is attached to a block for painting pad applications.

Paint Roller Brushes A cylinder roller with a textured or fabric cover is attached to a frame for the fast painting of mostly flat surfaces like walls, ceilings and doors.

Power Driven Brushes Filament is affixed to mounting hardware which may then be attached to a power device. The filament works under speed providing brush and deburring action in surfacepreparation and conditioning applications. There are three main types of construction:
Cup: A brush on a shank with a cup shaped end.
End: End mounted filaments in many end shape configurations permanently anchored on shanks for cleaning confined or hard to reach areas.
Wheel: Wheel shaped brush attached to mounting hardware with a press and washer.

Staple Set Brushes Individual tufts are wrapped with pre cut and shaped wire that forms a staple around the tuft, and is driven into the tufting hole.

Strip Brushes Filament is laid down uniformly and continuously along a metal or plastic channel backing. With a metal backing strip brush the backing channel is continuously formed in the shape of a U to compress and hold the filament in place. In the case of a plastic strip brush the backing is continuously formed and fused to the filament as they are joined together.

Twisted In Wire Brushes Twisted in Wire brushes are manufactured by twisting filaments between stem wires. The wire ends may be cut on both ends or looped (cut on one end). There are three different construction types:
Single Stem, Single Spiral: A layer of filament is twisted between two stem wires.
Double Stem, Single Spiral: A layer of filament is twisted between four stem wires, two on each side.
Double Stem; Double Spiral: A layer of filament is twisted between four stem wires, two on each side. Double twisted for increased strength and fill density.

Wire Drawn Brushes This manufacturing technique involves hand-drawing the filaments through the tufting hole using a length of wire and often tying the wire off in the back of the block. The tufting hole goes all the way through the block to allow the wire to be drawn through.

Wound Brushes, Brooms and Mops Wound brushes are manufactured by winding wire around the brush fibers on a pole or a stick and may involve secondary stitching of the fibers to create a determined level spread and stiffness. Many corn brooms, mops and daubers are made using this technique.

Brush Lingo / Glossary

Amplitude The measured distance from the top of the wave to the bottom of the wave of a crimped material.

Anchor Wire Flat wire plates with which a tuft is fixed in the brush block.

Anti Static Anti Static brushes are made with materials that reduce the chance of sparks and explosions, and an insulating material to protect against electric shocks.

Axis Machine straight-line movement capabilities. The more axes a machine has, the more complicated the movements and the more elaborate the brush shapes and geometries.

Backing Wire The wire that holds the filament in a metal back strip brush.

Brush Block (also Block, Back, or core: see Core) The part of the brush into which the filament tufts are inserted. Usually made of plastic or wood.

Carriage The brush carriage is the part of the brush making machine that established the connection between the basic machine and the geometry of the brush to be produced. Brushes are often fixed in the brush machine carriage by clamping devices.

Center Wire The wire inside a metal back strip brush securing the filament inside the backing.

Channel In the manufacture of strip brushes the channel is the backing, either plastic or metal that is formed around to secure the filament in place.

Core Similar to block or back, the term core is used in reference to a revolving brush, be it staple set or strip.

Core Clean Out The process of removing existing filament to repair the core so it may be used again.

Crimp A slight curl or wave introduced into an otherwise straight filament material to alter its stiffness or other characteristics. Crimp measurement is determined by the number of full waves per inch. Common Crimps are #3, #5, #6.5 so for example #6.5 is six and a half waves in an inch.

Dressing Filaments Cleaning, detangling, bleaching, combing and bundling in preparation for further processing prior to production use. See Processing Filaments

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Brushes made with Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) conductive filaments eliminate static electricity by self-discharging. ESD Filaments are often an acrylic or nylon base filament bonded with molecular copper sulfide. They are used in working with electronic components or cleaning delicate circuit boards.

Ferrule A metal or plastic band clamp used to hold together and attach filaments by crimping or otherwise deforming the ferrule to permanently tighten it onto the parts that it holds. Commonly used on paint brushes, artist brushes, parts brushes and the piece that holds erasers on pencils.

Filament Yarn, fiber, bristle that provides the working surface of the brush. May be of textile, plastic, vegetable, metal or other substances. From the Latin word filum for thread. See Common Filaments section below.

Filament Box (stock box) Feeding area on a brush machine where filaments are inserted in preparation for insertion. Machines may have multiple boxes for different colors or multiple filling tools.

Filament Bundle A length cut from a longer filament hank to be fed (inserted) into the filament box.

Filament Hank see Hank

Filament Spool A roll of continuous filament, often extruded and wound.

Filling See Tufting

Filling Material Filaments tufted, affixed or wound in a finished brush.

Filling Tool The part of the brush machine designed to collect, orient and insert the filament into the brush block. Brush machines may have one or multiple filling tools.

Filling Tool Stroke The distance the tufting tool travels from picking up the filament tuft to the point of anchoring the tuft in the brush block.

Flagging A process applied to the end of filament strands to cause them to split, thereby increasing brush volume and density.

Hank A predetermined cut length of filament shipped in bulk which may be cut again to varying lengths for use.

Hold Down Wire See Center Wire

Machine Availability Machine output less downtime due to faults, changeovers and maintenance.

Machine Performance Output in brushes produced per minute.

Melting Applying heat to filament ends to form a smooth mushroom cap shape.

Natural Filament Filament of vegetable or other plant sources, hair or bristle.

Picker (picker bar) A mechanical tool which picks or selects a predetermined amount of filament and delivers it to the filling tool for preparation of insertion into a hole on the brush block.

Processing Filaments Preparation of hair, bristle and natural filaments to prepare for running on automatic equipment. May include cutting to size, combing, dyeing, flagging, tipping, mixing and bundling

Staple Wire Wire bent into a loop around a filament tuft for insertion into the brush block.

Stem Wire The wire holding the filament in a twisted in wire brush.

Synthetic Filament Filament made from one of any types of extruded synthetic (resin) materials

Tapping Thickening of the brushes after flagging by compressing the filaments.

Trimming Cutting the brush filling material to a uniform length or profile after the tufting process.

Tuft A predetermined amount of filament separated by the picker at the filling box to insert into a hole on the brush block. The working surface of the brush is determined by the number and position of the tufts.

Tuft Control Measurement of the amount of filament in each tuft and the measurement of the tuft retention.

Tuft Retention The force required to pull a filament tuft out of the brush block.

Tufting Process of inserting the filament tufts into the pre-drilled holes on the brush blocks.

Common Filaments


Natural Filaments

From Animal Bristle, Hair

Bristle (Hog Bristle): Usually from a pig or boar, bristle is generally shorter in length and carries water water, pain and fluids well. Bristle tips are rounded and the ends are subject to splitting naturally, providing additional softness. The hair has a natural taper from the butt end to the tip and a slightly stiff to stiff texture overall.
Camel Hair: Camel hair is a misnomer as it is actually a term to describe the mixture of any numbers of inexpensive hairs such as pony, sheep, bear and squirrel, etc. These soft hairs are blended together for use in expensive or disposable artist brushes.
Goat Hair: Is a very fine and soft fiber that is short in length. It has limited elasticity and has a natural kink. It carries and holds a lot of fluid to the working surface and is used in short trimmed soft brush applications. Usually black or white in color.
Horsehair: Produced from either the mane or the stiffer male tail hair this fiber can accommodate different stiffness and textures as it has a natural taper. It is an excellent choice for polishing, dusting, sweeping and can be mixed with a variety of others fibers for different applications. Its natural colors are browns, black, mixed grey, silver grey and white.
Ox Hair: From the ear hair of cattle or oxen this fiber is silky, yet springy and strong. More rigid than sable and stiffer than bristle. The tips are more blunt than sable and the brushes are used primarily in artist or detail brushes for fine lettering, striping and marking brushes.
Pony Hair: From the belly hair of ponies, this fiber is strong, resilient, a bit course and very absorbent.
Sable: Made from weasel hair this fiber is springy and soft and usually comes to a point, making it an excellent hair for artist brushes. Usually found in red or black color, the black being the more expensive choice for its resistance to solvents and chemicals found in oils.
Squirrel Hair: A very fine hair used for applying thin lacquers, light bodied varnishes and for general artwork, lettering and striping. Also used in cosmetic and forensic brushes.

From Plants and Vegetables

Bassine: Black dyed palmyra. Stiffer, more durable and more resistant to water. See Palmyra Fiber
Coir Fiber (Coconut): From the husks of coconut shells, Coir fiber is produced mainly in Sri Lanka. It is softer than Palmyra or Tampico when wet.
Piassava Fiber: Fiber from Brazilian Palms and known for its water resistance. Useful for brooms and basket making.
Palmetto Fiber:
From the Florida palmetto palm this fiber is course and treated with oil for wet applications and used for scrubs, sweeps and whisk applications.
Palmyra Fiber:
s From the leaves of the Palmyra Palm in southern India, Palmyra is used in sweeping and scrubbing applications for its stiffness and chemical resistance.
Tampico: A natural vegetable fiber from the Agave Lechuguilla (Ixtle) plant that grows in the high country of northern Mexico. This fiber has good resistance to chemicals and is very elastic. In addition, tampico absorbs a lot of water and releases it as the fiber is working. Tampico can be provided in a variety of stiffness and colors and can be mixed with other fibers.
Union Mix: A mixture of tampico and palmyra fibers. Medium stiff texture

Synthetic Filaments

Nylon (Polyamide) Nylon offers a combination of excellent bend recovery, abrasion resistance; flex fatigue resistance and chemical resistance. All nylons absorb water in wet conditions.
Nylon 6: A durable, low cost nylon filament that is used on household and less aggressive industrial applications. It has a maximum short-term use temperature of 250?F (121?C) and a maximum continuous use temperature of 200?F (93?C).
Nylon 6.6: Offers more wet and dry stiffness than Nylon 6.0. It has excellent bend recovery and abrasion resistance. It is a very popular fiber for industrial brush applications and is widely used as a hairbrush and vacuum cleaner brush fiber. It has the highest heat distortion temperature of the three Nylons. It has a maximum short-term use temperature of 356?F (180?C) and a maximum continuous use temperature of 248?F (120?C).
Nylon 6.10: Offers lower moisture absorption to retain its properties better when wet.
Nylon 6.12:
Offers superior wet performance and better chemical resistance. This nylon offers excellent bend recovery and abrasion resistance. Its low moisture absorption makes it an excellent fiber for wet applications. It has excellent bend recovery, and abrasion resistance. This is the highest-grade nylon and it resists rot and mildew and discourages bacterial growth. Type 6.12 Nylon bristles are FDA approved and widely used for general purposes and in medical brushes, pharmaceutical brushes and food service brushes. It has a maximum short-term use temperature of 250?F (121?C) and a maximum continuous use temperature of 200?F (93?C). Typical applications include toothbrush, paintbrush, cosmetic, hairbrush, and industrial applications.

NYLON - ABRASIVE: A long wearing abrasive nylon filament impregnated with aluminum oxide or silicon carbide particles. 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 0.012" to 0.040". 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 0.018" to 0.080".

NYLON - CONDUCTIVE: A type 6.6 Nylon with a 1 micron thick electrically conductive carbon coating suffused onto the outer surface, often used for anti-static bristle brush applications where a non-abrasive conductive fiber is needed. Available in three standard diameters 0.01, 0.016, and 0.02 with other diameters available through special order. It has an average electrical resistance: 7.8 x103 ?/cm

NYLON - HT: High Temp Nylon is type 6.6 Nylon with an additive that allows the fiber to resist oxidation at elevated temperatures. Standard Nylons have a high heat deflection temperature (softening temp) but are prone to oxidation embrittlement with extended exposures to high temperatures. Nylon HT is far less prone to heat oxidation and remains flexible much longer than standard Nylons. It is recommended for use in high temperature, high alkaline, high wear environments. It has a maximum short-term use temperature of 350?F (176?C) and a maximum continuous use temperature of 302?C (150?C).

NYLON - STATIC DISSIPATIVE (aka Antistatic Nylon or ESD): A type 6.12 Nylon with a surface resistivity of 1x10e9. Because the conductive element is not a coating but is distributed throughout the strand, it does not shed or slough making rendering it clean room compatible. It is an excellent fiber to use for cleaning sensitive electronic circuitry as well as in explosive environments because it is non-sparking, it inhibits the generation of static charges, and can dissipate static charges on surfaces in a controlled manner.

Nylons come in a variety of diameters, crimps and amplitudes, profiles and shapes, including round, X shaped (ribbed), tapered, and a variety of hollow filaments. Nylons may be embedded with abrasives for extra action.

Polyester (PBT). PBT was developed as a substitute for horsehair. Polyester filaments may be improved with anti-static properties. Polyester come in a variety of diameters, crimps and amplitudes, profiles and shapes, including round, and a variety X shapes (ribbed). Polyester has excellent resistance to all acids, alkalis, alcohols, gasoline, benzene and most cleaning solvents. It is a medium-priced filament that resists mildew, bacteria and fungus growth. It has a maximum short-term use temperature of 320?F (160?C) and a maximum continuous use temperature of 285?F (140?C).

Polyethylene (PET) Known for its soft features and characteristics, this filament serves many purposes. From car wash to fruit and vegetable scrubbing, polyethylene is uniquely nonabrasive. Additionally, polyethylene has excellent flagging abilities and breaking resistance. Softness or bulk density can be further increased through the use of one of the available X shapes or hollow profiles. Designed specifically for industrial applications, this product is truly unique in its physical characteristics. Polyethylene come in a variety of diameters, crimps and amplitudes, profiles and shapes, including round, X shaped (ribbed), and hollow. These flexible bristles are very efficient for thorough washing and polishing of delicate fruits and vegetables. Polyethylene is ideal for soft, non-scratch wiping instead of a brushing action.

Polypropylene is a top quality, low cost, versatile filament for a wide variety of applications. It has excellent wet stiffness and flex fatigue resistance. Polypropylene come in a variety of diameters, crimps and amplitudes, profiles and shapes, including round, star, H beam, oval, clover leaf, X shaped (ribbed), and hollow filaments. Polypropylene filaments have been developed to simulate the action of broomcorn, palmyra, union mix, palmyre, bassine, African bass, tampico and other natural fibers. It has excellent wet stiffness, abrasive tip cleaning action, is non-brittle, and is inert to most solvents, oil, acids, and chemicals. It is, in fact, one of the most chemically resistant synthetic filament materials available. It has a maximum short-term use temperature of 225?F (107?C) and a maximum continuous use temperature of 175?F (79?C).

Polystyrene This material has replaced natural bristles for use where chemical resistance is needed. Its stiff aggressive properties make it ideal for utility brushes, coffee urn brushes, deck scrub brushes, floor and garage brushes. Polystyrene bristles wear longer, perform better, and yet carry a comparable price tag to natural bristles.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Is used for brooms and cleaning brushes. It has reasonable flex life, low friction resistance and no loss of stiffness in water.

PTFE (Teflon) This material is inert to most chemicals, resistant to strong mineral and oxidizing acids, along with alcohols, ketones, ethers, amines, esters, chlorinated compounds and common cleaning solvents. PTFE is very soft and has has relatively low tensile strength but does maintain excellent property resilience up to 500o F (260?C) continuous.

Quill is a hollow and tapered Nylon 6.12 product specifically designed for paintbrushes and other applications.

Wire Wires for brushes come in many forms for a variety of uses. Usually available in a variety of thicknesses. Common use wires include:
Anchor Wire: see Nickel Silver Wire
Brass Wire: Crimped in coils or cut to lengths, spooled. Crimping available and round or flat for stapling purposes.
Carbon Steel Wire: Available in low or high carbon for the manufacture of wire brushes.
Flat Wire: Self straightening flat steel wire used in street broom and brushes for oven and butcher block cleaning.
Nickel Silver Wire: Round for stapling and flat for anchor wire for toothbrushes
Specialty Wires: Bessemer, phosphorous bronze, aluminum and special alloys. Brush pins for paint brush ferrules.
Stainless Steel Wire: Hard wire for crimping and soft for stapling and twisted in wire brushes. Available in different grades and available in cut lengths, spools

Stapling Wire:
Plain, copper coated and galvanized, round or flat and often in spools.
Strip Brush Backing: Usually slit from coils, the backing material is used to form the back channel of a metal back strip brush.
Titanium: 40% lighter than stainless steel with comparable strength and better bend recovery. Non-magnetic and bio-compatible (non-toxic and non-allergenic)