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Haike Brush Hairs

Many people use a Japanese "haike" brush to apply kiln wash. This kind of brush has very fine bristles that allow the kiln wash to go on more smoothly. The brushes are inexpensive, and can be easily found in many art and glass supply stores.

However, one of the downsides to using a haike brush is that it has a tendency to shed lose hairs, especially when it's very new or after it has aged a while.  If the loose hairs are allow to remain on the surface of the kiln-washed shelf, they can leave small lines on the underside of fused pieces.

You can help minimize the chance of losing hairs from your haike brush by rinsing the brush thoroughly after each use. Since dried kiln wash stiffens the hairs and causes them to break, rinsing the kiln wash away after using can help keep the brush intact.

If you do get stray hairs on your kiln washed shelf, the simplest solution is to lightly sand or brush the kiln shelf after the wash has dried.  An old pair of pantyhose works well for the smoothing process, but fine sandpaper (or even a soft cloth) can work well.  Once the loose hairs are removed, the shelf can be fired as normal.

A second option is to apply the kiln wash with a paintbrush, rather than a haike brush.  Foam brushes will tend to work better than standard paint brushes, and foam avoids the loose hair problem altogether.

Another option is to spray the kiln wash rather than brush it on.  Use a small air brush, an inexpensive sprayer, or even a mouth atomizer to do the job.  Although it's a bit more time consuming to set up, spraying generally goes on more evenly and with less texture than using a brush.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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