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Cleaning brushes....

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'd like some suggestions for cleaning the built up wax on my brushes. Right now, I'm blasting them with an air gun, which is just fine. However, there is some build up in the ends, and I'd like to know how other people handle this. Thanks in advance.

Greg
post #2 of 16
Fill a plastic container to a suitable 'bristle' depth & stand the brush in it for half an hour.
post #3 of 16
I heard of people putting them bristles down on papertowels in an oven on the lowest setting (while their wife was away of course).
post #4 of 16
Spyderjon said to fill a plastic container to a suitable 'bristle' depth & stand the brush in it for half an hour.


I will add that the common cleaner "Simple Green" works well as he did not say what to fill the container with.
post #5 of 16
I just use compressed air.
Since many brushes are nylon, I am concerned with using any liquids to clean the brushes since nylon is one of the more hygroscopic plastics. (I know nothing about the properties of horsehair.) Using a liquid to clean nylon brushes will more than likely allow the liquid to be absorbed by the nylon. Although you can dry the brush, it doesn't guarantee that some chemical residue will remain in the nylon. (It's kind of like soaking a rag in gasoline. The rag may dry, but it will still smell like gasoline since gasoline particles remain in the rag.)
Maybe any remaining chemicals in the nylon will be beneficial. They may prevent wax from adhering to the nylon. However, they may be detrimental and be ejected from the brush onto the ski when the brush is used.
I'm not sure which case, if either, is more true.
It is something to consider though.
post #6 of 16
Spyderjons technique is the best I have found. Use a suitable Rubbermaid type container one that will fit the area of your brush. Fill it bristle depth with citrus base cleaner to disolve the wax build up. Then rinse well with clean water. Let dry. Use again.

But really how much wax are you getting to build up on your brushes that it is an issue. I've only had to clean shop brushes this way. My personal brushes see ALOT of use, but never seem to be in that bad shape, so I just bang them out or do a quick blast of compressed air after brushing the corner of the bench.

I would hesitate to us ethe melt it off method in the oven like Dr. D said. you just don't have enough real control over the temp, and this sound like a great way to accidentally melt some nylon bristles.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
Spyderjon said to fill a plastic container to a suitable 'bristle' depth & stand the brush in it for half an hour.....
Sorry, I meant to say to stand the brush in wax remover/base cleaner.
post #8 of 16
I brush a couple brushes together. They clean eachother.
post #9 of 16
Be careful about base cleaner for some brushes, either citrus or petrol based. If you have the kind of brushes that have painted backs, eg. the Beast brushes, you can get paint dissolving and coating your bristles. I ruined a couple of Beast brushes cleaning them with base cleaner. I had them standing bristle deep in base cleaner in a container and either the fumes dissolved the paint or maybe I had them too deep (but I don't think so).

I've since changed to brushes with plain wood backs, and I don't clean them with base cleaner anymore. Usually I can get most of the wax cleaned out by running an old plastic scrapper over the bristles. I've also used (very) hot water for brushes that I could not get as clean as I wanted with the scrapper method.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY GS View Post
I would hesitate to us ethe melt it off method in the oven like Dr. D said. you just don't have enough real control over the temp, and this sound like a great way to accidentally melt some nylon bristles.
Yeah if nylon could melt at that temperature. Since it can't it won't. Nylon melts at like 400F; most oven's low end is below 200F.

No control? It has a temp set dial or digital interface and an internal thermometer for feedback control. How is that out of control?


Eckman: it was probably the fumes condensing on the brush surface and dissolving the paint.
post #11 of 16
I realize that there is a control on an oven, but with many, like an electric oven, the element is constantly kicking off and on, going up and down. I'm not saying it WILL melt the nylon, just saying I don't see this as being the safest method is all. Didn't mean to knock your method.

As far as the cleaner dissolving the paint on the brush, I could see either the fumes condensing or a wicking action taking place on the bristles and getting in there. to be safe, I would only fill to about half bristle depth if the brush handle is painted. since that is where any wax build up will be anyway.
post #12 of 16
Boiling water over bristles will melt and wash away all the wax.

I run hot tap water over my scrapers and they are clean like nw.
post #13 of 16
How about brass brushes? I'm not sure I would immerse those guys.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY GS View Post
Spyderjons technique is the best I have found. Use a suitable Rubbermaid type container one that will fit the area of your brush. Fill it bristle depth with citrus base cleaner to disolve the wax build up. Then rinse well with clean water. Let dry. Use again.
I took some tuning 'lessons' from a gentleman very knowledgeable in this stuff.

His tuning techniques absolutely blew me away.

He has two brushes, his clean brass brush, and his dirty brass brush. He uses the dirty one for cleaning the bases. The clean one for finishing off after a clean wax. He cleans his brushes at the end of the season using base cleaner as mentioned by the others.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Boiling water over bristles will melt and wash away all the wax.

I run hot tap water over my scrapers and they are clean like nw.
I'm glad I'm not your landlord!

(Seriously, I've used boiling water to get wax out of clothing, but didn't run the water down the drain.)
post #16 of 16
I just suck the gunk out with a vacuum extension. I never had the need to go to any more aggressive methods.
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