Foam vs. bristle

Well, after applying 6 coats of varnish on the deck using a foam roller and nice badger-hair brush, I still had one or two areas of brush marks.  So, when I applied the 2nd coat onto the hull tonight, I figured I'd try rolling with foam and tipping out with foam.  What a difference!!!  The hull is like one continuous 16' piece of smooth glass... no brush strokes, lap marks, holidays, sags.  I humbly accept that after tipping out with a high quality bristle brush all these years, foam brushes may have been the way to go all along.  I guess Rebecca Whitman (the goddess of varnish) was on to something...



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RE: Foam vs. bristle

Good to read Chris.  I am weeks away from painting and varnishing.


RE: Foam vs. bristle

Here's another tool idea for tipping off that was passed along to me by a well known boat designer/builder:  Cut about 3" off one end of a clean foam roller cover, then split that short tube lengthwise (along it's axis) into three equal-sized curved sections.  Each section makes a great little "brush", which is stiffer and more durable than the standard foam brushes. 

They're good for tipping off paints and varnishes after rolling.  But they're especially great for tipping off rolled epoxy coatings, which regular foams brushes often aren't tough enough to deal with.  They're also better than chip brushes (which often shed lots of bristles) for applying epoxy coatings in areas that are too confined to reach with a regular roller.

If you feel the need for a handle, wedging one of the sections into a saw cut at the end of a stick usually works.  I sometimes just clamp one in the tip of my small needle-nose Vise-grips.

RE: Foam vs. bristle

Not all foam brushes are created equal. I bought a bunch from a major tool retailer that were essentially useless. The handles were attached by a thin plastic strap that gave way with the lightest pressure. For only a few cents more I found some excellent ones at a Woodcraft store - made in USA with solidly embedded wood handles. -Wes

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