Please use BACK arrow at top.

Please use BACK arrow at top.

Please use BACK arrow at top.

Please use BACK arrow at top.

Please use BACK arrow at top.


The very best hair for artist brushes is from the tail of the Kolinsky (Mustela siberica). This bushy-tailed weasel lives in Siberia and Northern China, and is trapped in the wild as opposed to raised on farms as Mink is today. The extremely cold climates of Siberia provide the highest quality Kolinsky hair, which is taken from the tail of the male, winter coat. It is quite expensive. Brushes made with quality Kolinsky hair provide the artist with control that surpasses all other brushes. Also, a well made Kolinsky brush will consistently snap back to a point in use. Also see What Is A Kolinsky.


Almost equivalent to the Kolinsky, Sable hair is used extensively in artist brushes. (Sable and Kolinsky hair look similar but the Kolinsky is darker at the tips, especially when wet.) A good Sable brush also points and snaps well, and therefore is a good substitute for a Kolinsky at a slightly lower price. Sable hair is a bit stiffer than Kolinsky hair and so is preferable for some applications. Our Pure Red Sable watercolor and oil-painting brushes are made with the very finest red sable hair. However, the hair used in our Series 17A and Series 17B Ceramist, and our Series 8B Short Chisel brushes is 'dressed' to produce a stiffer or firmer head. These brushes have greater point support which is is so desirable in ceramic work (sculpturing teeth in dental laboratories), and in the legendary short chisel brushes.


Synthetic 'hair' is not real hair, but polymer filaments made to look and act like hair. These are available in a variety of diameters, lengths, colors, stiffnesses, and qualities. All of our Synthetic brushes are made with the topmost quality filaments, a mix of several diameters, and are tapered at the tips. Our Golden Synthetics (Series 2-) are made with soft filaments to feel and perform like Sable hair. Our Firm White Synthetics (Series 7-) are the same except that the filaments are a bit stiffer to satisfy preferences of many artists. Our Strong White Synthetics (Series 3-) are long-handle brushes with very stiff filaments intended for acrylic painting.


Sabeline is OX hair dyed to resemble Sable. It is a bit stiffer and coarser than Sable, and less expensive. In watercolor, Sabeline brushes can be used in place of Sable, where suitable, to save 'wear and tear' of the more costly Sable brushes.


Hog Bristle is the traditional hair for oil-painting brushes. It is very stiff and each hair divides into several 'flags' at its tip as opposed to a fine point as Sable does. Because Hog hair has a natural curve, two bundles, facing each other, are used to make a brush. The finest quality Hog Bristle comes from Chungking China and can be identified, after 'dressing', by a beautiful sheen. For the finer work in a painting, an artist usually turns to Sable brushes.


Goat hair is very soft, has minimal resilience, and is inexpensive. It is most usually found in the classic Hake brushes made in the Orient.


Pony hair is from the mane of young horses (ponies). It is very fine and soft, and is the typical hair used in the traditional Cosmetic Brush. The finest-quality pony hair is excellent for blending, such as in our Series 80 Pony Blender. It is also used in the hair-mixtures of inexpensive brushes, typically referred to as 'camel hair' brushes.


Squirrel hair is extremely soft and more fragile than other hairs. Its holding capacity (for water or color) is unsurpassed, and is so fine that a stroke will leave no voids nor hair tracks. Unlike kolinsky hair, however, squirrel hair has no 'spring'. The very best squirrel is Kazan which is used for the finest brushes. Blue squirrel is almost as fine, and is also used in fine brushes. Squirrel mops typically use a 'squirrel mix' which is squirrel mixed with a small percentage of other hairs to achieve the desired 'mop' performance.


Ox hair is taken from the ears of oxen. It is coarser and stiffer than sable, and less costly. The coarser 'dark ox' hair is used for stippler and stenciling brushes and the like. The finer 'light ox' hair is used for fine varnish and mottler brushes. Also, dyed 'light ox' hair is used to make sabeline brushes.


Badger hair is available in many grades and of course, corresponding costs. We use only the very top grade Badger hair. Top grade Badger is very soft at the tips which makes it excellent for blending - especially in oil painting. It is also used extensively in 'faux' painting , decorating walls or furniture in homes.


This blend of high quality Red Sable hair and firmer Synthetic filaments yields a unique brush that has the fine control of Sable with extra firmness. It is useful in smaller sizes where a firmer point is desired.


Mongoose fills the need for a hair that is stiffer than sable, but not as stiff and coarse as hog bristle. The mongoose is found mainly in Africa and India (and one species in the West Indies where a cute Calypso song tells of the "Sly Mongoose"). We offer high quality Pure Mongoose Brushes for oil painting (long-handle), but these fine brushes can also be useful for acrylic or any medium.