The Great Debate

This was the week that I was supposed to write about Hilary Clinton.

I was going to focus on the merits of having her in office: A mature woman (not unlike myself) who was not only a leader, but more importantly, a leader who favored the comfort and gorgeousness of elasticated waistbands.  She could be the one chick to make stretchable waistbands fashionable again.   There could come a time when all women, across the nation,  could rejoice in the soft comfort of the ever-expanding waistband.  America needs Hilary.  mom_jeans

It was going to be THE.BEST.POST.EVER.

But things changed (as the actress said to the Bishop).  And so, I quickly changed focus and started writing a blog post about waxing tools. Seems like a natural and logical switch, right?

Why the sudden change? well..I started reading a group Facebook page and I stumbled across  a  ‘discussion’ of sorts between women painters.  The great topic of debate was centered around the merits of a wax brush. Or more specifically, what was THE best wax brush.   Because, duh, shouldn’t we all intrinsically know which one was best.  I was shocked, I tell you!  Aghast!   It seemed a little ridiculous to me to see the conversation unfold.  Such a lot of negative back and forth about a brush.  A brush?

So I’m going to jump on the bandwagon, and put in my ‘two cents’ on the whole debacle. Let’s get some things sorted here.  Most of you know that I paint.  A lot.  I’m no expert.  I’m not a stockist.  I’m not paid to do a ‘soft’ sell on a product. (But I would never say ‘No’. That would be just rude).   My loyalty lies with….the quality of a product, and I don’t care who’s name is on it.  But to get my loyalty, the product has to be good.    (*unless the company pays me.  I take all types of credit cards, but prefer hard cash if at all possible).


So, let me tell you what I  have used to wax my pieces.  I guess, first I should say that I don’t always wax my pieces (although the majority of them, I do).  I have used water-based clear topcoats over my painted pieces. For The Crystal Ball I actually used a oil-based lacquer, which was beautiful.

But, for the purpose of this post, let’s just focus on what I’ve used to apply wax.  When I first started painting I bought a wax brush from my local stockist.  She had two different brushes (two different manufacturers I believe, two different sizes).  At the time, Annie Sloan did not offer waxing brushes.  It was an open field.  You just had to either figure it out yourself, or trust in your stockists judgement.  I went for the smaller (cheaper) brush. This is a brush by Waxine.  waxine brushI guess originally I bought it because I thought it would work well in small areas and I didn’t really envision that I would ever try to do this professionally.

I hate this brush.  It’s useless.  It makes no sense to have a waxing brush with a flat edge.  It’s so useless that I never use it.  Maybe someday I’ll figure out a purpose for it (maybe, using it as a shaving brush for my chin hair?).  I dunno.

I’ve gone down the ‘old t-shirts trail’,  and they work, sort of.  old tshirtThe problem with using t-shirts is 1: You have to throw them away after one use because the wax hardens.  2: If you paint a lot, that’s a lot of ripped t-shirts to throw away (I loathe the ‘throw away’ mentality).  And 3: A lot of the wax is left on the t-shirt, and if I hate one thing more than filling up landfills, it’s wasting expensive product.

I sometimes use Shop towels.  You can buy them from most hardware stores.  I actually use them after waxing, to wipe away any wax balls etc and they’re great for buffing.  They are quite marvelous.  Very strong.  Just like the man on the front.  shop towelsBut, I wouldn’t want to use them to put on the wax because they are super absorbent, and you have the problem again of it holding on to the wax and wasting it.

When I realized that the small miserable excuse of a brush wasn’t going to ‘cut it’, I went back to my stockist and ended up buying the bigger brush.  big wax brushI rationalized that it would make sense to have two brushes (one for clear wax, the other for dark wax).   Which is still a good idea.

I really tried to embrace this frivolous expense.  But, I still didn’t like it.  And it was still hard to get into corners.  (On a side note, I have painting friends who LOVE this brush).  *I try not to judge;   I’m a lover, not a hater.  But, I stopped using this brush after a while.

Then a few weeks into my brush aversion I read somewhere that the best wax brush was actually  a chip brush.

chip brush And yes, I admit, I did have to Google to see what a chip brush looked like.  In England we would say these brushes are ‘as cheap as chips‘ (meaning inexpensive) – so the name fits. You can probably buy these for less than $1.  The good part is they allow you to get into the corners.  The negative is that they shed a bit.  But, if you’re only going to wax a few pieces (and stop before the addiction strikes) I would say this is the way to go. My tip is to cut down the edge a little.  It makes it easier to work with, and a little firmer for the wax to hold on to.  Also, I would tell anyone if money is a factor, use it on paint product – not a brush.  There are lots of alternatives to use instead of an expensive waxing brush.  If you’re going to paint, you need good quality paint!

So, yes, I’ve tried a lot of things.  I wasn’t expecting to try anything else.  And then I read that my friend, Denise (a fabulous painter) bought the new Annie Sloan wax brush and loved it.  annie sloan wax brushDenise is a straight talker, and I trust her opinion (most of the time, except when she’s wrong). And because of Denise, I ended up with a THIRD waxing brush.  *When my husband accuses me of putting our children at risk of getting scurvy because we can no longer afford fresh vegetables,

I will say :i_blame_denise_mug

But,THIS is it.

The search is over.

This is the brush that I really, really love.  It’s angled at the end   oooohhhh, ahhhhhhh, so you can get into the corners.  It’s quite soft, so there’s lots of play in it.  I’m not quite sure why it took Annie Sloan so long to introduce a waxing brush.  She should have used her time designing a waxing brush, instead of spending it creating English Yellow chalk paint (but that’s just between you and me, OK?).

So.  If you paint a lot and want to buy ONE wax brush, invest in the Annie Sloan wax brush.  (learn by my mistakes).  Use a chip brush for your dark wax.

If you don’t see yourself waxing a lot, go for the cheap chip brush (seriously, save your money).  Money is money in any language.

And that’s it.  My 2 cents.  I’m sure the debate will continue about which paint is best, what brush to use etc.   But really, at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.

Just like elasticated waistbands.

{insert catchy ending phrase here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory




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