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Re: [BKARTS] Removing dried PVA from brushes??

We use denatured alcohol (the same as methylated spirits) to clean our brushes. All of our brushes are occasionally given a soaking for a day or two to free the bristles up of their adhesive content, especially down near the ferrule. You can tell how well it works by feeling the used alcohol solution in your fingers - its feels slippery, as its PVA content goes into solution after the soaking action. Every so often, throw it away and start again, otherwise it becomes less effective. Stubborn and hard brushes require longer soaking, even renewing the alcohol wash a few times if necessary.

Years ago, we approached Henkel, who is one of the prime PVA manufacturers, for a solvent for the PVAs. They provided us with their stock solvent, which is Toluene based. I think that we used it once and that was enough. Excellent and very effective, but a little too toxic to use in quantity in the workshop. Then, we experimented with the alcohol range, and found that the humble denatured alcohol does a nice job, slower than the aromatics, but kinder on the body! It brings our brushes up to scratch, making them soft and malleable again, as if they were almost new.


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