Haike Brush Hairs
Many people use a Japanese "haike" brush to apply kiln wash.
This kind of brush has very fine bristles that allow the kiln wash
to go on more smoothly. The brushes are inexpensive, and can be
easily found in many art and glass supply stores.
However, one of the downsides to using a haike brush is that
it has a tendency to shed lose hairs, especially when it's very new
or after it has aged a while. If the loose hairs are allow to
remain on the surface of the kiln-washed shelf, they can leave small
lines on the underside of fused pieces.
You can help minimize the chance of losing hairs from your
haike brush by rinsing the brush thoroughly after each use. Since
dried kiln wash stiffens the hairs and causes them to break, rinsing
the kiln wash away after using can help keep the brush intact.
If you do get stray hairs on your kiln washed shelf, the
simplest solution is to lightly sand or brush the kiln shelf after the wash
has dried. An old pair of pantyhose works well for the
smoothing process, but fine sandpaper (or even a soft cloth) can
work well. Once the loose hairs are removed, the shelf can be
fired as normal.
A second option is to apply the kiln wash with a paintbrush,
rather than a haike brush. Foam brushes will tend to work
better than standard paint brushes, and foam avoids the loose hair
Another option is to spray the kiln wash rather than brush it
on. Use a small air brush, an inexpensive sprayer, or even a
mouth atomizer to do the job. Although it's a bit more time
consuming to set up, spraying generally goes on more evenly and with
less texture than using a brush.
Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.
All rights reserved.