• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Researching the brushmakers trade & tools.

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

monkeybiter

Established Member
Joined
23 Dec 2009
Messages
3,055
Reaction score
4
Location
doncaster
This has awoken a forgotten memory, a story from my granddad, born 1903. As a young man, or probably a teenager, he worked somewhere, probably in Bradford, where they drilled out the bristle pockets for brush heads. The machine produced little cores that he described as looking like little bullets. They used to drop them from an upstairs window or possibly the roof onto unsuspecting passers by. One day they had to face the music when the factory boss walked in with the brim of his hat full of wooden cores.

Thanks for the memory trigger.
 

Biliphuster

Established Member
Joined
29 Sep 2014
Messages
224
Reaction score
2
Location
Blighty
Thanks for posting this, I have always wanted to give brush making a try but have been unable to find anywhere which sells loose bundles of horsehair.
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,028
Reaction score
504
Location
Bristol
Thanks for that Andy, looks like a good find covering a little-known trade.

I've not read it all yet, but I reckon there's a good chance that this archive film will serve to illustrate what it describes.

http://www.rts.ch/archives/tv/culture/suisse-au-fil-du-temps/3441395-le-brossier.html

From the same source as the wonderful old tool makers of Geneva, it shows an old chap described as the last hand maker of brushes in western Switzerland. I can't follow all the French dialogue but could pick up a statement at the beginning that he was appprenticed in 1925. When the film was made in 1983 he was 73, so he would have started at age 14, at about the same time your book was published.

A lifetime of brush making did not seem to have made him rich, or even very happy!
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,028
Reaction score
504
Location
Bristol
Biliphuster":3ryxeyo3 said:
Thanks for posting this, I have always wanted to give brush making a try but have been unable to find anywhere which sells loose bundles of horsehair.
I recently visited John Boyd textiles in Castle Cary, Somerset. They are one of only two companies in the world who weave fabric using hair from horses' tails. (They do this on original looms from the 1870s, but that's another story.)

Asked about where they buy horse tail hair, they said that most now comes from Russia or Mongolia and is traded by international middle men. So if you can't make it to the steppes or the plains, you need to find somebody who does!

Over here, the relatively small number of people who own horses don't want to trim their tails and there is no organised trade. (To clarify, the hair is trimmed, like having a haircut, and grows back. "Docking" - permanent removal of the tail is a cruel treatment, now disapproved of practically everywhere.)

I realise that this is not much use to you, but it might explain why you have trouble finding fibres.
 

MIGNAL

Established Member
Joined
6 Nov 2005
Messages
2,699
Reaction score
20
Location
W.York's
http://www.sowden.co.uk/

Very close to myself. A friend used to buy from them when he was rehairing Violin bows, some 25 years ago. No doubt far too expensive for brushes.
 

Chrispy

Established Member
Joined
10 Aug 2011
Messages
1,869
Reaction score
55
Location
Oxfordshire
I have a brush back shaper, at least that's what it's called in the manual, it shapes the wooden backs for clothes /hair brushes. But I don't use it for that job.
 

Wildman

Established Member
Joined
30 Jan 2012
Messages
1,031
Reaction score
77
Location
Ilfracombe
thanks for a most interesting book and film, I shall certainly add brushmaking to my to do list. Luckily I do keep horses so sourcing some hair should not be difficult as long as the wife is not looking and it is gathered in the winter when there are no flies.
 

toolsntat

Yep, I collect tools and tat
Joined
8 Dec 2007
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
318
Location
Leicestershire England
Many thanks to AndyT for the write up @ TATHS and also to say I met the last apprentice brushmaker in Northamtonshire this year 8) 8)
Pair of brushmakers shears in my display and was lovely to hear him say he had used them for just that purpose =D>

Andy
 

cowfoot

Established Member
Joined
7 Jun 2016
Messages
243
Reaction score
0
Location
Buckinghamshire
Nice find, cheers.
I rarely come across any vintage painting and decorating (my trade!) gear , most of it gets binned I suppose.
I've got a nice collection of old paint colour charts, though. Mostly from the US at the turn of the last century with dark Victorian colours, a few from the 50's in various pastel shades. They look great framed. Funnily enough, imaginative/bizarre names for colours isn't a new thing...they were flogging the equivalent of "Elephant's Breath" a century or so ago!
 

lurker

Le dullard de la commune
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
5,571
Reaction score
179
Location
Leicestershire
Andy.(toolsntat)

Are you aware Charles Bentley in Loughborough is still in existence.
 
Top