- Bristles – also known as hairs. can be natural, synthetic, or combination of both
- Ferrule – the silvery bit that connects the bristles with the handle
- Crimp – the part of the ferrule that secures it to the handle
- Handle – usually made of wood or acrylic
It is the handle, the bristle filament or mix there of, the crimps in the ferrule as well as the material used on the ferule and handle, which designate the quality.
The quality of a brush is reflected in the price. A quality brush has more bristles, properly sized bristles and spaces between bristles, a rust resistant ferrule to secure the bristles and high quality hairs or filaments.
Cheap brushes will rust, loose bristles and will not retain shape.
Sable is hair taken from a mink or a marten, typically found in Northeast Asia. Their hair has been sought after for many generations by painters because of its absorbency and thickness.
Taklon is the common name for a synthetic fiber used in artist-quality paint, makeup and pin strip brushes. It is a smooth, soft, and somewhat fragile polyester or nylon, although proper brush care will extend the life of synthetic bristle. Taklon lacks the surface irregularities of a natural animal hair bristle, making it superior in many ways and easier to clean thoroughly.
White Taklon (or what we call White Nylon) is considered the most pure form and typically displays a more firm quality than dyed Taklon.
Golden Taklon has a mix of dyed carbon fibers as well as polyester fibers with multi diameter filaments increasing spring and snap back. Golden Taklon feel very similar to the sables, and are a little softer than the white nylon. Sables and the synthetic sables or “Golden Taklon” was developed to preform like the sables while surpassing the natural sable in durability.
Handles can be wood plastic or lacquered wood. Shapes are the beaver tail where the handle bulges in the middle (soft comfort) or the more traditional artist brush type the rat-tail, with a long straight taper making them easier to hold for detailed work.