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brushes-msg - 5/25/01


Period brushes for painting and other work. Modern sources for materials and substitutions.


NOTE: See also the files: quills-msg, calligraphy-msg, callig-suppl-msg, inks-msg, painting-msg, pigments-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If  information  is  published from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



To: medieval-leather at yahoogroups.com

From: Marc Carlson <marc-carlson at utulsa.edu>

Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 14:08:39 -0600

Subject: Re: [medieval-leather] Hog bristle needles


The following information was extracted from the HCC website and can be attributed to DA Saguto, "Dr. Obuv", John Leno, Ken Eriksen, DW Frommer, etc.


After asking around, it seems that the "blonds" that people can generally buy in this country are more usually intended for use in paint brushes. They should be available from

AGS-CUDAS [Acme General Supply] in Richmond, VA, MacPherson's Leather in Seattle ($3-4.00 per 1/3 inch bundle), and probably every other shoe repair supply house in the country sells.  There seems to be very little quality control over them, and there are those who have made the following complaints :very thin, you're lucky to find them 6" long. Most have probably been sitting in the drawers in little bundles no bigger than a pencil lead since 1940-something. They are often rotten and brittle, with  a tendency to splinter.  And they cost too much.


Historically, although various forms of swine bristles might equally have served in lieu of the longer, stiffer, wild boar bristle, the stated preference for and any specific naming of "Russia" bristle, or black Russia bristle, is not until the 18th century and later. Some poor sot might even have had to use hedgehog in a pinch, but as soon as any preference at all is mentioned, domestic pigs are declared "too soft" [Garsault, 1767], wild boar preferred for size, and black Russia bristles named as the "best". Anyone is free to try anything they can get their hands on today, but it might be helpful to know that wild boar bristles, and the black ones from Russia, supposedly worked better than anything else available since the 18th c.   The nice fresh stiff ones from India, black or blonde, extra stiff, 8" long, are a bargain at $100 for two point two pounds--that's a lifetime supply for most folks.("Extra Stiff Black India Bristle". Maximum size available at that time was 6 1!



Indian & Overseas Trading Company  (Possibly no longer in the business)

P.O. Box 363

Kanpur 208 003


FAX: 91-512-294380, 311627,

attention Pavan Sood. E-mail


Karl Rothlander & CO.  (Possibly no longer in the business)

Gotenstrasse 21

Postfach 105428

D-2000 Hamburg 1, Germany


It might be pointed out that nylon fishing line makes a very serviceable bristle--it can be cut to any length, comes in many different weights and can even be split just like a boars bristle...using, essentially, the same technique to split the nylon as you would use to split the boars bristle.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org