Making boulder brushes from salvaged hardwood
After finding a spokeshave, a hand tool used to plain and smooth wood, in a salvage yard – I brought it home to tackle some planks of hardwood we had stacked in the garden. The wood had been planking from a 1950’s flat bed truck, and had been saved from being sent to the scrap yard, and until now had been waiting for its moment to shine. As you can imagine this required some intensive wood preparation.
Instead of more cheap plastic boulder brushes I wanted to create something handmade, the old fashioned way.
Planks are sawn into strips followed by heavy sanding to remove years of weathering. The strips are then cut into lengths to form brush handle blanks, ready for shaping .
A simple homemade clamp (again from waste wood!) is used to hold all pieces in place while they are worked on.
Each handle blank is shaped using the aforementioned spokeshave, primarily a chair maker’s tool designed to shape intricate bits of wood.
Once shaped, the brushes are branded. To do so, a branding die was made from aluminium using a burr and Dremel. This die, I attached to the end of a soldering iron. At the correct temperature, this branded our logo onto each brush. On the other side, a pocket was cut using a combination of a drill and chisel for the bristles to be inserted.
Now for some personality. Spray can remnants from other projects were used to create lots of awesome colour fade effects. The colouring was sealed with a top coat of clear nitrocellulose lacquer.
I then painstakingly glued rows of boar bristle, keeping it dense because no one likes brushes that wear out too fast. It took me a bloody long time to make, so I want them to last a long time.
Once the glue had been left to dry for several days, the bristles were trimmed. Done.
I am pretty chuffed with our completely handcrafted Project brush, and we hope you are too. Each one is totally unique, just like you!