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Wire Brush Finish


We are doing a job that requires 1,200 linear feet (not much) of a "heavy" wire brush finish on flat sawn white oak. It seems like a Supermax with wire brush head is the way to go.

Do any of you have experience in this area?

We can't justify buying a machine with heads ($8,000-$10,000) for this one job and are having a hard time finding some one to do it for us.

2/16/17       #2: Wire Brush Finish ...

Where are you located?

2/16/17       #3: Wire Brush Finish ...
Jared Emery

For a one-time job, consider doing it by hand. We've experimented with wire wheels on an electric drill among other things, and have found that doing it by hand with a wire bristle brush is pretty fast. A couple swipes per foot after sanding is all that's needed to open up the grain. As an alternative, contact metalworking shops in your area, because they often need to grain stainless steel and either have access to a brushing machine or know someone who does.

2/16/17       #4: Wire Brush Finish ...

Where are you located?

2/16/17       #5: Wire Brush Finish ...
Mark B Member

How wide is the trim? You can run a brush stack on your shaper (if your running trim assume you must have one). May be worthwhile if the trim isnt unreasonably wide

2/17/17       #6: Wire Brush Finish ...
james e mcgrew Member


Looking for a weathered look,, a wire wheel may not do this,, we used a small sand blaster with a spray bottle of water to loosen the soft wood and remove it leaving the elevated hardwood.

2/17/17       #7: Wire Brush Finish ...

Who makes a brush stack. The shaper we would use has a 1 1/4" x 7" spindle.

2/17/17       #8: Wire Brush Finish ...

In the last 6 months we have had many jobs with this kind of finish. Up until now we have done it by hand, but I have been wondering if this Makita 9741 Wheel Sander would speed things up.

Makita Sander

2/17/17       #9: Wire Brush Finish ...
MarkB Member

SW fasteners and others have always offered wire and nylon abrasive brushes with common spindle bores.

2/18/17       #10: Wire Brush Finish ...

I made samples for a client using a wire brush on a drill. (for a small vanity). They liked the finish so much they wanted the same finish on the prep kitchen and Library. I ended up buying a used grizzly dual drum sander and removing the drums and having a 37" wire brush head made from Industrial Brush in NJ. about $900 for the head. I have a VFD to adjust the speed of the head. If you have the time, you can build a machine that works well for this task.

2/20/17       #11: Wire Brush Finish ...

Couldn't justify the Supermax either and got the Mikita wheel sander. It works really well, much more efficient than using a wire brush in a drill.

2/20/17       #12: Wire Brush Finish ...

Like I said in my first post, I have about 1,200 linear feet of flat sawn white oak to do. What I should of added is that the boards are between 6" and 8" wide.

Do you think the Makita will work?

2/20/17       #13: Wire Brush Finish ...

Hey Geoff,
The Makita brush head is only 4" wide but it is really user friendly and you can move it across the board quite easily. You can also use it on the cabinet after it is assembled. It would likely pay for itself on this job. (before the Makita we did a hickory job and had it sand blasted, didn't look nearly as good)

2/21/17       #14: Wire Brush Finish ...
Joe Calhoon

I see they now offer a wire head for the Makita. Is that what you are using? Thinking about trying one as the nylon heads do not do much in white oak.

2/21/17       #15: Wire Brush Finish ...

Yes we have both heads. The nylon one just polishes it some while the wire head takes off more material.

2/21/17       #16: Wire Brush Finish ...

Another thing I forgot to mention is that the Makita is made in Japan. Hard to find a Japanese or American hand held power tool these days;(

2/21/17       #17: Wire Brush Finish ...
Joe Calhoon

Thanks for the info Andy. Have you used the wire head on white oak?
The Makita is a good unit, I just need a wire wheel for ours.

2/22/17       #18: Wire Brush Finish ...

Andy, Joe,
We are looking for a "heavy" wire brush finish on flat sawn white oak. We are looking into trying the Makita 9741 Wheel Sander.

Thanks for the information.

We also found a shop with the SuperMax brush sanded nearby. This shop has the sanding or "flatter" head. We would need to buy the wire brush head which would cost about $1,600. I would rather run the wood through the sander than the other way around.

2/25/17       #19: Wire Brush Finish ...

We have the Makita with the wire brush. It is not capable of achieving a "heavy" wire brush finish on hardwoods. On white oak for example, it will remove the soft grain but not even scratch the hard grain.

2/25/17       #20: Wire Brush Finish ...
Joe Calhoon

Our Makita with the nylon head only works in softwood and does not do a heavy pattern at that. I still may try the wire head. We have done a couple white oak doors and ended up using a small side grinder with a wire head. It worked well and was able to get a deep brushing. Not the tool for doing 1000 lineal of trim though. We also have a nylon head for the shaper that is not bad in pine.

I was in a shop a while back that was using a Super brush with a wire head on white oak. They were making 2 passes with a slow feed rate. It was doing the job.

A large local shop here bought our old 40 HP Cemco wide belt and converted it to a wire brush machine. They say it works well. Another shop I was in had a jury rigged brush head with a dust hood on the outfeed side of his wide belt. The owner said it got him through a large millwork job.

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