Brush Choices for Water-Based and Oil-Based Formulas

Oil-based finishes play nicely with natural bristle brushes; water-based formulas do not. December 31, 2005

I've heard some say that you can use the same brushes for any type of solvent based finish, and others say that you need to have different brushes for oil based poly than you use for water base poly, etc. Any experience there?

Forum Responses
From contributor M:
Brushes for water base may not be the best for solvent base, and the opposite. Also, when you use the same brush, you may not clean the brushes from the solvent well, and when used with another base, they would do a bad job.

From contributor S:
Traditional brushes are made from natural bristle, usually from pigs. These bristles work incredibly well with organic solvents such as mineral spirits, but they swell and soften in water, making them unsuitable for water-based paints and varnishes. Brush companies do various mixes of polyester and nylon filaments to produce brushes that work reasonably well with any product.