Sunday, April 27, 2008

Maru Bake Illness!

I tried to post this to Baren Forum but I've been having some email issues lately with things not getting delivered so I'm throwing this debate open to everyone! I purchased my favorite Maru Bake from Baren Mall and have used it with great success for the past three or four years. I understand that it's only been about five years since my introduction to the Moku Hanga and that my brush has seen me through my learning stages (still learning btw!). The last time I broke the brush out to print my Strawberry Roan edition, I noticed this split in the wood!

I noticed a few months back that the back of the brush was developing a saddle shape slowly but surely so I'm not entirely surprised but I'm wondering if maybe I'm doing something wrong in the care of these brushes or is the life span of 4 to 5 years a good life considering the work they do. One clue I'm guessing is that maybe the hole I drilled for a hanging eyelet (my brushes are hung in the air for good circulation as they dry and are stored there when not in use) held excess fluid during use and cause rot? When printing, after I've soaked the brush a good 10 to 15 minutes (the bristles are suspended in water and the handle usually just bobs), I rest it bristles down on a blotter which inevitably gets damp. This is it's home until I pick it up for printing or wash it out and store it. Also, it has been damp here lately with spring so the humidity could very well be a factor.

Here are a few other images of the back and side of the brush. Maybe you can tell that the back is starting to warp into a saddle shape.

At any rate, I'm going to be working larger for a show I'm scheduled to have next summer in July of 2009 and I'm going to be ordering more Maru Bake anyway. I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions for me about prevention or if this is typical.

In other news, for those of you going "Where the hell is this contest she's been making noise about?!?!" Chill. I'm putting the finishing touchs on the sample image. I had to make a whole other one as the original image was too light to photograph and too big to scan! Keep checking! It's coming soon! Also, I'm almost ready to start binding the chocolate books! Yay!


Annie B said...

Hi Lana,
I've had that happen too. It's never gotten so bad that the bristles loosen, so I've just kept on using my cracked brush.

I have a friend who gives his brush handles a coat of polyurethane when new just to prevent cracking. He says it works. Also, I don't ever actually soak the brushes to prep them -- I just spray some water on the ends of the bristles. I think that soaking them would allow too much water up into the wood.
Good luck! Annie

Lana Lambert said...

Thanks, Annie! Yeah, I think I'm going to use my poor little brush until it gives out. It's a good brush!

Sharri said...

I had an inexpensive brush do the same thing, and I just spritz it as Annie described. (No soaking!) You can glue it and clamp it back into its original shape and then wrap some thread/string around it to hold it tight, which I then varnished. This, it seems to me, will help to ensure no bristles try to escape. It works for me.