Why Kolinsky Sable Brushes Are So Expensive | So Expensive

Why Kolinsky Sable Brushes Are So Expensive | So Expensive

Making a Series 7 kolinsky sable watercolor brush isn’t easy. The largest-size brush can take almost a week and a half to make. You can pick up a cheap, synthetic brush for under $2, but a Series 7 could cost you over $300. So why would anyone pay for a brush that costs over 100 times the price? Originally created on the request of Queen Victoria, the Series 7 brush was first made in 1866 and was designed to be the finest possible brush
for watercolor painting. Since then, the skill and craftsmanship that goes into making
each one of these brushes has remained exactly the same. To achieve this, the company needed skilled brush makers. And so, in 1946, set up a new factory in Lowestoft, England, a fishing town with a
history of rope making. This factory now makes over 25 million brushes a year. The intricate work and dexterity required means that these brushes are almost exclusively made by women. It takes three years to train, and there are only nine brush makers in the world that can make these top-of-the-range Series 7 brushes. Sandra Harris: I joined
here when I was 16. I worked 18 years, and I had 12 years off,
and I’ve been back 11, so that’s 28 years I’ve been working for the company. When you first start, you would probably only make a few. You’ve got to get, like anything, you’ve got a skill and you build on that, and you get to learn the skill, and then you get to do the speed. Narrator: The components play a big part in the cost. Each brush head is made
from kolinsky sable, a Siberian weasel that’s
hair is said to cost three times the price of gold by weight. These weasels are hunted sustainably every spring under CITES guidelines across Siberia and Manchuria. Only guard hairs from the tail will do. Kolinsky hairs are chosen because every single strand has a surface of directional, interlocking scales, increasing the surface area and giving the hairs their strength. And while many other natural and synthetic hairs are used for brushes, nothing has quite matched the quality of sable. Once the hairs are cleaned and graded, it’s time to start making the brush. The wool has to be removed with a comb, and the hairs are packaged up and carefully boiled and ironed. The brushes have to be made with hair at its natural length. And the skilled brush makers can effortlessly separate between 28- and 32-millimeter-length hairs just with their hands. This skill takes years
of training and practice. The nine brush makers each have 27 years of experience, on average. Hairs that are blunt or twisted have to be discarded. And most importantly, as each natural hair comes to a point, every hair must be the correct way up. The removed upside-down hairs can be flipped and reused. Every single hair is checked over by hand. The smallest-brush-size hairs are just 7 millimeters long, shorter than an average eyelash. Shane Buckingham: We can’t afford to let standards drop in any way, shape, or form. What I would say from that is what this factory has is hand skills. It has individual skills. It has skills that, when I have new people come in here, they don’t sometimes believe that this kind of work still happens. We show them what people do, they will turn round and say, “I’ll never be able to do that.” But they will be able to do that if they understand that
quality comes first. Narrator: When the hairs are all sorted, they’re ready to go into the cannon. The bundle is tied together and gently twisted through. Individual hairs are added or taken away until it’s an exact fit. Buckingham: They need
to have that fine point to work with, that, basically, it has that color-carrying capacity. That the brush won’t split or do anything that it shouldn’t do, basically. Through the hair that we use, through the skills of our makers and how they make them, we’ve done everything we possibly can to make sure that we have produced the best product we possibly can. Narrator: Then, it’s time to attach the handles. The factory uses birch wood handles imported from Italy. The brush is glued into place, and then the brush heads are
crimped onto the handles. This crimping process bends the metal to shape and keeps the handle tightly attached to the brush. Once the paintbrush is assembled, it needs to be branded and tested. The size and logo of each brush is stamped in gold on the handle. Wet-point testing assures that everything works exactly as expected and there aren’t any
loose or crooked hairs. Each brush is then gummed, a process that gives the brush head its final shape and allows it to bounce back. The shape of the natural hairs gives the brush a wide belly and a fine point. Mark Brindle: So, the
key to our brush making is the people. And that is the skill. We retain knowledge from generation to generation. So, we have makers now that are working under an apprenticeship of a 49-year-served brush maker, who himself had an apprenticeship under another 49-year-serving brush maker, who was brought into the business under his father, who made brushes directly for Queen Victoria. And it’s very key that we retain that knowledge throughout the business, generation to generation, and we are now bringing in the next
generation to make sure that we uphold the very high-quality standards that we base ourselves on.

72 thoughts on “Why Kolinsky Sable Brushes Are So Expensive | So Expensive”

  1. With all due respect to the makers, when it comes to prices that high for that type of product, I'm just gonna say: diminishing returns.

  2. At 4:40 she is licking/sucking on the bristles before measuring them. With that price tag there shouldn't be any slobber on my bristles.

  3. Hold the front door. So you're telling me that I'm spending $300+ on a handmade brush that you've put your mono infected mouth on…

  4. I’d be so afraid to damage or lose such expensive tool that I’d probably never use it. I think I’d just put it in a glass case, place it on a pedestal, shine a spotlight on it, and occasionally gaze at it while meditating on the watercolors that never were because the brush itself is the true master work.

  5. Steve Hunt is NOT an advertising supported entity and we noticed you have ad-blocking disabled.
    Here are two ways you can keep me reading your site.

    1 – become reasonable and understand that you're not doing ANYthing special, stop seeking financial compensation for information you scrounged off other sites while claiming it as your own.

    2 – give me a dollar

    (Ad-block is the future…. grow up,… you're ruining the internet.)

  6. these brushes are treated with more care than I have ever treated my own hair in my thirteen years of existence

    sad hair noises

  7. regarding them using weasel hair for these brushes : at 1:55 they mention that these weasels are hunted sustainably every spring, under the CITES guidelines. CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. We don't have any information as to how they're hunted , maybe only chop off their tail hairs man idk , but rest assured these weasels are not endangered by this.

    of course, its your own choice to purchase synthetic / natural bristled brushes. Synthetic works most of the time but without a doubt natural bristles do work better and also feel better when painting.

  8. Pretty messed up these weasels have to die bc people wanna use their hair to paint or do nails.. There are cruelty free brushes.

  9. It would be BAD to leave one of those expensive brushes in a paint bowl… much less let kids use them!!! 😨😂

  10. Master ur art using crappy cheap brushes. That way pricey brushes will make everything much easier, better, & most importantly, funner. Guaranteed..

  11. I remember my first set of Kolinsky because I was lucky someone saw my art and sponsored me and sent me a set and a watercolor set. Before I love using Chinese or Japanese brushes but after using their brush I tried to check out their other brushes to add my brush set. I must say these brushes are so great to use and so durable totally worth it for its pprice

  12. Those brush makers better be making at least 5000 USD a month at the minimum. And I'm not talking about 5000 New York or California dollars, im talking about 5000 sister cousin Mississippi dollars.

  13. Can you make a vid “why everything is expensive , so expensive, soo expensive. Sooo expensive “ …….and so on expensive.

  14. So it’s the Gucci of painting brushes in other words you buy it to A. Show it off B. Show it off and C. Show it off

  15. So an animal has been "sustainably harvested," you mean killed, only for the hair on its tail, just so you can make brushes. Ahh, I got you.

  16. As an artist i appreciate Winsor & Newton company doesn't replace these people with robot, i am so glad when i know it's handmade*, i really understand why it is so *expensive
    1. it has a nice belly
    2. on point brush
    3. Hold a lot of water & paint
    4. Soft hair
    5. back to its shape

    the best part of this brush is, its distribute the watercolor to its edges not on the bottom part of the hair

  17. "These weasels are hunted sustainably" 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Of course they have to claim something to make people feel better about their contibution to their murders, its business, many of the biggest businesses in the world are based around murdering innocent animals and convincing people into thinking its neccessary

  18. I switched to synthetic about a year go, better tip control for lower prices (in my experience). I also think we need to move away from the victorian sales pitch that is "real fur is best", there's no reason for an animal to be trapped and killed just so people can paint.

  19. Animals used for paintbrushes suffer in many of the same ways as animals used for fur coats. Some are caught in the wild using steel-jaw traps and snares—and many of them freeze to death before the trappers return. Others are gassed in their dens or beaten to death with clubs.

  20. I have a wall painting brush that my parents gave me like 12 years ago and it’s as good as new – just take care of your things and they’ll last they don’t have to be expensive hand crafted.

  21. Funny when a jew sells something its expensive and he tells you the best in the world . Ask his vendors , suppliers and they will say he beats them down on their price. Says hes just surviving and wears his poor jew clothes .

  22. I have a wrenches that are easily worth 10+ times my others. But it's the metal used, the massive longevity difference, the different amounts and angles of torque I can use on it and not break (not fun) as well as performance at it's job that makes it worth the money. All of those things make sense in my case.

    This is a brush. It paints. 50 cents or 50 dollars, it will need to be replaced to do the same thing. Sure it may be higher quality materials. I still don't see what makes this brush any BETTER than it being handmade. The price reflects the creation, not the performance

  23. Price reflects the time to make, not the performance. It's not a knife where 400 dollars is a massive difference in all aspects (metallurgy, hardness, edge retention, crafting of the blade). It's a brush that brushes

  24. I didn't know Kolinsky brushes were used for watercolor painting. I've only ever heard of their oval or round brushes used for acrylic nails. The brushes are indeed pretty expensive but they hold up well to monomer and acrylic powder.

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