by Jake Poinier

rollerLet’s face it: We’re all creatures of habit. It’s easy to find tools that you trust after years on the job, sometimes to the point that you ignore other options that might make jobs go easier or faster. inPAINT® asked four industry experts about the unsung heroes of the applicator world … read how they answered below.

RUSS TAYLOR  l  The Wooster Brush Company

“Immediately, what comes to mind is the Wooster Jumbo-Koter series, which are like mini-rollers on steroids,” says Russ Taylor, a manufacturer’s representative for The Wooster Brush Company. Unlike normal mini-rollers, which embed the roller mechanism in the roller itself, the Jumbo-Koters are a series of frames and 4-1/2″ and 6-1/2″ covers that correspond with the company’s regular roller naps.

“Mini-rollers were originally designed to get into small spaces, like behind a fridge or toilet, but they’ve evolved into a trim tool,” Taylor says. “Wooster’s design, 25% bigger in diameter than most mini-rollers, gives the greater paint capacity to be a true trim tool, plus it matches up with all the standard roller fabrics we have.”

The wider array of nap options enable you to get the same stipple on the trim as the body of the wall, while also providing better mechanical performance. Rollers are available with fabric-wrapped ends to get into corners, as well as closed ends. The Jumbo-Koter frames have plenty of options within the line. The Flip Frame model adjusts in 90˚ increments to paint in challenging areas, such as fascia boards, while the Pipe Painter features dual cages to paint different diameter pipes.

“I still see a lot of painters using the cheap mini-rollers to do these same jobs, but they’re not up to the task in the field,” Taylor says. “They’re typically imports; the rolling mechanism and cover will freeze up—and instead of a nice imprint, you get a smear. Spending just a little more on the frame and these covers, you get a consistent look, and they carry enough paint that you’re not constantly dipping in the bucket.”

MICHAEL WAKSMAN  l  Corona Brushes, Inc.

“The underused brush of ours that comes to mind is the Mt. Dora,” says Michael Waksman of Corona Brushes, Inc. “It’s a huge time-saver compared to a smaller brush for areas where a roller can’t be used, or where you need to have the control of a brush. It’s built to hold a lot of paint and, with Corona’s hand-formed chisel, it’s going to cut sharp as a knife. The Mt. Dora really is a beautiful brush and would do well right alongside a painter’s trim brushes and rollers.”

The bristles on the Mt. Dora are 100% solid-round-tapered DuPont Tynex nylon for maximum durability, proper flex, and paint pick up and release, with deep flagg tips created in-house for smooth paint finishing. Waksman also notes that the unlacquered hardwood grip handle detaches for use with an extension pole to get to those hard-to-reach areas.

CARRIE LEFFORGE  l  Proform Technologies, Inc.

Carrie Lefforge, director of operations at Proform Technologies, Inc. makes a pitch for the company’s Picasso line of brushes. “For hundreds of years, every paintbrush has been made pretty much the same way,” she says. “You have a handle and a knot, held together with a ferrule, a stainless steel piece that has screws or something to hold it together. But there’s nothing to hold the handle to the knot other than the ferrule.”

The Picasso, which came on the market in 2009, uses a patented interior construction with a primary epoxy that binds the filament, and two set screws embedded in additional epoxy that fills the gap between the handle and the brush knot. “There’s no space inside the Picasso, which has what we call a hardline interior—it’s a solid piece from tip to tip, so it can’t come loose between the handle and the knot,” Lefforge says. “It makes it more durable. In fact, the ferrule on ours is totally cosmetic—you could take it off and it would function the same.”

The unique construction also offers a side benefit: When using a brush after it’s been cleaned, we’ve all had the water or solvent trickle back down our arm. There’s nowhere in the Picasso for liquids to pool up—so no more drips.


“For us, it’s the Pro-Extra brush line,” says Bruce Schneider, marketing manager and training coordinator at Purdy. “It’s specifically designed for pros—a little larger than the other brush families and holds more filament.”

In addition to holding more paint, the three filaments in Pro-Extra brushes offer a unique blend to maximize the benefits of different filament types, too. “All of them are DuPont fibers,” Schneider says. “First, you have Tynex, which is the original nylon from the ’50s used in synthetic brushes, and that makes it resistant to wearing down from abrasive surfaces. The next is a polyester bristle, Orel, which is a good additive to help stabilize and add rigidity to the brush when heat and humidity are higher. Then, the final type is Chinex, which simulates China bristle. By combining them, it’s a way of getting the best of all three worlds.”

In addition, Purdy employs a proprietary flagging process, trying to imitate China bristles by mechanically putting split ends on every tip of the filaments to hold more paint and deliver a smooth and even release.

“Being more efficient means you’re making more money,” Schneider says. “When I’m training people, I use this illustration: Say that spending $3 more on a better tool can save you 15 minutes a day. If you work 225 days a year, that totals up to almost 60 labor hours—or almost 600 hours if you’ve got a crew of 10. When you’re looking at the top line and bottom line—and labor costs that can be $50 an hour in some markets— that’s a substantial return on investment.”

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