How to decorate, no.5: use a Brushmate

The Brushmate is as simple as it is effective: a sealable vapour box containing a pad impregnated with a clever proprietary fluid; it means you don’t need to clean your brushes after using them.

Finish using your oil paint brushes, store them for days — or even months — and when you come back to them, they’ll be ready to use.

Highly recommended.

The Brushmate 4 wet brush store

The Brushmate 4 wet brush store

How to decorate, no.2: Buy good paint brushes

There isn’t any way of dodging this ironclad rule: buy the best brushes and rollers you can afford.

Granted, buying professional quality paint brushes and rollers won’t suddenly and miraculously transform you into a professional decorator — but good equipment will maximise what ability you do possess. Or, to put it another way: it’s impossible to do a good job with poor quality equipment. 


Let trusted brands, pricing and specialist shops be your guide:

  1. Never buy cheap-as-chips packs of own-brand brushes from B&Q, Wickes or Homebase, such as these. Never buy brushes from Poundland. 
  2. The names to look out for, and which are pretty much a guarantee of quality, are Purdy, Wooster and Corona. Start viewing £25-£30 — not £3-£5 — for three brushes as the going rate. 
  3. Specialist decorators’ merchants are a better bet than the big all-round DIY shops. B&Q do sell Purdy brushes, but much more expensively than elsewhere. The following outlets are all worth checking out: Whites Trade Paints in Honor Oak, south London .. Decorating Direct .. My Paint Brush

The closest we can offer to a sure-fire tip is to buy Purdy’s XL Elite 3-pack from My Paint Brush, which contains a 2″, 1.5″ and 1″ brush. If you’ve been toiling away with B&Q multi-pack brushes, these are going to be a revelation…

In praise of Mirka: dust-free decorating

Our thanks to Vince at Mirka UK for supplying us with the full Deros system: sander, Abranet abrasives, 5m hose and extraction unit.

The full system isn’t cheap but we’re delighted with its capability, especially in being able to sand larger areas of fine filler with little or no dust created.

We’ll write more in the coming months about our experience…

The Mirka Deros dust-free sanding system


The best hand tools are defined by what is left out: whizzy, expensive-sounding jargon usually indicates superfluous features.

One tool, a bombproof scraper made in New Zealand by Linbide, is superbly functional — it’ll last a lifetime, and I suspect the only reason you’d ever find yourself buying a second one is if you lost the first…

The Linbide scraper, made for painters and decorators


John Neeman

If there is a more beautiful workshop setting than the one occupied by the team at John Neeman in Latvia, I would like to hear about it…