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Thread: Blanchard Brush

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    Blanchard Brush

    Hello,

    I would like to make a couple of Blanchard brushes, and I note from my C1900 text book that they utilise 'swansdown calico'.

    I believe that this was a type of moleskin fabric, and I'm having difficulty in finding swansdown / swan's down fabric - could I use a medium weight moleskin instead?

    Can anyone assist?! (No jokes about being cruel to moles either please ).

    David.
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    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Just something I guess: either chamois cloth or something similar to the pads ladies use to put on or take off make-up. I believe there is a description of a Blanchard brush in John Barniers book Coming into Focus, but I don't have that handy so I can't say either moo or baah about that, unfortunately.

    EDIT: found this in James Reillys book about albumen:

    "Another way to apply the sensitizing solution is with a "Blanchard's brush," which consists of a 4-inch wide, 14-inch thick piece of wood or Plexiglass, over which are stretched several folds of clean flannel. Sanding smooth corners on the working edge of the wood or Plexiglass strip is helpful. Dip the Blanchard s brush into the silver solution and apply it to the paper with smooth even strokes."

    http://albumen.conservation-us.org/l...lly/chap6.html
    Last edited by Jerevan; 12-29-2009 at 05:56 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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    I too tried that Google search, and gave up as it just seemed to give me lots of calico / swansdown mops for polishing!

    My c1900 'Everyone's Guide To Photography', E.J. Wall, describes the blanchard brush thus...

    "Procure a piece of hardwood, such as Oak or Teak, about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick, and varnish it well... Now procure some swansdown calico, 6 inches wide and and about 8 inches long. Double this so the fluffy side is outside. Procure a piece of stout celluloid, such as is used for the support of emulsions, instead of glass. Bend this into an arch, place it over the swansdown calico, then fit it on to the wood, and pass round the whole a stout india rubber band so that it forms a convenient little apparatus."

    No problems with getting hardwood, or the 'stout celluloid' (I'll use a sheet of acetate). It's just that calico - I do have some moleskin so I might just try that out...
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    Three materials I have used that work:

    white cotton velvet folded over into a pad and wrapped around 3" x 6" wood
    "horse" cotton (rolled rough cotton used to bandage horse ankles) - inexpensive and also works for Buckle Brushes
    Strips of old "Chamois" cloth shirt material (well washed and soft) - also a great lens cleaning material.

    NWG

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    Quote Originally Posted by vickersdc View Post
    Hello,

    I would like to make a couple of Blanchard brushes, and I note from my C1900 text book that they utilise 'swansdown calico'.

    I believe that this was a type of moleskin fabric, and I'm having difficulty in finding swansdown / swan's down fabric - could I use a medium weight moleskin instead?

    Can anyone assist?! (No jokes about being cruel to moles either please ).

    David.
    Are these intended to be used for coating emulsions of some kind?
    Don Bryant

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    Yes - I want to use one to coat paper so that I can make print-out paper.
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    Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vickersdc View Post
    Yes - I want to use one to coat paper so that I can make print-out paper.
    Well save yourself a lot of grief and use a brush.
    Don Bryant

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    Now I remember that in the Barnier book it is described as a glass tube with an inserted cotton swab, for iodizing the calotype paper. As it is very important with cleanliness in this process, the cotton swab is often replaced with a new one. I think a good brush or puddle pusher gives as good or even better results than a blanchard brush, but I sense a certain "do it as they did in the old days" about this, right?
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerevan View Post
    but I sense a certain "do it as they did in the old days" about this, right?
    How ever did you guess I've just finished my 5x7 printing frame, and I'm currently hand-making some paper that I hope to coat!
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    Thank you.

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