I experimented with coating using an acrylic rod, did a LOT of small prints with it, and got decent coatings. When I wanted to go to larger prints I still wanted to use the rod, but it doesn't work as well as a brush, so I switched. I would start out with a brush because you'll want to go bigger, and the technique with the rod won't carry over.
Originally Posted by gr82bart
FWIW, I would start out with some el-cheapo foam craft brushes, 1-inch wide available just about everywhere. When you get the hang of it go for the Richeson brush that everyone raves about (do a search and you'll find it here).
Start with good paper, and only use one type. If after you've got your coatings consistent, your exposure figured out, etc., you are still having bad luck, then try a new paper. Don't mix up a bunch of papers when you're starting out, you'll only frustrate yourself.