Kolibri Squirrel brushes are handmade in Germany by Feurer & Sohn -- one of the oldest brush manufacturers in Germany (established 1898). Kolibri brushes are made using the finest Russian Kazan squirrel hair to produce a brush that holds paint exceptionally well and comes to an excellent point.
Kolibri Squirrel Rounds have long hair length out, which is ideally suited for painting "long" oil colors and the sharpest details with fluid paint.
Kolibri uses the finest hair from the tail of the brown squirrel found throughout the cold climes of Siberia. The hair is exceptionally soft and absorbent, so that the brush tip holds paint exceptionally well, forms an excellent point and doesn't leave hair tracks while brushing. The hardwood handles are lacquer finished for long life.
About Squirrel Hair Brushes
Squirrel hair is extremely soft and more delicate than other hairs. They make brushes that are very absorbent and hold large amounts of paint even without a belly. In fact, the holding capacity of squirrel hair brushes, especially for water-based paints, is unsurpassed, and the hair is so fine that a brushstroke will not leave voids or hair tracks.
Squirrel hair brushes are very similar to Kolinsky brushes; they point very well and have thick bodies that large amounts of paint, but they resilient, therefore lacking the "snap" (also called "memory") or springiness of brushes made with Kolinsky hair. This lack of "snap" makes them less than ideal when painting with thick-bodied paints. However, they are ideally suited for ink, watercolor paint as well as thinned acrylic, casein, distemper, tempera and other water-based paint.
Often squirrel hair is used in the production of so-called camel hair brushes and many other brushes made from mixtures of hair. Squirrel mops typically use squirrel hair mixed with a small percentage of other hairs to achieve the desired "mop" performance. Good quality squirrel brushes are useful for many different art and crafts techniques.
Types and Qualities of Squirrel Hair
Most squirrel hair for brushes come from Canada and Russia. There are three main types of Russian Squirrel hair: Talahutky is gray-black in color and used mainly for sign brushes; Kazan is brown-black and mainly used in brushes for watercolor, wash brushes, and watercolor mops; Sacamena is blue-black, the softest of all the Russian squirrel hair, and is used for making watercolor brushes. The very best squirrel hair is brown (Kazan) squirrel, which is used for the finest brushes. Blue (Sacamena) squirrel is a longer hair, good for larger size brushes, but inferior to the Kazan. Gray (Talahutky) squirrel is primarily used for lettering quill brushes because of its fine tip. The Golden or Canadian squirrel is the only squirrel hair that forms a belly in a brush. Like the Kolinsky, the best varieties of squirrel hair are from the coldest climes.
Gray (Talahutky) Squirrel
Gray (Talahutky) squirrel, most highly in demand for lettering brushes and quills, is native to Russia, is nearly always in short supply and for this reason is the most expensive hair. Gray squirrel is thicker and stronger than other squirrel hairs, but is also coarser.
Brown (Kazan) Squirrel
Brown (Kazan) squirrel is named for its home province in Russia. Hair derived from the tail of this animal is highly prized for its superb tip and elasticity, and is considered the best of the squirrel hairs. This hair is used in making the finest watercolor brushes. It can range in color from black to black with red tips and flecks of gray along the shaft. Brown squirrel is more readily available, and hence is found in many inexpensive watercolor brushes. Kazan is thinner, weaker and softer than Talahutky, and is the squirrel hair most used in watercolor brushes and mops.
Blue (Sacamena) Squirrel
Blue (Sacamena) squirrel hair is similar to Kazan, except that it is longer and of slightly lower quality. The hairs are blue-black with a gray root.
Canadian or Golden Squirrel
Canadian or Golden Squirrel hair is shorter and thicker than the other Russian varieties; it is the only squirrel hair that possesses a belly. This belly resembles sable hair not only in appearance but also in handling. Although it is too short for round brushes and possesses little spring, it does make fine-quality flat watercolor brushes and is a reasonable alternative to the high cost of sable. The hair appears variegated with gold and black coloring. Squirrel is most often used in mops or in mixtures with other hair.
Numbering brushes provides order for brushes within a series. The order is determined by the size of the ferrule opening and in many cases, the number on the brush is in fact the size of the ferrule opening.
In the United States, the English or the metric system of sizing is commonly used, depending upon the type of brush. Natural bristle brushes are measured using the English system, which means a size 12 is equal to 1 inch. In turn, a size 6 is 1/2 inch, a size 18 is 11/2 inches, and so on. Long handle synthetic filament brushes designed to be used as an alternative to bristle brushes are also sized this way.
Natural soft hair and other synthetic brushes are measured using the metric system. One millimeter is equal to a size 1, 3 mm to size 3, etc. This standard is effective, except that it is difficult to measure and assign a value to any measurement less than 1 mm. So, when a brush is sized 10/0, 3/0 etc. it becomes quite hypothetical. Roughly translated, 3/0 means 3 units less than a millimeter and 10/0 is 10 units less than a millimeter.
You may also find that many flat brushes in the U.S. are simply labeled in inches and fractions, regardless of their hair type.
Although we have discussed two of the most logical and more common systems of sizing, it is important to note that there is no industry standard that manufacturers must follow. Sizing for various types of brushes is often rooted in tradition and the country of origin, or set for any number of reasons when a particular brush line is first created. The best standard of measurement a consumer can use is to compare similar lines from various manufacturers size for size.
Silver-Plated Brass Ferrules
The ferrule of each Kolibri Kolinsky brush receives two deep crimps. Deep crimping compresses the walls of the ferrule into the surface of the wooden handle, creating a mechanical lock that securely fastens the ferrule to the handle.
The short black polished handles are made of hardwood. Only the best brush handles are dipped. They are made by lowering the handles first in primer, then twice in colored lacquer and finally in varnish -- a total of four coats -- for a lustrous durable finish. The gold tip on each handle is an additional dip and protective coat of the handle end. For ease of handling in a pencil grip, the hardwood handles are 14.3 cm (5 5/8 in.) from the ferrule to handle end. The long handle permits you to stand back from the painting while working to have a better view of your subject.
||Watercolor, Acrylics, Tempera, Oil
||Tuft or Hair Width
||Tuft or Hair Length