Why Kolinsky Sable Brushes Are So Expensive | So Expensive


Making a Series 7 kolinsky sable watercolor brush isn’t easy. The largest-size brush can take almost a week and a half to make. You can pick up a cheap, synthetic brush for under $2, but a Series 7 could cost you over $300. So why would anyone pay for a brush that costs over 100 times the price? Originally created on the request of Queen Victoria, the Series 7 brush was first made in 1866 and was designed to be the finest possible brush
for watercolor painting. Since then, the skill and craftsmanship that goes into making
each one of these brushes has remained exactly the same. To achieve this, the company needed skilled brush makers. And so, in 1946, set up a new factory in Lowestoft, England, a fishing town with a
history of rope making. This factory now makes over 25 million brushes a year. The intricate work and dexterity required means that these brushes are almost exclusively made by women. It takes three years to train, and there are only nine brush makers in the world that can make these top-of-the-range Series 7 brushes. Sandra Harris: I joined
here when I was 16. I worked 18 years, and I had 12 years off,
and I’ve been back 11, so that’s 28 years I’ve been working for the company. When you first start, you would probably only make a few. You’ve got to get, like anything, you’ve got a skill and you build on that, and you get to learn the skill, and then you get to do the speed. Narrator: The components play a big part in the cost. Each brush head is made
from kolinsky sable, a Siberian weasel that’s
hair is said to cost three times the price of gold by weight. These weasels are hunted sustainably every spring under CITES guidelines across Siberia and Manchuria. Only guard hairs from the tail will do. Kolinsky hairs are chosen because every single strand has a surface of directional, interlocking scales, increasing the surface area and giving the hairs their strength. And while many other natural and synthetic hairs are used for brushes, nothing has quite matched the quality of sable. Once the hairs are cleaned and graded, it’s time to start making the brush. The wool has to be removed with a comb, and the hairs are packaged up and carefully boiled and ironed. The brushes have to be made with hair at its natural length. And the skilled brush makers can effortlessly separate between 28- and 32-millimeter-length hairs just with their hands. This skill takes years
of training and practice. The nine brush makers each have 27 years of experience, on average. Hairs that are blunt or twisted have to be discarded. And most importantly, as each natural hair comes to a point, every hair must be the correct way up. The removed upside-down hairs can be flipped and reused. Every single hair is checked over by hand. The smallest-brush-size hairs are just 7 millimeters long, shorter than an average eyelash. Shane Buckingham: We can’t afford to let standards drop in any way, shape, or form. What I would say from that is what this factory has is hand skills. It has individual skills. It has skills that, when I have new people come in here, they don’t sometimes believe that this kind of work still happens. We show them what people do, they will turn round and say, “I’ll never be able to do that.” But they will be able to do that if they understand that
quality comes first. Narrator: When the hairs are all sorted, they’re ready to go into the cannon. The bundle is tied together and gently twisted through. Individual hairs are added or taken away until it’s an exact fit. Buckingham: They need
to have that fine point to work with, that, basically, it has that color-carrying capacity. That the brush won’t split or do anything that it shouldn’t do, basically. Through the hair that we use, through the skills of our makers and how they make them, we’ve done everything we possibly can to make sure that we have produced the best product we possibly can. Narrator: Then, it’s time to attach the handles. The factory uses birch wood handles imported from Italy. The brush is glued into place, and then the brush heads are
crimped onto the handles. This crimping process bends the metal to shape and keeps the handle tightly attached to the brush. Once the paintbrush is assembled, it needs to be branded and tested. The size and logo of each brush is stamped in gold on the handle. Wet-point testing assures that everything works exactly as expected and there aren’t any
loose or crooked hairs. Each brush is then gummed, a process that gives the brush head its final shape and allows it to bounce back. The shape of the natural hairs gives the brush a wide belly and a fine point. Mark Brindle: So, the
key to our brush making is the people. And that is the skill. We retain knowledge from generation to generation. So, we have makers now that are working under an apprenticeship of a 49-year-served brush maker, who himself had an apprenticeship under another 49-year-serving brush maker, who was brought into the business under his father, who made brushes directly for Queen Victoria. And it’s very key that we retain that knowledge throughout the business, generation to generation, and we are now bringing in the next
generation to make sure that we uphold the very high-quality standards that we base ourselves on.

100 comments

  • Azwad Ameen

    Lady is good at licking

    Reply
  • Pinhead Larry

    So you're telling me they spend hours to make one brush,but also make 25 million a year between 9 people? Right.

    Reply
  • The Clockwork Cadaver

    "The intricate work and dexterity required means that these brushes are almost exclusively made by women"
    Are you sure about that? I guess men aren't capable of intricacy or dexterity? Never mind all of the millions of woodworkers, musicians, masons, computer/phone repair technicians, etc etc etc, who are overwhelmingly men… And never mind the ARTISTS themselves who are men.

    Reply
  • J j

    Not to be rude but who cares that they kill weasels for the brushes. Animals kill animals thats part of nature. As long as there not hunted to extinction it shouldnt mater. I'd rather have natural hair than synthetic hairs that could pollute the environment.

    Reply
  • KitKat xp

    And then we ask ourselves why are animals going extinct… 🤦🏻‍♀️

    Reply
  • bleachmist

    WOOOOOOWWWW!!! 🤯🤩

    Reply
  • sophia

    i bet i could make an expensive looking brush out of my own hair, and sell it for $50

    Reply
  • 【ノワール】【ノワール】

    gotta be careful if you wanna sneeze in there :v

    Reply
  • Mirai-オタク-

    Are all the brush makers in that company old women?

    Reply
  • Sis Lena B

    Umm yeah let me get the series 7, hold the saliva please! WTH…😒

    Reply
  • DistantDeadWorlds

    Alot of art supplies can go insanely pricey. Yes there are decent cheaper options, but cheaper will have hairs constantly falling out, glue is cheap that causes that, and wont hold as much water and pigment.

    Included the fact of the hand made element that pays attention to quality, you know your getting a good brush for 300.

    This may sound scary to alot of artists, however, if you take care of your brushes properly, that 300 brush should last for years. Tools that are for professionals should be though as a long term supply if you take good care of the brushes.

    If your not willing to spend this one for watercolor, the orange brush handles are just as good.

    Reply
  • Crystal M

    I actually use these brushes exclusively for creating acrylic nails and nail art. The brush makes a HUGE difference not only in the amount of work you have to do to achieve the desired shape, but also in picking up the ‘right’ amount of both liquid and powder at the right ratio.
    These factor in to how long it take to create and shape the nail, as well as how long it will take to fully harden and cure, how strong the nail will be.

    Reply
  • Eamonn Curran

    This is sad and pathetic. I wonder how many "sustainably sourced" innocent creatures have to be put to death (just for the tail hairs) in order to manufacture these imaginarily suitable brushes for a bunch of underinspired, untalented, overpriveliged c*nts who believe this level of pretentiousness will help them become better at a hobby they don't even give a flying f*ck about!!!😡 I hate this rubbish. Make a fu*king synthetic brush. Guess what… Nobody will know the f*cking difference!!!

    Reply
  • boo booz

    Mind blown

    Reply
  • Angel Wanderer

    1:58 and 4:37 is shocking me

    Reply
  • B D

    How do you get this job?

    Reply
  • kairinaminemix

    Artist material are valued for the rich while the the artists themselves are valued to be poor

    Reply
  • Raphael Vasconcellos

    everything we don't need in art: elitism

    Reply
  • SandboxArrow

    This is gay

    Reply
  • 姓氏名字

    where is anamal rights?

    Reply
  • Reese G

    I was wondering when they'd put out an episode on kolinsky hair brushes.

    Yeah it doesnt make you a better artist, but if anything, it's the standard of what watercolor brushes should look and feel like when painting.

    Always hated how they made us paint with hog bristle hairs in kindergarten.

    Reply
  • XX XX

    i hope all those skill workers are paid accordingly to their skill

    Reply
  • Saucy Sauce

    Job Requirement: Immense OCD

    Reply
  • jmar28a

    They should use human hair

    Reply
  • Nahyun im

    so its not cruelty free?

    Reply
  • Diandra Crichlow

    Saliva

    Reply
  • Pineapple:/

    Spoiler: It's expensive, because it's made out of a dead Siberian Weasel's fur and dead animals are costly

    Reply
  • Leah Keeley

    Kolinsky sable brushes aren’t that expensive in general, these ones just are

    Reply
  • Arelias

    With all due respect to the makers, when it comes to prices that high for that type of product, I'm just gonna say: diminishing returns.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Duarte

    4:38
    I now see why they are expensive.

    Silvia helps the watercolor brushes more O.O

    Reply
  • Hope dontmope

    At 4:40 she is licking/sucking on the bristles before measuring them. With that price tag there shouldn't be any slobber on my bristles.

    Reply
  • Xccrx Mothapo

    Get that money grandmaz

    Reply
  • Urisha Poorai

    An animals life taken for paint brushes. How fickle and f'd up have we become.

    Reply
  • Not 0w0

    I mean like who boils hair?!

    Reply
  • BerryJucce

    They're out here handling the fur like the making dru-

    Reply
  • Brooklyn Trinkett

    Hold the front door. So you're telling me that I'm spending $300+ on a handmade brush that you've put your mono infected mouth on…

    Reply
  • Jamie Morales

    I’d be so afraid to damage or lose such expensive tool that I’d probably never use it. I think I’d just put it in a glass case, place it on a pedestal, shine a spotlight on it, and occasionally gaze at it while meditating on the watercolors that never were because the brush itself is the true master work.

    Reply
  • Sydney Dyess

    So what’s gonna happen when all those people die…..?

    Reply
  • Steve Hunt

    Steve Hunt is NOT an advertising supported entity and we noticed you have ad-blocking disabled.
    Here are two ways you can keep me reading your site.

    1 – become reasonable and understand that you're not doing ANYthing special, stop seeking financial compensation for information you scrounged off other sites while claiming it as your own.

    2 – give me a dollar

    (Ad-block is the future…. grow up,… you're ruining the internet.)

    Reply
  • kamila nazeri

    Sees a beautiful creature. Turns it into a brush :/

    Reply
  • The lunar'S bOi

    imagine someone goes in with a fan

    Reply
  • Lil, Charmander

    Imagine sneezing and the hair you just separated flies all over the place.

    Reply
  • SevenDeMagnus

    Cool. Could it be used as a shaving brush? Is it better than 100% horse hair and badger?

    Reply
  • Toby Leigh

    How much is the pay rate ?

    Reply
  • Nikita Valdez

    This is fur and fur os shit 🖕🖕🖕

    Reply
  • Alex RIzk

    I suppose killing animals to make brushes to give artists and destroy nature this is not acceptable

    Reply
  • Mariam Meraj

    these brushes are treated with more care than I have ever treated my own hair in my thirteen years of existence

    sad hair noises

    Reply
  • Boss Bee

    So the brush makers are women… but the executives are men?
    Make it make sense

    Reply
  • Amanda Marpaung

    regarding them using weasel hair for these brushes : at 1:55 they mention that these weasels are hunted sustainably every spring, under the CITES guidelines. CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. We don't have any information as to how they're hunted , maybe only chop off their tail hairs man idk , but rest assured these weasels are not endangered by this.

    of course, its your own choice to purchase synthetic / natural bristled brushes. Synthetic works most of the time but without a doubt natural bristles do work better and also feel better when painting.

    Reply
  • Н. Д.

    Every worker with 100500 years of experience: female. Quality controller: male.

    Reply
  • فلان بن فلان

    That single guy in the factory must be geh.

    Reply
  • hk ok

    Honestly when you do not switch to modern factories it is always with the handmade craftsmanship bullshit.

    Reply
  • vivek -

    Awesome

    Reply
  • Raquel Correa

    Pretty messed up these weasels have to die bc people wanna use their hair to paint or do nails.. There are cruelty free brushes.

    Reply
  • Nathan Ryan

    it's funny how they kill a cool ass animal just to make a paint brush

    Reply
  • baltazar garcia

    I want to get them to roll my a joint

    Reply
  • Yellow Flower

    It would be BAD to leave one of those expensive brushes in a paint bowl… much less let kids use them!!! 😨😂

    Reply
  • ROLAND

    Ads are getting smarter these days.

    Reply
  • ROLAND

    This video is sponsored by Kolinsky Sable.

    Reply
  • Genevieve CS

    I wonder how this process compares to the fude process.

    Reply
  • Mr.StealYourGirl

    A machine can do this 1000x more precise and with a fraction of the time.

    Reply
  • Gem Synergy

    Master ur art using crappy cheap brushes. That way pricey brushes will make everything much easier, better, & most importantly, funner. Guaranteed..

    Reply
  • The Prestige

    I drive people around in a car.

    Reply
  • m nur

    Imagine if these women rolled your blunt 🤯

    Reply
  • Jose Costa Junior

    @businessinsider. Are their salaries as high as the brushes they make ? Any ideia ?

    Reply
  • Martin Yabar Lopez de Los Mozos

    Because they are made from hair from a squirrel.

    Reply
  • pheejeypi

    I remember my first set of Kolinsky because I was lucky someone saw my art and sponsored me and sent me a set and a watercolor set. Before I love using Chinese or Japanese brushes but after using their brush I tried to check out their other brushes to add my brush set. I must say these brushes are so great to use and so durable totally worth it for its pprice

    Reply
  • ShaySlay

    Those brush makers better be making at least 5000 USD a month at the minimum. And I'm not talking about 5000 New York or California dollars, im talking about 5000 sister cousin Mississippi dollars.

    Reply
  • SidDKid

    Can you make a vid “why everything is expensive , so expensive, soo expensive. Sooo expensive “ …….and so on expensive.

    Reply
  • kindred hammer

    So it’s the Gucci of painting brushes in other words you buy it to A. Show it off B. Show it off and C. Show it off

    Reply
  • Aaron W

    So an animal has been "sustainably harvested," you mean killed, only for the hair on its tail, just so you can make brushes. Ahh, I got you.

    Reply
  • sydster999r

    Are they taking applications for this apprenticeship??

    Reply
  • Devandra

    As an artist i appreciate Winsor & Newton company doesn't replace these people with robot, i am so glad when i know it's handmade*, i really understand why it is so *expensive
    1. it has a nice belly
    2. on point brush
    3. Hold a lot of water & paint
    4. Soft hair
    5. back to its shape

    the best part of this brush is, its distribute the watercolor to its edges not on the bottom part of the hair

    Reply
  • Kay Cee

    "These weasels are hunted sustainably" 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Of course they have to claim something to make people feel better about their contibution to their murders, its business, many of the biggest businesses in the world are based around murdering innocent animals and convincing people into thinking its neccessary

    Reply
  • Nial Prince

    I switched to synthetic about a year go, better tip control for lower prices (in my experience). I also think we need to move away from the victorian sales pitch that is "real fur is best", there's no reason for an animal to be trapped and killed just so people can paint.

    Reply
  • Yes IamMyself

    Watching these ladies making brushes got me wishing I could work with them.

    Reply
  • Elena Chatzigeorgaki

    Tons of respect to the amazing women with such skills. Bravo!!! 💙😊

    Reply
  • Viktoz

    Damn I wish I could make brushes that looks like something I could enjoy doing.

    Reply
  • Jhon Dumaop

    Ans : they are handmade

    Reply
  • Lone Wolf

    So you kill a poor animal to make a brush. 😯😯😯

    Reply
  • Carlos

    How much do these brush makers make?

    Reply
  • Laura S

    Animals used for paintbrushes suffer in many of the same ways as animals used for fur coats. Some are caught in the wild using steel-jaw traps and snares—and many of them freeze to death before the trappers return. Others are gassed in their dens or beaten to death with clubs.

    Reply
  • Thotimusprime Official

    I have a wall painting brush that my parents gave me like 12 years ago and it’s as good as new – just take care of your things and they’ll last they don’t have to be expensive hand crafted.

    Reply
  • atrelopian678

    Why can’t they just capture the weasels and shave them then release them?

    Reply
  • NoName

    HOW MUCH DO THEY MAKE THOOOOUGH

    Reply
  • Valter Cristino

    This is true dedication

    Reply
  • Bill Hoang

    Most expensive hair cut.

    Reply
  • Stephanie Askew

    I've used these sable brushes. There is no comparison! Quality is outstanding

    Reply
  • rolandgrz1975

    Funny when a jew sells something its expensive and he tells you the best in the world . Ask his vendors , suppliers and they will say he beats them down on their price. Says hes just surviving and wears his poor jew clothes .

    Reply
  • Thi Dang

    Buy an over 300 brush but painting looks like something a 3rd grader made

    Reply
  • King Juggalo

    But can u paint Warhammer 40k Miniatures Using acrylic paint with them?

    Reply
  • Milwaukee Mayhem

    I have a wrenches that are easily worth 10+ times my others. But it's the metal used, the massive longevity difference, the different amounts and angles of torque I can use on it and not break (not fun) as well as performance at it's job that makes it worth the money. All of those things make sense in my case.

    This is a brush. It paints. 50 cents or 50 dollars, it will need to be replaced to do the same thing. Sure it may be higher quality materials. I still don't see what makes this brush any BETTER than it being handmade. The price reflects the creation, not the performance

    Reply
  • Milwaukee Mayhem

    Price reflects the time to make, not the performance. It's not a knife where 400 dollars is a massive difference in all aspects (metallurgy, hardness, edge retention, crafting of the blade). It's a brush that brushes

    Reply
  • Armando van Haaren

    I hope this factory will still exist five hundred years from now .good work 👏👍

    Reply
  • lelechim

    I didn't know Kolinsky brushes were used for watercolor painting. I've only ever heard of their oval or round brushes used for acrylic nails. The brushes are indeed pretty expensive but they hold up well to monomer and acrylic powder.

    Reply
  • kcmn00

    That's how you protect your job against robots.

    Reply
  • kcmn00

    I guess having an allergy wouldn't be ideal if you wanted to be a brush maker.

    Reply
  • Maggie Lopes

    This is a peace of art!
    Nothing like handmade stuff!

    Reply
  • rich rich

    No added value

    Reply
  • 0m3n

    How much does an employee make doing that? I imagine it would pay good

    Reply

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