Natural red sable hair is by far the most suitable and also the most valuable fine hair for making artists’ brushes. Its properties and versatility make it one of the most popular types of hair among artists. What most people do not know: There is actually no animal called a red sable. It is actually a general term that is being used for the hair of weasels. The name comes from the reddish color that forms the winter coat of some weasels. Its hair is used for the production of the popular brushes whereat the longer tail hair is best suited for this purpose. The colder the climatic conditions of the natural habitat, the longer grows the hair, and the higher are its quality and value.
Most other natural hairs used for brush making are strongest at the root and then taper towards the tip. Red sable hair, however, has a beautiful flowing shape. It is initially thin at the root, then forms its belly, and ends in a long fine tip. It is widest after about a third of its length. For the production of high-quality red sable brushes, it is important that the hair is covered by the ferrule up to about its widest point.
This especially requires the experience of a brush maker, who has to choose the right hair for each size to give the brush its unique painting properties. When buying a red sable brush, this fact should be taken into account. Especially when comparing prices. Many manufacturers use much shorter and therefore cheaper hair for a comparable visible hair length. At first glance, it is hard to tell the difference but one will definitely notice when painting.
Brushes made of red sable hair are characterized by excellent paint absorption. They form a beautiful tip that allows the painting of very fine details and lines. The brushes are particularly shape-retaining and have a very well-balanced resilience. However, it is not only the wonderful painting properties but also the longevity of these brushes. With appropriate care, red sable hair brushes provide years of pleasure. The brushes have outstanding painting properties in watercolor but are also very popular in oil painting.
Kolinsky sable hair marks the highest quality among red sable hair. It comes from the Siberian marten (Mustela Sibirica). Kolinsky brushes are by far the highest quality brushes available and are primarily used for watercolor painting.