Brushing up your knowledge
Redecker brushes are made of domestic woods, and bristles, hair, or plant fibres, as they have been for decades. Completely different natural materials are used to suit the various purposes. Synthetic fibres or plastics are used to a very limited extent for special requirements.
The wooden brush body can be made of very different types of domestic woods. Beech, oak, pear, ash, or – above all for personal hygiene and cooking utensils – olive wood are the main woods used. Depending on the end use, the woods are worked in their natural state, oiled, or waxed.
These are the fibres which make up the brush head. Depending on the application, we use the following materials:
Bristles from animal hair
The ‘hair’ from the domestic pig or the wild pig is called bristles. Bristles are significantly thicker and therefore harder at the root than at the tip, so that depending on the requirement, hard or soft brushes can be made, depending on whether the lower or upper part of the bristles is used.
Horse hair is a significant material for the brush maker. Hair from the tail and the mane are used. The strong hair from the horse’s tail is very suitable for the manufacture of brooms, hand brushes and brushes for cleaning cobwebs.
The classic bristle for shaving brushes is badger hair. It has rounded tips, so it cannot irritate or damage the sensitive skin of the face. Its fineness and density ensure a firm, substantial foam. Only the top quality crest hair from the badger’s back is used in our brushes.
The hair of the Chinese long-haired goat is by far the softest material in our brushes. Its very fine and dense hair is used in dusting brushes, in cosmetic brushes, and also in hairbrushes for babies.
Before manufacture, all natural hair and brushes are cleaned, scoured, and combed in a costly multi-stage process. We call this treatment ‘finishing’.
Bristles from natural fibres
Tampico fibre is obtained from the leaf ribs of a type of agave which grows on the high plains of Mexico. It has a high degree of shape retention, and is used for scrubbing brushes, washing brushes, and wherever high heat resistance is required. Palmyra fibre comes from the leaf ribs of palmyra palms which occur in India and Sri Lanka. The core from the stem of this palm provides the starch-containing foodstuff sago. Palmyra fibre is, like all plant fibres, wet-resistant and is used mainly for street-sweeping brooms. However it is mainly blended with other plant fibres to make union fibre, a mixture which has proved itself above all for vegetable scrubbing brushes, mops, and scrubbers because of its hardness and resilience.
Arenga is obtained from the leaf fibres of the Asian sugar palm. Its natural colour is dark grey to black. Arenga is finer and softer than other palm fibres, but is nevertheless tough and elastic. Thanks to its lack of sensitivity to wetness, it is ideal for brushes for outdoor use.
Sisal derives from the leaf fibres of the Mexican sisal palm. Its resistance makes it ideal for the manufacture of mats and massage gloves. It is not suitable for producing brushes.
Coco fibre is obtained from the fruit of the coconut palm. The fibres lie between the external leathery shell and the actual coconut. They can grow up to 30 cm in length, and are used as bristles for brooms, brushes, and hand brushes. As braided cords, coconut fibres are also made into mats.
The name ∏rice straw` is somewhat misleading, as the plant from which it is obtained has nothing to do with rice. ‘Rice straw’ comes from sorghum, a type of cereal which is native to an area from the sub-tropics to the Balkans. Sorghum straw for the manufacture of ‘rice straw’, or more correctly, sorghum brooms obtained from the upper part of the entire plant, including the panicle. In Germany, the ‘rice straw broom’ became known in the 1960s thanks to guest workers who emigrated from the Balkan countries.
In just the same way as rice straw, the name ‘rice root’ is incorrect for this particular fibre, as the material for rice root brushes does not come from a rice plant, but instead from a grass type called zatacon, which grows as a wild plant in the Mexican highlands. The incorrect name probably derives from the Spanish word ‘raiz’, which means ‘root’. In fact the extremely tough plant fibre comes from the finely corrugated roots of this plant, and is used for very hard scouring brushes.
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