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A Guide to Painter Uniforms and Tools for Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Painters

Aug 17, 2007
Painting is messy. Paint seems to have a will of it's own to get everywhere. To keep as much of the paint off of you (and hence, save more for what you're painting!) there's a wide variety of painter uniform items and accessories. This special-purpose wear has kept up with the times, providing the best features in durable and serviceable painter's wear.

Typically painter's uniforms are made of of drill fabric. Drill is a strong, durable cotton fabric with a strong diagonal bias in the weave. It can be used unbleached, although it is more often dyed or bleached. The lighter weights are used in such clothing items as shirts, blouses, safari jackets, "playwear", and martial arts wear. So if you're wearing a painter's uniform made of drill fabric, your Karate Kid jokes about "Wax on! Wax off!" will be especially in character.

Painter's pants

The many styles offered today resemble more and more the regular pants everyone wears, but of course in servicable paint-proof form. They're pleated and seamed, the seams are double and even triple stitched, and they are designed to fit and move with you. Painter's pants usually come with various hammer loops and tool pockets, and even snug little pockets for cell phone and pager.

Painter's double-knee pants

Similar to the plain painter's pants, with the extra support of reinforced knees. These typically also have wide legs so you can fit them on over boots. The knee padding is a definite plus, as anyone who has done work on things like roofing and decking can tell you.

Painter's Bib Overalls

These are the standard overalls which are often referred to as "Farmer John" style. They usually have elastic shoulder straps to allow ease of movement and are built to be roomy, while also providing complete protection when combined with a jacket. They also come with an assortment of pockets, from the extra large front pocket to the cell phone and pager pockets and hammer loops. Typically also double or triple stitched.

Painter's shorts

Similar to the painter's pants, except built short for warm weather work. Not exactly the same purpose, however, since these don't provide the full coverage protection, but nevertheless popular for working under intense heat conditions. Funny how so much painting work tends to be located outside, isn't it?

Painter's shirt or blouse

Cut somewhat like a Polo shirt, these are the compliment to the various pants and shorts. Not as many pockets tend to be built into the shirts, but they usually have the same durability and light-weight comfort as the painter's pants

Painter's flannel lined jackets

For cold weather work, or fuller upper body protection, or just for style! This new trend in painter's wear has become quite popular; you see these on construction sites all the time. Combining the features of drill fabric with the comfort of flannel lining, you'll find yourself wearing these everywhere on the job and not just on painting detail.

Hoods, boots, and gloves
These addition accessories provide extra protection and complete the painter's ensemble.

Painter's Tools:

Recent advances in manufacture technique have led to a standardization of brushes, with many older brushes falling from fashion.

The ground brush
Also called the 'pound brush', is a round or elliptical brush bound by cord, wire, or metal. They are generally heavy to use, and require considerable usage to break them in. These brushes were mostly used in the days before modern paint manufacture techniques; hand-mixed paints requiring more working to create the desired finish. These brushes still have use in applying primer; the brushes are useful in working the primer deeper into the grain of the wood. Pound brushes require an even breaking-in to create even bevels on both sides of the brush, minimizing the formation of a point which would render the brush near useless.

Sash tools
Sash tools were smaller brushes, similar to a ground brush, and used mainly for cutting in sash or glazing bars commonly found on windows. Sash tools and ground brushes generally require bridling before use, and a painter's efficiency in this skill is generally used as a guide to their ability. Both of these brushes have largely been replaced by the modern varnish brush.

Varnish brushes
Varnish brushes are the common flat brushes available today in your hardware store; they are used for painting as well as varnishing. Brushes intended for varnishing typically have a beveled edge for working with the thick fluid.

Distemper brushes
Distemper brushes, used for applying distemper, were best made of pure bristle and bound by copper bands to prevent damage from rust. Historically, styles of distemper brushes differed across the world, with flat nailed brushes popular in the North of England, a brush with two ovular heads popular in the South of England, and flat head brushes preferred elsewhere. In the United States distemper brushes were known as calcimine, calsomine, or kalsomine brushes, each term being the American variant of distemper.

Specialized brushes
Fitches are smaller brushes, either ovular or flat and one inch wide, which are used in fine work such as to pick out the detail on a painted molding. Stipplers come in various shapes and sizes and are used to apply paint with a stippled effect, such as on stucco. A duster or jamb brush is used to dust the area to be painted before work. Lime-wash brushes are large brushes with a triangular head used to apply a lime wash. Stencil brushes are similar in style to a shaving brush and are used for the purpose of stenciling walls or in the creation of hand-made wallpapers.

Brushes are best stored in a brush keeper made for this purpose; this is a box on which a wire could be suspended. The wire is threaded through the hole in the brushes' handles so as to suspend the brushes in a cleaning solution without allowing the brush to sit on the bottom of the container and thus cause spreading of the bristles. The solution also prevents hardening of the brushes and oxidization. These are generally rectangular and store several brushes, with a lid to enclose the brushes and keep them free from dust.

Good luck to all the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania painters from Best Buy Uniforms!
About the Author
Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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