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How to Create a Beautiful Brush Finish?

One of the natural evolutions of stone processing is to create "different" finishes. The designers, architects and trend setters of the world always want to achieve something different, something that differ from the norm that has a classic but trendy new look.

Experimenting with brushes and carborundum, brought these "river washed" and antique finishes on the market about 10 years ago. It worked great on softer stones, marbles and travertine giving them a classy soft and warm feeling compared to the cold polish effect or the dull honed one.

Transferring this experience into the granite world was a costly and seldom successful experience. The best results were achieved with a combination of sanding, flaming, bush hammering, water blast and a brush at the end to smooth out the roughness of the first process.

This double processing, although in few case achieved a nice end product, was always very costly and never succeeded in becoming mainstream. Also the major issue at a fabricator level was that the first part of the processing was almost impossible to achieve and just the carborundum brush would not even scratch the surface of the edge, just leaving a slight reflective surface that was really unaesthetic and disjointed from the top.

After years of research Tenax finally came up with a solution for "antiquing" granite. With a patented brush, that has diamond embedded in both soft and hard plastic brittle, Tenax was able to finally dig into the softer part of the granite without any surface preparation, and then increasingly pull out the color of the stone until the right texture/finish was achieved.

Such tools are called Airflex and Filiflex and with the correct sequence they will achieve different finishes usually called caress, leather, river wash, etc.

They also come in different attachments/shapes so they can be used on manual grinder, edge polishers , CNC machine and floor polishing machines.

Usually the way to use them is to bring the surface to a regular 60-80 grit honed finish. This will eliminate any rough surfaces and also open up the material to give more grip to the following brush.

Brush Sequence

The sequence to follow is always like this:

  1. Filiflextra 36
  2. Filiflextra 46
  3. Filiflextra 60
  4. Airflex 120
  5. Airflex 220
  6. Airflex 300

At this point you will achieve a very nice antique brushed finish. After this finish it is actually possible to increase the gloss and bring the finish to a polish (still maintaining the textured effect). This finish is often referred to as "caress" finish or with different trade name depending on the manufacturer of the stone.

To do so the following Airflex LUX are needed: 400-600-800. Then the next step are special soft fine grain diamond abrasives usually called FUSION G that will bring up the shine to a complete polish.

Lately a new type of brushes appeared in the market. They look almost identical as the carborundum one, but have diamonds in the filament. Tenax recommends their use on very hard granite and stone to help the texturing on the very first grit of the process (usually just grit 35 and 46 are necessary) and then to finish off with the Airflex/Filiflex sequence described above.

Trying to finish the sequence with just the diamond filament brushes usually produce a very harsh and deeply scratched kind of finish , very different from the smooth, clean and warm feeling the Airflex and Filiflex brush will achieve.

A lot of different sources are available to know more about the techniques of achieving a good finish.

If you would like assistance for a specific application for your granite, marble, or engineered stone job, please contact Tenax at 1-800-341-0432 or [email protected]