18 Feb Review: Raphael 8404 Kolinsky Sable Brush
In the never-ending quest to find the penultimate painting tool, I find myself constantly on the hunt for better brushes. I came upon an offering by the France based Raphael, the 8404 Kolinsky Sable. At MSRP, this brush is quite a bit cheaper then the Windsor & Newton Series 7 ($15 vs $24 for a #2 round) which is nice, but at what cost? Let’s see how the 8404 stands up to the “gold standard” of miniature brushes.
The 8404’s sable hair is stated to be sourced from Siberia and Manchuria (most likely Manchuria nowadays). The brush hair is set in a nickel-plated brass ferrule, on a standard black and orange varnished handle. Nothing especially groundbreaking going on here. What we really care about is the 8404’s performance.
The 8404 holds an exceptionally sharp point which I’ve found to be quite resilient. In my experience, the W&N S7 has a tendency to split a bit when it starts getting dry. This isn’t the case with the 8404, and probably has the best snap characteristics out of all the brushes I’ve tried thus far.
Size-wise, the brush head is slightly larger than the S7 which translates into better paint carrying capacity. I personally prefer smaller brush heads as they are easier for me to control, but it all comes down to personal preference in the end.
The painting characteristics of the 8404 were quite similar to the S7. Good capacity, even paint release, but slightly more springy. Snap was excellent, and not having to fuss with the brush tip, or worry about stray hairs/splitting during painting was a godsend.
I’ve only been painting with my 8404 for a month, so I can’t speak on the longevity of the brush. Only time will tell if the 8404 can hold up to the W&N S7 in terms of usable lifespan.
Overall, I enjoyed painting with the 8404 immensely. So much so, that I decided to pick up a #2 and #0 round to accompany my lone #1. $15 is still quite expensive for a brush, but if you are looking for a premium Kolinsky Sable with excellent snap and a similar feel to the S7 at a fraction of the price, look no further.