Tools of the Trade: Flying Squirrels Working Nine Two Five

Studio Sign Co.'s Nick Lee tries out the Flying Squirrel Brush Co.'s 925 series on paper and MDO.

Man painting a brightly coloured sign that says 'Pinball' and has an illustration of the ball and flippers.
Nick Lee lettering with a Flying Squirrel Brush Co. 925 #2.

The Flying Squirrel Brush Co. recently launched their workhorse 925 (9-to-5!) series. The synthetic brushes come in just three sizes, which Nick Lee at Studio Sign Co. took for a workout.

Brush Review: 925 Series from Flying Squirrel Brush Co.

By Nick Lee

We recently got our hands on the new Series 925 lettering brushes from Flying Squirrel Brush Co. Right out of the box we were pleased with the aesthetics of the brushes themselves, the gold ferrule with an almost celadon-like green handle and red highlights are a nice combo and give them a cool retro vibe.

Chiselled sign painting brushes photographed in a planter containing a cactus.
The Flying Squirrel Brush Co. 925 Series.

These brushes are called the 9 to 5 series, so we had to clock in and begin the work day to see how they performed on the job. They are made from 100% synthetic hair and could be used with water- or oil-based paints, but remember that oil and water don't mix, so choose one and dedicate the brush to that specific type of paint. We typically work with oils, so we tested with lettering enamels on a MDO sign job and with japan/poster colours on a paper sign.

Pinball Wizards

First we coated out our pinball MDO signboard in chrome yellow bulletin enamel with a roller and let it dry. Then we went to work with the 925 brushes and lettering enamel for the graphics and lettering.

There were lots of tight angles and corners to be painted on this sign and the brushes held a nice chisel getting into the details. The #2 was small enough to take care of the fine lines and lettering, while the #5 was the right size for the thicker parts of the flipper and ball graphics, as well as the chamois outline. The #9 held enough paint and spread out large enough to tackle the chunky carmine border and edges just fine.

Main painting the edge of a flat panel with the front having the word 'Pinball' and an illustration of the ball and flippers.
Working with a #9 on the edge of the MDF panel.

The brushes behaved themselves nicely and took to curves and straight lines as intended.  Working on the smooth MDO, these brushes had some good spring and a nice feel to them.

A hand-painted sign on an easel with the word 'pinball' and an illustration of the ball and two flippers.
The finished pinball panel, painted with all three sizes in the 925 series from Flying Squirrel Brush Co.

Next up was a temporary paper sign to advertise some cookies. We used 40 lb (60 gsm) butcher paper and japan/poster colours. Once we'd pounced our design and thinned our paint to the correct consistency, we started lettering.

The #5 was perfect for the job, handling well and providing sharp corners, straight lines, and smooth curves. It also held a decent amount of paint for the long blue lines of the arrow design. Again, the #2 was nimble enough to get into the details of the letter outlines, and could spread out enough to get a good fill as well.

Hand-painted paper sign in the shape of an arrow with the word 'cookies' lettered in black with a blue outline.
The finished cookie paper sign, painted with all three sizes in the 925 series from Flying Squirrel Brush Co.

Final Verdict

The three brush sizes offer a very functional range for most lettering jobs: the #2 can handle most small details and outlining; the #5 is a great all-round lettering brush; and the #9 is large enough to knock out some fairly large lettering or filled areas.  Overall, it's a good set of brushes to start with, especially if you can't afford to invest in a complete set of sizes.

Written by Nick Lee, Studio Sign Co. / @studiosignco

The Flying Squirrel Brush Co. 925 Series are available as a set ($42) or individually at $12, $18, and $22 for the #2, #5, and #9 respectively.
Promotional flyer for chiselled sign painting brushes, featuring three brushes and graphics.
The Flying Squirrel Brush Co. 925 Series.

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A.S. Handover’s Series K Mike Meyer’s ‘Snapper’ brushes.