Guide to Traditional Brushware
The below is intended as a guide to the various brush filling materials used in traditional brushware.
BAHIA PIASSAVA (BASS) from Brazil has unique wearing and sweeping qualities, is very resilient, holds water well, does not rot when damp and is very resistant to distortion. It is used in top quality dairy, industrial and platform brooms, and stiffer hand brushes.
NATURAL BASSINE (PALMYRA) from India has fair sweeping qualities , but is not resilient and may distort in use, especially when wet. It is mainly used in cheaper warehouse brooms , in mixtures for scrubbing brushes and in cheaper household brushes and brooms.
CANE (PALMYRA STALKS) from India has average wearing and poor sweeping qualities, losing much of its stiffness when wet. It is largely used in Sherbro or Polypropylene mixtures for road and yard brooms.
CANE AND BASSINE MIXTURE from India is generally used where price is the main consideration, as it sweeps rather poorly, wears quickly and is unsatisfactory in wet conditions. It is sometimes referred to as “GRAPE” or “APPLE” mixture. This mixture is cheap, and is in no way comparable with Piassava Bass which is superior in every way.
BROOM GRASS from Lesotho has average wearing and sweeping qualities, and is satisfactory in wet conditions. Used in mixtures, it is suitable for lighter domestic and yard brooms.
SHERBRO PIASSAVA (BASS) from Sierra Leone has average wearing and sweeping qualities and does not crush or distort easily. It is mainly used in farm, road sweeping and factory brooms , and is often mixed with other materials to improve its wearing properties.
NATURAL COCO FIBRE (COIR) from Sri Lanka is a low cost material with average wearing and sweeping qualities. It is liable to crush and distort and tends to flatten. It is largely used in cheaper household and platform brooms. Sometimes it is mixed with Gumati or plastic fibres to improve its resilience. All Salmon Products natural coco is unbleached. From an environmental point of view the Hill Brush Company disapproves of the sulphur bleaching process, which is only used to give the fibre a more golden colour.
BLACK COCO FIBRE (DYED COCO) from Sri Lanka has exactly the same properties as natural coco, but is dyed.
POLYPROPYLENE is very light and has good wearing properties. However it is a little ‘dead’ in use and has poor recovery from crushing. It is used in many bass and platform brooms and household brushes. Polypropylene can be used in hot water, but it must not be left in boiling water for more than a few seconds.