Deck Tip:  Clean a paint brush with very little thinner.

If you've been working on tugboats, you've been painting.  You know that many times, there won't be enough thinner left for your project, or your mate won't hand it out very generously.  This can make cleaning a paint brush quite a chore and you need to save those too because they aren't usually in great supply.  If you're painting with regular enamel, diesel fuel comes in handy for this task but a lot of companies are using different formulas of paint that will only cut with thinner.  Here's how to stretch out a little bit of thinner and keep your brushes in service for many hitches.

If you can't clean your brush right away, click here.

First assemble some items:  A clean bucket, a waste bucket, a few rags, a little bit of thinner (or fuel), and some WD40 or other spray lubricant.

  The first thing to do is wipe most of the wet paint off the brush.  The less paint you have left on the brush makes the next few steps easier.
  Pour just a little thinner in the bottom of the clean bucket.  Only a little is necessary- enough to cover the bottom.
  By tilting the bucket, you'll make a deep puddle in the corner of the bottom.  (See the last picture)

Swish the brush around.  Get most of the paint off of the bristles.

  Get the thinner and paint mess off of the bristles by shaking the brush into the bucket.  If the handle of the brush is round, you can spin it dry by twirling it in between your hands as in this picture.  They make a pretty good brush spinner for this task too.

Buy one here

Dab the brush on a rag to help dry it some.

  Dump the dirty thinner into the waste bucket.  Drain the cleaning bucket well and wipe it out if it is very stained from the thinner and paint mixture.

Repeat these last four step a couple of more times.  You'll need less thinner each time you do this.

  By the time you do these steps, your brush will be good as new and you won't have used but a cup or so of thinner.  Even if you're using plentiful fuel oil, the process is neater than the usual slop and sling method.

Finish the job with a shot of WD40 on the bristles.  Wipe off the excess and store the brush where the bristles won't be bent.

The WD40 will keep the bristles from drying out and they'll be soft for the next paint job.  If you used fuel oil to clean the brush, you won't need to do this step.