A couple of my old bristle brushes have loose ferrules. I am a bit hesitant to tighten the metal with pliers in fear of crushing the wood and making them even looser. Has anyone had any success tightening loose ferrules?

  • 2
    Let me get it right: The bristles come out of the ferrule, or the ferrule (+ bristles) come out of the (wood / plastic) handle?
    – virolino
    Jun 27 '19 at 11:15
  • The bristles are good, it is just the metal that is loose where it meets the wood handle.
    – Jon Welch
    Jul 2 '19 at 0:24
  • Can you take the 'heads' (ferrules + bristles) off of the handle?
    – Joachim
    Jul 12 '19 at 10:54

If the hairs go out of the ferrule

One idea which I plan to test (without destroying a good brush just for testing purposes) is to inject some kind of glue at the base of the bristles / hairs.

My plan is to use a medical syringe, fill it with some glue (even oil paint should do, I suppose), and fill the base of the hairs (inside the metal "clamp") with that glue. Upon hardening, everything should stay in place together.

Additionally, to prevent losing the hairs as a block, I would stick some small nails through the metal, so in the end these nails would be stuck with the glue.

If the ferrule goes out of the handle

Just screw a screw through the ferrule into the handle. Maybe even two screws, from opposite sides. If you worry that the handle will break due to the pressure of the screws, drill some "guiding" hole first. The diameter of the hole should match the diameter of the "core" of the screw.

Alternatively, use some thin nails.

Or just glue it - see notes below.


  1. Always keep the brush with the bristles upwards (or at least diagonally upwards) - to avoid the glue sticking them together.

  2. Use a glue which does not become very rigid / breakable after curing.

  3. If the glue is too "liquid", temporarily wrap the ferrule / handle area with adhesive tape. It will hold the glue until it cures. Remove the tape after the process finished.

  • 2
    Your approach bears the risk of glueing the bristles together. Bristles offer less resistance to viscous liquids like oil paint than wood, so the liquid will squeeze out instead of filling the gap between wood and ferrule. Thin liquids like superglue will creep up the bristles as well, even against gravity. If you already have a medical syringe, you should try to inject the glue / oil paint at the opposite end of the ferrule. Or just dab a bit of super glue at the "wood end" of the ferrule and let it flow into the gap.
    – Elmy
    Jun 27 '19 at 11:09
  • @Elmy: thanks for the heads-up. I think I thought of the wrong problem, I expanded the answer. +1
    – virolino
    Jun 27 '19 at 11:24
  • Using screws you risk splitting the handles.
    – Joachim
    Jul 12 '19 at 10:47
  • That is exactly why I wrote: If you worry that the handle will break due to the pressure of the screws, drill some "guiding" hole first.
    – virolino
    Jul 12 '19 at 10:58

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