Are there tests to tell if a vintage brush is badger, or boar, or 'natural bristle'?
I recently bought two vintage brushes from an antique store. The dealer said he 'thought' these two 'might' be badger, while the others (he had about a dozen on display) he was pretty sure weren't.
One is a no-name wooden brush with the paint chipping off. Just as well. The paint job was pretty ugly. The knot looked very similar to my everyday Omega, which I have always assumed is boar, 1 3/4" loft and 2" diameter, blonde/brown with a few black bristles and a darker brown stain spot on one side. The knot on the newly acquired one is very similar, even to a red blotch/stain on one side. This one does have a darker brown band around it.
The other is a Simms 806 "set in rubber" with a knot 5/8" at the base, 1 3/4" tall and spreading out to only 1" at the tip. The top is cut 'almost' flat across. It is a dark brown with some greyish blonde tufts (which appear to rise only about 1" to 1 1/4"). Unfortunately, this one when I got it home I noticed a tiny crack running right around the resin handle, and I think it is actually expanding.
I tried sniffing them but all I could smell was dust. So no badger 'musk'. But they're old, so if they are badger, the musky smell would be gone by now, wouldn't it?
Also, just for clarification, 'boar' does refer to pig bristles doesn't it? And 'natural bristle' could be anything, including some kind of vegetable bristle?