double and single action airbrushes

Submitted by Clay Chapman on 12/16/05 at 10:49 PM. ( )

Looking into purchasing my first airbrush, wandering what the difference between a double and single action is and which would be best for fish and birds. Hope to get some feed back. thank you

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My first

This response submitted by M.T. on 12/16/05 at 11:21 PM. ( )

Was a double action, and I still use the same one nineteen years later. A buddy had a single action and I would throw that onbe out. Well, maybe not, it might work in a pinch!


This response submitted by Old Fart on 12/16/05 at 11:48 PM. ( )

With single action airbrushes you push down on the button for air only, the paint flow is adjusted seperatly with the nozzle, usually with your other hand.

With double action airbrushes you push down on the button for that air and pull it back at the same time to adjust the paint flow. The paint flow is regulated by the needle moving back and forth in the tip.

Double action brushes are a bit harder to master. I wish that I had started with a double action, the transition from the single action was frustrating for a while. Anyone doing fish without a high end double action is either crazy or can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

Hey watch it buddy!

This response submitted by Jeff S. on 12/17/05 at 2:25 AM. ( )

Well I can't walk and I am crazy sometimes... maybe that's why I use a Paache SINGLE ACTION and have been for over 25 years! Really old fart you are right..the double action is the best bet for fish, especially once you learn it well. But I can do anything with my old H airbrush, even scale tipping which I just got done doing. I think Cecil or some other great fish taxidermist out there also swears by his single action brush. Come on now guys..speak up!

H- 's are all that I use, I swear by em !

This response submitted by Buck on 12/17/05 at 4:04 AM. ( )

Here's why,- Once I had a guy commin to pick up his fish,, had to have it done in the morning cuz he'd be there with 3 other customers that also were dropping off fish to do.. well, had her done, but wanted that little X-tra,Detail,... bit more here & there..then...Splot!
Smack dab on the cheek ! cant over-spray that and get away with it ! I let the thing snap off my fingertip, causing a "spit" of dots to land on it, Now if I had stuck to the H- this woulden't of happened to me ! live & learn.

By the way. Have you ever done a BIG fish witha double ?

This response submitted by Buck on 12/17/05 at 4:11 AM. ( )

Get a blank from Archie, lets say a Big ol marlin, Wish you luck on your paint job ! You need the H's for bigger jobs and the double's for small stuff ! just thought it over..Still the H#1 is my main gun.( probably because of the 3 oz jars )...

Double action all the way

This response submitted by Scott R. on 12/17/05 at 6:13 AM. ( )

Clay- The other main difference between a single and a double other than how the trigger works as Old Fart stated, is that the paint on a double action is mixed internally where as on a single action it is mixed externally. With a double action you get far better atomization of your paint allowing you to do things with a double that you just cant do with a single. A gravity feed airbrush also lets you spray finer detail without as much air pressure. I have been airbrushing for over thirty years, and have used every type of airbrush out there and for my money, Iwata is the best. They make single and double action airbrushes and spray guns for any application. I will agree with Old Fart. I will agree with Old Fart and M.T.- a double is all I use.

I'll say it again; A single can do anything a double can do

This response submitted by Cecil on 12/17/05 at 2:26 PM. ( )

for regular commercial use. It's not he GD airbrush! It's the user!

It is whatever you learn with

This response submitted by Monty on 12/17/05 at 4:00 PM. ( )

I learned with a double but have seen firsthand the beautiful fish Cecil paints with nothing but singles. I would say the choice is yours and your artistic ability will determine your outcome more than the airbrush. Also paint viscosities play a major role, which I am sure will bring in the argument over water vs laquer. On that note, I once heard Dennis Arp state that it is a shame that so many artist limit themselves to one medium to paint such a colorful creature. I use colored pencils, rub-on paints and various methods of scale tipping to get the best result that I am capable of at this time, and constantly experimenting. Sorry to ramble on, but I could go for days on this subject.

Confused enough yet Clay?

This response submitted by Scott R. on 12/17/05 at 5:44 PM. ( )

While I agree with Cecil that it is the user and thier artistic abilities, I am mearly giving you my opinion from my experience over the years. After mastering the double action I haven't picked up my H airbrush since, but that is because I feel more comfortable with my doubles. The single action will be easier to start out with without question. It's all personal opinion after that. Good luck figuring it out.

How about this Scott?

This response submitted by Cecil on 12/17/05 at 7:14 PM. ( )

Different spurts for different folks. LOL

If it's your first brush

This response submitted by JL on 12/17/05 at 8:31 PM. ( )

Go with single action, then if you feel you want to progress go to a double action but get a good one. I've been painting fish for over 50 years with a single action Pasche "H" simply because I just can't get used to a double action brush (spurt...pfft...and drip). I taught my son to paint with a single action and he then learned to use a double action on his own with great success ( he takes after his mother ). Look at his website and see what determination can accomplish. Good luck with your decision...JL

Sounds good to me

This response submitted by Scott R. on 12/17/05 at 11:36 PM. ( )

Cecil. Anyone who can make a single action perfrom like a double gets nothing but respect from me.

Kinda like picking a puppy!

This response submitted by marty on 12/17/05 at 11:57 PM. ( )

Close your eyes and pick one! I can walk, chew gum and grab my crotch at the same time. Yet, I had trouble mastering the double. Single Action H with a number 3 tip is all I own...

research the Archives-there should be a bunch of info

This response submitted by GB on 12/20/05 at 10:22 AM. ( )

I believe one brush doesn't "git er done". I use 4 different airbrushes however they are all double action brushes. I own a lacquer only brush a wide spray/sealer brush a general color brush and a detail brush. I would quit taxidermy if I had to give up that detail brush(Iwata Custom Micron). In my classes in doesn't matter what you use just that the results match the reference. One last note-Breakthrough did an article on airbrush comparisons several issues back that may be worth reading.

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