Shavemac Finest

What kind of shaving brush do you use? Tell us all about it!
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TRBeck
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Shavemac Finest

Post by TRBeck » Mon May 11, 2020 8:50 pm

These pics are placeholders for now. Review to follow when I've got access to a full keyboard and not just my phone.
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Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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fallingwickets
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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by fallingwickets » Tue May 12, 2020 7:12 am

i came thiscloseto goingdown the shavemac rabbit hole...vulfix landed up with that honour. Stunning brushes (or they used to be anyway)

clive
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TRBeck
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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by TRBeck » Tue May 12, 2020 8:10 am

Well, now on a computer, I can see I should've resized those images to be a bit smaller. At any rate, a bit about this brush.

I bought a Shavemac Finest in 2013, and it was a fantastic brush. I ordered it at a 22mm knot and 48mm loft because Bernd's knots are sometimes a bit larger at the base than the official spec. It came in at 24/48 and was simply brilliant. I sold it like a fool when I bought a synthetic. I did try two more Shavemac synthetics later that year, but they weren't quite the same.

Fast forward to about six weeks ago. I'd been a synthetic user almost exclusively for several years, occasionally using a boar when I wanted a bit of facefeel. The only exception was a 24mm Shavemac 2-band I ordered a year back and really enjoy. Still, I was feeling like I wanted a bit more badger again. Synthetics work really well, but they just don't have as much feel as I'd like, and besides, I actually enjoy lathering, and synthetics work up lather easily but almost too quickly.

So I ordered this. It's nominally a 23mm knot set at 48mm, but it comes in between 23 and 24mm. It has exactly the traits I loved about my old Finest. Finest is 70/30 silvertip/pure badger, and the pure is a very nice grade. There's no prickle. The first shave or two there was a touch, like with a new BK4, and then it vanished. The pure adds backbone that isn't present in a Shavemac silvertip (I can only do bulbs in the standard silvertip; I prefer fan knots, and the pure adds enough structure to the knot to allow for a fan in Finest). And the backbone is accomplished without the huge glue bump so common on budget knots and some not-so-budget knots these days.

The feel on the face is soft, but still present, with a touch of scrubbiness. The flowthrough is fantastic, no lather-hogging at all, and it makes lather really well as a result. In a SOTD post over the weekend, I compared it to a hybrid of a Simpson Best and a Kent BK4. Reading through old posts, I was stunned to see I had done the same thing way back in 2013. It is not as dense as a Duke and not as long-lofted as a BK4.

In the pics above, you have the brush before loading, loaded with D.R. Harris, full of lather after face-lathering for pass 1, and finally still full of lather just before pass 3 (I don't shave 3 passes, but I lather thrice). I wanted to show the pliability of the knot with that pic before the final pass: it is not some wall of badger, although from the earlier overhead shot you can see it has enough density to do whatever you want to do with it. The lather on my face is the final pass, and you can see there's lots of it, and it's dense. The brush makes loads of lather, holds it, and releases it. It feels great to use. What more do you want?

Now, my one minor quibble, and this is personal preference: I ordered this handle style because it's my favorite one that Bernd makes. I like basic Persian jar variants, and the little "foot" at the bottom makes this one for me. However, I'd forgotten that Bernd uses the same size handles for 22-23mm knots and a slightly larger one for 24-25mm. It's taller and with a nicer line at the top of the handle, IMO. This is nitpicky, and I should've remembered when ordering so it's not a knock on Bernd at all. His service and craftsmanship are always excellent. But if I had it to do over, I'd get a 24/50 for the taller handle. That said, this one is perfectly ergonomic, looks great, and feels good in my hand. So what do I know?

Bernd's still making great brushes, gents.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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TRBeck
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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by TRBeck » Tue May 12, 2020 8:34 am

fallingwickets wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 7:12 am
i came thiscloseto goingdown the shavemac rabbit hole...vulfix landed up with that honour. Stunning brushes (or they used to be anyway)

clive
Haha. It's a rabbit hole for sure. The various options for customization are overwhelming. For now, I'm holding fast with the Finest and the 2-band (you can see in the image below how the larger handle looks...stunning IMO). But I do know that Shavemac makes the Savile Row silvertips I love so much, so a bulb standard silvertip is always in the back of my mind, as is a slightly longer-lofted (to compensate for its extreme density) 3-band D01 silvertip.
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Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by Rufus » Tue May 12, 2020 10:53 am

I’ve had a shavemac Finest in a Beehive handle for several years. I love it for all the reasons you have cited. In terms of price, quality and performance it knocks the socks off any brush I’ve used; I currently own 30 and have tried close to 100. It is a greatly under appreciated knot. Another shavemac knot that gets no attention is the Pure badger.
Bryan

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TRBeck
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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by TRBeck » Wed May 13, 2020 7:39 pm

I've never tried the Pure from Shavemac, nor the 2-band D01. The whole spectrum in the middle is spectacular IMO. Do you mind giving your impression of the Pure, Bryan?
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by Rufus » Thu May 14, 2020 1:38 pm

TRBeck wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 7:39 pm
I've never tried the Pure from Shavemac, nor the 2-band D01. The whole spectrum in the middle is spectacular IMO. Do you mind giving your impression of the Pure, Bryan?
About 21/2 years ago I had Brad Sears make me a Rubberset 200-style brush fitted with a small shavemac Pure badger knot. The knot is fan-shape and measures 22X46. The hair of the knot is surprisingly soft and sometimes I feel the tiniest bit of prickliness when I first start to lather (I I only face lather). Flow through is good and the backbone is moderate. The knot produces very good lather. The only other Pure badger knot I have is a Somerset-era Simpson Duke 2. The Simpson has similar face-feel to the shavemac, but is a bit stiffer. I like both brushes and they are permanently in my 30 brush rotation. I have to say though that the shavemac Finest badger has to be my ideal brush considering price, quality and performance. I don’t like dense, stiff brushes so the bulk of my badgers are 3-band silvertips. I have a shavemac 2-band silvertip, but I had It set with a high loft and fan-shaped to offset the density and backbone of the standard 2-band. I tried the shavemac Unique 2-band, but found it much too dense and stiff for my liking. Also, I like knots and the smaller end of the size spectrum: 22-24 mm diameter with at least a loft twice that if not more.
Bryan

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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by brothers » Fri May 15, 2020 8:12 am

A number of years ago when "mystery boxes" were popular among the shaving forums I bought one here on SMF (I think) and among the treasures was a Shavemac 220 and I still have it. It's a giant lather maker. I'm not certain whether Bernd still offers this brush, but this is one of the finest brushes I've ever used.
Gary

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Re: Shavemac Finest

Post by TRBeck » Mon May 18, 2020 9:18 am

Bryan, it sounds like we have similar brush tastes. My most-used brush prior to synthetics was a Savile Row 3122, which is just a rebranded Shavemac 3-band silvertip. I do have a 2-band Shavemac, also in a fan shape, a 24mm knot. Bigger knots seem unwieldy to me in badger.

I appreciate your impressions of Shavemac Pure. I will probably steer clear, as I don't tolerate scritch well at all, but it does sound very different to any of the other pure badgers I've used. Maybe someday.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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