A Hairy Situation!

What kind of shaving brush do you use? Tell us all about it!
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drmoss_ca
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Re: A Hairy Situation!

Post by drmoss_ca » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:03 am

Here was today's shave:

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This is the first of the Apothecary Shop brushes, and an early Lee Sabini prototype of his Rooney brushes. This brush has pure white tips and black shafts, and is made of the finest quality hair I have ever seen. It is not very dense, however, but makes excellent lather very quickly. I wish that it had a little more resistance when used on the face to give some more feeling, but at the end of the day, it is a paintbrush, rather than a scrubby brush. It will definitely be staying up on the shelf and not returning to the basement. Tomorrow, I shall try out it’s fellow Apothecary Shop brush.
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Re: A Hairy Situation!

Post by drmoss_ca » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:26 am

The second Apothecary Shop brush, this one with a much denser knot, yellowish tips and brown shafts - it's rather like the quality of the 'Best' hair used by Simpson in their Somerset era in their larger and more expensive brushes, like the CH2 and CH3. Quick to lather and perfect feel on the face! It's probably my best brush of all, and I use it only occasionally as I don't want to see it wear out! It can stay on the shelf.

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"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
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Teiste
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Re: A Hairy Situation!

Post by Teiste » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:06 am

So , do you prefer 2 band hair , 3 band hair , or doesn’t really matter to your preferences ?

I’m really enjoying this thread

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Re: A Hairy Situation!

Post by drmoss_ca » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:48 am

I don't really have a preference based on hair description; what moves me is the feel on the face. A thin brush with a loose knot is too soft on the face - it's a painter, and it surprises me how well some of them make lather (A bit like Dr Johnson: " It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.") A brush that's too dense has the opposite problem; it's like rubbing your face with a tennis ball. In between there's a sweet spot, where a brush splays a bit, but not too much, is firm yet has just enough give. That means hair with shafts that are quite thick, but also we'd like it to have tips that are soft. If it looks pretty that's a bonus.

I've got three brushes that do the job very well, an Omega boar, yesterday's Apothecary brush and the old Shavemac XXL. Some of the old Simpson's are pretty close (PL8, CH2, E3, PJ3, Major). If I remember right, the Sabini-Rooney I will use today may well be a fourth.

One of the odd things you realise is that when we talk about knot density, we are really talking about hair shaft thickness. After all, the hairs are just tied in a bundle and glued into the base. It's not as if there is any kind of filler or spacing between them, and I think it would be too awkward to try to tie the knot so loosely that there are air gaps - the blasted thing would fall apart as you tried to trim it to shape. So density must be related to some shafts being of relatively uniform thickness along their length, while low density knots must be made with hair that tapers a lot which not only creates air gaps, but also means more flexible hair that splays apart. Am I mad in imagining this? Perhaps a brushmaker might chime in.
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Re: A Hairy Situation!

Post by drmoss_ca » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:33 am

And the Rooney did not disappoint! Nearly as good as yesterday's Apothecary Shop.
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Re: A Hairy Situation!

Post by TRBeck » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:24 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:48 am
I don't really have a preference based on hair description; what moves me is the feel on the face. A thin brush with a loose knot is too soft on the face - it's a painter, and it surprises me how well some of them make lather (A bit like Dr Johnson: " It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.") A brush that's too dense has the opposite problem; it's like rubbing your face with a tennis ball. In between there's a sweet spot, where a brush splays a bit, but not too much, is firm yet has just enough give. That means hair with shafts that are quite thick, but also we'd like it to have tips that are soft. If it looks pretty that's a bonus.

I've got three brushes that do the job very well, an Omega boar, yesterday's Apothecary brush and the old Shavemac XXL. Some of the old Simpson's are pretty close (PL8, CH2, E3, PJ3, Major). If I remember right, the Sabini-Rooney I will use today may well be a fourth.

One of the odd things you realise is that when we talk about knot density, we are really talking about hair shaft thickness. After all, the hairs are just tied in a bundle and glued into the base. It's not as if there is any kind of filler or spacing between them, and I think it would be too awkward to try to tie the knot so loosely that there are air gaps - the blasted thing would fall apart as you tried to trim it to shape. So density must be related to some shafts being of relatively uniform thickness along their length, while low density knots must be made with hair that tapers a lot which not only creates air gaps, but also means more flexible hair that splays apart. Am I mad in imagining this? Perhaps a brushmaker might chime in.
Chris, what makes for density is an interesting conversation indeed. Your explanation makes sense, but Simpson Best models vary in density greatly despite having the same hair. In particular, Chubby is more dense than Duke is more dense than Commodore is more dense than....a pattern that holds regardless of any batch variation.

I agree with your general preferences, although my sweet spot is a bit wider in that a slightly loose knot is okay with me. Synthetics lather really well but miss out on the feel of the tips. Most badger I have had in recent years misses on multiple counts, with Shavemac's 2-band silvertip being a notable exception. The Omega boar you mention is one of my favorites, and I'm sampling some Semogue boars at present that are less firm but still have a just-right degree of backbone and give for me.

I have more or less resigned myself to being dissatisfied with newer badger hair, which is fine, since it makes it easier for me to listen to my conscience about badger harvesting. I will mention that the mixed badger/boar knots being produced now are not like the vintage ones I've come across, and they more or less match the description you put forth here of the ideal. The boar hair gives backbone to the knot, the badger provides a soft feel, and the combination allows for a dense knot that nonetheless has excellent flow-through and lather release. The Semogue Mistura is an inexpensive but terrific brush worthy of sitting alongside some heavy hitters.
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: A Hairy Situation!

Post by drmoss_ca » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:24 am

Moving along, I brought up and used a Rooney beehive in super, and the Rooney 2007 SMF brush. The former was really quite good, but the latter is too soft for the long loft. It did inspire me, though, to try another long-handled brush, one of the Shavemacs I had Bernd make for me as bigger versions of the 22368. There were two, and this was the slightly smaller one. I'm not sure if it is the one in this 2005 photo, or whether that is the larger one in the middle. You can only tell them apart if they are side by side.

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It is flanked by the 22368 on the right, and a Vulfix shop window display brush on the left. All have that lovely Persian Jar shape, and do it more elegantly than the Simpson of that name.
The brush is a bit soft for me, as it was made just after the really good Shavemac hair could no longer be bought. But it makes lather like crazy (the long handle really helps with that) and also rather thicker and creamier than most brushes. It's not so big that I can't apply the lather without getting it up my nose and in my mouth, so I think it can stay on the shelves for now. I probably ought to try it's bigger brother tomorrow.
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Re: A Hairy Situation!

Post by drmoss_ca » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:36 am

And to add to that, I was inspired to gather all the PJ-style brushes so they could line up for a group photo:

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I'm quite sure my attraction to the 22368 is because it looks like Cyd Charisse in a sheath dress!
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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