Rooney... catch me up?!?

What kind of shaving brush do you use? Tell us all about it!
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LostInCincy
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Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by LostInCincy »

So, I’ve spent about a decade away from the forums (for the most part). I now realize that I basically skipped over a crucial period in brushes. Am I correct in seeing that the Rooney Finest knots like the one pictured here (purchased 2008, I think) are not to be found anywhere in new brushes? It looks like Lee Sabini was doing the Morris and Fondran thing a while using similar hair. Is it even possible to get a brush from him anymore?

I don’t really need it. The Rooney 3,1 I took a picture of is very near a perfect brush for me. But if I’d known they’d become rarities selling Used for over $600, I’d have picked one up when I was a young professional with no family.

There are so many good brushes out there, including ones I’ve made myself, but NOTHING like the Rooney’s Finest of that period. Or... am I wrong?!?
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Dan
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TRBeck
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by TRBeck »

Hmmm...Lee Sabini does still provide knots under the Morris & Forndran name through Brad Sears Brushworks. Convoluted, for sure, and those who know indicate that while the hair is good, it isn't what the old Rooneys were. I would say that grade of badger is gone forever, with young farmed badger and heavily treated hair the order of the day. If I were going to try to replicate the density, scrub, backbone, and feel of the Rooney Emillion I had ca. 2008, I would consider:

Semogue Mistura (really! a great brush!)
M&F/Brad Sears (poke around on the site as there are Brad Sears brushes, M&F collaborations, etc.)
Shavemac D01 2-band

Or, shell out $600 for the real deal and save the hassle of buying and selling lesser alternatives.
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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churchilllafemme
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by churchilllafemme »

I would agree that nothing modern quite matches the overall quality and character of the Rooney Finests. Whether they are worth the selling prices is a question only the buyer can answer.
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drmoss_ca
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Nice to see you, Dan. I don't know why there cannot be some arrangement for roadkill badgers, or even the hundreds (thousands?) culled by gas in the UK because of the tuberculosis worry. I can imagine the few brushmakers who care bidding over the big old boars like Japanese fish buyers over a tuna!

I have a couple of Apothecary Shop and one Sabini Rooney finest, and they are indeed magic. I've a couple of Vulfix 2-bands that are somewhat like it, and some Shavemac DO1's that are close, but none quite have that mix of rather stiff black hair topped by one-third creamy soft tips, as soft as camel hair.

Now if only camels didn't smell so bad...
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
GaryYoung
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by GaryYoung »

As a rule, UK badger hair is simply too coarse to use for brushes.

Gary
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drmoss_ca
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Do you suggest that golden age badger brushes were made with hair sourced only from foreign, non-UK badgers? Or are you pre-emptively defending your new Nimmer brushes that will have no English badger hair? I assume Meles meles is the same, whichever country it grows and lives in.

I was concerned that you replied to my question about hair with
I’ll be using what I would call ‘Best’ grade-equivalent to the Best we used to use at Nimmer (and before in London). Sourced from the right places!
Which hits all the right notes but fails to say it will not be Chinese farmed badger. It seems rather obvious to all of us that badger brushes made in England were made from hair quite unlike anything that is available today. What's changed? Lots of young badgers are separated alive from their pelts in China, and I'd rather grow a beard than be complicit in that trade. We know that the hair used to be very different, and that all indications point to it being sourced from an older animal. So if it was "too coarse" when from the UK, where did it come from and why is it no longer available?

Look, Gary - I'd like you to succeed. I would be delighted to see brushes made with the quality of hair we used to enjoy. But there is a lot of room for honesty here. Why can we not buy brushes like the old ones? Where did that hair come from? You get the point. Give us the verifiable facts.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
LostInCincy
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by LostInCincy »

Thank you to everyone who's replied. Seeing so many dead sites made me unsure that M&F was actually still available through Brad Sears, and that's genuinely helpful to know. Knots that begin at 26mm, on the other hand, are not so helpful. But perhaps truly custom and not bespoke is possible.

I am wary of buying another brush new as I don't know enough about the sourcing of badger hair and the ethics, etc. One thing is for sure, though; those old Rooneys were out of this world in terms of the backbone alongside absurdly soft tips.
Dan
GaryYoung
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by GaryYoung »

Chris,
My comment on this post and my earlier reply to you were meant in no way to avoid an answer or try to hoodwink. So I apologise if this is how it has been viewed by you.
My family ran a shaving brush business for over 70yrs, using the same supplier of badger hair for the majority of that time. The hair used by us was sourced from the Balkans (Eastern Europe). I am assuming that the ‘golden age’ you refer to falls within that kind of time period?
Regarding British badger hair I stand by my earlier comment on this thread. We would regularly have members of the public turn up at the factory to ‘offer’ badgers they had hit by car for use in our brushes. They were always respectfully declined for the reason given earlier-the hair being too coarse to use.
We even had the RSPCA appear at Nimmer on one occasion after the business was part of a BBC Radio Three programme. A listener had heard that badger hair was used in the brush production. She believed we kept badgers penned in fields behind the mill. My grandfather gave the RSPCA full access to our land. Of course no badgers were kept by us, all the hair used in brush production coming from the Balkans and not from British badgers.

Gary
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Teiste
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by Teiste »

Gary :

Im so happy to read you here again.

How is the brush making project coming along , my friend?

The badger hair from Russia was also superb , as I have tried some Vie Longs with that hair and beats the current Chinese offerings

Its my understanding that also the hair that Mr Lee Sabini used in some of his finest brushes was also from Russia , which explains who unique it is (like old Plisson HMW).
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by brothers »

Ten years ago knowing nothing about badger hair brushes I had an old Rooney butterscotch handle in need of hair. I contacted Tony at The Golden Nib (TGN). He had a premium silvertip knot from the UK. From then until now it's been providing just as well as my Rooney Finest ( A personal gift from Lee Sabini himself in apology for an error that had been made in an order of an M&F.) Based on that I surmise 10 years ago the UK badger was excellent at least in my brush. I've used both of them back to back just last week.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by brothers »

TRBeck wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:48 pm Was the knot from the UK or the hair? The hair could be sourced anywhere and assembled in the UK and the knot would be a UK knot.

I would assume Gary Young knows whereof he speaks.
No question Tim - certainly he does. I respect him and his experience. Just as I have no dispute with your question regarding UK knot/hair. Good point.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444
GaryYoung
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by GaryYoung »

I’ve been trawling through some old Simpson paperwork today and have found some old receipts from the 70s/80s re: hair supply. Will scan in some examples and post on a separate new thread.
It’s been great fun today looking at some of the old paperwork!
I’ve found some old price lists from the 70s/80s and I think you’ll be surprised at the cost of some of the well known models that the family made (taking inflation into account as well of course!)
To give you an example...
Price List from 1st January, 1978
Chubby 2 in Best - £14.95

Gary
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John Rose
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by John Rose »

These mythical badgers - do they come with Pre-CBS Fender Stratocasters?

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Mine all have a Gibson Les Paul, but I throw the guitar away as it doesn't help the shave any.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
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Rufus
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Re: Rooney... catch me up?!?

Post by Rufus »

GaryYoung wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:07 am I’ve been trawling through some old Simpson paperwork today and have found some old receipts from the 70s/80s re: hair supply. Will scan in some examples and post on a separate new thread.
It’s been great fun today looking at some of the old paperwork!
I’ve found some old price lists from the 70s/80s and I think you’ll be surprised at the cost of some of the well known models that the family made (taking inflation into account as well of course!)
To give you an example...
Price List from 1st January, 1978
Chubby 2 in Best - £14.95

Gary
That’s about 75 quid today (without a Les Paul or Stratocaster)
Bryan
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