No nonsense boar brush break-in

What kind of shaving brush do you use? Tell us all about it!
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brothers
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No nonsense boar brush break-in

Post by brothers » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:30 pm

There’s a way to break in a boar brush without having to shave with it day after day for weeks and weeks. The three new boar brushes pictured below are proof that this works. The tips of these brushes are well-split and very soft on the face because they've each had the real-time equivalent of over 100 days of normal use in the past three weeks.

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There are two factors involved in breaking in a new boar brush. The first factor is the cumulative friction/wear effect and the second factor is the alternate soaking and drying. One daily use will result in a maximum of about 3 minutes on average of actual brush activity on the skin, and that friction is minimized by the presence of the soap or cream. Doing it the slow way at a rate of one normal use per day it takes several weeks or months of shaving to achieve a fully broken in boar brush. There is a way to manipulate and speed that process up without having to actually shave and/or even make lather. However, there's no way to speed up the soaking and drying.

Here’s how I do it. I got a piece of thick scrap leather from Tandy about 6 inches x 6 inches and laid it on a piece of wood the same size. After soaking the dry brush in water for a while I rub it on the finished side of the leather, just like I’m building lather on my face or hand for a full 30 minutes, swirling and painting the whole time, first one hand and then the other. Then I let it dry thoroughly. One thirty minute session equals 10 daily shaves. After about 10 sessions the tips of the brush will be uniformly well-split and ready to use for shaving.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic/boar/badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:40 pm

Gary, are you not using any soap when you do this?
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jww
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Post by jww » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:27 am

Oh the not-so-fine science of shaving .... thanks for the suggestion - I'll have to try it next time I buy a new boar brush.
Wendell

Resident Wool Fat Evangelist & anglophile. Have you hugged a sheep today?

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fallingwickets
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Post by fallingwickets » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:28 am

Thanks for sharing your knowledge base here Gary.......you gents and your boars :lol:

clive
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LookingGlass
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Post by LookingGlass » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:36 am

I reckon this is okay, but I prefer the old fashion way....

Just use the brush daily and see the ends start to split and the "bloom" form. In this day of instant this and instant that, it is rewarding, for me, to slow down and use natural skills to break in a boar. Some have been more challenging than others, but all have turned out great.

Also, I do not think I could take a nice, new Semogue 1305 to a piece of leather - it is a brush and not a knife.

Take care,
Ed

brothers
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Post by brothers » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:53 am

Russ, no soap, just water.

Ed, I reckon this is OK too, since it took just a couple of weeks to give the same results of nearly a year (300 uses spread over three brushes) of only 3 minutes a day. And by the way, I'm not cutting the leather with the boar brush, I'm rubbing it gently back and forth and around and around on the surface. The leather is probably softer than my own pre-shaved skin, because there aren't any whiskers growing on it!
Last edited by brothers on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic/boar/badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

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m3m0ryleak
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Post by m3m0ryleak » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:10 am

Thanks for the tip Gary. I broke in my Semogue 2009 LE with lots of hand lathering and now, three years later, it is a most delightful brush. Loves making lather of any soap it meets , and is as soft as a maiden's kiss :wink: .
Tony

"They say that dreams are growing wild just this side of Burma Shave" - Tom Waits

sffone
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Post by sffone » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:07 pm

A method I've used with both boar and black badger is to wisk the tips of the bristles back and forth across a piece of coarse sandpaper.

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