Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

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CMur12
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Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by CMur12 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:18 pm

I'll preface this by saying that I have long favored a knot of 20 - 22mm for both badger and boar brushes.

My first synthetic brush was an HJM Black Fibre brush with a 19mm knot. This brush actually works pretty well.

I next got an Asylum BG-7 brush with a 23mm knot, though it seems more like 21 - 22mm to me. I was irked when I got this brush because it had a more rounded head than the one in the illustration that had persuaded me to order it, so I didn't use it for a long time. When I finally decided to give it a try, it worked very well. I think it works so well with the small knot because it has a finer grade of fiber than my other synthetics.

I got three "budget" brushes from Razorock: One with a 22mm knot and two with a knot of 24mm. The two 24s were in different qualities of synthetic fiber. When I tried the 22mm Rozorock brush, I was quite disappointed in its performance. Much like older synthetics, the fiber didn't splay and it was difficult to use. I got a Semogue synthetic brush with the same size knot and what appears to be the same fiber, with the same results.

I have avoided using the Razorock 24mm synthetics because they always appeared to have such huge lofts. I finally tried the lesser of these two brushes last night (the one with the same fiber as the Razorock 22mm), and it did a great job. It didn't seem that large in action, possibly because it didn't splay much, but the size of the knot seems to make up for the lack of splay. The 24mm knot provides a large enough working surface to lather without splaying.

Another thought: All of the synthetic brushes that I have seen, except for the HJM Black Fibre, have bulb-shaped lofts. This has frustrated me because I strongly favor fan-shaped brushes. I'm starting to wonder, however, if the bulb shape promotes some minor splay.

Have others of you observed much the same or do you see it differently?

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

jar
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by jar » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:26 am

Almost all of my synthetics are more experienced ones made a half century or so ago. Most are fan shaped or straights. I also have a new RR Plissoft which is more bulb shaped but I don't notice much difference when it comes to using them.

My older nylon brushes tend to perform very much like my boar brushes from the same period so while it is different it is similar to the difference between an experienced boar brush and a modern boar brush.

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ShadowsDad
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by ShadowsDad » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:17 am

I'll need to pay more attention to it the next time I get into my syn' brushes. At this point I don't even think about it. I just grab the next brush in the lineup and it's use is automatic.
I think the biggest knot I have is a 28.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

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Squire
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by Squire » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:52 am

Murray I can't speak as to synthetics but in brushes generally I don't need anything larger than 20-22.
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Squire

CMur12
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by CMur12 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:30 pm

Squire wrote:Murray I can't speak as to synthetics but in brushes generally I don't need anything larger than 20-22.
Squire, that was my experience, too, before synthetics.

Synthetics are a whole different animal. (Which I knew already, but I didn't know that it applied in this way.)

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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ShadowsDad
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by ShadowsDad » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:18 pm

Exactly my experience before synthetics also. They're just different and ones experience with natural fiber is no longer valid as it pertains to syn' brushes. Loft as it pertains to synthetics is totally different also.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

brothers
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by brothers » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:44 am

I'm glad you brought this up Murray. I just measured, and it turns out my first and second most used synthetic brushes are 24 and 26. I have larger ones, but over time I have stopped using them in favor of the ones mentioned above. Incidentally, the TGN Finest (badger) Made Rite I have been using over the years and exclusively for the past several months also turns out to be a 24. Loft is a whole different value depending on synthetic vs. the animal derived fibers.
Gary

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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by brothers » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:27 pm

Murray, following up --- the Tuxedo is a 24mm synthetic knot with backbone. These things keep getting better and better. Here's another thing I have learned about synthetics: they don't hog lather as much as badger. That's a good thing, because what benefit do we get from a brush that's jammed full of lather but not releasing it onto the surface that's getting shaved. Just a waste. The Tuxedo and most other synthetics make lather very well and they don't hold onto it as much as the same size badger brushes. That's a lot of good lather that goes down the drain before it gets to go on my face.
Gary

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aih
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by aih » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:16 pm

Up front, I have no idea.

My opinion is sort of along the lines of don't know much about art, but I know what I like.

I haven't paid attention to specs. I love shaving brushes and I buy what looks pretty. I bought the Simpson Chubby for that reason. Stupid me. It is a nice brush and I could use it every day, except I have other brushes and I find the Chubby is only the brush I could use every day if it was the only brush I had, in which case I could be happy not knowing.

As far as synthetic, the only one I have is the Kent Infinity. I don't know splay from backbone, but this one takes a few passes across the face before it gets with the program. Now I'm the type who lathers east to west and north to south as if with a paint brush, not round and round, and I just put the tip if the brush to my skin and don't mash it, but this Kent is something else. I agree, whatever rules you have developed for yourself with natural brushes, forgetaboutit when it come to synthetic.

EDIT: Forgot, I also have an Omega synthetic. From order history: Omega 0140652 HI-BRUSH Synthetic Shaving Brush [Omega] SB-OME-140652 [0140652] Height: 108mm Loft: 57mm Base: 50mm Knot: 25mm .... Very similar to the Kent in the respect I mention, it is stiff and it is slow to begin building a lather.

I can guess synthetic has come a ways since these brushes. I'm curious now to try one of them. But I'm also guessing synthetic will always be different. Not bad. Just different.
Last edited by aih on Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
- Ira

CMur12
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by CMur12 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:33 pm

brothers wrote:Murray, following up --- the Tuxedo is a 24mm synthetic knot with backbone. These things keep getting better and better. Here's another thing I have learned about synthetics: they don't hog lather as much as badger. That's a good thing, because what benefit do we get from a brush that's jammed full of lather but not releasing it onto the surface that's getting shaved. Just a waste. The Tuxedo and most other synthetics make lather very well and they don't hold onto it as much as the same size badger brushes. That's a lot of good lather that goes down the drain before it gets to go on my face.
That Tuxedo loft is sounding ever more attractive, Gary. I may yet have to get one.

My experience is in line with yours that synthetic brushes don't hog lather - at least not among those that I have.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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aih
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Re: Synthetic Brushes and Optimal Size

Post by aih » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:55 am

Thinking about what I was trying to write yesterday led me to pay attention this morning with the Kent Infinity. The difference for me is with the Badger brushes I can just touch the brush tips to my face and lather without having to mash the brush into my face. Just with that very little pressure the brush still tends to spread a little.

But with the Kent, I do have to really press the brush into my face, by comparison. If I don't, the brush doesn't spread out, doesn't lather, and I'm just moving brush around on face with little effect. In a way, however, the scrubbing because of this does feel good.

The Omega I have is the same way. I hesitate to generalize about synthetics, only to say that the Omega and Kent are different but in this respect they are the same: I have to mash the brush into my face and almost scrub to lather. Not bad; just different.

Does anyone else share this observation as compared to badger? Are the newer synthetics same or different?

(About hogging lather, I don't know. It isn't something I notice, except my badger brushes in my experience generate a lot of lather with MWF and there is still much lather in the brush to be rinsed out after the shave. I don't see this with the Kent or the Omega synthetics. But I don't have any trouble with not getting enough lather out of the brush and on my face with the badger brushes. --- If I understand what is being discussed on this point.)
- Ira

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