#1

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
I started shaving with a Shick Injector way back in the day but never used a brush and soap even back then.  Canned foam was the flavor of the day and I bounced between that and bar soap in the shower, and a steady diet of ever-increasing cartridge blade count and price intel I’d had enough!  I went back to the old way and darn you gillette!  You weren’t trying to offer a better shave.  You were selling sizzle instead of steak!  So here I was, DE in hand, a puck of Williams, and a cheap boar brush and loving life……but then I found the forums which convinced me I needed a different razor (Merkur 34C and a better brush, Omega 10066). And life improved.  There were brushes around.  Omega and Semogue battled for the work-a-day king title. Some thought Semogue was nigh unto badger and omega was pedestrian.  Others thought Omega was simple and Semogue ate lather.
[Image: Ho5KQ5V.jpg]
Semogue 830 left and Omega 10048 were top models
Of course there were the stalwarts who had remained in the premium bush market.  Simpsons, Plisson, Muhle were some that were there before the hobby blew up.  They offered high quality but expensive brushes.  Some of those knots were exquisite.
[Image: rPFowfU.jpg]
Here is a Jagger Example of a pre-hobby blowup.  Great old school silvertip knot.  
During this era there were several synthetic knot options. I wish I’d kept a few around but suffice it to say they were more akin to my toothbrush than to shaving kit.  I had a NOS Fuller with a nylon knot and it was terrible.  Felt like a parts washer more than a shaving brush.
So popularity of old school shaving started to blow up and suddenly many more options for high end brushes were available.  Omega and Semogue released more models in boar and…….miracle of miracles, Plisson released a nice synthetic knot called Plissoft.  This put the value of a good synthetic in the hands of an average Joe.
[Image: cPEMGkj.jpg]
Here is a LiOccitane Plisson brush from that era.  It was a game changer where suddenly hobbyists could rebuild vintage handles with modern knots.  Places like The Golden Nib offered us Badger knots in varying grades and prices at prices less than half of a Simpsons.  And buddy then stuff really went nuts.
[Image: eRu816Y.jpg]
Stagg Lucite with Golden Nib Silvertip, Ever-Ready 150 with a Plissoft, Ever-Ready with Tux knot.  We all knew the names and model numbers of vintage handles.  What great times!
With this new found popularity and dollars, more business arose and places like West Coast, Maggard, and Italian Barber came in with both badger, boar, and synthetic offerings.  Synthetic really grew there for a time and many new knots showed up
[Image: Brn4yZP.jpg]
Teton Shaves experimental knot, Razorock with Boss knot, Vintage Ever-Ready with Tuxudo knot, and Teton Shaves Badger Synth.  There were white knots and tan knots and fan and bulb and flat top knots.  And the trend continues today although not at this fevered pitch.
[Image: Jzw6nvt.jpg]
Remember when we all had to have a “premium” boar and the Semogue Owners Club was, and still is that!  
So there you have my viewpoint of the crazy brush days.  Silvertip badger, long thought the pinnacle of brushes gave way to Two Band badger because “backbone” was the rage.  Then it was treated tips to make “gel knots” that were in my opinion a very boring brush because of very limited feedback from my skin.  Now we are in then”hand tied” era which in my mind is sort of silly because no knots in badger aren’t hand tied!  Makers came and went.  Others came and went and came again.  I can honestly state that no time in history has a shaver had so many options.  So badger, or boar, or synthetic, long live choice!

HoosierShave, rocket, dominicr and 8 others like this post
#2

Clay Face
Honolulu, Hawaii
Great museum of brushes, Lip! I recognize a lot of old friends. But why don't I see any horse hair knots? Seems like an old poke like you would have a few in your stable.

I've been rummaging through my brush collection, too. I still have a host of brushes, but many more have been moved on to new homes. Almost all the badgers are gone. They were lather hogs. Can't stand a brush that has to be squeezed to give up its lather. Only my first badger, a Simpson Commodore X1 remains. I keep it for old time's sake. What's left are a handful of boars (I'm really liking the Zenith brushes I got the other day), and of course a lot of synthetics. Among them, my favorites are the cheapest and the floppiest. I've found that backbone doesn't build my best lathers, especially when it comes to croaps and creams. And anyway, I'm a sucker for a cloud-soft brush when I'm lathering up my face.

So lately I've been prowling the backstreets and off-market sites for trash brushes, one's with scuffed handles, lopsided resin pour, skewed knots, and mushy tips. Maybe wabi-sabi has got a hold on me, but for some reason, I like a brush that's clearly imperfect and not exactly built to last. Any recommendations?

DanLaw, HoosierShave and Lipripper660 like this post
#3

Posting Freak
I don’t know why but this song popped into my brain while reading your great post. Change a few lyrics to brush names and…


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eFTLKWw542...IGZpcmU%3D

Lipripper660, Bouki, HoosierShave and 1 others like this post
#4

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(05-16-2023, 01:38 AM)Bouki Wrote: Great museum of brushes, Lip! I recognize a lot of old friends. But why don't I see any horse hair knots? Seems like an old poke like you would have a few in your stable.

I've been rummaging through my brush collection, too. I still have a host of brushes, but many more have been moved on to new homes. Almost all the badgers are gone. They were lather hogs. Can't stand a brush that has to be squeezed to give up its lather. Only my first badger, a Simpson Commodore X1 remains. I keep it for old time's sake. What's left are a handful of boars (I'm really liking the Zenith brushes I got the other day), and of course a lot of synthetics. Among them, my favorites are the cheapest and the floppiest. I've found that backbone doesn't build my best lathers, especially when it comes to croaps and creams. And anyway, I'm a sucker for a cloud-soft brush when I'm lathering up my face.

So lately I've been prowling the backstreets and off-market sites for trash brushes, one's with scuffed handles, lopsided resin pour, skewed knots, and mushy tips. Maybe wabi-sabi has got a hold on me, but for some reason, I like a brush that's clearly imperfect and not exactly built to last. Any recommendations?
Horse hair brushes come from the region of a horse which some folks use as an adjective for me.  No horse for me.  

I wholeheartedly agree that “backbone” is horribly overrated and i loft knots high to rid myself of too much of it.  It’s said that hard soap doesn’t work except with boney bristles and I’ve never found that true.

Recommendations for a brush from the island of misfit toys?  Buy a lathe and a chunk of koa and twist your own!

Bouki, HoosierShave, DanLaw and 1 others like this post
#5

Posting Freak
I've got lots of great brushes, several of the ones featured above.  I started out with badger and then silver tip badger, Edwin Jagger was the main brush in the stable for a while then discovered H.L. Thater and had a bit of a fling with the German thing. I got a ShaveMac D01 2 band which is the stiffest brush I own, I call it my pot scrubber , then I started getting into boar brushes and found that I really liked the Semogue boars so I got a bunch of those.  I never have warmed up to synthetics - initially they were all crap and I guess that early experience with those inferior brushes stuck in my brain.  I know they've improved but they're just not for me.  I use predominantly boar brushes now because I just like them.  I'll still use the odd badger now and then.  I agree with Bouki  however - some of those badger knots are so densely packed they will either eat the lather and then jealously guard it within or they will only make lather on the almost solid outside surface of bristle tips with no lather penetrating past.  That said, the badgers are the beauties of the all the brushes.  Boar knots are utilitarian, synthetics have no soul but those badgers, man they can be lookers.  I won't mention the horse hair brushes although I do have a couple  Big Grin

DanLaw, Dave in KY, wyze0ne and 3 others like this post
#6

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(05-16-2023, 03:28 AM)Marko Wrote: I've got lots of great brushes, several of the ones featured above.  I started out with badger and then silver tip badger, Edwin Jagger was the main brush in the stable for a while then discovered H.L. Thater and had a bit of a fling with the German thing. I got a ShaveMac D01 2 band which is the stiffest brush I own, I call it my pot scrubber , then I started getting into boar brushes and found that I really liked the Semogue boars so I got a bunch of those.  I never have warmed up to synthetics - initially they were all crap and I guess that early experience with those inferior brushes stuck in my brain.  I know they've improved but they're just not for me.  I use predominantly boar brushes now because I just like them.  I'll still use the odd badger now and then.  I agree with Bouki  however - some of those badger knots are so densely packed they will either eat the lather and then jealously guard it within or they will only make lather on the almost solid outside surface of bristle tips with no lather penetrating past.  That said, the badgers are the beauties of the all the brushes.  Boar knots are utilitarian, synthetics have no soul but those badgers, man they can be lookers.  I won't mention the horse hair brushes although I do have a couple  Big Grin

I love em all but I’m with you on natural fiber.  Difference is I really like badger but feel we have gone nuts on the “super dense” or “super packed” knots.  I hear guys say to never loft them higher than 50mm at which time my face thinks it’s been lathered with a broom handle.  I’ll raise a dense brush up tall like a boar and like the performance there.  So it seems obvious the brush continues to evolve (likely right back to where we started).   And new synthetics got their feelings hurt with your soul-less comment.  They would argue that badger and boar are meant to keep animals warm and synthetics were specifically designed to turn soap to lather.  (And yet I grab a natural fiber).

DanLaw, HoosierShave, Marko and 1 others like this post
#7

Posting Freak
Funny, nobody mentions what synthetic fibres are made of.  Big Grin  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of oil and gas  Happy2

DanLaw and HoosierShave like this post
#8
(05-16-2023, 02:16 PM)Marko Wrote: Funny, nobody mentions what synthetic fibres are made of.  Big Grin  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of oil and gas  Happy2

Well, petroleum is mostly composed of carefully-aged, vintage plants ....  Big Grin

Marko, rocket, DanLaw and 2 others like this post
#9
Great story, Lipripper660.

I’ve kinda gone through it all backwards because this only really became a hobby for me a few years ago. Before that I just had a single Kent BK8 silvertip for a decade or so, and I had nothing to compare it to. So when I started trying and buying different brushes it was mostly the ‘artisan’ two-band, dense, badgers with the suspiciously white tips that I was buying - as you say, everyone says you must have backbone in a brush now. Nothing wrong with those, but I ultimately learned that I prefer a soft brush, not dense, not backboney. When I eventually tried a Plisson High Mountain White I found brush nirvana - this was luxury shaving. Perhaps those petroleum-based fibre brushes also helped me to this conclusion - the peerless Wald A1 taught me that softness is all-important in a brush, for me.

Every brush has its virtues, though (except the Omega Evo 2.0). I enjoy all kinds - Zenith horses, pig, mixed pig and badger, what have you.

I must dig out that old Kent. I bet I would enjoy it more than ever now.

Marko, Dave in KY, Lipripper660 and 1 others like this post
#10

Posting Freak
(This post was last modified: 05-17-2023, 08:30 PM by Marko.)
I have a Kent BK8, great brush. It does harken back to simpler times when you never gave a moments thought to which brush you might use today because you only had the one. One razor and one puck of soap too!

Lipripper660 and DanLaw like this post


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)