MD Eastern Shore
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Matsilainen, Gbsher, ANG69 and 1 others like this post

MD Eastern Shore
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Matsilainen, ANG69, Rebus Knebus and 1 others like this post
I think I “need” one!

ESBrushmaker likes this post

Posting Freak
Peachtree City, GA
(This post was last modified: 04-07-2020, 12:19 AM by DanLaw.)
For those of us too obtuse for subtlety, what specifically is coming?

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MD Eastern Shore
(This post was last modified: 04-14-2020, 08:00 PM by ESBrushmaker.)
(04-07-2020, 12:19 AM)DanLaw Wrote: For those of us too obtuse for subtlety, what specifically is coming?

"Subtlety, my friends.  Always subtlety...." (quoting the Grand Wazir in the musical "Kismet.")  Sorry, I couldn't resist.  Wink  (Okay enough with the mystery.)

Some backstory.  For the past year or so, Lee Sabini and I have been talking about the badger hair he was able to secure while he owned Rooney -- especially the Finest and "Heritage" hairs remembered so fondly by the "old timers" among us.  About three months ago, Mr. Sabini was able to reconnect with the suppliers who provided the distinctive Finest and Heritage hairs to Rooney who, in turn, claimed to be able to obtain more of the same.  (I'll stop for a moment because this begs the question about why these suppliers fell off the mapShort answer:  I don't know and, given where we are right now, I don't know that I care.)  Anyway, Mr. Sabini ordered two trial batches of hair for which we turned several bi-colour 2XL handles for testing and advertising purposes.  One batch of hair turned out to be a non-starter and is supposedly being replaced, but the other, used to fill the Antique Ivory/Tortoisehsell 2XL shown below, is IMO quite amazing.  

I've been using (testing?) this brush over the past three weeks and found this hair quite unlike any I've ever used.  How does it compare to the Heritage hair from 10 years ago?  In that I'll defer to Mr. Sabini because the only Heritage brush I own is a smaller 3-band.  (More on that in the next paragraph.)  Subjectively, I find the knot to be very dense, with a "springy" backbone that provides excellent "scrub" that is by no means harsh, and soft, non-scritchy, tips.  I had asked Mr. Sabini to craft this knot in his "hybrid" shape, so a Fan would necessarily have somewhat less backbone while a Bulb a bit more.  (For the record, this is a 28mm brush with ~52mm of loft.)  It's also worth noting that this batch of hair came through somewhat shorter than anticipated; so, for this trial batch at least, Mr. Sabini recommends it be used in shorter-handled brushes like the 2XL and Pug.

So what's next?  

Mr. Sabini and I plan to speak today to compare notes, for me to understand more about availability of this and hopefully other hairs (e.g., the amount of hair on hand, future shipment availability and approximate timing, etc.), and to agree on pricing and marketing strategy.  Of course, border closings due to the coronavirus and related shipping delays remain unknown variables, so we will be watching those spheres with interest.  The bottom line is that we will share more, including brush ordering specifics, as soon as we can provide what we (Mr. Sabini, Nancy, and I) believe to be reliable information.

Before closing, I would like to say that sales so far this year have been good, indeed slightly ahead of last year; so, for the moment, our company is in good shape financially, for which we thank you, our patrons.  We know "the world has been turned upside down."  Yet Nancy and I run a very "lean" operation.  We deliberately keep our overhead as low as possible consistent with our ability to deliver a first-tier product.  

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Very interesting news Brad! As you know, I am a big fan of the hair in the older knots. In fact, my whole brush collection is comprised of the older M&F hair. I am excited to learn more.

ESBrushmaker likes this post

MD Eastern Shore
To bring everyone up to date, Mr. Sabini's and my planned conversation, mentioned in a previous posting, was delayed until yesterday.   It was a long, wide-ranging conversation that covered a number of matters.  I'll try to boil it down to the salient points:
  • First, we want to do some more testing and perform further comparisons (basically to be sure the new brushes are well broken-in to ensure "apples-to-apples" comparisons) before we make a definitive statement; however experience to date suggests that this hair seems (operative word!) very close to the 2-band Heritage hair of days past.  (3-band hair is not currently contemplated.)  Badger hair, as most of us know, can vary from lot to lot.  Even so, we want to very careful to stay within reasonable parameters.  

  • In profile, this hair is both thinner and has less taper than the current Finest and Blonde hairs.  (Mr. Sabini tells me its profile is closer to a 3-band than the typical 2-band.)  This allows more hair to be packed into a given space, yielding a dense knot, yet with flexible backbone. (By that I mean this is not (IMO) a hard "Wall-of-Badger" knot.)  

  • The tips are soft with no "scritch" that either of us (Mr. Sabini and I) could detect.  Mr. Sabini commented that he's impressed with a "silkiness" (his word) he finds in this hair.

  • Bottom line:  IF it's agreed that this hair is comparable to the 2-band Heritage hair, it will likely be advertised as such; otherwise, we will give it a different name for obvious reasons.  Either way, Mr. Sabini and I agree that this is a very nice hair. 

  • Knot style:  As mentioned previously, this trial batch of hair came through shorter than expected.  For that and other (technical) reasons, Mr. Sabini wants to (a) limit the shape to his hybrid profile, as shown in the brush displayed previously, and (b) keep the loft between 50 and 52mm.  He also believes these knots might work best in shorter-handled brushes.

  • So which handles are we planning to offer?  That's still under discussion.  Because we believe this hair, by whatever name, to be unique, we plan to offer it in limited premium handle styles.  We're still talking about which ones.  The point is:  since this is distinctive hair, we believe it deserves distinctive handles.  In short, we want the entire "package" to be unique, and readily identifiable.  That means two -- or at most three -- patterns.  (I have my own thoughts, but I'm not ready to talk about them yet.  All I will say for now is that they will be (a) unique and (b) classically styled in the Rooney/Morris & Forndran mold.)

  • How many brushes will be available?  Right now, Mr. Sabini tells me has enough of this hair to make 30-35, 28mm brushes.  That number will comprise the first flight.

  • Will we offer different resin choices?  Yes.  Patron's choice.

  • When do we plan to start offering them?  I hope (subject to all the variables mentioned above, plus a few more) that we will be able to open-up ordering by the end of next week.  

  • What about pricing?  Pricing will be a modest premium, probably in the 10% range.
Final question:  what about the "Finest" hair mentioned before?  Unknown.  As I mentioned previously, the trial batch of hair intended to replicate the old Rooney Finest didn't measure up.  Mr. Sabini tells me the replacement batch might still be on a truck somewhere in China.  Time will tell.

Before closing, I do want to thank everyone for your interest and patience.  I also want to give a shout-out to the men who reached out with offers to help with testing and evaluation.  Your interest is very much appreciated!

I will be back as soon as we have more to share.

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Thank you for dazzling us with brilliance and not baffling us with BS, i.e., knot codes and CNC data. Good luck with this venture it sounds like a lot of fun. I hope to get one in the future.


MD Eastern Shore
(04-12-2020, 09:25 PM)Royce Wrote: Thank you for dazzling us with brilliance and not baffling us with BS, i.e., knot codes and CNC data. Good luck with this venture it sounds like a lot of fun. I hope to get one in the future.


Thanks for your kind words, Royce.  I'm glad you appreciate our efforts.  It's always our privilege to be of service.

MD Eastern Shore
(This post was last modified: 04-15-2020, 07:20 PM by ESBrushmaker.)
To provide an update, we are hoping to open up ordering for the new brushes by the end of this week or early next.  At this point, we plan to create three handle patterns that will be filled with the new hair.  The 2XL Bi-Colour has already been established.  The second is a planned multi-piece L7 of a type I don't believe has been made before.  Fitting the pieces together is going to be interesting, but as long as everything works, it should be a quite nice handle.  The third is a variant on the TH pattern (shown below in Ebonite) done up in resin.  (The TH pattern is one we are told Rooney designed and made for Truefitt and Hill some years ago.  To that, we've added a contrasting band sitting just below the ring -- the idea for which came from what I believe was a custom Simpson brush posted on another forum a few months back.)  The TH has a become a personal favorite as the handle seems to fit my admittedly large hand quite naturally.  My plan is to turn samples of those handles today.  (We'll see  Smile . )
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Before logging off, I want to express Nancy's, Lee's, and my sincerest hope that this finds you well and safe with your family.  We hope you are able to focus on what is truly important and that you are able to rest in the knowledge that this crisis will end.  Please know that we are humbled by your support and sincerely appreciate you, our friends, patrons, and guests for being part of our circle during this difficult time.

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