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Thread: They All Look Alike ....... Sorta .........

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Default They All Look Alike ....... Sorta .........

    I was talking with my friend Phrank about brushes. M&F & Shavemac D0-1 two band to be more precise, and he was saying it is uncanny how similar the knots look. This is a phenomena that I have also observed, having a long history of many, many shaving brushes come and go. For some of us they are like potato chips, you can't have just one.

    What gets me is they are like cats ......... they all look more or less alike, but each has its own personality. Some people want soft tips, gel tips seems to be the new expression nowadays, others, such as Phrank and me, are looking for scritch. A hard commodity to find. Now if you've been around long enough, and have suffered from the SBAD, you'll know about what I'm fixing to say.

    I've had high end brushes from all of the 'best' companies, and I've had middle of the road brushes. Short lofts, long lofts, thick knots, thinner ....... looking for that perfect combination of backbone and scrtich. Eight to ten years ago, IME, if you bought a Plisson HMW, or a Simpson Super, a Rooney Finest you got that perfect balance 9 times out of 10.

    I thought it would never change and sold some of my best brushes, because I was somewhat tired of them, figured I could always replace them, and wanted to apply the funds to other ADs. Big mistake. Suddenly the Rooney Finest was no more. Lee Sabini, the owner of Rooney back then, said he could no longer access the quality of badger bristle.

    What ? Did badgers stop procreating ? Aren't all badgers the same ? They all look alike ......... sorta. Well the Rooney Heritage line came out. Darn good brushes, but if you ever found a scritchy one it is a rara avis indeed. At the time Simpson Supers, and the very scarce Manchurians still had the scritch, but they sold the biz to Vulfix who had the reputation of soft and floppy brushes.

    Well to their credit the Simpson/Vulfix combination makes a helluva brush. Great customer service as well. Mark Watterson, the CEO will go two miles if you ask him to go one. But that said, their brushes, great as they are, aren't as scritchy as the old Somerset made Simpsons. I don't know about the current Plisson. I still have an old HMW, a size 14, and as large as that is, it is scritchy to beat the band.

    The last HMW I had was a size 12, and you would think it would have been scritchy but it was gel tipped. I sold it. I even had a size 20, which was gorgeous, but far too large for me. Scritch like you wouldn't believe. I'm tempted to try a size 12 again, perfect size for me, but they are so expensive, and I don't feel like rolling the dice.

    I think when the Thater came along the game changed. Robin from Germany introduced Thater to Lynn and Don. They are a small company in Germany and they make superb brushes. I went through four of them and couldn't find a scritchy one in the bunch. Sold 'em all. They have great backbone, yet 'gel' like tips. I think when other manufacturers saw the buzz on the shaving forums they all figured that gel tips must be the way to go, and jumped on the bandwagon.

    I also tried Artisan knots. Our own dear departed pixelfixed made some beautiful brushes. I went through four of them, telling Bill I wanted scritch. He tried, but the knots just weren't to be had. I sold all but one of those, it is a 26mm knot with a 46mm loft and a lignum vitae handle. I don't recall the grade of hair, but it is like butter. No scritch at all. I keep it because Bill made it. Use it every now and again too.

    Now if you're still with me in this long ramble ...... I heard about the Shavemac D0 hair and ordered one from Bernde years ago. It was a three band and great backbone, not gel tipped, but not scritchy either. Sold it. Lately I have read that the D0-1 two band had the scritch, so in spite of all of the disappointments seeking scritch in Thater 2 bands I ordered one.

    I'm here to tell you if you're looking for high quality, SCRITCH, at a reasonable price look no further. I got a 24mm x 48mm two band D0 that will damn near take the chrome off of a trailer hitch. Almost, but not quite, too much of that good thing. I believe it will lighten up enough with use to be perfect for my preferences. So this makes me wonder .....

    They all look more or less alike, so why are they all so different ?

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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Awesome Jimmy, and I concur, it's like looking for the Unicorn of Scritch.

    Scouring through the threads and various shaving forums, I've encountered threads where guys are complaining of selling their various brushes because they are to "scritchy" and they're a M&F, or a Simpson, or a Rooney, I'd order the same thing, and after I'd use the darn thing I'd be like I want to feel the scrub and scritch of a brush on my face, not apply makeup! Argghhh!!!

    I have one M&F Blonde Badger L7 - the scritch is remarkable, but as we discussed, is the scritch/scrub the result of the hair itself, or is it due to the small diameter and under 50mm loft? As you so aptly analogized, the brush is designed more as a "finger" than as a "palm" in terms of applying pressure to the face while lathering?

    All my Simpson's have virtually zero scritch, with the exception of the Chubby 1 Super Badger, but again, a densely packed brush with low loft has backbone galore, and by it's nature will provide good scrub, but isn't necessarily scritchy on the face.

    The M&F L7, provides the backbone factor, and really has the "scritch/scratch" so that while you're lathering, you can really feel it dig in and exfoliate the skin - awesome.

    But the similarity of the appearance of the knots - my two Simpson Manchurian knots are dead ringers for the Morris & Forndran Blonde Badger knots, yet each of the three brushes perform completely differently. One Manch has uber soft tips, the other Manch has an above average but not quite there "scritch" factor, and the M&F L7 Blonde Badger just shoots right to the top of the scale in terms of "scritch", yet all their specs are almost identical in terms of diameter and loft and in appearance, yet perform so differently.

    And therein lies I think what we've been discussing, consistency in knot hair - which today, Shavemac seems to have good a handle on - consistency.

    The Rubberset Aluminum #3 MikeB52 restored with the Shavemac D01 knot hit the bullseye - beautiful quality knot - stellar backbone, and superb on the face - on par easily with my favorite of the 3 M&F's I have.

    So accordingly, MikeB52 is replacing the knot in the wood and brass handled Walleyman brush with the even higher grade D01-2 knot - and from what you told me, this should be the winner.

    The Shavemac site, with the graphs on it that allow you to choose softness vs scritch, and the resulting knot that meet's your needs, and the price - seems a winning combination in my view, especially with the ability to customize the type of handle you want.

    The only brush I've used and have, in my opinion, that stand out in a separate class, a totally unique brush with it wide encompassing range of qualities - is the Plisson High Mountain White brushes. Simply a brush experience that is "outside the box" in terms of any normal terms of classification as far as I'm concerned - simply one of the nicest and best performing brushes I have that always stays on my counter, and like you mention, I'd love to try the Plisson 12 HMW, but wow, these brushes go for an ultra high premium....

    Great thread Jimmy - thanks....
    Last edited by Phrank; 10-26-2016 at 04:22 PM.
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    Yup. I shaved this morning with my d01. I never knew what scritch was, based on experience that is, but now I know. It's a very luxurious feeling!
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    Well your theory sounds good phrank. However, my knot is a 30mm with pretty decent loft, still pretty scritchy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyHAD View Post
    I was talking with my friend Phrank about brushes. M&F & Shavemac D0-1 two band to be more precise, and he was saying it is uncanny how similar the knots look. This is a phenomena that I have also observed, having a long history of many, many shaving brushes come and go. For some of us they are like potato chips, you can't have just one.

    What gets me is they are like cats ......... they all look more or less alike, but each has its own personality. Some people want soft tips, gel tips seems to be the new expression nowadays, others, such as Phrank and me, are looking for scritch. A hard commodity to find. Now if you've been around long enough, and have suffered from the SBAD, you'll know about what I'm fixing to say.

    I've had high end brushes from all of the 'best' companies, and I've had middle of the road brushes. Short lofts, long lofts, thick knots, thinner ....... looking for that perfect combination of backbone and scrtich. Eight to ten years ago, IME, if you bought a Plisson HMW, or a Simpson Super, a Rooney Finest you got that perfect balance 9 times out of 10.

    I thought it would never change and sold some of my best brushes, because I was somewhat tired of them, figured I could always replace them, and wanted to apply the funds to other ADs. Big mistake. Suddenly the Rooney Finest was no more. Lee Sabini, the owner of Rooney back then, said he could no longer access the quality of badger bristle.

    What ? Did badgers stop procreating ? Aren't all badgers the same ? They all look alike ......... sorta. Well the Rooney Heritage line came out. Darn good brushes, but if you ever found a scritchy one it is a rara avis indeed. At the time Simpson Supers, and the very scarce Manchurians still had the scritch, but they sold the biz to Vulfix who had the reputation of soft and floppy brushes.

    Well to their credit the Simpson/Vulfix combination makes a helluva brush. Great customer service as well. Mark Watterson, the CEO will go two miles if you ask him to go one. But that said, their brushes, great as they are, aren't as scritchy as the old Somerset made Simpsons. I don't know about the current Plisson. I still have an old HMW, a size 14, and as large as that is, it is scritchy to beat the band.

    The last HMW I had was a size 12, and you would think it would have been scritchy but it was gel tipped. I sold it. I even had a size 20, which was gorgeous, but far too large for me. Scritch like you wouldn't believe. I'm tempted to try a size 12 again, perfect size for me, but they are so expensive, and I don't feel like rolling the dice.

    I think when the Thater came along the game changed. Robin from Germany introduced Thater to Lynn and Don. They are a small company in Germany and they make superb brushes. I went through four of them and couldn't find a scritchy one in the bunch. Sold 'em all. They have great backbone, yet 'gel' like tips. I think when other manufacturers saw the buzz on the shaving forums they all figured that gel tips must be the way to go, and jumped on the bandwagon.

    I also tried Artisan knots. Our own dear departed pixelfixed made some beautiful brushes. I went through four of them, telling Bill I wanted scritch. He tried, but the knots just weren't to be had. I sold all but one of those, it is a 26mm knot with a 46mm loft and a lignum vitae handle. I don't recall the grade of hair, but it is like butter. No scritch at all. I keep it because Bill made it. Use it every now and again too.

    Now if you're still with me in this long ramble ...... I heard about the Shavemac D0 hair and ordered one from Bernde years ago. It was a three band and great backbone, not gel tipped, but not scritchy either. Sold it. Lately I have read that the D0-1 two band had the scritch, so in spite of all of the disappointments seeking scritch in Thater 2 bands I ordered one.

    I'm here to tell you if you're looking for high quality, SCRITCH, at a reasonable price look no further. I got a 24mm x 48mm two band D0 that will damn near take the chrome off of a trailer hitch. Almost, but not quite, too much of that good thing. I believe it will lighten up enough with use to be perfect for my preferences. So this makes me wonder .....

    They all look more or less alike, so why are they all so different ?

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    What's the brush hanging upside down in the second picture? Looks like it has snow white tips!

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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prodigy View Post
    Well your theory sounds good phrank. However, my knot is a 30mm with pretty decent loft, still pretty scritchy.
    ........

    Oh man....you're the 30mm guy....I for the life of me can't imagine using a brush that size, I admire you, and it just further's Jimmy's point of how each of us experience knots differently and how our taste's differ.

    When I had that Polo 3 M&F brush, 31mm knot and a 55mm loft, I was just gobsmacked the first time I lathered that puppy up, all the soap in my scuttle just disappeared, and after lathering the first side of my face I lost vision, as my entire head was covered in a 3 inch thick layer of uber lather.

    You must think I'm crazy with the small diameter knots and under 50 loft, to you I'd be lathering with my Pinky finger....I thought the Simpson's Polo 10 Super Badger was a huge unwieldy beast, but that 31mm M&F made the Simpson's weep and run away in fear.

    Can you expand, what are the qualities about the big brushes that make them your preference? I'd love to hear what qualities you look for, maybe I need to expand my horizons a bit...this is the thread for it...thanks.
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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prodigy View Post
    What's the brush hanging upside down in the second picture? Looks like it has snow white tips!
    That is a Rooney style 1 size 2. Was a great scritchy Finest grade. Should have kept it but ......... you don't miss your water 'till your well runs dry .......
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    Yes, buying a badger knot with the qualities you like can/is a crap shoot. When you do find one hang on to it because duplicating it may not be easy.

    I don't know what scratch is in a brush and assume it is a scratchy/prickly feeling when face lathering. If that is the case, I don't want it. If I want that I'll use my one and only horse hair brush.

    OTH, I do like good backbone with soft tips for a luxurious massaging feel when face lathering. Especially so considering the price of a good 2 band silvertip brush these days. Or I could save a lot of dough and just use my well broken Omega 10066 boar brush and be done with it.

    There definitely is more to constructing a badger knot that consistently gives the same qualities knot to knot and batch to batch than any of use will ever know. I agree that this is where a manufacturer like Shavemac and Bernd Blos comes to the fore and really shines. They seem to have the expertise to do this and on a custom basis to boot.

    Bob
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phrank View Post
    ........

    Oh man....you're the 30mm guy....I for the life of me can't imagine using a brush that size, I admire you, and it just further's Jimmy's point of how each of us experience knots differently and how our taste's differ.

    When I had that Polo 3 M&F brush, 31mm knot and a 55mm loft, I was just gobsmacked the first time I lathered that puppy up, all the soap in my scuttle just disappeared, and after lathering the first side of my face I lost vision, as my entire head was covered in a 3 inch thick layer of uber lather.

    You must think I'm crazy with the small diameter knots and under 50 loft, to you I'd be lathering with my Pinky finger....I thought the Simpson's Polo 10 Super Badger was a huge unwieldy beast, but that 31mm M&F made the Simpson's weep and run away in fear.

    Can you expand, what are the qualities about the big brushes that make them your preference? I'd love to hear what qualities you look for, maybe I need to expand my horizons a bit...this is the thread for it...thanks.
    Well that's a tricky thing to pin down. My first brush was a cheap parker I think. I still have it, but it's too floppy. Only works with creams, and not that well. My second brush, a Thater, was great. I really liked it, but it just didn't perform as good as I thought a brush should. Then I bought a 30mm HMW from wsp. Andrew made the handle. It's a great brush too, and I use it a lot. Then my M&F came. Blew me away completely. It just explodes lather, like how you described haha.

    It could also be my very hard water. Normally I don't use my tap water, but recently have been with good results. I think the larger brushes hold more water and more soap. This allows me to build up enough lather to not have it all dissappear in 30 seconds.

    I guess I just like bigger brushes for the same reasons people like 8/8 -10/8 size razors, they are cool in my mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prodigy View Post
    Well that's a tricky thing to pin down. My first brush was a cheap parker I think. I still have it, but it's too floppy. Only works with creams, and not that well. My second brush, a Thater, was great. I really liked it, but it just didn't perform as good as I thought a brush should. Then I bought a 30mm HMW from wsp. Andrew made the handle. It's a great brush too, and I use it a lot. Then my M&F came. Blew me away completely. It just explodes lather, like how you described haha.

    It could also be my very hard water. Normally I don't use my tap water, but recently have been with good results. I think the larger brushes hold more water and more soap. This allows me to build up enough lather to not have it all dissappear in 30 seconds.

    I guess I just like bigger brushes for the same reasons people like 8/8 -10/8 size razors, they are cool in my mind.
    Here is the Plisson HMW size 14 that I kept alongside of a couple of Simpson Manchurians that I didn't keep, because they lacked the scritch

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    That Plisson has a 25mm knot, and a 60mm loft, yet it is scritchy as they get. I don't use it much because it is so big, but the genuine horn handle is so beautiful, and the scritch so good, that it is a keeper.
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