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Thread: The Synthetic Brush Shootout

  1. #11
    Senior Member blabbermouth Dieseld's Avatar
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    Hope you get to feeling better quickly, being sick sux

    And this review is quite interesting, thanks
    Look sharp and smell nice for the ladies.~~~Benz
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  2. #12
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    Thanks for the well wishes, gentlemen. I'm feeling considerably better than I was early in the week and my muscles decided that my razors and I can be friends again back on Wednesday. What that means to you is that I'm sitting down this morning to begin work on the Game Changer write up. Hopefully I'll have it up for you later today or tomorrow.

    I'll pass along one more "thank you" for the votes of appreciation I'm getting. This was all born out of my own curiosity but knowing that some of the members around here are reading, and seeming to enjoy, my efforts is very gratifying.
    HARRYWALLY likes this.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    Hey. Thank you, ideas like this sometimes turn out to be a nice thing for new guys to read. Maybe if it receives enough attention a sticky in the beginners section, now reviews are just an opinion of one person, but it can help, heck one of the best review type threads is Obie's soap tiers. His opinion, but an informed opinion and has helped guys without his vast experience to guide them into the wormhole.

    So glad to see your better, now get back to lathering. Tv
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  4. #14
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    Default Game Changer (AMACK4Shaving)

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    Most wet shavers seem to agree that the Plisson synthetic was the brush knot that ushered in the modern era of synthetic brushes. In fact this association is so great that all of the current synthetic knots tend to get lumped into the category of "Plisson-style" synthetics. This association had me wanting to include the Plisson in this review, not because I think it is a brush I would love but because it seems to have become the standard by which all modern synthetic knots are judged. Unfortunately the Plisson is no longer being manufactured and the price of those brushes in today's marketplace has become rather unreasonable. Simply put, I don't feel the need to invest nearly $100 on a brush that is almost universally described as "floppy," a commentary that is highly understandable after you watch videos of a Plisson brush being mashed against a reviewer's face.

    What I suspect some of you are asking: Why is GR talking about the Plisson synthetic when this review is supposed to be about the Game Changer?

    I mentioned this back in the preliminaries but it bears repeating, the Game Changer is just kind of a strange name unless you know a little something about the Plisson. Knowing that those brushes tend to be the standard, and that they were commonly regarded as plush in the extreme, gives us a frame of reference for the Game Changer, and in that light its name makes absolute sense.

    This isn't to say that the Game Changer is a super-agressive brush with tons of backbone and plenty of scritch. What this knot does have is moderate backbone, pretty much the median for our panel, with soft synthetic tips. In action the knot feels workman-like but isn't in the least bit aggressive as almost none of the synthetics seem to exhibit any scritch whatsoever. The backbone of the Game Changer makes the brush feel more serious than luxurious but it stops well short of feeling like a spring under tension. If the Cashmere has claim on plushness and luxury then the Game Changer brings to mind a serious tool that can be counted on to do its duty day in and day out.

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    Due to circumstances the Game Changer got extra two days of duty at the bathroom sink. In my first experience I felt as if I simply wasn't developing the quantity or quality of lather I desired but I put it off to changing brushes and my own failures. Figuring the day wasn't really part of the review anyway (Saturday) I pretty much wrote the experience off as an outlier. On Sunday I went from feeling off my game to being miserable and I settled in for a couple days of huddling on the couch as my immune system rallied. Seeing as I wouldn't be spending time in public anyway I gave in to my shakey, sore muscles and declared the straight razors off-limits until I felt better.

    It was thus on Wednesday morning that I returned to shaving. That first day the Game Changer did a great job of developing enough lather to remove three days of growth in as many passes. For three days the Game Changer did its job with no muss or fuss, building a fine lather and applying it to my face with no break in my routine and for three days I removed stubble with a variety of vintage blades. While the lather wasn't the luxurious stuff that I produced with the Cashmere it certainly wasn't a product that I could complain about.

    After gushing about the Cashmere I feel a bit boring by not having more to say about the Game Changer. The brush helped me develop a fine lather and it applied efficiently and with comfort. The problem is that it is hard to be loudly enthusiastic about a tool that does its job with no muss or fuss, an item that is largely defined by its efficiency and lack of flaws. Possibly for the first time I feel some sympathy for ad writers who try to bring sexiness to cars that are distinguished by efficiency and reliability. Let's face it, being dependable and reliable may be great qualities if you're looking for a wife but it generally results in more than a few lonely nights when you're the average, young, twenty-something at a party on a Saturday night.

    Conclusion

    I like this brush and consider it a serious contender as a daily use brush...and that's the word I keep coming back to, "serious". There is something about the Game Changer that brings the word to mind, it is solid and feels dependable, as if it will do its duty over and over again with no question or complaint. I compared it earlier to a workman's tool, fittingly since all of our shave implements are exactly that, a device you use daily that is remarkable in its ability to be unremarkable.

    Next Up: The Tuxedo

    Post Script: I had originally planned on putting the knots through their paces in alphabetical order but the similarities between the Sunrise and Whipped Dog knots has forced a change of plans. I will be reviewing these knots back-to-back, or even together, in a effort to determine how closely related the two really are.

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  6. #15
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    Pictures? Pictures?! We don't need no stinkin' pictures!

    Okay, okay, I'll admit my idiocy. I forgot to take a photo of the Tuxedo before swapping knots and then my 'temporary' mount of my other knots included a bit too much silicone and, therefore, are a bit less temporary than intended.

    With its eye-catching black fibers and white tips there is little wonder why APShaveCo named their knot the "Tuxedo" but they claim that the real reason is the luxurious experience that a brush equipped with the knot can bring to your shave routine. After two short days with this brush I tend to see their point.

    In my intial impressions I mostly talked about how I loved the fact that the Tuxedo wasn't trying to hide the fact that it was a synthetic. There is something about this honesty, and the knot's striking looks, that has made me hope that it might just become my favorite in this panel. Yes gentlemen, I'm admiting a bias and I'm proud to say that at least I'm honest about it. That isn't to say that I wouldn't have been critical of the knot if I didn't like the way it performed but, happily, that hasn't been the case with the Tuxedo.

    In a dry state the brush tips feel quite a bit like those of the Sunrise or Whipped Dog brushes. The tips are quite soft and are supported by a rather substantial amount of backbone, second only to the Ubersoft 2. APShaveCo compares this knot to having backbone comparable to the Game Changer with tips like that of the original Ubersoft. The question we are here to answer is how that plays out when the knot meets the Fat.

    Like its sibling the Cashmere, both are products of APShaveCo, the Tuxedo's tips can be summed up as luxuriously plush. To be fair the Cashmere's tips are probably just a touch softer but the Tuxedo backs up those tips with a substantial amount of backbone. In feel the Tuxedo has a bit more backbone than the workman-like Game Changer but those soft tips make for a very different beast indeed. To my mind the Tuxedo is almost the perfect hybrid of the Cashmere and the Game Changer, where plush, soft tips find serious support. If I could make one change to this knot it would probably be to reduce the amount of backbone by a degree as the brush verges on being springy, in my opinion. To be clear, this attribute shouldn't be considered to be a problem, merely a bit too much of a good thing and one that could conceivably relax as the knot matures.

    In lather building the Tuxedo shares some similarities with its sibling, likely as a result of those luxuriant tips. My first day with the Tuxedo I was able to generate a sufficient quantity of lather for three passes with only two sets of laps on the puck of Mitchell's Wool Fat. On day two I returned to the Fat for an additional set of laps before my third pass to ensure I had enough lather for some touch-up work. All-in-all I feel as if I had to spend more time and effort developing enough lather for my shave than I do with other brushes but not so much as to consider this any real impediment to use. Add to that the fact that the lather was almost as thick and rich as what I built with the Cashmere knot and I, honestly, have very little to complain about as I relate my experience with the Tuxedo synthetic knot.

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    Conclusion

    While the Game Changer had my attention the Tuxedo has surpassed my expectations by leaps and bounds. The plush tips and firm backbone of the Tuxedo has me anxious to find a permanent mounting for this knot and I can easily see it and the Cashmere putting a smile on my face for years to come. That said I am still interested to see what the remaining knots have in store for me and, of increasing importance at this point, passing that information along to the rest of the SRP community.

    Next Up: Ubersoft 2

    Post Script: After writing glowing reviews for both the Tuxedo and the Cashmere I am beginning to feel like something of a shill for APShaveCo. Please take me at my word when I assure readers that I have no connection to APShaveCo other than having purchased two of their products. All knots that I have used in this review were purchased through normal retail sites, Etsy in this case, and were paid for out of my own pocket. It is not my intent to act as an advertiser for any of these companies and I am not receiving any type of remuneration for my reviews.
    Last edited by Hirlau; 02-20-2017 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Removed duplicate photo at member's request.

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  8. #16
    Moderator Hirlau's Avatar
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    Hey GreenRipper, do you want me to get rid of the bottom photo that is "sideways" ?

  9. #17
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    Please, I kept trying to get rid of it myself, to no effect.

  10. #18
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    Default The Ubersoft 2

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    As I read reviews of synthetic knots those of the Ubersoft 2 were the ones that left me the most annoyed at the reviewers. The fact is that most of the reviews I found were somewhat mixed and left me feeling as if the reviewers simply went into the reviews with far too many preconceived notions and provided little real information on how these knots actually performed. My approach, and I hope it has come through in the reviews I've posted thus far, has been to try to judge each knot on its own merits while attempting to describe some of these attributes to the SRD community. Now that I've come to the Ubersoft 2 I can only hope that I do a better job than those who preceded me.

    When the Ubersoft 2 arrived in my mailbox I retrieved it with little excitement, a by-product of those mixed reviews. My initial thoughts weren't really much more encouraging as I find the faux badger look to be less than inspiring and I feared that the backbone of the knot was going to result in a brush that I had to actively fight to get the fibers to splay. As I played with the knot on that first afternoon I struggled to give the Ubersoft 2 a fair shot, that it might behave very differently once water and soap had entered the mix.

    The fact of the matter is that I was pleasantly surprised by my time with the Ubersoft 2 even if some of my fears weren't without reason.

    Lathering with the Ubersoft 2 was accomplished with no undue difficulty. Lather was built relatively easily and in three days use I only made one extra return to the puck of MWF to ensure that I had plenty of lather and at that it was during my laid back Saturday shave. The resulting lather was as good as almost anything else I've developed over the last few weeks (the Cashmere still sticks in my head as being better) and the Ubersoft 2 knot made it a pleasure to apply that wonderful product to my ugly mug.

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    In feel the Ubersoft 2 is a slightly different beast once loaded. The tips are certainly synthetic soft, though not plush like others I've reviewed, and they are backed up by a very substantial amount of backbone. This support verges on making the knot springy and makes the knot a little harder to splay but that may be this knot's best attribute. Where the Cashmere and Tuxedo make their mark with plushness the Ubersoft 2 does so by highlighting its substantial backbone, allowing its relatively soft tips to massage and delight me. To be clear, this shouldn't be confused with 'scritch' as there isn't any scratchiness to this knot, merely soft tips supported by serious backbone.

    In comparison to those knots I've already reviewed, the Ubersoft 2 has greater backbone than either the Game Changer or the Tuxedo with tips that are more akin to the former than the later. The brush feels as serious as the Game Changer but does so in a way that is somehow more fulfilling as its backbone goes past being supportive and actively enhances the lathering experience.

    Conclusion

    I am consistently surprised by how my my attitude and expectations have evolved during these reviews. My initial idea was to review a number of synthetic knots and, hopefully, find a brush to take up daily duty in my shave den. What I have found instead is a number of brushes that speak to me in different ways, different brushes for different days. My initial impression of the Ubersoft 2 was one of near indifference, a brush that I thought might have something to offer someone else but unlikely to appeal to me. Now, after three short days, the serious backbone and resulting facial massage have made the case for this knot's inclusion in my brush rotation.

    Next Up: The Sunrise Synthetic

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  12. #19
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help, Hirlau!

    One thing that we've all learned from this series is that I need to work on my photography skills, or at least invest in some better equipment than my Samsung cell phone. On a related note, I finally took a pic of the entire panel of knots but I'm going to wait until the wrap up to post it.

  13. #20
    Moderator Hirlau's Avatar
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    Not a problem, photos get flipped all the time with cellphones. They can be a pain, getting them upright.

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