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Thread: Brush sizes

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    Default Brush sizes

    Im new to all of this and wondering what difference brush heights and knot sizes make
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    This is just my take!
    Diameter is for coverage and lather capacity.
    Loft/brush height seems to be related to stiffness.
    Old brushes were usually 20mm-7/8ths diameter. New seem to be whatever brag right requires.
    My face is most happy under 1"/25mm.
    Other opinions may be encountered.
    Good fortune attend you!
    ~Richard

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Leatherstockiings's Avatar
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    Geezer, when you say old brushes were usually 20 mm are you referring to boar or Badger or both?

    I ask because have noticed the old brushes I see at antique stores seem on the small side and they are mostly boar bristle.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leatherstockiings View Post
    Geezer, when you say old brushes were usually 20 mm are you referring to boar or Badger or both?
    I ask because have noticed the old brushes I see at antique stores seem on the small side and they are mostly boar bristle.
    Yes,brushes were often smaller whatever material they were made of.
    Usually boar and horsehair, which mostly went away due to Anthrax scares after WWI, became a bit larger than badger in the 40's. I have seen 1" brushes of those materials. .
    The years of manufacture and the styles of shaving also make a difference.
    Something seldom mentioned but important, ladies shaved also with similar and sometimes smaller versions of the usual shave gear.
    A really good time to search the back posts of this brush forum.
    ~Richard

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    Senior Member Wayne1963's Avatar
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    Geezer summed it up well.

    Most older brushes I've seen were boar bristle. I have my granddad's brush (I think he was born in 1912), and it is boar. The bristles are unusable, but I want to keep it just the way it is.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Yea, I have to go along with Geezer too. What type of knot, badger, boar, horse hair or synthetic, are you looking at? You might get more specific answers if you narrow that down.

    Bob
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    Senior Member Brontosaurus's Avatar
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    For me, the size of the brush is often related to the source of the lather--stick, soap, croap, or cream--and the type of lathering I'm doing. For bowl-lathering with creams, I like a 24mm-27mm x 55mm-60mm boar knot, whereas for face-lathering with a stick, it's more like a 19mm-20mm x 44mm-45mm badger knot. For all-around lathering, it's something in the 20mm-24mm x 53mm-55mm range, boar, badger, or synth. I like Vie-Long horse knots too, but I can't face-lather with them. I've not much interest in some of the newer brushes with enormous diameters and short lofts coming out these days. And the big Omega no. 48 Italian barber's boar brush proved too much for my lathering needs, so I gave it to my wife to use in shaving her legs.
    Last edited by Brontosaurus; 11-14-2017 at 10:56 AM.
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    I tend towards a slightly larger than average but not huge. About 24mm diameter as for the loft I am less concerned about that providing it has backbone. In other words it is stiff enough to handle hard soaps. This can be achieved by a shorter loft, or perhaps more densely packed hair.

    Boar brushes tend towards being better on hard soaps but take a while to be soft on the face, but I really like they way they lather and feel.

    Much of it is down to preference and as Bronotosaurus has said it will depend on what you are lathering.

    I suggest trying a few out, if you go boar or synthetic you will get a good few brushes for the price of one badger hair brush. That way you can see what you like.

    Good luck in your quest.
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    Just thought of somethings else...
    Old style scuttles were in use for a long time and the lip of the reservoir was fairly small. so a small diameter brush would fit them.
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    and...
    Most travel and shaving kits used a shave-stick soap rather than a puck.

    More to overthink!
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    Badger has always been the premium hair for a shave brush and the most expensive and historically they were silvertip. The lessor types of badger hair were not used much. Horse was the hair of the working man back in the day and it was cheap. Like Richard said once the Anthrax scares started horse was left by the wayside and boar then came to the forefront as it's replacement as the working mans brush. Only recently have they gone back to horse though it's still not that popular. That's why you see so much boar in vintage brushes.

    Back in the day most common brushes were small. That was just the style though expensive badger was always around. Napoleon had a massive Plisson badger brush with a sterling silver handle. If you were a man of means you would of had a large brush.

    These days like everything else things have gotten large so that's why you see more bigger brushes. I see it as a personal choice. I like a brush around 24-26mm. Larger that that and it just makes a mess throwing lather around and wasting it too. Very small brushes are great for travel because they dry fast and are easy to pack but you may have to re-lather during a shave. Also you'll need a larger scuttle with a big brush and it's harder to maneuver like a big meatchopper razor.
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