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what's your favorite shaving brush and why?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Edward, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    18,478
    Location:
    London, UK
    I bought a pure bristle travel brush a few weeks ago as my first; good shave with it, but I'm looking to upgrade for home use now. I'm looking at a couple of options. My concern is how the badger hair is sourced. Don't get me wrong, I'm not all Disneyfied about a poor badger being killed sort of a thing - as long as it's an animal that is not endangered, and killed humanely. It seems that there's a doubt here. Most badger hair for shaving brushes is produced in China, and there are horror stories about animals being skinned alive and so on. I've looked at Penhaligon's badger brush:

    http://www.penhaligons.co.uk/shop/grooming-shaving/shaving/nickel-shaving-brush-496866.html

    [​IMG]

    Penhaligons have this to say in their FAQ:

    "Do you use badger hair in our shaving brushes?
    Yes we do as this is by far the most superior fibre for applying shaving lubricants. However, as a part of gaining our warrant status we have proven to the Royal Warrant Holders Association (who re-issued our warrant in 2006), that our shaving brush supplier only purchases from ethical badger farms in a part of the world where badgers are not endangered and are in fact primarily farmed for their meat."

    This would be ideal... unfortunately their brushes are laso fifty quid (about a hundred bucks!) - clearly because they come with a nickle silver handle.

    I've looked at the option of a synthetic brush - Men-U do one which is around the same price as the average badger brush. Problem seems to be that all the synthetic brushes I can find are made with very cheap looking plastic handles.... so I'm in a bit of a quandry, really....

    Ethical considerations aside, I really like the look of the onyx-handled badger brush that the Shaving Shack www.shaving-shack.com have for GBP24.99:

    [​IMG]

    I like the idea of something with a good, weighty handle.
     
  2. freebird

    freebird Practically Family

    Messages:
    755
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I've got a couple that I like really well. The first one is no longer made. It's a B. Aldtman & Co. best badger, it's the one in my avatar. It was given to my Dad in the mid to late 60's and was old even then, it's still an excellant brush.

    The second one is a Ever Ready pure badger, that I found at an estate sale. It was new and in the box.

    I just picked up a Tweezerman brush and it reminds me of the Ever Ready, but I haven't had a chance to use it yet.. I also have a silvertip, but the other two get used the most.
     
  3. cooncatbob

    cooncatbob Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA.
    I bought 2 brush heads from this site.
    http://www.blankity-blanks.com/
    Bought a piece of Bolivian Rosewood from Wood Craft and made these.
    [​IMG]
    The knob on the Merkur Progress was more difficult to make then the brush handles as one slip with the gouge and a hour's work was down the tubes.
     
  4. Rider

    Rider Familiar Face

    Messages:
    82
    Location:
    Indiana
  5. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    18,478
    Location:
    London, UK
    Rider, they have some nice stands there too. I like the idea of a stand that I can hang brush and razor on to keep them tidy. Plastic or celluloid would probably be best in my bathroom, though I think as my chromed shampoo shelves need a lot of cleaning to get rid of hard water deposits which look like (but aren't) rust.

    Bob - Great looking set!
     
  6. pgoat

    pgoat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,807
    Location:
    New York City

    would you say it was a stiff or floppy brush? One website rep told me Shavemacs were great but a little on the soft side (as in, no prickly sensation, but also a bit floppy, with the Rooney having more backbone).

    I used to hear such great things about Vulfix, but now it seems everyone is calling them a 'decent' moderately priced brush.

    I have a few lower priced things from the Body Shop, and wanted a nice brush to use along side my Silver tip Badger from the Art of Shaving. I figured I'd save money by avoiding the horn or sterling handles. I prefer the cheaper handles with better bristles.
     
  7. pgoat

    pgoat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,807
    Location:
    New York City
    I ordered a Rooney Silvertip as well as one from Shavemac, to compare the two. They should be waiting for me when i get home tonight; I'll post impressions if anyone is interested....
     
  8. Highlander

    Highlander A-List Customer

    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    Missouri
    I use Col. Ichabod Conk's Brushes, and have for years. Love them.
     
  9. pgoat

    pgoat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,807
    Location:
    New York City
    well, I was told the rooneys have a lot of backbone vs. the Shavemac and that is definitely true right out of the box. The Shavemac seems really big, even though I bought a small one (23mm knot - I had considered the 28mm sizes and so glad I passed!:eusa_doh: ).

    I am sure they'll both work well. I'll give feedback if anything interesting is noted.

    I will say the Dovo stands I picked up look amazing; very sturdy at a decent price. We'll see how they hold up with real use in time.

    Finally Jim at Vintage Blades was very nice in providing guidance in selecting the brushes and sent generous free samples of shaving cream. I highly recommend his site
     
  10. Rider

    Rider Familiar Face

    Messages:
    82
    Location:
    Indiana
    It is definitely not floppy, but perhaps you might call it soft? It is hard for me to know your discriptors because this is the first quality badger brush I have owned. My prior brushes were inexpensive ones that have no substance to them. The Shavemac is a great step up from them.
     
  11. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC Guest

    Edward. I wouldn't be too worried about the rumors about badgers being skinned alive. If you've ever seen a badger and a couple dogs go after one another, you will know that there is no way ANYONE would try to skin one still breathing!:eek:
     
  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    18,478
    Location:
    London, UK
    Well, yes - that's certainly true!

    I've also been told, FWIW, that due to the strictures of conditions imposed by import rules in the UK, any Made in England badger brushes should be guaranteed cruelty free. :)
     
  13. pgoat

    pgoat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,807
    Location:
    New York City
    Thanks Rider.

    I bought a Shavemac and a Rooney (my curiosity got the better of my wallet!)

    Just feeling them dry on my face out of the box I prefer the stiffness of the Rooney, but the Shavemac looks very substantial and unquestionably feels more soft and luxurious on the skin. I will see how I like them in actual use. I prefer a stiffer brush as I lather on the face, even though I use creams rather than soaps.

    So far, just feeling them out of the box (not shaving, pre-bloom) the nicest all rounder I own is my Art of Shaving silver tip. (It'd better be, for the $175 I paid for a plain Jane black handle!:rage: ). I know it's overpriced due to their name being on it , but I used a gift certificate to buy it and I must say it is a beautiful brush, with a near perfect blend of stiffness and softness. Does anyone know if these are re branded brushes, and who actually makes them for the AoS?
     
  14. Highlander

    Highlander A-List Customer

    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    Missouri
    Cooncatbob... Cool job on the brushes. My brother makes lots of pens, I have sent him the site. We do a lot of wood working and maybe I'll make my own brushes too :)

    Thanks for the site. Steve
     
  15. rikrdo

    rikrdo A-List Customer

    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    Yucaipa CA
    I am an addict....

    I must admit. :eek:

    I have 6 brushes at this point and I can honestly say, I use them all and enjoy them for different reasons.
    Simpsons, Rooney, Kent (2), Superior (NM, USA), ShaveMac

    If forced to choose I would pick my custom made ShaveMac.
    Had the maker super stuff it with Silvertip hair and shape it "flat top" (Fan).
    It works beautifully with soaps and creams , in a bowl and best when used for face lathering.
     
  16. Badger Brushes

    I have 3 badger brushes I use in Rotation

    Caswell-Massey #41404 Pure Badger Tortise color handle Made in England
    Smallest of the 3 very soft and a delight to use.

    Col. Icabod Crane Pure Badger Ivory color handle Made in England
    A little bit larger than the C/M very soft and a little nicer than the C/M because of the size. Also I compared it to the Vulfix line and it has a handle identicle to one of theirs so i think it was a private lable made for CIC by Vulfix.

    The third is a Vulfix Super Badger with Ivory color handle that is the softest, I have. I believe Super is the same as Silvertip as the top of the line badger. It is also a little larger brush than the Conk and is even more delightful to use than the others.

    Now the first 2 are really great to use, especially if you have ever used a boar bristle brush. Badger is luxurious in comparison to bristle. I would of course choose the Vulfix as my best, but the other two are really superb, so if the money won't allow you to get the Super Badger, don't be afraid to get a pure badger brush, they are really nice too.;)

    Also they all work well with Burma Shave Soap to my best Eshave cream, all are really good performers creating and applying exceptional lather in spite of our hard water in Southern California.
     
  17. pgoat

    pgoat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,807
    Location:
    New York City
    Was that ordered from Shavemac directly? If so how long ago? I am interested in a stiffer Shavemac, used for face lathering with creams.

    I have heard that the owner is very accommodating to custom requests and that they do a good job on repairing old brushes.

    I am most interested in getting one from them desnely packed with the old style bristles - as I have seen on the Blade & Badger site.

    It seems there are disagreements as to whether he will still do a brush using the old bristles (pre-2005?), and whether there is even a real difference in quality. Some say the big difference is the newer Shavemac brushes have less dense bristles, hence their lack of back bone, compared to the older ones.
     
  18. SGT Rocket

    SGT Rocket Practically Family

    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Twin Cities, Minn
    I currently use an Art of Shaving brush that I get really good results with. I'm saving up for a Savile Row 3825.

    As for brushes, do you normally use cream or do you use a soap? If you usually use a soap you may wish to have something more firm. If you use cream, something less firm. Then you have to think about how "less firm." Have you checked out http://badgerandblade.com ? You will learn more that you could ever imagine about shaving brushes and shaving!

    Yep, looks like you found the B&B website! Great bunch of people, they turned me on to this site!
     
  19. pgoat

    pgoat One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,807
    Location:
    New York City
    After going to B&B I know about bloom and so forth! I went there from here (where I learned about taper and so forth!).

    Yes, I use creams and I like the soft comfy brushes but I think I like the stiffer brushes for getting into tight spots (under nose, near ears)
     
  20. rtaylor61

    rtaylor61 New in Town

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    My favorite shaving brush is the one I am using. I have 4 Shavemac brushes, a couple of Rooney brushes, a couple of Simpson brushes (with more to order), sold my Vulfix (way too floppy for my taste), a couple of Superior Brushes (yeah for NM, USA), an Omega boar and assorted others. The best brush for soaps? They all work well. The best brush for creams? They all work well. Using a brush is an "acquired" taste", or like using a straight razor. The cheeks are easy. It is the "hard to get at spots" that require learning. My "favorite" brushes are the Shavemac brushes. They get more use, but I have more of them. If you want a custom Shavemac, contact Bernd at info@shavemac.de. He is a great guy and will take care of you if possible.

    Randy
     

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