02-06-2013, 11:30 AM
#1
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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We all know how wonderful the Simpson brushes are and many of us like/love them a lot : we are basically enjoying the quintessential of British brush making when we use a Simpson brush.

However , we know that many of the Simpson brushes from the same series , have some degree of variances , due to the knot shaped , hair (more or less softer , densely packed) , or even knot and loft size (1 to 3 mm of differences in some cases).

So the question is , how much degree of variance is acceptable for you?

I just did write this on another thread :

How possible is to standardized something 100% hand made ? Its basically impossible : different batches of badger hair (some softer , some with whiter tips , some with more backbone) , and the human factor involved (some days are better than others ! ) makes basically impossible to find two Simpson brushes identical , which I think its part of the charming of this particular brand.

What about you , gentlemen , what are your thoughts about this?

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 02-06-2013, 12:08 PM
#2
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we cannot expect mass produced duplicates of course.

but what degree of variation is acceptable


for example:

Let's take a certain model. The Chubby 2 in 3 band.

- how much variation in height of loft
- how much variation in width of handle
- how much variation in height of handle
- how much variation in knot size

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 02-06-2013, 12:12 PM
#3
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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For me, I can handle variation in hand made products as long as the basic experience remains the same. If it's a Chubby or other dense brush, it had better stay wide and dense. If the loft varies so much that the backbone is adversely affected, that would be a no-no for me.

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 02-06-2013, 12:16 PM
#4
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Actually you can expect mass produced duplicates if you automate the knot making process.

That's not what Simpson is all about. Why not answer your own questions, what are the acceptable tolerances in your view?

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 02-06-2013, 12:19 PM
#5
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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(02-06-2013, 12:16 PM)Simpson1919 Wrote: Actually you can expect mass produced duplicates if you automate the knot making process.

That's not what Simpson is all about. Why not answer your own questions, what are the acceptable tolerances in your view?

If that question is directed to me , I can tell you that I tolerate the differences , since , as I have pointed on my first message , its a 100% handmade product , which is very difficult to standardize.

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 02-06-2013, 12:22 PM
#6
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Not directed at you Tieste, this to hedonist222 who has been quite specific in naming a brush style.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear.

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 02-06-2013, 12:40 PM
#7
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well - lets differentiate between artisan and artist:

i have aquired many handmade items - especially from japan - for a long while. artisans there are quite able to reproduce high quality products to such a degree that they look more like twins than distant relatives. concerning true art - there is no wish to reproduce an item as a lookalike at all - they are all originals.

shaving brushes with a name for each shape seems to be more of an artisan product - and i for one would be happy if such an item more or less were like twins - and resembled each other closely - both in form and function - so that i would know approximately what to expect. otherwise i would rather choose something completely original and custom made.

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 02-06-2013, 12:45 PM
#8
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As long as it is not a shedder, constructed well and the knot shape is fine I am OK. I never nitpicked over dimensions or mm.

When I say knot shape this means that if it is pictured as a fan on the official website but I get a radical bulb I would exchange it. Vice versa applies also

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 02-06-2013, 12:52 PM
#9
  • Arcadies
  • Senior Member
  • Greeneville, TN
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I think variance should never be more than 1mm above stated specs and never less than stated specs, as then you're ripping off the customer in my opinion since they're not even getting what they paid for.

I've quit buying Simpson brushes for two reasons. One; extreme variance between products (I understand hand crafted means uniqueness and variance, but 2-4mm differences in diameter/loft is just being lazy) and two; shoddy quality control.

I've owned 4 Simpson brushes, a Duke 3 and three Colonel X2L. The Duke 3 was fine, but the first Colonel shed profusely from day 1 and didn't stop even after 6 months of use. I returned it and the replacement I received had a trickle of epoxy that seeped out of the handle, saturated a small clump of hair, run out onto the "lip/rim" of the handle and hardened. I returned it and finally received a some what "decent" replacement on the 3rd try.

However, the knot was 21mm (1mm below spec) and the loft was 50mm (4mm above spec) and the knot was very uneven and ragged looking with high and low spots, almost as if a child formed and tied the knot. I didn't return it, West Coast Shaving had already gone well above and beyond great customer service and I just kept and sold it to someone who didn't mind the brushes "unique" qualities. I just wanted to wash my hands of it and I never plan on purchasing another Simpson product.

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 02-06-2013, 12:59 PM
#10
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... and I can fully understand your reluctance to touch the brand again Arcadies. There will be more bad luck stories to come I suspect & fear.

It goes with the World Wide Web territory.

Mark

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 02-06-2013, 01:14 PM
#11
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Personal experiences have been rather varied. I've had variations that are quite significant on loft a few times. On a chubby 1 (43mm vs 47?) and a duke 3 (51mm vs 47?)

The Duke isn't bad, I still have both best badger ones. The chubby was terrible. At 43mm the knot was like a solid lump of badger.

Another one is pointy knots but this is more of a 2 band thing. I had a Tulip that felt like a point on my face.

After using a number of other brushes from other brands, IMO 1mm is acceptable. 2mm variance starts to change the characteristics. And more than 2mm, it's not what you paid for.

I love the brushes I have, they are perfect and I would never change them but my last few have been quite varied and not perfect on finish (epoxy on handles and not as glossy as older brushes) and left a bad taste in my mouth especially when they cost me a small fortune.

These days I'm into other brands, you really appreciate the precision and consistency of knot sizes and shapes as well as overall finish.

This is my experience and as a brush guy, I am more sensitive to these areas then most. The above is not meant to be a knock on Marks efforts but is a true reflection of my experience.

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 02-06-2013, 01:18 PM
#12
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dear Mark - do not fear. i respect you deeply because you follow a handmade tradition. in our greedy corporate world i would rather hand over my money to simpson in exchange for a manmade item with quality ingredients - sometimes with dents - rather than scoop out my cash to a multinational company that sells me a machinemade soulless item. things handmade are a diminishing and dying business - and i embrace and revere things made with the mind unconditionally. Mark - you are in the best of business and sells useful and important things that makes us happy every day for many many years to come.

the question really is: who is truly satisfied with their simpsons? chime in!

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 02-06-2013, 01:25 PM
#13
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I don't take it as a slight Dipesh, I see it for as it is ... constructive comment.

There will be more, of that I am sure - a good thread for those with issues to vent their frustrations.

I know for the thousands of Simpson brushes we have produced there will be notable instances where certain individuals feel let down or disappointed in their product.

It is the way things are & we must strive to better our efforts.

Hi Tonsorious,

Many thanks - I believe there is a Simpson Appreciation thread already running.

This one will be more focused on our faults I suspect - rightly so. Where there is pleasure we must meet pain!

Your kind words in regard to our traditional brush making techniques are greatly appreciated.

You can tour the new facility when it is finished later this year & watch a brush being born ...

Mark

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 02-06-2013, 01:44 PM
#14
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Mark,
A question for you. Are the differences in loft etc just due to the fact the brushes are handmade and therefore it's to be expected? Or is there some degree of the knot makers deciding based on their years of experience that a certain batch of hair might benefit from being set a higher/shorter loft for instance?

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 02-06-2013, 01:46 PM
#15
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Hi Yellow Jim,

A little bit of both would be the answer. Good question.

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 02-06-2013, 01:50 PM
#16
  • ajc347
  • Senior Member
  • Exeter, UK
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I've owned 12 Simpsons brushes and still have 9 of them. I've also tried a few others as well.

I've not had any problems with them in terms of variance from listed specification - I've only sold the three I moved on purely because the handle size didn't suit me.

I do bowl lather uniquely though so tolerances aren't as much of an issue for me as they might necessarily be for a face latherer.

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 02-06-2013, 02:12 PM
#17
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well - Mark - it was not really ment as an applaud to simpson in particular - but to manmade things in general. and i believe your company happens to belong to that great gang.

20 years ago - i was a pupil of the painter odd nerdrum. many of his paintings from the 80s had an unfortunate running of the paint due to experimentation of ingredients. this almost ruined his stellar reputation as one of the leading artists from our century. he solved it by purchasing them all back and made new and better versions of each. always striving for perfection.

i know that you know that aficionados like us here in this forum are much more detail oriented than most other of your customers. the others will maybe mostly complain about shedding - but we have seen and used so much so our standards are often far above average - and we can't really be complained for that. indeed one can hope that simpson aim to learn from mistakes. when you say you are the manufacturer of the finest shaving brushes - we really would like to believe that. and that can only be maintained by perfection.

sorry if someone feel i am slightly out of topic.

ps. i will indeed come and see a brush being born - my first simpson.

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 02-06-2013, 02:14 PM
#18
  • Teiste
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  • Salt Lake City,UT
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(02-06-2013, 01:46 PM)Simpson1919 Wrote: Hi Yellow Jim,

A little bit of both would be the answer. Good question.

Is there any chances you can tell us the way about how the knots are being made ?

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 02-06-2013, 02:23 PM
#19
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I would say 1mm in any direction is acceptable, more than that changes the game in terms of performance IMO of any brush, if a knot (bulb) is deformed, meaning not symmetrical I would say it is to be sold as a defect at a lower price, we all have our peeves and a knot that is lop sided or having hairs higher and lower is a total turn off for me. That being said out of the 19 Simpson brushes I own the only defect I ever encountered was a PL8 that was a shedder, when the company I purchased it from could/would not help with a replacement, a short email to Mark and a gorgeous replacement PL8 was on its way to me in two days, no questions asked. I feel Mark does as best a job as anyone possibly can do with a product that will appeal to everyone in a different way. Thanks Mark.

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 02-06-2013, 03:43 PM
#20
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I have never bought a brush from any major supplier that was narrower than the advertised diameter. Most are 1mm - 2mm wider and I don't mind that a bit (as a matter of fact, I have come to expect it).

Hair quality within types was a concern for me on one occasion: At one time, I owned a Chubby 3 in Best and a Chubby 3 in Super 3-band - the feel of the hair and knots was almost identical (the Super 3-band was definitely softer, but not much softer). On impulse, I bought another Chubby 3 in Super 3-band and found that the hair was significantly softer than my other Super 3-band, which I subsequently sold, even though I loved it before I had anything else to compare it to.

Of course that made me wonder about the quality of the hair on the rest of my Simpsons, but the reality for me is that I love all of them exactly as they are; they are great brushes. And who knows? Maybe I wouldn't like them as much if the hair was softer on one or scratchier on another.

The big annoyance for me, even though it doesn't affect the brush's performance, is a lopsided and/or poorly-shaped knot. It's natural to want a new item to look perfect when opening the box for the first time, so it's disappointing when the knot looks jagged or lopsided.

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