02-09-2013, 06:03 PM
#1
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Has anyone tried one of the new HIS synthetic brushes? Same handle but different knot sizes and lofts ranging from 23 x 50mm up to 28 x 58mm.

The lone (excellent) Amazon review recognizes that smaller knots do not fit as well in the stock handle.

I am intrigued by the largest one even though I am not a huge brush person. Synthetics (especially the big ones) make quick work of high-quality lather with minimal product. And the HIS fiber is, I think, the same as what Muhle has now introduced as "version 2" in their silvertip fibre brushes.

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 02-09-2013, 06:12 PM
#2
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Is the synthetic hair different or are they just offering more variations?

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 02-09-2013, 06:15 PM
#3
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Haven't tried one yet, but from appearances it looks the be the same. Haven't heard of a version 3 fiber yet.

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 02-09-2013, 07:15 PM
#4
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From other reviewers (esp. Fatboy / J.D. Jones on B&B) all of the H.I.S. brushes use the same Generation 4 fiber as used in the original version.

http://shavenook.com/thread-synthetic-br...k-synopsis

The smaller knots were loaded into the same size handle as the original 28 mm. J.D. discussed that the quality of the handles and the knot placement has worsened from the original. He also stated that since the fibers were the same, the knots were just as good. In a 25 mm the knot would more than likely perform better than the 28 mm which my own demolition and reknotting of a 28 mm to 25 mm bore out.

Steve (Oscar 11) has bought one and pulled the knot out to use in a custom handle.

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 02-09-2013, 08:06 PM
#5
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Thanks for your input, Gary. Why do you prefer the 25mm version?

I should clarify that when I refer to Version X, I am talking in Muhle terms. Gary's Generation 4 reference above is a general term referring to the evolution of synthetic fibers. HIS and the newest Muhles are Generation 4.

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 02-10-2013, 12:58 AM
#6
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I like the original, but agree that it could use some improvement, particularly with respect to loft and handle size. Glad to see they did something with loft variations, disappointed to see they stuck with the same handle, it's just too impractical for most people.

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 02-10-2013, 05:11 AM
#7
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(02-09-2013, 08:06 PM)kentclark Wrote: Thanks for your input, Gary. Why do you prefer the 25mm version?

I should clarify that when I refer to Version X, I am talking in Muhle terms. Gary's Generation 4 reference above is a general term referring to the evolution of synthetic fibers. HIS and the newest Muhles are Generation 4.

Due to the fact that synthetics don't bloom they tend to act as if they are smaller size in the natural hairs. Note this is just a rough rule of thumb and synthetics have their own differences as well but in the Generations 3 and 4 knots:
A 28 mm synthetic acts more like a 25 to 26 mm natural.
A 25 mm synthetic acts more like a 22 to 24 mm natural.
A 23 mm synthetic acts more like a 21 to 22 mm natural.
A 21 mm synthetic acts more like a 19 to 20 mm natural.

Most users seem to prefer a natural in the 19 to 23 mm range so a 23 to 25 in a synthetic will be more to their preference.

When I modified an original H.I.S. from a 28 mm knot to a 25.5 mm knot as seen in this thread, the brush was far more agile in a proper handle and with the smaller remaining fibers.

http://shavenook.com/thread-i-shrunk-the...dification

Note, I cut the base from the knot and hand made a new knot from the completely loosened fibers.

I hope this provides clarification.

(02-10-2013, 12:58 AM)BladeDE40 Wrote: I like the original, but agree that it could use some improvement, particularly with respect to loft and handle size. Glad to see they did something with loft variations, disappointed to see they stuck with the same handle, it's just too impractical for most people.

As to FM Brush and Artist Brushstrokes their latest offering seems to be just a "cheap" "stop gap" reaction to the Muhle release of the same fiber in a far superior set of handles. Now you will pay more for a Muhle, but unless you want to take the knot out of a H.I.S. and place it in a custom handle, the Muhle is the best alternative.

Although I can handle the H.I.S. brush size wise without issue, it is truly not a shaving handle. It is a modified Kabuki handle. When I was discussing modifications with FM/ArtistBrushstokes about new brushes, I did not only mention a range of knot sizes and shorter lofts, but developing new handles that would be attractive to the established traditional shaving community. I provided visual examples as well. They chose not to follow that advice so what you see is their new set of offerings.

If I decide to purchase a H.I.S. brush in the future it will be for the sole purpose to remove the knot to use in a shaving brush handle.

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 02-10-2013, 06:15 AM
#8
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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I picked up a H.I.S. 25mm a few days ago. I was only interested in the brush for the knot which was a good thing because the knot was set crooked and the loft was set at 57mm (specs say 54mm).
[Image: HIS_knot_001.jpg]
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At a loft of 57mm the knot felt like it was collapsing, sorry, but that's the best I can do to articulate it. I took it for another trial run at 48/49mm and it was good so I raised the loft to 52mm and again didn't care for it. It will be at 50mm for this mornings shave. I'll comment again after the shave.

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 02-10-2013, 07:38 AM
#9
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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The H.I.S. is on the right, in the middle a 23mm Muhle synthetic and on the left a 23mm Shavemac finest.
[Image: SOTD2_10_13_001.jpg]
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I need a little more time with this brush to comment with any degree of accuracy regarding performance. I had a big lather with the AoS soap this morning which is not surprising because the synthetics that I've used are lather machines. The knot seems to be loft sensitive, more than what I would have expected. It also doesn't seem to be as soft as the Muhle or other H.I.S. brush so maybe there will be a bit of break in. It is in no way uncomfortable, just not as soft. I'm going to leave it at a 50mm loft for a few more shaves, if the knot opens up a bit from use, I think it will make a great brush. By opens up, I don't mean bloom, it's more of a feel thing that's hard for me to verbalize.

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 02-12-2013, 09:18 AM
#10
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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Definitely finding no love for this knot.

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 02-12-2013, 01:35 PM
#11
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(02-12-2013, 09:18 AM)oscar11 Wrote: Definitely finding no love for this knot.

Because of the longer fibers?

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 02-12-2013, 03:05 PM
#12
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It really appears that the company making these brushes tried to go the short cut route and it's biting them where the sun don't shine. It sounds like they received good recommendations from people in the know, but only decided to listen and put into effect the things that they could make happen easily. While they may be trying to satisfy more customers with their recent offerings it seems like they are just racking up more unsatisfactory reviews.

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 02-12-2013, 04:05 PM
#13
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It's very unfortunate as I thought they were really onto something when they came out w/ their first brush. Their synthetic hair was pretty revolutionary, the problem they seem to be having, despite user feedback, is putting it all together in a complete package.

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 02-12-2013, 04:09 PM
#14
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Brian and Tom, that does appear to be what is happening. Too bad! I still thoroughly enjoy my original HIS.

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 02-12-2013, 05:59 PM
#15
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Well, I think what happened was when Muhle finally decided to issue out that same fiber, FM/Artistbrushstrokes realized what I told them would come to pass (a competitor with a shaving brush making pedigree would use this fiber). So it appears they decided to quickly put out some new product. They had more than enough time to develop a stand alone shaving brush, but decided just to pawn off the same handles with smaller knots.

When I was involved with FM/Artistbrushstrokes in reviewing products, I informed them that they would have to design a brush that was more in line with what traditional shavers desire, both in terms of handle size, shape, and loft. I even provided examples of popular shapes and sizes by directing them to various threads and pictures in the forums. From the looks of their new offerings, it appears they ignored those suggestions.

The 28 mm was at least somewhat proportional to the handle, but the 23 mm in that handle is a complete mismatch. The knots appear to be the same fiber materials, but maybe they received a different batch that has been processed in a different fashion to cut cost. Looks can sometimes be deceiving. Too bad.

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 02-12-2013, 06:05 PM
#16
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Gary, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

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 02-13-2013, 03:59 AM
#17
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I was the one who wrote the Amazon review you mentioned. I was very excited to see the new offerings, and ordered the 23/50 and 25/54 versions. As you can tell by my review, I was disappointed. The handle design is too large for either of these knots, and I say that being one who thought the handle was perfect on the original HIS. Also the handles were not flat on the bottom, causing them to have a slight rock that my original did not have, showing some degradation of their QC process IMO. The knot is the same fibers as the original, just in different sizes. I was very okay with this because I like the knot, just not the monster loft that the original had. Also, the hole drilled in the handle on the 25/54 was obviously drilled or molded for a larger knot, as their was a 2-3mm gap on one side. I used each brush once, and the 54mm was a tad floppy, and the 50mm was and excellent face latherer, but my hand felt like it was in another zip code due to the length of the handle. An maybe I was being a perfectionist, but the 50mm looked like a Q-Tip; long handle with a little blob of cotton stuck on top, so the aesthetics were less than pleasing for me. Between handle imperfections/bad design, and the knot getting floppy once it was past the 52mm range, I returned all of them.

I will add also, that between the time I purchased the original and the new HIS brushes, I did acquire a couple of Muhle Silvertip Fibres and they are light years ahead of the HIS. Even with the less dense knots in the Muhle's, they still have all the good characteristics of using less product, short dry times, and they emulate a silvertip badger in feel and appearance perfectly. So maybe by the time I got the 2nd round of HIS brushes, my perspective was skewed.

But if you ask me today which synthetic to buy, I stand by my comments in the review. Budget conscious, get a FS from the bay with a 24/55 Richmond knot. Great brush, low price and fantastic for face or bowl, just don't have too high standards for QC as there may be some glue showing, or the knot may be slightly askew. If you want the BMW of synthetics, get a Muhle. I have the 21/52 and 23/56 versions, and they are quality crafted pieces that are permanently in my rotation. I prefer the 21mm for face lathering, and the 23mm is okay for face or bowl. Unfortunately, the HIS offerings just have too many issues for me to overcome. A lower price point, or higher quality would have swung my opinion, but neither of these are good enough right now for my den.

Also a special shout out to GDCarrington for working with HIS. I wish they would have listened to your suggestions. Had they done that, they would have product in my den right now. Their knot offering has so much potential, but they don't seem to understand the target audience just yet. I am hopeful that they will take some of this to heart if they decide to pursue another round of brushes, but they seem to be using a cookie cutter approach to this right now and if they continue down that path I suspect they will not be in the market for long.

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 02-16-2013, 10:15 AM
#18
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(02-12-2013, 06:05 PM)BladeDE40 Wrote: Gary, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

Sad but true!

(02-13-2013, 03:59 AM)jdjones Wrote: I was the one who wrote the Amazon review you mentioned. I was very excited to see the new offerings, and ordered the 23/50 and 25/54 versions. As you can tell by my review, I was disappointed. The handle design is too large for either of these knots, and I say that being one who thought the handle was perfect on the original HIS. Also the handles were not flat on the bottom, causing them to have a slight rock that my original did not have, showing some degradation of their QC process IMO. The knot is the same fibers as the original, just in different sizes. I was very okay with this because I like the knot, just not the monster loft that the original had. Also, the hole drilled in the handle on the 25/54 was obviously drilled or molded for a larger knot, as their was a 2-3mm gap on one side. I used each brush once, and the 54mm was a tad floppy, and the 50mm was and excellent face latherer, but my hand felt like it was in another zip code due to the length of the handle. An maybe I was being a perfectionist, but the 50mm looked like a Q-Tip; long handle with a little blob of cotton stuck on top, so the aesthetics were less than pleasing for me. Between handle imperfections/bad design, and the knot getting floppy once it was past the 52mm range, I returned all of them.

I will add also, that between the time I purchased the original and the new HIS brushes, I did acquire a couple of Muhle Silvertip Fibres and they are light years ahead of the HIS. Even with the less dense knots in the Muhle's, they still have all the good characteristics of using less product, short dry times, and they emulate a silvertip badger in feel and appearance perfectly. So maybe by the time I got the 2nd round of HIS brushes, my perspective was skewed.

But if you ask me today which synthetic to buy, I stand by my comments in the review. Budget conscious, get a FS from the bay with a 24/55 Richmond knot. Great brush, low price and fantastic for face or bowl, just don't have too high standards for QC as there may be some glue showing, or the knot may be slightly askew. If you want the BMW of synthetics, get a Muhle. I have the 21/52 and 23/56 versions, and they are quality crafted pieces that are permanently in my rotation. I prefer the 21mm for face lathering, and the 23mm is okay for face or bowl. Unfortunately, the HIS offerings just have too many issues for me to overcome. A lower price point, or higher quality would have swung my opinion, but neither of these are good enough right now for my den.

Also a special shout out to GDCarrington for working with HIS. I wish they would have listened to your suggestions. Had they done that, they would have product in my den right now. Their knot offering has so much potential, but they don't seem to understand the target audience just yet. I am hopeful that they will take some of this to heart if they decide to pursue another round of brushes, but they seem to be using a cookie cutter approach to this right now and if they continue down that path I suspect they will not be in the market for long.

Well said, JD!

I told them that if the handles were not improved upon that the user community would just go after the knots. However, that would also bring down any image at all of them really being in the competitive market. They will now need to do work to repair the marketing and product quality damage, if they can or will. If they can't or won't then they will just keep on selling cosmetic brushes, because the competition is getting stronger all the time.

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