03-02-2013, 09:50 PM
#1
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Until recently, I had only used a couple of cheap badgers, an omega boar and a new Whipped Dog silvertip. I wanted to try and compare horse, synthetic and other grades of badger hair. If possible, I wanted similar brushes at a reasonable cost in order to determine my true hair preferences (size and loft would need to wait for later experimentation). After searching for while, I realized that only the Chinese vendors would fit my expectations, and more importantly, my budget. I located a brush and knot wholesaler from Alibaba.com, and conversed with him for some time. Since he was interested in marketing his brushes and knots to individual consumers, he ultimately agreed to produce a "set" of brushes for me, limited to the same handle and loft, at a VERY reasonable cost, as a kind of trial run.

I'm still trying them out, but so far I am impressed.

All brushes have a 22mm knot, 52mm loft and a Kent-like handle.

   

From Left to Right: (Descriptions As Given By Vendor)
Top Row: 1. High Mountain Badger, 2. Super Silvertip, 3. Silvetip
Bottom Row: 4. Best Badger, 5. Black Pure, 6. Gray Pure, 7. Synthetic, 8. Boar and 9. Horse

Comments, opinions and criticism welcome . .

Edit: Post-Bloom Photo (the Synthetic and Horse brushes are switched from the prior photo)

   

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 03-02-2013, 09:56 PM
#2
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Holy cow! You really hit a jackpot there I've never heard of anyone else getting something like that.

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 03-02-2013, 10:06 PM
#3
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(03-02-2013, 09:56 PM)tgutc Wrote: Holy cow! You really hit a jackpot there I've never heard of anyone else getting something like that.

It was definitely a matter of right time, right place, lot of luck. The vendor and I have recently discussed his possible opening of an Ebay shop. I encouraged this idea - more choices and competition would benefit our niche hobby.

I also am appreciating the very noticeable differences in quality, texture and feel among the boar, synthetic, horse and different grades of badger, even produced by the same manufacturer with the same specs. I will continue to experiment many times with each brush. One has to make sacrifices for science.Biggrin

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 03-02-2013, 10:17 PM
#4
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That's great, Steve. I'll look forward to hearing your reports, especially about the different badger grades.

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 03-02-2013, 11:18 PM
#5
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My first thoughts are as follows:

The horse is VERY soft, almost too soft, and I like a floppy brush. If I recall correctly, others made similar comments about the Vie-Long dyed horse brushes. I'm curious about the feel of a natural horse knot.

The synthetic is also surprisingly soft and springy, yet provides a very good lather. With the right technique, it is quite enjoyable. Since it dries almost instantly, I've already decided that it will be my travel brush.

The different badger grades require more experimentation. The "Super Silverstip" is a pleasure to use, but might be too soft for those that like a firmer brush. The plain silvertip and best are quite comfortable. Both the black and gray pure, however, are a little disappointing. Fully serviceable, but nowhere near as plush as the other badgers, and no matter how much I try, I cannot generate enough lather for three passes with the black and gray.

The High Mountain is soft yet very scrubby. I had never tried a two-band brush, and the sensation is a little odd. Given that I generally like a "soft cloud" feeling brush, I definitely need to give the High Mountain more time to break-in and for me to acclimate.

The boar is similar to my well-liked Omega, but also needs time to be break-in.

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 03-02-2013, 11:25 PM
#6
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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They sure look pretty setting there on top of your Proraso containers.

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 03-02-2013, 11:29 PM
#7
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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Brilliant! You should talk to him about becoming a vendor here and getting his business off the ground.

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 03-02-2013, 11:51 PM
#8
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(03-02-2013, 11:29 PM)blzrfn Wrote: Brilliant! You should talk to him about becoming a vendor here and getting his business off the ground.

The vendor already has a decent sized business in animal hair products such as violin bows and paint brushes. Although he hasn't confirmed it, I also strongly suspect that he supplies wholesale, large quantity hair and handles to other well-known brush-makers to their custom specifications. It is also my impression that he wants to market the knots more that the brushes, and for both brushes and knots, focus on the silvertips and high mountain. I believe his thoughts run more towards the ACE Shaving model than Frank Shaving or Lijun.

Nevertheless, I'll keep in contact with him and encourage the expanding of the direct to consumer shave brush and knot business.

(03-02-2013, 11:25 PM)Johnny Wrote: They sure look pretty setting there on top of your Proraso containers.

BiggrinBiggrinBiggrin

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 03-03-2013, 07:37 PM
#9
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Fantastic Steve! Looking forward to your thoughts across the range.

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 03-03-2013, 07:51 PM
#10
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Wow ... a neat way to compare different knot types!

In addition to being 'Kent-like', the handles look similar to the WSP Monarch handle.

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 03-03-2013, 08:05 PM
#11
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(03-03-2013, 07:51 PM)Agravic Wrote: Wow ... a neat way to compare different knot types!

In addition to being 'Kent-like', the handles look similar to the WSP Monarch handle.

I have only seen pictures of the WSP Monarchs, but given the apparent faux ivory grain, I would not be surprised if the handles were identical. I am curious if Lee uses any of the hair from my vendor. Nevertheless, WSP Monarch brushes have a different diameter and loft.

I now have sudden urge to try both the WSP Monarch range and a Kent BK4. If only my bank account was as vast as my curiosity.Wink

(03-03-2013, 07:37 PM)ben74 Wrote: Fantastic Steve! Looking forward to your thoughts across the range.

I expressed my initial thoughts in Post #5 of the thread. However, testing continues and I will update it with any new impressions.

I also hand measured the lofts on the brushes. Most appear closer to 55mm than the intended 52mm. I have a Whipped Dog silvertip in 22/50 that I quite enjoy. I may have to see if I could procure a set with a 50mm loft, or maybe a 24mm knot with the current loft, or a longer handle, or . . . damn, where would I store all the brushes Biggrin

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 03-03-2013, 08:14 PM
#12
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Steve :

you went really serious ! That's a very good collection of shaving brushes , sir.And we have a common like for the Kent BK4 look alike handles.

Interesting the HMW brush , seems like a 2 band HMW , more than the 3 band from WSP HMW hair.The super silvertip looks good too , does it have extra soft tips with a "gel" feeling?

Also very interesting to see brushes with horse hair , I thought that only Vie Long was doing those kind of natural hair knots.

Looking forward to read more of your impressions of these "no name maker" (does he has an idea what name if he going to use for his brand , or already have one) shaving brushes.

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 03-03-2013, 08:16 PM
#13
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Steve ... it appears SBAD is thriving well in you!

Fret not my friend ... several esteemed members here will be more than happy to offer advice on storage options for vast collections of brushes! Biggrin

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 03-03-2013, 08:53 PM
#14
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(03-03-2013, 08:14 PM)Teiste Wrote: Steve :

you went really serious ! That's a very good collection of shaving brushes , sir.And we have a common like for the Kent BK4 look alike handles.

Interesting the HMW brush , seems like a 2 band HMW , more than the 3 band from WSP HMW hair.The super silvertip looks good too , does it have extra soft tips with a "gel" feeling?

Also very interesting to see brushes with horse hair , I thought that only Vie Long was doing those kind of natural hair knots.

Looking forward to read more of your impressions of these "no name maker" (does he has an idea what name if he going to use for his brand , or already have one) shaving brushes.

The vendor refers to his two-band badger hair as "High Mountain Badger." I have never seen him refer to any of his knots as "High Mountain White" like WSP or Plisson.

I do, however, find the two-band "High Mountain" most intriguing. I never before used a two-band brush despite its popularity. I find that it has many of the qualities of a boar (backbone), yet the softness of a silvertip. The brush has also become much softer over its first few uses. I did not know that two-bands needed to be broken-in.

Both the "Super Silvertip" and "Silvertip" are very soft and luxurious. Moderate density with a fairly high loft. I am most curious what the Super Silvertip would feel like with a lover loft and an increased perceived density.

The vendor only advertised his badger knots for wholesale purchase. As his business dealt with all types of animal hair, I inquired if he could also produce a boar, horse and synthetic. He readily agreed and exceeded my expectations. I, too, am curious how his horse compares to a Vie-Long dyed/banded horse brush. Mine is VERY soft and enjoyable, but just doesn't have that certain something that makes a silvetip feel so luxurious. I wonder how different the brown and blonde horse knots compare to the dyed versions.

I also recently saw a badger and goat mixed hair shave brush advertised on Ebay. I now regret not asking if he could make a goat brush . . .

The vendor has a company name and has a sizable list of handles in addition to the six badger knots. However, he currently is only a wholesaler and most orders require a minimum order quantity of 200 or more. He is only exploring a direct consumer business. I have inquired if I could release his name on the forums for purposes of consumer purchases and am awaiting a response. Our discussions, however, appear to indicate that he is more interested in marketing the knots (particularly the Super Silvertip and High Mountain), rather than completed brushes.

I will update as I receive more information.

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 03-03-2013, 10:38 PM
#15
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Very interesting line up you have Steve, I am excited for you being able to enjoy and compare all those brushes side by side.

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 03-03-2013, 10:57 PM
#16
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Wow this is serious stuff, Novel idea I must say. Did the vendor say anything about Manchurian Hair?

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 03-03-2013, 11:09 PM
#17
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(03-03-2013, 10:57 PM)Badger Wrote: Wow this is serious stuff, Novel idea I must say. Did the vendor say anything about Manchurian Hair?

The brushes include all badger knots that he listed for sale and the names he used to identify them, plus the boar, horse and synthetic brushes that I specifically requested. None were identified as "Manchurian" and it did not come up in our discussions. Moreover, as I have never used a Manchurian knot, I cannot say if any of the brushes are comparable.

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 03-04-2013, 07:25 AM
#18
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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That's a very nice looking set!

I find it interesting that you found the horse hair to be almost too soft. Did he tell you what proportion of mane/tail hair was being used?

My Vie-Long 13800 was a 50/50 mix, 21/51mm knot, and I found it far to stiff and scratchy.

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 03-04-2013, 07:39 AM
#19
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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High Mountain , High Mountain White , Manchurian , European White and Grey , Super silvertip , silvertip grade A , super badger , finest badger... I'm getting lost with so many badger hair denominations.We are going to take an online course to be able to learn them and distinguished all...

Please , let us know your impressions about the brushes , looking forward to read more about them.

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 03-04-2013, 11:00 AM
#20
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(03-04-2013, 07:25 AM)Songwind Wrote: That's a very nice looking set!

I find it interesting that you found the horse hair to be almost too soft. Did he tell you what proportion of mane/tail hair was being used?

My Vie-Long 13800 was a 50/50 mix, 21/51mm knot, and I found it far to stiff and scratchy.

Thank you. The vendor did not indicate the proportion of mane/tail hair in the brush. Although it would certainly have been prudent for me to inquire before purchase, my request for the horse, boar and synthetic was secondary and somewhat of an afterthought in our discussion of the different grades of badger hair which he actually listed for purchase.

Below are pictures of a Vie-Long dyed horse hair brush compared to both a pre and post bloom of my horse brush. They appear quite different, although this certainly could be attributed to the dye itself. Also note that my brush has ~55mm loft and moderate density which account for its greater perceived softness. Or, maybe Chinese horses are more plush than those from Spain.Smile

           

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