03-08-2013, 09:21 PM
#1
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Until recently, I had only used a very limited selection of brushes. I wanted to try and compare various grades of badger as well as horse, boar and synthetic knots, all at a reasonable cost. I therefore negotiated with a Chinese brush wholesaler who wants to enter the consumer market to to produce a very inexpensive, yet high quality "set" of brushes for me, limited to the same handle, knot diameter and loft. The set is detailed below. I was so pleased, that I'm currently negotiating to purchase a similar 24mm short loft set.

The vendor has also advised me that he is willing to produce similar full or partial sets, or consider custom brushes, for anyone who is interested. Since he is not a registered vendor at TSN, simply PM me and I will provide you with the contact details. 

All brushes have a 22mm knot, ~54mm loft and a Kent-like handle.

Pre-Bloom:
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
   

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

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 03-08-2013, 09:35 PM
#2
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
User Info
This looks absolutely amazing. It reminds me of those one week straight edge sets you sometimes see. I was once told a true gentleman's week set comprised 6 blades only; no true gentleman would shave on a Sunday!

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 03-08-2013, 09:59 PM
#3
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Thank you very much. Using all the brushes in a controlled environment has also been most illuminating and fun. The biggest surprise so far is the horse brush. I was expecting a firm feeling similar to a boar, but the horse is very soft. Not quite as fine as a silvertip, but definitely equivalent at least to a top best, although with a different, but enjoyable, texture and feel against my face.

The best thing was that the entire set cost less than many single brushes from Simpsons or Shavemac. All the hair comes from China anyway, and the Chinese vendors appear to copy (or originally manufacture???) many well known resin handles. I chose the Kent BK4 style and am now discussing the Rooney 1/2 for the 24mm. I certainly hope I can get just as good a deal on a 24mm set.

Although my vendor is open to individual orders, I'm encouraging him to open an Ebay store or his own webpage. Our hobby can always use more vendors, particularly affordable custom brushes.

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 04-22-2013, 02:27 AM
#4
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Wonderful assortment of knot materials!

Do you have a favourite yet?

(03-08-2013, 09:35 PM)Shaun Wrote: This looks absolutely amazing. It reminds me of those one week straight edge sets you sometimes see. I was once told a true gentleman's week set comprised 6 blades only; no true gentleman would shave on a Sunday!

What... attend church unshaven!

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 04-22-2013, 10:32 AM
#5
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
User Info
I have received a 26mm "High Mountain" Badger knot as well as a couple of 20mm "Super Silvertips" from the same vendor. The 26mm is going in my olivewood handle and I have a couple of brushes to restore using the silvertip. Looking at the knots out of the box nothing really stands out to me. One thing that is odd is that the two silvertip knots have different color glue plugs. I don't know exactly what that means, if anything, but interesting nonetheless.

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 04-26-2013, 09:43 AM
#6
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(04-22-2013, 10:32 AM)blzrfn Wrote: I have received a 26mm "High Mountain" Badger knot as well as a couple of 20mm "Super Silvertips" from the same vendor. The 26mm is going in my olivewood handle and I have a couple of brushes to restore using the silvertip. Looking at the knots out of the box nothing really stands out to me. One thing that is odd is that the two silvertip knots have different color glue plugs. I don't know exactly what that means, if anything, but interesting nonetheless.

Dave, have you had a chance yet to use any of the knots? I'm eager to ear your opinions.


(04-22-2013, 02:27 AM)ben74 Wrote: Wonderful assortment of knot materials!

Do you have a favourite yet?

(03-08-2013, 09:35 PM)Shaun Wrote: This looks absolutely amazing. It reminds me of those one week straight edge sets you sometimes see. I was once told a true gentleman's week set comprised 6 blades only; no true gentleman would shave on a Sunday!

What... attend church unshaven!

Ben, thank you. Although I have not chosen a favorite, I generally reach for either the Super Silvertip or synthetic most mornings.

Now that I've had some time to use the brushes, I also realize that their loft is too high. If I were to order another 22mm brush, I believe that I would choose a maximum 48-50mm loft. I am also eager to try a fan shaped knot.

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 04-29-2013, 07:21 AM
#7
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
User Info
Steve, I have set the 26mm "High Mountain" knot into an olive wood handle and it performs very well. Medium-high backbone, tips that are soft but not gel-like (just right) and medium-high density that flows very well.

[Image: w35GtTO.jpg]

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 04-29-2013, 11:42 AM
#8
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Dave, that is a very handsome brush. I am glad you are enjoying it. How high did you set the loft, and do you face lather? Also, have you set the silvertip knots?

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 05-01-2013, 08:24 AM
#9
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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The final loft, after using two quarters as spacers, was ~55mm. I only face lather and the knot felt just right the first time I used it. As for the silvertip knots, they are still sitting out on my workbench waiting for a new home. I have started restoration on another old butterscotch handle, but this one will need an 18mm knot and both my silvertips from Chen are 20mm. The silvertips feel a bit scratchy dry, but I don't hold a prejudice because some knots are completely different when wet.

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 05-03-2013, 07:47 PM
#10
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(04-29-2013, 07:21 AM)blzrfn Wrote: Steve, I have set the 26mm "High Mountain" knot into an olive wood handle and it performs very well. Medium-high backbone, tips that are soft but not gel-like (just right) and medium-high density that flows very well.

[Image: w35GtTO.jpg]

nice handle!

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 05-03-2013, 10:33 PM
#11
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
User Info
Thank you Andrew, but I can't take the credit. I purchased it on eBay from a Jerusalem craftsman. He has all sorts of olive wood items for sale at a reasonable price. The handle isn't perfect either as the lathe marks are still visible on the bottom and it doesn't sit perfectly flat. But for $15 shipped I'm not going to complain, I'll just say the brush has "character".

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 05-04-2013, 09:34 AM
#12
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Dave, that is a fine looking brush! Enjoy it.

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 05-06-2013, 07:53 AM
#13
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(05-03-2013, 10:33 PM)blzrfn Wrote: Thank you Andrew, but I can't take the credit. I purchased it on eBay from a Jerusalem craftsman. He has all sorts of olive wood items for sale at a reasonable price. The handle isn't perfect either as the lathe marks are still visible on the bottom and it doesn't sit perfectly flat. But for $15 shipped I'm not going to complain, I'll just say the brush has "character".

heck, for that price and with a handle shape and a wood grain like it has, I wouldn't complain either.

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 05-08-2013, 07:52 AM
#14
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
User Info
I finally had a chance to give the super silvertip knot from Chen a try. I installed this knot into a restored Clemak handle. The knot measured 20mm (at the plug) by 65mm tall. I installed the knot with a final loft of 46mm. Appearance wise I did not expect a lot from this knot. It isn't dense, there are several longer hairs sticking out and the color is not uniform.

[Image: 9lTNoIO.jpg]

After only one use I gotta say that the 26mm high mountain knot I received on the same order was a much better value. This super silvertip knot was the scritchiest "silvertip" that I have ever used. Not as scritchy as the 2-band SOC, but noticeable. I have a sensitivity to scritch but will have not problem using this brush if I want to. The density is medium at best but it still has enough backbone to face lather. Overall, I would not recommend this knot for any purposes. Even though it is inexpensive it just doesn't cut it and there are several better options for a few dollars more at several vendors.

When I placed my order with Chen, via aliexpress, a 26mm high mountain knot and two of the 20mm super silvertips. The interesting thing is that the two super silvertip knots had different colored glue plugs and just running the tips of the knot against my forearm I detected different levels of softness. I plan on pulling this knot out and trying the other to see if I get better results and will follow up here once I do.

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 05-08-2013, 11:30 AM
#15
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(05-08-2013, 07:52 AM)blzrfn Wrote: I finally had a chance to give the super silvertip knot from Chen a try. I installed this knot into a restored Clemak handle. The knot measured 20mm (at the plug) by 65mm tall. I installed the knot with a final loft of 46mm. Appearance wise I did not expect a lot from this knot. It isn't dense, there are several longer hairs sticking out and the color is not uniform.


After only one use I gotta say that the 26mm high mountain knot I received on the same order was a much better value. This super silvertip knot was the scritchiest "silvertip" that I have ever used. Not as scritchy as the 2-band SOC, but noticeable. I have a sensitivity to scritch but will have not problem using this brush if I want to. The density is medium at best but it still has enough backbone to face lather. Overall, I would not recommend this knot for any purposes. Even though it is inexpensive it just doesn't cut it and there are several better options for a few dollars more at several vendors.

When I placed my order with Chen, via aliexpress, a 26mm high mountain knot and two of the 20mm super silvertips. The interesting thing is that the two super silvertip knots had different colored glue plugs and just running the tips of the knot against my forearm I detected different levels of softness. I plan on pulling this knot out and trying the other to see if I get better results and will follow up here once I do.

Dave, very interesting that your knot has such scritch. Although my knots are also not very dense, both my regular and super silvertip brushes (22/55) are quite soft. I, too, am curious if you have different results with the other 20mm knot.

Good luck.

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 05-10-2013, 02:08 PM
#16
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(04-22-2013, 02:27 AM)ben74 Wrote:
(03-08-2013, 09:35 PM)Shaun Wrote: This looks absolutely amazing. It reminds me of those one week straight edge sets you sometimes see. I was once told a true gentleman's week set comprised 6 blades only; no true gentleman would shave on a Sunday!

What... attend church unshaven!

Got to agree here Ben. Whilst I am not a regular attender, I cannot imagine going to temple unshaven.

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 05-15-2013, 07:38 AM
#17
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
User Info
While I am not completely disappointed with my purchase the super silvertip knots are a let down. They are medium density with a bit of prickliness that I would never associate with a silvertip knot, in fact it reminds me quite a bit of my Vie Long horse more than any badger brush I have used. The knots are also not very aesthetically pleasing with several longer hairs protruding a bit from the rest. Of the super silvertip and high mountain knots I would only recommend the later, but these aren't even up to the same quality of TGN Finest, in my single knot experience. The high mountain knot has very firm backbone and medium-high density with a moderate level of scritch (not enough to stop me from using and I am very scritch sensitive). The high mountain is also not very pretty, but for those looking for value and function this may present a good option. If ordering only a single knot, I would recommend ordering elsewhere. If you order several knots then the shipping costs won't raise the overall cost of goods too badly.

I have not given up on aliexpress knots though, there are more that I plan on trying including the Ace knots that seem to be gaining in popularity. As I get a chance to order and use more vendors' products I will make sure and post reviews, though in a more appropriate thread.

Steve, I hope with your vast knot selection you have found a few that are more pleasing than my experience and please keep us updated on your findings.

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