11-01-2013, 11:12 AM
#1
  • Teddyboy
  • Guilty, with an explanation
  • NYC
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I have had three custom made brushes made by artisans of great skill and reputation here on the boards. In each case, I found that the quality of the knot was inferior to the knots that come from the well-known and established badger brush makers.

My question is whether others have also experienced this difference or is there something wrong with my selection technique? Badger hair, supposedly, comes from only a few sources in China. So why would there be such a discrepancy?

Do the established brush makers get the best of the lot, and pay more for it?

What say you?

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 11-01-2013, 11:23 AM
#2
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It make a big difference if the knots are made in house or made in China. Badger hair is one thing how it's put together is another.

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 11-01-2013, 12:01 PM
#3
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There are two options available:

Hand-tied, traditionally made knots.

or

Mass produced, machine made (automated) heads.

Neither method guarantees a shaving brush that will never lose bristle in its lifetime but one thing is a given - a machine made knot will cost considerably less to manufacture.

The choice is entirely down to the customer.

I know for a fact one 'very large' European brush maker uses their own automation to produce each knot having viewed video from within their facility.

I should add to my last paragraph:

This is not a bad thing or something to be frowned upon - in fact it gives them a substantial competitive & strategic advantage.

We've explored & considered the possibilty several times.

Mark

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 11-01-2013, 01:36 PM
#4
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This is a tough one, Ted. WSP markets/develops/brands knots that are the real deal--their Manchurian and Superfine knots (the only ones I've tried from them) are premier league. The TGN that I have tried (Finest XH & F2) are not nearly as impressive. So great "third party" knots are out there. I have a few on the way from ACE Shaving and will chime in once I have tried them.

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 11-01-2013, 07:20 PM
#5
  • hon
  • Junior Member
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We been seeing hand lather turned handle going the CNC way. It's just be a matter of time the knot be going the machine way too.
If you want to produce in large high volume, machine is the way to go.

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 11-01-2013, 07:34 PM
#6
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(11-01-2013, 12:01 PM)Simpson1919 Wrote: There are two options available:

Hand-tied, traditionally made knots.

or

Mass produced, machine made (automated) heads.

Neither method guarantees a shaving brush that will never lose bristle in its lifetime but one thing is a given - a machine made knot will cost considerably less to manufacture.

The choice is entirely down to the customer.

I know for a fact one 'very large' European brush maker uses their own automation to produce each knot having viewed video from within their facility.

I should add to my last paragraph:

This is not a bad thing or something to be frowned upon - in fact it gives them a substantial competitive & strategic advantage.

We've explored & considered the possibilty several times.

Mark

Please don't go automated Mark, I love Simpson knots just the way there are! :-)

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 11-01-2013, 07:43 PM
#7
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Although overall quality and performance may be similar between comparable machine-made and hand-tied knots, no machine or automated process will ever replicate the unique feel of the latter. This is true for brush knots, as well as many other items in a gentleman's life : cigars, clothing, shoes, etc.

'you get what you pay for' ...

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 11-01-2013, 10:04 PM
#8
  • Teddyboy
  • Guilty, with an explanation
  • NYC
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(11-01-2013, 01:36 PM)ntr(nwu) Wrote: This is a tough one, Ted. WSP markets/develops/brands knots that are the real deal--their Manchurian and Superfine knots (the only ones I've tried from them) are premier league. The TGN that I have tried (Finest XH & F2) are not nearly as impressive. So great "third party" knots are out there. I have a few on the way from ACE Shaving and will chime in once I have tried them.

This has also been my experience. However, the specific "third party" knots I am referring to are those that we, consumers, can buy separately for setting in a new handle or for re-knotting an old brush. I have found those third party knots of lesser quality.

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 11-02-2013, 12:05 AM
#9
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This is a really hard issue for me decide on. If you're unable to follow the development of the knot right from animal to the brush I'm not sure that you can expect one to be significantly better than another. Will a wild badger yield significantly better hair than one farm raised?? Will a fourteen year old girl in a factory in China tie a significantly better knot than a new 2013 machine in the factory down the street from her??? Who knows?
Is my Tweezerman really 10X worse than your handmade xyz? Just because of a machine and cost?

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 11-02-2013, 01:30 AM
#10
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I would also like to add, a lot depends on the Hair trader & their skills: condition of the badger pelt's,selection,grading,treatment……. all these have a very important part to play.

Selecting the different badger hair again is quite time consuming of these grades: Black, Pure, Best, Super & extra grade above this.

Let's not forget none of this would be possible without the skills of a good knot maker's.

Along with all the comments made by: Simpsons "Mark"

Charles U.K

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 11-02-2013, 03:32 PM
#11
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When you're only buying knots in quantities of less than a hundred, you don't get to choose what you buy.

You can substitute hair for knots in that sentence.

Hair is sold through several different channels. First, whole pelts, then sorted and graded hair, then knots, then whole brushes.

Sources for standalone knots are actually fairly limited and you're probably buying from the same sources.

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 11-04-2013, 12:18 PM
#12
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Just to set the record straight, Ted, WSP does sell its knots separately at its own store and even through Amazon as a matter of course. Their Manchurian is not available separately but the brush can be purchased "unglued."

My ACE knots came today. Their silvertip is nothing like Simpsons best or super--I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. The hair seems really soft and not particularly resilient. It may still make a nice brush, however.

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 11-07-2013, 04:25 PM
#13
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Quote:'you get what you pay for' ...
+1 there is a reason why some of the major manufacturers and even WSP knots for that matter are a little more expensive. In my experience there has been a discernible quality difference as well.

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