04-24-2012, 05:11 PM
#1
  • wlmcad
  • Senior Member
  • Memphis, TN
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To all who are interested I am looking for opinions about choosing my a mid-price brush, $25 - $45 dollar range. The price range listed is my best guess at the price range for a mid-priced brush. I got a series of excellent questions from a shaving veteran. I have copied those questions into this new thread and have provided added my answer to each question. I am looking for any advice about what to choose. Thanks in advance to all who read and reply to this thread! I have attached pictures of the 2 brushes I currently own. I have no clue what type of hair is in either brush.
Thanks to all in advance!


1. What are you using now and what do you think of it? I have 2 brushes, see the attached pics. The blond one came from my father-in-law. The hair is too floppy and soft. I got the black Ever-Ready at an antique store. It is to scritchy and really stiff.
2. Do you prefer soft plushy, slight scritch, medium scritch, or hard against your skin? I want soft tips but medium scritch.
3. How much stiffness or floppiness are you looking for? I want soft tips but medium scritch.
4. Knot Sizing: Do you want a Small 19-21mm, Medium 22-25mm, Large 26mm and greater? The blond brush handle feels too large and too long in my hand, its height is about 60mm & the widest diameter is 40mm. The diameter of the knot is somewhere between 25 to 26mm. I like the size of the black brush better. The handle is about 45mm tall and the widest diameter is 35mm. The diameter of the knot is somewhere between 20mm.


I am also including a list of some of the brushes I have on my list currently for consideration. This is only a list & I am not wedded to any of these brushes.
Edwin Jagger 1ej946sds Best Badger
Omega 63171 Stripey Pure Badger
Semogue 620 Superior Boar
Semogue 830
Vulfix 1000A Pure Badger
Vulfix 2233 Super Badger


Based on this I want a brush with small knot (nothing over 22mm), medium scritch, & a little softness at the tip. I am committed to wet shaving so as a result I am not afraid of getting a brush that would required breaking-in. Hope this helps and looking forward with great anticipation to any and all responses.

       

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 04-24-2012, 05:17 PM
#2
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Have you considered a Horse Hair brush.

[Image: 7103871643_1186172d7f_b.jpg]

This is an excellent brush that lathers very well and has good backbone and has a slight level of scritch but the tips to me are soft.

Vie Long Zurito - Horse
Overall Height: 105 mm
Loft Size: 57 mm
Knot Size: 23 mm

Price at Bullgoose.com $32.00
http://www.bullgooseshaving.net/vi13hohabr.html

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 04-24-2012, 05:18 PM
#3
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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I just got a Semogue 1305. It's a great brush.

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 04-24-2012, 05:34 PM
#4
  • wlmcad
  • Senior Member
  • Memphis, TN
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(04-24-2012, 05:17 PM)GDCarrington Wrote: Have you considered a Horse Hair brush.

This is an excellent brush that lathers very well and has good backbone and has a slight level of scritch but the tips to me are soft.

Vie Long Zurito - Horse
Overall Height: 105 mm
Loft Size: 57 mm
Knot Size: 23 mm

Price at Bullgoose.com $32.00
http://www.bullgooseshaving.net/vi13hohabr.html

I am open to any and all suggestions...

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 04-24-2012, 05:46 PM
#5
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Out of the brushes you listed as considerations I have used a few Semogue boars & I have the Vulfix 2234 which is slightly larger than the 2233. If you want medium scritch then you don't want the Vulfix as its the softest brush I have with zero scritch. As a boar breaks in it will still have plenty of backbone but also have soft tips that will provide good scrub.

My recommendation would be the Semogue 830 on your list. For badger I'd like to bring to your attention the Finest (2-band) from Frank Shaving. You can order direct from China or there is a USA distributor. The only thing I'm not sure with Frank Shaving is if they make a knot in your size preference. Honestly for soft tips & medium scritch I'd suggest the Shea Moisture Ultimate Shave Brush which can be found at some Target stores for around $10.

I hope that is of some help.

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 04-24-2012, 05:47 PM
#6
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Based on my experience with horsehair, I'm not sure I'd recommend it for you at this point. I would save it for later after you have used some decent badger and boar brushes. Personally, horse wasn't for me, but some guys like them.

Anyway, of the brushes on your list, I'd cross off anything "pure badger"...that is coarse, scratchy stuff and is frankly a waste of money because you will be looking to buy another brush as a replacement in short order unless your face is made of leather. My first brush was a pure, and if I didn't dump it after a few months, I'm not sure I would've stuck with wetshaving. I actually got brush burn from it. No kidding.

In your budget range, boar brushes are going to offer the best value and bang for the buck performance. I really prefer a nice badger, but Semogue boars have made me rethink my perception of boar brushes altogether. I have a 1250 and a 2030B...both were inexpensive and fairly soft tipped out of the box...they didn't require the long break-in period you get with some boar brushes (like the 2 Omegas I've had) and are very enjoyable to use.

If you think you really need a badger, I'd be looking at some less expensive Simpsons models in Best Badger grade, such as the Berkeley, maybe.

Honestly, I'd probably just go for a boar brush (or two) and save some money for a nice badger. With a few possible exceptions (IMHO), there is a real quality threshold you don't get past until you hit $75 or so with badger brushes. Cheaper badger brushes tend to be more loosely filled (floppy) or have lower-grade, scratchier hair, or some other quality/feature sacrifice.

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 04-24-2012, 05:51 PM
#7
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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I am a relative newcomer to wet shaving (about 3 moths or a bit more), so I can totally understand what you are going through with choosing a brush. First of all, the two brushes in the pictures look old and the black one looks like a boar brush of so-so quality. The white brush looks like it may be badger, but hard to tell. In other words, if these are the only brushes you have experience with you are in for a serious surprise when you get your new brush. No matter what you choose. One of the things you need to figure out is whether you want a badger brush or a boar brush. Badger is more expensive and has some advantages and disadvantages to a boar. Biggest advantage is that badger brushes need very little if any break-in. They are ready to go out of the box and will improve slightly over time. Boar brushes are way cheaper (waaay cheaper), require a good break-in, but can be every bit as good if not better than badger. Badger has many grades and they are very different in feel and performance. Boar also has some grades to the bristles, but these grades seem to matter much less in a boar brush. You need to decide what you need right now. If you do not have a well-working bush right now I suggest getting a badger brush in best and an inexpensive boar brush. A decent best badger brush would be Simpson Special in best. Pure badger is a bit scritchier and will retain most of that scritch. A boar good brush will soften up and feel as soft or softer than best badger after a break-in. But that will take 20-30 shaves, maybe more. If you want a brush that will work for you the day it arrives then go for best badger. Simpson makes very good badger brushes and Special in best costs around $45. I also highly recommend getting Simpson Wee Scot, whcih is a tiny brush, many people don't even consider it as anything but novelty item, but make no mistake, Simpson Wee Scot is one of the best badger brushes. Period. It is truly tiny (14mm knot 36mm loft), but it will work exactly as needed the minute you take it out of the box, it feels great on the face (it only comes in best grade), medium scritch, very, very good backbone and a monster latherer with anything you can throw at it. It costs around $40 or even less in some places. With one of these badger brushes you can still get an inexpensive Omega or Semogue boar brush and break it in by lathering it alongside your badger. If you take the time to break in a boar brush, you may not look at another badger. They are that good. I have tried a bunch of badger brushes, but I also got a $10 Omega boar that I lathered even when I didn't use it just to break it in. Once broken in, it became a favorite of mine alongside the Wee Scot. My other brushes are kind of collecting dust. I mostly face lather, but will bowl lather as well and both Wee Scot and Omega 10275 will do either duty with aplomb. So my recommendation is a Simpson badger in best (Wee Scot, Special) and an inexpensive boar like an Omega or Semogue, which is a better quality boar and also has models for around $15. This way you will be exposed to two worlds of brushes that are very different and both wonderful in their own ways. I see you have a Semogue 830 on your list. It seems to be the brush of choice for many as a higher end boar. I just ordered one of those myself since the only boar I have is an inexpensive Omega (and I love that!). Semogue 1305 is also very popular and is almost the same brush as the 830, but less expensive. I would also check out Semogue 1470 or 1460 (same brush different handles) for a shorter loft boar. Those are very inexpensive, under $10 and VintageScent. If you are only going to order one brush for now I vote for Wee Scot. If I was facing the future with only one brush that would be the one I would choose. It's no nonsense, get the job done kind of brush. It does not seem possible when you first look at it, but use it and you may not want anything else.

Good luck and keep us posted. I am very interested in other people's progress on this path.

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 04-24-2012, 05:59 PM
#8
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I like the EJ. Nice brush will handle it all. Nice intro to badger and will allow you to fine tune your preferences

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 04-24-2012, 07:27 PM
#9
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You are not going to find a better brush for the money than the Semogue 830! Very soft bristles, incredible backbone, works great with soaps and creams. Good luck.

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 04-24-2012, 08:18 PM
#10
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(04-24-2012, 07:27 PM)celestino Wrote: You are not going to find a better brush for the money than the Semogue 830! Very soft bristles, incredible backbone, works great with soaps and creams. Good luck.

Had my 830 about one month. Good backbone and soft tips out of the box.

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 04-24-2012, 08:23 PM
#11
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Well, you put a price range in your specs and frankly, boar brushes completely blow away your pricing. They just work better for less $.

I can't add anything much to what's been written except to cast my vote for an inexpensive boar or a Simpson Special or Berkley. I don't think you'll go wrong with even pure, but best is definitely less scritchy.

I went through what you're presently going through and I ordered 2 Specials, one in each grade, to test with the idea of selling one, I still have both. My best has a 40mm loft and I don't know if I'd suggest a smaller brush for a noob. I think the 40mm loft itself may even be too small. It may not sound like much but the difference between a 45mm loft and 40mm loft is huge.

If you do get an inexpensive boar that requires lots of break in it can be hurried along if you have the ability to lather it a few times each day. The key is to lather, clean, then let it dry before repeating it. My last $9 boar (Omega 10019 from Italian Barber) was broken in quite nicely bu doing that and shaving with it every day. After a week and a half I realized just how good it had gotten.

Good luck! Report back if you feel like it, we're interested.

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 04-25-2012, 05:25 AM
#12
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Excellent answers here!

I would only say,that in the price range that you are moving,I would go for :

1.Boar brushes.Omega or Semogue.The Semogue 1305 is a solid performer.The Omegas are too.

2.Simpson Commodore X1 best badger.Maybe you could find a used one in the B/S/T section.

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 04-25-2012, 05:50 AM
#13
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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Just shaved with my Omega 10275 boar brush (about $10-$12) and it was just amazing. I face lathered Cella red tub and did 3 passes and had enough soap left in the brush for at least two more passes. The brush feels soft and the strong backbone helps in massaging the face while I lather. Just a great little brush for a price of a few lattes. I am still waiting for my Semogue 830, but I am definitely beginning to become a boar convert. The only caveat is boar brushes do not show their true character until broken in. As was said, you can hasten the breaking in process, but it will still take some time before they become really good. Once they do, though, you start thinking "why all the hoopla about badgers?". Thanks to Semogue, the boar brushes now can be had in a very high end products with excellent knots and handles. Not that Omega is a slouch of a boar brush. As I said before for me the only badger brush right now is the Wee Scot, which is awesome and inexpensive for a Simpson Best, but still costs more than the Semogue Owners' Club Boar, which would probably be a top of the line Semogue boar.

Enjoy your search.

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 04-25-2012, 06:38 AM
#14
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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I have the EJ BBB. I like it, it has somewhat soft tips with a bit of scritch. To me though it feels just a bit floppy. I'm used to the super dense Rooney 3/1 super, so my views may be a bit skewed.

Boar is a good option. Though boar has the rep of being cheap entry level brushes, the high quality ones above are really good suggestions. I just picked up a Semogue boar and really, really like it. And all but the Limited Edition boar brushes will be within or below your budget.

Haven't had experience with horse hair but have heard positive reviews.

BTW - I really like the brush your father in law gave you - it's a good option for a restore. And now that I think about it, you may not need to buy a new brush. You can get a nice knot from The Golden Nib on the cheap and put it in your Ever Ready brush. There are a few tutorials on this site on how to do that easily and with a minimum need for tools.

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 04-25-2012, 08:17 AM
#15
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I started with the EJ brush sold through/as a Crabtree & Evelyn brush. I like it, and it has served me well. I tried the VDH from Target, and don't care for it at all. I have since upgraded to a Silvertip from Penworks, and have a Simpson Commodore on the way.

I think I paid $35 for the EJ brush, and have gotten plenty of great shaves out of it. Soft tips with just a little bit of scritch.

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 04-25-2012, 11:31 AM
#16
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The Vie-Long dyed horse hair brush (http://www.bullgooseshaving.net/vibeindyhoha.html)is excellent with both creams and soaps. I don't think you can find a better overall brush in the $42 price range. The handle is outstanding. Highly recommended.

eric.

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 04-25-2012, 03:54 PM
#17
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Well, you asked for inputs and suggestions. I think you have a few now.

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 04-25-2012, 04:47 PM
#18
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I have two really nice (but spendy) Rooney badger hair brushes that I've set aside. My preference today is the less expensive, but excellent, boar bristle brushes from Semogue and Omega.

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 04-25-2012, 10:39 PM
#19
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Brushes that I'm enjoying right now:
Omega Scarlatti (boar)
Vie-Long Zurito (horse)

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 05-16-2012, 05:53 PM
#20
  • wlmcad
  • Senior Member
  • Memphis, TN
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Well I wanted to update this thread with my brush choices. After reading many posts on this forum and others, I decided to order 2 brushes. I placed an order for the two brushes with 2 different vendors. I ordered a 22mm Silvertip Badger brush in a resin handle from Whipped Dog Straights. Larry charged me $20 including shipping and the brush arrived 2 days later. I ordered the second brush, a Semogue 830, from Vintage Scents for about $24 including shipping and it arrived today. It took a little over 2 weeks to arrive, which is pretty good since Vintage Scent is in Portugal. I guess I decided to go for extremes in my shaving brush choice. My plan now is to order 2 badger hair knots and restore my 2 old brushes. Now I have to decide what type of knot I want to use in the restores, decisions - decisions. This will give me a 4-brush rotation, which I think is pretty good for a newbie.

Pics are included, ain’t they pretty… W00t

   

   

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