05-15-2012, 12:12 AM
#1
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Blinded by badger?

[attachment=2057]

Maybe I've been blinded by badger and am missing out...

I've always held that badger was thought to be the best material for brushes.

The water retention capacity,
smooth sensation on the face, and
durability of badger hair
are claimed to be unmatched by other synthetic or natural materials.

Synthetic bristle (usually nylon)
has traditionally held much less water than badger hair
(impacting negatively on it's effectiveness in producing lather).

Boar hair has a tendency to break more easily than badger hair
and is associated with having a more prickly feel on the face.

Horse hair fell out of favour as a result of Anthrax back in the 1920's (although not an issue these days).

So, is badger better...?

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 05-15-2012, 12:35 AM
#2
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I honestly believe that the better question would be: Is badger/boar/horse/synthetic better for me?

A lot of claims have been made as to the superiority of badger. At least as many claims have been made to the greatness of boar. Some people online claim that horse combine 85% of the qualities of badger with 85% of the qualities of boar. The manufacturers of synthetics claim their products equals or surpasses badger and/or boar. But in the end it boils down to what brush we as end-users finds suitable and pleasant to use.

Personally I like the horses so far - but I know that my boar and my synthetic are cheapies (as such things go) and I haven't dared* trying badger yet.

*) I don't think my wallet would like me getting a case of BAD.

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 05-15-2012, 01:10 AM
#3
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts Hans!

I haven't tried horse, or really had nearly enough experience with boar or synthetic (and currently don't own either) so I'm interested to learn from others from their experiences...

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 05-15-2012, 01:19 AM
#4
  • Leon
  • Active Member
  • Porto, Portugal
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I've tried horse and wasn't my cup of tea.

In these last years, I've been steadily hoping from badger to boar and back to badger.

I honestly can't decide which is better for me. They're just different. There's no better or worst.

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 05-15-2012, 01:29 AM
#5
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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(05-15-2012, 01:19 AM)Leon Wrote: I've tried horse and wasn't my cup of tea.

In these last years, I've been steadily hoping from badger to boar and back to badger.

I honestly can't decide which is better for me. They're just different. There's no better or worst.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts Leon, care to elaborate on the differences?

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 05-15-2012, 03:32 AM
#6
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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I thought early on badger was the only brushes that worthy to be in my nook. Last August an Omega 48 was added to my brush line-up.

Since then I have added a Semogue and Vulfix boar. Personally boar brushes are better suited for my shaving needs. My two badgers are still in rotation. Any additional brushes for me will be boars.

It comes down to what your own shaving needs are. Which brush will perform for you the best.

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 05-15-2012, 03:35 AM
#7
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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(05-15-2012, 03:32 AM)Howler Wrote: I thought early on badger was the only brushes that worthy to be in my nook. Last August an Omega 48 was added to my brush line-up.

Since then I have added a Semogue and Vulfix boar. Personally boar brushes are better suited for my shaving needs. My two badgers are still in rotation. Any additional brushes for me will be boars.

It comes down to what your own shaving needs are. Which brush will perform for you the best.

Thanks Howler, but what is it that you prefer about a boar, how does it better meet your needs?

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 05-15-2012, 05:33 AM
#8
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Boar brushes can offer a good amount of backbone, and still have soft tips, for a lot less money than a badger brush with similar characteristics. Some of my boars have tips that are softer than many badger brushes.

Notice the increasing popularity (and price) of 2-band brushes. All because they have the magical combination of stiffness and soft tips that everyone is looking for. Well, those are characteristics that you can find easily on a well broken boar brush for a lot less money. Cool

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 05-15-2012, 06:05 AM
#9
  • Johnny
  • Senior Member
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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What Emanuel said is pretty much spot on for me. I also like to paint my lather on, kind of like using a paint brush and the boar does a better job of that for me.

But the bottom line for me was dollars. I bought my first four Semogue brushes for less money than one Duke 2 cost.

Now, if these darn trees in my backyard would grow money, I would have a Simpsons collection to rival any.

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 05-15-2012, 06:18 AM
#10
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Thanks Emmanuel and Johnny.

I agree 2 band popularity is rising and I'm sure demand will likely further impact on cost.

Now if someone had just told me earlier about the comparison (boar being similar to 2 band badger) I might not have had to invest so much!

With 3 children under the age of 6 and my wife's costly medication to manage an ongoing health concern, my budget has changed in recent years and any new acquisitions are only made possible through selling old ones...

Could do with one of those money trees too, but what I'd really like is a magic cure for my wife, so that she's not suffering in pain ever single day of her life...

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 05-15-2012, 06:23 AM
#11
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(05-15-2012, 06:18 AM)ben74 Wrote: Thanks Emmanuel and Johnny.

I agree 2 band popularity is rising and I'm sure demand will likely further impact on cost.

Now if someone had just told me earlier about the comparison (boar being similar to 2 band badger) I might not have had to invest so much!

With 3 children under the age of 6 and my wife's costly medication to manage an ongoing health concern, my budget has changed in recent years and any new acquisitions are only made possible through selling old ones...

Could do with one of those money trees too, but what I'd really like is a magic cure for my wife, so that she's not suffering in pain ever single day of her life...

Sorry to hear about your wife's health concern. I pray that she recovers well. I can only imagine 3 kids under 6, but I do have 2 under 3! The comparison with 2-band and boar is what I was trying to say, but not as eloquently as Emanuel and Johnny, when I suggested that good scrubby for me equals boar or 2-band badger. My favorite 2-bander being the SOC. Just used it this morning and it's simply splendid!

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 05-15-2012, 06:37 AM
#12
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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(05-15-2012, 06:23 AM)SharpSpine Wrote:
(05-15-2012, 06:18 AM)ben74 Wrote: Thanks Emmanuel and Johnny.

I agree 2 band popularity is rising and I'm sure demand will likely further impact on cost.

Now if someone had just told me earlier about the comparison (boar being similar to 2 band badger) I might not have had to invest so much!

With 3 children under the age of 6 and my wife's costly medication to manage an ongoing health concern, my budget has changed in recent years and any new acquisitions are only made possible through selling old ones...

Could do with one of those money trees too, but what I'd really like is a magic cure for my wife, so that she's not suffering in pain ever single day of her life...

Sorry to hear about your wife's health concern. I pray that she recovers well. I can only imagine 3 kids under 6, but I do have 2 under 3! The comparison with 2-band and boar is what I was trying to say, but not as eloquently as Emanuel and Johnny, when I suggested that good scrubby for me equals boar or 2-band badger. My favorite 2-bander being the SOC. Just used it this morning and it's simply splendid!

Yes, I may have finally grasped the concept of boar!

Thank-you for your kind words Brian.

Unfortunately my wife's prognosis is bleak and only in her early thirties she's well aware that her quality of life is already in decline.

Our children are much source of joy, but difficult for her to manage on top of poor health.

I have embraced traditional shaving as its a pursuit I can enjoy at home, where I'm often needed.

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 05-15-2012, 10:47 AM
#13
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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I was a badger only guy up until a few months ago. I had always seen so much negative press on boar that I thought that they were cheap brushes that you tried to upgrade from as soon as possible. Well, they're inexpensive brushes that have their own merits.

Based off of much of the discussion on this site (boar is discussed on other forums but vast majority is badger discussion) I read more and figured I was wrong in my assumptions. A month or two ago I picked up my first boar (SOC Cherry) and love it. It's a different exprience. It's not something that I'd replace all my badgers with but I believe it's worth the experience of trying it out. Many of my preconcieved notions were wrong on softness, latherability and water retention. I think much of that due to misinformation out there.

I think a boar holds as much water for the lather and can stay as warm - I think many don't soak the brush long enough for it to absorb what it needs and then like badger hold extra for the soap. I was really surprised on the initial softness (I had figured it would be like a wire brush) and how soft it got after break in.

I can't say I "prefer" either one. For me it's just what experience I want. I think it's like with you with your brush collection - obviously I don't know your habits but I imagine some days you probably want a big soft knot, other days smaller with more backbone. For me it's the same as the boar. I find some days I want the stiffness of the boar to work on an italian soap, other days my beloved Rooney 3/1 for TOBS cream or Tabac.

Just not one better than the other, they're just different. For some that being different may not be to their liking, but I enjoy variety and the unique attributes of each.

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 05-15-2012, 10:51 AM
#14
  • Johnny
  • Senior Member
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Brent, well stated. Spot on sir.

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 05-15-2012, 10:56 AM
#15
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
User Info
Badger is one of the kind of natural hairs that I like,but not all its types : pure,some best badgers and some silvertips I dislike too much and I would prefer a good boar brush,or the new Muhle silvertip fibre brushes to any of those badger hair types.
Not everything in the badger world is gold,but some types of hairs,like the two band or best badger from Simpson are fantastic!

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 05-15-2012, 11:54 AM
#16
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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(05-15-2012, 10:51 AM)Johnny Wrote: Brent, well stated. Spot on sir.

From an expert I take this as quite the compliment!

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 05-15-2012, 11:55 AM
#17
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I enjoy using my 20 or so badgers. The same is true for the 6 boars and 4 horses. As most unbiased shavers already have said it - different hair types are just different - neither better nor worse. In my mind the badgers are more complicated than boars. When I'm selecting a badger to use, I start thinking about its properties - feel, water retention, lather release, material usage. I have to remember how it behaves so I can adjust some things in order to use it efficiently. The boars are much more foolproof to use. The differences between the feel and other properties from model to model are minimal - soft tactile tips with great backbone, strong thick hairs, very good lather release. The biggest difference where exists is in the knot size and the splay, and it's often marginal. What I like the most in boars though is the water retention and the simplicity to load them. No matter what model I use, I soak about half the knot in warm water for a few minutes while doing something else, let it drip the excess water, maybe shake it once gently, and I know that it holds exactly as much water as necessary for the shave. Then I just have to load the appropriate amount of cream or soap.

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 05-15-2012, 12:04 PM
#18
  • Johnny
  • Senior Member
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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(05-15-2012, 11:54 AM)Brent Wrote:
(05-15-2012, 10:51 AM)Johnny Wrote: Brent, well stated. Spot on sir.

From an expert I take this as quite the compliment!

Thanks, but I'm afraid you have me confused with someone else.Biggrin

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 05-15-2012, 12:17 PM
#19
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(05-15-2012, 06:37 AM)ben74 Wrote:
(05-15-2012, 06:23 AM)SharpSpine Wrote:
(05-15-2012, 06:18 AM)ben74 Wrote: Thanks Emmanuel and Johnny.

I agree 2 band popularity is rising and I'm sure demand will likely further impact on cost.

Now if someone had just told me earlier about the comparison (boar being similar to 2 band badger) I might not have had to invest so much!

With 3 children under the age of 6 and my wife's costly medication to manage an ongoing health concern, my budget has changed in recent years and any new acquisitions are only made possible through selling old ones...

Could do with one of those money trees too, but what I'd really like is a magic cure for my wife, so that she's not suffering in pain ever single day of her life...

Sorry to hear about your wife's health concern. I pray that she recovers well. I can only imagine 3 kids under 6, but I do have 2 under 3! The comparison with 2-band and boar is what I was trying to say, but not as eloquently as Emanuel and Johnny, when I suggested that good scrubby for me equals boar or 2-band badger. My favorite 2-bander being the SOC. Just used it this morning and it's simply splendid!

Yes, I may have finally grasped the concept of boar!

Thank-you for your kind words Brian.

Unfortunately my wife's prognosis is bleak and only in her early thirties she's well aware that her quality of life is already in decline.

Our children are much source of joy, but difficult for her to manage on top of poor health.

I have embraced traditional shaving as its a pursuit I can enjoy at home, where I'm often needed.

I'm sorry to hear about you wife's health problems, and I sincerely hope that her recovery may be full and quick.

As for boar brushes, don't get my words wrong; of course there's more in a brush than just softness of tips and backbone. A boar brush will also behave and feel somewhat different than a 2-band knot. The way it absorbs water, for example, is totally different.

I've been using boar brushes since I started shaving - boar brushes were very common in Portugal at the time. I really appreciate boars, and if I had only boar brushes for the rest of my life, I would be an happy man. However, I also like to use my 2-band badger (and the other badgers as well). Smile

I really don't think that one is better from the other; they are different, just that. In the end, it all comes down to your personal preferences. I'm happy to have and use both. Smile

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 05-15-2012, 12:22 PM
#20
  • steve g
  • Member
  • Northern California
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To me good brushes are more about the ability of the manufacturer and their particular design/model type then the hair used. I've had great and bad brushes made of both badger and boar. I tried a horse hair brush and just couldn't get into it, felt too prickly (very sharp), I sold that one and will probably try another in the future.

I guess a person would have to try 3 or 4 different boar brushes to find the type/design/size that works for them.

My next brush will most likely be a Muhle synthetic.

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