05-22-2012, 11:30 AM
#1
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
User Info
We have a large variety of brushes to chose from various makers.
Those choices break down to badger, boar, horse, synthetic. Everyone has a preference and thoughts on what works for them.

Early on I thought that badger brush was the best choice for a brush. There were numerous posts that attested to that. Early on I bought a mid-priced Parker Badger. My other thought process was bigger was better. The Parker is called "King Size". It does live up to its name. The next big brush was an Omega "48" boar.

Those two brushes were my only brushes for awhile. A third brush was added another badger made by LuJin. This brush looked like a midget next to the two bigger brushes. That smaller brush though has evolved my brush thinking.

That a smaller loft brush and knot worked better. Lately I have been acquiring b rushes. All have a smaller loft, knot size under 24mm. I added an Semogue 1460 and Vulfix 28. Also added the super cheap Turkish #6. The newest member a Semogue OC is on the way.

Bigger does not mean better. I'm finding that a smaller knot and smaller loft brush personally out performs a bigger brush. I find lathering with a smaller brush faster, consistency of lather seems better too. When looking for a new brush the loft and knot will be the deciding factor.

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 05-22-2012, 12:26 PM
#2
  • 4711
  • Member
  • England
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You know I've been here .......many times and for me it's like a set of Penrose steps !

Good luck Smile

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 05-22-2012, 12:47 PM
#3
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
User Info
For a die hard face latherer like myself,large knots and lofts are not on my book of likes.I actually like brushes under 23 mm of knot and from 48 to 52 mm loft.Of course,it depends what hair of fibres the brush is made of.I just found that the Muhle Sipertip prototipe that I have been testing for the last couple weeks,with a 25 mm knot and around 55 mm loft is nothing but SUPERB for my taste when facelathering,with super soft tips,excellent flow and backbone.
But yes,larger doesn't means better,or at least,for me doesn't.

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 05-22-2012, 01:45 PM
#4
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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I agree, larger doesn't mean better. I think it all has to do with what you prefer.

I bowl lather but typically 22mm is about as large as I want and a shorter loft and not floppy. This goes with what I like to feel on my face. Also, I appreciate that it uses less product and is a bit easier to control.

For others large brushes may be better for them. I have one 25mm brush that has a lot of hair and I can see why people prefer them also. It has more of an "enveloping" experience.

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 05-22-2012, 01:58 PM
#5
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There have been some big brush threads lately that espouse the luxury of the big brush. I find the luxury comes more from the softness and gentle massage rather than the amount of face covered with each swipe of the brush. I fall in the camp that is so far vocal in this thread. I prefer my knot sizes to be 21-24 mm. I have a 22mm brush that has quite a large bloom. I find that I don't pick it up as much because it just covers more real estate than I'd like it to. It's not unwieldy be any means, nor is it hard to control wear I want the lather. I just don't enjoy it as much as my laser-like precision and pin-point accuracy brushes that maintain a slimmer profile.

Some like their ladies curvaceous while others prefer them slim & trim. Different strokes for different folks...



... the YMMV theme song!

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 05-22-2012, 05:12 PM
#6
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Since I have been using a wide variety of synthetics both in size and manufacturers, I have found that the synthetic class of brush is the only one in which size really does matter.

The reason is that the fibers of a synthetic are solid versus a natural hair which has microscopic gaps or pockets if you will. The natural hair brushes will hold water better than the synthetics due to these natural pockets. One drawback to these pockets is that you must take greater care because over time the natural brush becomes less effective if it is not properly cleaned to get out the lather and minerals that accumulate over time.

As a synthetic knot becomes larger and more densely packed the fibers are close enough that more water is more easily retained between the fibers, and the brush behaves more and more like a natural brush, when it comes to water retention. Also, with the larger more tightly packed brush, the fibers rub against each other creating even more efficient lathering.

Now the knot size sweet spot range that I am talking about lies somewhere between 24 and 28 mm. I have been informed that it is difficult to create a synthetic larger than 28 mm due to the fact that the density of the fibers will eliminate the ability to easily create the necessary fan or bulb shape for the knot. May this will change as the technology improves.

The Muhle 35 K 252 and the H.I.S. are 25 mm and 28 mm respectively and they are absolute lather monsters in terms of generation and application. The Muhle 33 K 257 at 23 mm is a very good brush, but in using all these brushes and others, the larger Muhle 35 K 252 and the H.I.S. are my synthetics of choice.

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 05-22-2012, 05:57 PM
#7
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
User Info
Bigger is definitely not always better and I've had a few dust collectors to prove it. So many of them are high in loft and low in density and backbone. Not to mention unwieldy! However, there are exceptions and my Polo 10 in 2-band tops that list - so far. I'm expecting a brand new Chubby 3 Super Badger in the mail soon. Cool

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 05-22-2012, 06:33 PM
#8
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(05-22-2012, 05:57 PM)TexBilly Wrote: Bigger is definitely not always better and I've had a few dust collectors to prove it. So many of them are high in loft and low in density and backbone. Not to mention unwieldy! However, there are exceptions and my Polo 10 in 2-band tops that list - so far. I'm expecting a brand new Chubby 3 Super Badger in the mail soon. Cool

How does that 2-band compare to the 3 band polo 10? I have a 3-band and I like it but, I have thought it maybe a pinch too big sometimes. does the 2 band feel smaller?

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 05-22-2012, 08:06 PM
#9
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i, too, enjoy the smaller knots on brushes; more control on the face.

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 05-23-2012, 03:42 AM
#10
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
User Info
(05-22-2012, 05:12 PM)GDCarrington Wrote: Since I have been using a wide variety of synthetics both in size and manufacturers, I have found that the synthetic class of brush is the only one in which size really does matter.

The reason is that the fibers of a synthetic are solid versus a natural hair which has microscopic gaps or pockets if you will. The natural hair brushes will hold water better than the synthetics due to these natural pockets. One drawback to these pockets is that you must take greater care because over time the natural brush becomes less effective if it is not properly cleaned to get out the lather and minerals that accumulate over time.

As a synthetic knot becomes larger and more densely packed the fibers are close enough that more water is more easily retained between the fibers, and the brush behaves more and more like a natural brush, when it comes to water retention. Also, with the larger more tightly packed brush, the fibers rub against each other creating even more efficient lathering.

Now the knot size sweet spot range that I am talking about lies somewhere between 24 and 28 mm. I have been informed that it is difficult to create a synthetic larger than 28 mm due to the fact that the density of the fibers will eliminate the ability to easily create the necessary fan or bulb shape for the knot. May this will change as the technology improves.

The Muhle 35 K 252 and the H.I.S. are 25 mm and 28 mm respectively and they are absolute lather monsters in terms of generation and application. The Muhle 33 K 257 at 23 mm is a very good brush, but in using all these brushes and others, the larger Muhle 35 K 252 and the H.I.S. are my synthetics of choice.
Excellent thoughts. As synthetics are becoming better built the quality is becoming increasingly better.

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 05-23-2012, 04:11 AM
#11
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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I enjoy the large knots and have no issue controlling the lather and it all stays exactly where I intend to shave! There is perhaps a skill involved in wielding a larger brush, but if I've accomplished it... then it can't be that difficult to master. I'm not saying you should choose bigger brushes, but I do wish to point out that claiming a small knot is better is like saying a short person is smarter...

Variety is the spice of life and everyones differences should be celebrated.

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 05-23-2012, 04:33 AM
#12
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(05-23-2012, 04:11 AM)ben74 Wrote: I enjoy the large knots and have no issue controlling the lather and it all stays exactly where I intend to shave! There is perhaps a skill involved in wielding a larger brush, but if I've accomplished it... then it can't be that difficult to master. I'm not saying you should choose bigger brushes, but I do wish to point out that claiming a small knot is better is like saying a short person is smarter...

Variety is the spice of life and everyones differences should be celebrated.

No Ben. Everyone knows that taller people are smarter. Just look at the NBA! Tongue

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 05-23-2012, 05:06 AM
#13
  • Persius
  • On the learning curve
  • Reading, England
User Info
(05-23-2012, 04:33 AM)SharpSpine Wrote:
(05-23-2012, 04:11 AM)ben74 Wrote: I enjoy the large knots and have no issue controlling the lather and it all stays exactly where I intend to shave! There is perhaps a skill involved in wielding a larger brush, but if I've accomplished it... then it can't be that difficult to master. I'm not saying you should choose bigger brushes, but I do wish to point out that claiming a small knot is better is like saying a short person is smarter...

Variety is the spice of life and everyones differences should be celebrated.
No Ben. Everyone knows that taller people are smarter. Just look at the NBA! Tongue
There are some shorter gentlemen reading this you know Wink

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 05-23-2012, 11:11 AM
#14
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
User Info
(05-23-2012, 04:11 AM)ben74 Wrote: I enjoy the large knots and have no issue controlling the lather and it all stays exactly where I intend to shave! There is perhaps a skill involved in wielding a larger brush, but if I've accomplished it... then it can't be that difficult to master. I'm not saying you should choose bigger brushes, but I do wish to point out that claiming a small knot is better is like saying a short person is smarter...

Variety is the spice of life and everyones differences should be celebrated.

Yes I agree that a brush size is a personal choice. That is makes wet shaving such a great community we all bring something a little different to the table. Whether we are short or tall.

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 05-23-2012, 11:21 AM
#15
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
User Info
I am learning I have a pretty wide range of tastes. My horse brush (21x50mm) is great some days, and other days I want that big Omega Pro 49.

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 05-24-2012, 02:30 PM
#16
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
(05-22-2012, 11:30 AM)Howler Wrote: We have a large variety of brushes to chose from various makers.
Those choices break down to badger, boar, horse, synthetic. Everyone has a preference and thoughts on what works for them.

Early on I thought that badger brush was the best choice for a brush. There were numerous posts that attested to that. Early on I bought a mid-priced Parker Badger. My other thought process was bigger was better. The Parker is called "King Size". It does live up to its name. The next big brush was an Omega "48" boar.

Those two brushes were my only brushes for awhile. A third brush was added another badger made by LuJin. This brush looked like a midget next to the two bigger brushes. That smaller brush though has evolved my brush thinking.

That a smaller loft brush and knot worked better. Lately I have been acquiring b rushes. All have a smaller loft, knot size under 24mm. I added an Semogue 1460 and Vulfix 28. Also added the super cheap Turkish #6. The newest member a Semogue OC is on the way.

Bigger does not mean better. I'm finding that a smaller knot and smaller loft brush personally out performs a bigger brush. I find lathering with a smaller brush faster, consistency of lather seems better too. When looking for a new brush the loft and knot will be the deciding factor.

I also prefer smaller brushes. My first brush was a Royal Shave best badger brush that had a 24mm knot and a huge bloomed out bulb shape to it. Feels great on face, super soft, but was difficult to control and ate way more soap than I needed. I still have that brush, but almost never use it. I then realized smaller brushes are better for me and got a Simpson Wee Scot just to go to the small extreme. I also got an Omega 10275 boar. Both brushes are fantastic! You have not wet shaved until you've wet shaved with a Wee Scot. It is so tiny you may think it's a practical joke, but the thing works like a charm! It does have a tiny handle, so may be uncomfortable for some, but that 14mm knot with 36mm loft just work. I don't know how. It's magic. I got other brushes now, but the largest is Semogue 1305, which is nice, but is pushing my size limits. I have a Semogue 1470 (same as 1460 with a natural wood handle) and I love the size of that brush. Most definitely face lathering, which is what I do most of the time is better served with a smaller brush. I restored an Ever-Ready 650PB with a TGN finest set at 22mm by 49mm and that is just about perfect and for a badger brush I would not go any larger.

Have fun with smallness!

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 05-24-2012, 09:47 PM
#17
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Howler, I examined your post to see if you mentioned how you lather and I didn't see it. I did in some of the folks who responded, and not in others. To me that's key.

If I was just painting lather on my face with bowl lathering I doubt brush size would mean much except as it fit my bowl and to keep my fingers clean. That would mean larger knots in both dimensions and larger handles.

But I face lather and I appreciate a smaller brush. The small brush helps to prevent the errant swirl from filling a nostril. I appreciate the precision of the small brush. The biggest brush I've chosen is a Rooney 3/1 with a 22mm D. knot with 45mm loft. The smallest is a Simpson Special with a 18mm D. knot and 40mm of loft. Of course they feel and work differently. To compound this, I have other badgers and boars with other diameters and lofts with all sorts of softness and backbone, mostly within those measurements, and one badger that a friend made for me that doesn't fit the mold. They all work for me, every one of them. I face lather exclusively.

Since I didn't see how you lather that compounds things if you're looking for advice. I would suspect that a bowl latherer can use a larger brush, a hand latherer pretty much anything, and a face latherer the smaller brushes. But that's only my experience.

You need to place that where you want for you since I didn't find where you suggested what you were looking for.

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 05-25-2012, 12:50 AM
#18
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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I predominately face lather and still prefer large brushes. As mentioned before, I find my lather is easily controlled and goes where I intend to shave.

When I do bowl lather it's the handle that usually dictates my choice - something longer and thinner.

The smaller brushes in my collection have a scrubbier feel while the majority of my bigger brushes are softer.

I have a wide range of brushes, including knot sizes and handle designs. I enjoy them all, but more often than not I reach for something on the larger size.

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 05-25-2012, 05:51 AM
#19
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People have preferences and will find reasons to justify them. I like longer lofted less dense brushes. Kent Vulfix etc. I find them easy to control. They will form a feather edge easily which allows pinpoint control. You can do this easily by face painting or pressing your finger into the side of the knot. I never get lather in my nose or ears. I find this harder to do with more dense brushes. They have better flow through in general and they splay easily with gentle pressure and have a softer feel on the face. I routinely face lather with a Vulfix 2235, Kent BK8 and Omega 48.

As always..one mans trouble is another's treasure. Try a couple and find the style that appeals to you.

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