12-06-2014, 01:46 PM
#1
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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I find it curious that Plisson manufactures HMW in 2 and 3 band versions but does not distinguish between them by price or label. I have owned size 12 HMWs in both 2 and 3 band and found them to be distinctly different brushes. The 3-band had softer tips, a larger bloom, and seemed a little more densely packed. The 2-band had a slight amount of scritch, was a little more bulb shaped, and had more backbone.

I have read that before 2-band badger came into vogue in the last 5-10 years, it was considered an inferior hair grade and cost less from the suppliers/sorters. Looking through old forum posts back in the 2006-2007 timeframe, Plisson was using 2-band hair labeled HMW. I may be mistaken, but I think this was before 2-band came into vogue.

So what's the deal with this hair? Is there something special about the 2-band that Plisson uses? And to confuse things even more, how different is 2-band HMW from 2-band EW (European White)?

Here is an interesting photo of two size 20 Plisson HMW brushes (from a vendor, not mine):

[Image: 15959562341_27a259f41f_o.jpg]

Notice the taller loft of the 2-band and the different shape of each knot. I entertained the thought that all of this hair is technically 3-band of the same grade, and that one specimen has a broader dark middle band, giving it a 2-band appearance. But the different form of the knots suggests the craftsmen that tied them perceived the hair to be different and shaped them differently to suit the characteristics of the hair. As mentioned above, my size 12 brushes had differently shaped knots.


Andrew

Here's an old photo of my two size 12s next to each other:

[Image: Three%2520amigos.jpg]

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 12-06-2014, 04:06 PM
#2
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Beautiful brushes . I wished two band still available for purchase .

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 12-06-2014, 04:17 PM
#3
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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(12-06-2014, 04:06 PM)Cricket203 Wrote: Beautiful brushes . I wished two band still available for purchase .

2-band HMW? It is.


Andrew

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 12-06-2014, 05:11 PM
#4
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Andrew, lovely brushes!

No idea on the difference in hair type as I have never tried a Plisson badger! Biggrin

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 12-06-2014, 06:12 PM
#5
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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Very interesting Andrew. I have limited experience with Plisson as I only have a 12 in 3 band HMW, and I really enjoy it. Initially it had some minor scritch, but it faded away after some uses. Now its one of my favorite badgers, but I have always wanted to try the different variations Biggrin

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 12-07-2014, 03:26 AM
#6
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Great observations. My experience is limited as I only have a HMW 18. The shape of the bulb is exactly like the 2-band you pictured but mine is a 3-band. That HMW 20 3-band you pictures is one beautiful brush. Out of curiosity who is the vendor?

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 12-07-2014, 12:11 PM
#7
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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Interesting observations, Andrew. It's good to see Plisson getting some attention, other then their synthetic brush.
AFAIK, Plisson did rate their 2-band hair to be inferior to their 3-band, mainly because the tips weren't as soft, however nowadays the 2-band hair is actually slightly more expensive - and apparently very hard to come by, particularly in larger sizes. They do start off a bit scritchy, but soften quickly with use, and become extremely pleasant brushes, at least for me.

I have limited experience with (current) 3-Band HMW, but I do find it a bit floppy, particularly in the larger sizes, although less so then the regular Super/Silvertip hair you usually see with other manufacturers, as the hairs are thicker.
In terms of knot shape, their 3-band knots also seem to have a lot more bloom, which may account for some of the differences one actually sees, perhaps due to the combination of a higher density with a thinner hair (in comparison to the 2-Band, that is). Still, those 2 knots in the picture are unarguably different.

And since we're talking about Plisson's knot variations, what about the knots in their plexiglass handles? It's said they they retain more water and seem to whip up lather more quickly then their other knots... Almost as if there's something magical to them! But perhaps that's something for another thread. Smile

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 12-07-2014, 01:28 PM
#8
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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Your comments about the plexi handle Plissons are perfect for this thread. I had not heard that these knots were any different, but you have piqued my curiosity.


Andrew

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 12-07-2014, 04:02 PM
#9
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I've heard stories about the legendary knots on early Plisson plexi brushes (circa 1980's). I'd like to hear more.

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 12-12-2014, 04:16 PM
#10
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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Since no one here seems to have any additional info about this, I'll add a few quick thoughts to the discussion. As Ron said, the early Plisson Plexiglass knots are known to have very particular lathering properties - they seem to have a fantastic water retention capability, and apparently whip up a great lather very quickly, also presenting a pretty good backbone. Also, from the pictures I've seen, the knot construction was simply superb, superior even to the current Plisson manufacture.

That, coupled with the fabulous vintage HMW 3-Band (European) hair, with extremely soft and naturally white tips (no bleaching, so the softness is not due to the hooked/gel tips), would make for an absolutely exceptional brush - my holiest of holy grails, to be honest.

I may FINALLY be able to add a few more thoughts in a couple of weeks... Blush

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 12-12-2014, 05:42 PM
#11
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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The majority of my Plisson brushes are more 2 band than 3...

[Image: bNYEtzb.png]

It's been my experience that brushes larger than size 14 benefit from the extra strength or rigidity associated with 2 band.

I've owned Plexi handled brushes, but sold them has I found the shape unsatisfactory in the hand (despite being sensational to the eye). As for performance differences, I believe the "magical" properties may be related more to batch as opposed to handle type. The Plexi handle was very popular in the 80's and this timeframe correlates to particularly pleasing batches of hair employed by Plisson at the time.

[Image: xDjpwQJ.png]

Knot construction IMO is fairly consistent across all Plisson HMW offerings. The individual hairs are all strong, but 2 band feels slightly thicker and hence slightly more rigid. Tip softness varies over batches, but with 3 band yielding more than 2 band they often feel slightly softer. Current Plisson HMW does not feel as soft at the tips.

The allure for me with Plisson, is that the less dense knot construction and longer loft allows for substantially better aeration. As a result, lathering is remarkably quick and the end product is lighter. The splay IMO is often confused with floppiness, but these are not Kent-like and the flow through is outstanding.

[Image: l2jMbH1.png]

When purchasing a Plisson, I always ask for images from the vendor and a selection of brushes to choose from. When ordering direct I always make specific requests in relation to both knot and handle. I've found I've been happier choosing older brushes from existing stock when dealing with resellers or detailing my exact requirements when buying from Plisson direct. The Plisson brushes that I have purchased without following this method have not remained in my collection.

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 12-12-2014, 05:55 PM
#12
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Might it have something to do with the age of the badgers being culled: the older the pelt, the softer the hair, etc. (?) I understand that the Chinese harvest younger pelts to keep up with modern demand. Perhaps Plisson in older days cultivated "old stock." Of course this doesn't take into account environmental factors that may effect badger populations wherever they may roam.

If younger hair is rougher, it would need more "treatment," and might contribute to the difference in feel between older and more modern brushes, i.e., Plisson HMW/Simpsons Somerset vs. today's versions. I'm just speculating but hope this can be addressed by those more in the know. I'd like to understand the why of it in any event.

(12-12-2014, 05:42 PM)ben74 Wrote: . . . the less dense knot construction and longer loft allows for substantially better aeration. As a result, lathering is remarkably quick and the end product is lighter. The splay IMO is often confused with floppiness, but these are not Kent-like and the flow through is outstanding. . .

I've come around to this way of thinking about brushes, too. I like beautifully treated Thaters. Biggrin

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 12-13-2014, 10:08 AM
#13
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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Thanks for the input, Ben. I was hoping you would chime in on this thread. I suspect you are right about the larger size Plissons benefiting from the rigidity of the 2-band hair. I have used a 2-band size 20, which despite the impressive loft maintained a nice medium to large sized form in use. I have not had the opportunity to try a 3-band size 20, though.

In your photo, it looks like the lighter horn handled brush in the size 16-18 range (just to the right of your size 20) and your size 24 have a different type of hair than the smaller sizes. Can you tell a difference between in use? Also, the tips of the hair in the size 10 or 12 (second brush from the right) seem a little more beige than the rest. Any difference in use with this one?

I, too, find myself gravitating more toward brushes with a Plisson-type knot form. I agree that these taller lofted brushes seem to whip up a nicer lather with ease, without any splay or floppiness. I prefer the way they contain and release the lather throughout my shave At present, I am encountering a "Plissonization" of my shave den. I am contemplating the purchase of a 3-band size 16 HMW, but your comment about 2-band in the larger sizes gives me pause. Or perhaps I should trust that the craftsmen at Plisson get it right with these brushes, regardless of size?


Andrew

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 12-18-2014, 09:15 AM
#14
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The three band looks particularly nice.

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 12-18-2014, 10:19 AM
#15
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These Plissons are great looking!

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 12-18-2014, 06:51 PM
#16
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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Here is a size 18 HMW that has a narrow dark band that is more brown than black:

[Image: 16027989936_03bb47bc5e_o.jpg]

Another forum member has posted a photo of their similar HMW:

[Image: 15434141173_4d08a6748b_o.jpg]

Compare these to samples of HMW with a broader, darker middle band:

[Image: 15867737239_f50be8b58b_o.jpg]

[Image: 16027993266_a83e082be1_o.jpg]

On the right:

[Image: 15959562341_27a259f41f_o.jpg]

Several of the brushes Ben has shown us above have this broad middle band (and those that don't appear 2-banded).

Between these, there is even some variability in the width and tint of the dark middle band.

And how about this vintage HMW that recently appeared on the BST?

[Image: 15866312718_d697a9260d_o.jpg]

Notice the whiteness of the tips, the near black middle band, and the lack of intermingling dark hairs.

And then there is the 2-banded HMW, as seen above.

The differences in use between 2-band and 3-band HMW are fairly pronounced. But what about the differences between the HMW with a narrow, lighter middle band and that with a broader, darker middle band?


Andrew

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 12-19-2014, 12:05 PM
#17
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I'm gonna add my two cents. I owned a #18 2-band and thought it was a stupid brush. Not only was it way too scratchy, but the springy extra-high loft (which is necessary to compensate for the prickly hair) assured that I sprayed lather all over the bathroom every time I used it. My issue wasn't the price, it was the entire design - I wouldn't own it at any price.

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 12-19-2014, 12:41 PM
#18
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(12-19-2014, 12:05 PM)vocalistbob Wrote: ...I owned a #18 2-band and thought it was a stupid brush...the springy extra-high loft (which is necessary to compensate for the prickly hair) assured that I sprayed lather all over the bathroom every time I used it.
This makes me laugh Bob! Mostly because I have had a similar experience with Plisson brushes. However, I just ordered another. We'll see how I do this time around controlling this knot. Hopefully my mirror doesn't end up with more lather than my face!

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 12-19-2014, 07:22 PM
#19
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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(12-19-2014, 12:41 PM)merkur man Wrote: This makes me laugh Bob! Mostly because I have had a similar experience with Plisson brushes. However, I just ordered another. We'll see how I do this time around controlling this knot. Hopefully my mirror doesn't end up with more lather than my face!

If this is the one I'm thinking it is, you will have to post some photos and thoughts about it!



Andrew

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 12-19-2014, 07:36 PM
#20
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(12-19-2014, 07:22 PM)Andrew Wrote: If this is the one I'm thinking it is, you will have to post some photos and thoughts about it!

Andrew

In fact Andrew it arrived today! Now I just need to wait until Christmas day to unwrap it.

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