01-05-2015, 12:50 PM
#21
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(01-05-2015, 12:40 PM)AngryGreek Wrote: I'm honored and absolutely love this brush. From what you say you've made slight modifications to it. Didn't think it could be any more comfortable. I will hopefully be getting more once the funds come in and can get a hold of Lee.

And we're honored by your having it.

The newer version is just a bit taller above the bead, yielding an overall height of not quite 54mm rather than 52mm.

I don't expect there to be any more M&F-labeled PK-47s. Permission to label yours as an M&F was a special accommodation. Dipesh also has one (in amber), and there may be a couple more that resulted from a mix-up.

In the future, other than Paladin-labeled PK-47s sold ex-US where it makes better sense for Lee to handle fulfillment, I think Dark Holler will most likely be the sole source of brushes with that handle style.

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 01-05-2015, 12:52 PM
#22
  • Mr_Smartepants
  • Senior Member
  • Cambridgeshire, UK (CONUS post address)
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Seeing this thread and the one over at those other forums makes me lust after one of these brushes in the worst possible way.
Ken, you've got my email. That's all I'm saying! Angel

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 01-05-2015, 01:21 PM
#23
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Congratulations on a wonderful new endeavor Ken. I look forward to your updates on the brushes.

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 01-05-2015, 01:44 PM
#24
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[Image: 5dC79hl.jpg]

It just occurs to me that I want a PK-47.
Great stuff, Ken.

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 01-05-2015, 02:44 PM
#25
  • greyhawk
  • Senior Member
  • Southern California
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Congrats, Ken! Great work, and best of luck on your endeavors.

I'm the proud owner of an original Chief, and look forward to the arrival of a PK-47 (hopefully) in the near future.

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 01-05-2015, 03:01 PM
#26
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Warning: long post follows!

More goes into production of a handle the way we do it than I could have imagined before actually making one.

Someone once posted to the effect "anyone can draw a handle". That comment was in response to praise the M&F Group Buy (aka Chief) design had received. The intended point was that it takes a great deal more talent, skill, and effort to turn a handle by hand than it does to knock one out on a CNC lathe.

I took issue with the remark back then based on the ridiculous amount of time I knew I had sunk into drawing the Chief. But that seemed to me to constitute all of the hard part. I sent a CAD file off to Lee, had prototypes back in a couple weeks, and assumed there wasn't much to it. I was wrong about that.

I've since gained a more appreciative sense of what goes into making many things I'd largely taken for granted before learning that generation and execution of a CNC program involves more than just a few keystrokes. It both saddens and sobers me now to reflect on how much of that work has moved to China (along with the jobs of those who did the work). Making shaving brush handles is a small thing, but it's something, and we're proud to be doing it.

Set out below is a somewhat detailed description of a design project we recently undertook.

No brush is more iconic than the Simpson Chubby. I have two Chubby 1s and two Chubby 2s. They aren't my primary go-tos, but I have profound respect for the design, its source, the brand it bears, and the company that has carried that brand forward. So this is an example of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. At the same time, we have too much respect for Simpsons to pursue a straight knock-off. We studied examples and looked for opportunities to make subtle, but purposeful, modifications.

My favorite Chubby is a Somerset-era 24mm Chubby 1. It was our point of departure. We started by carefully measuring it and scaling all dimensions to 26mm, 28mm, 30mm, and 32mm.

[Image: Point-of-departure_zpsa9d74385.jpg]

Then we went to work generating a CAD drawing with a partially transparent image of the handle placed in a separate layer for reference. The drawing was scaled to have a 26mm socket, the size we selected for initial prototyping. There is some blurring around the edges, probably due to the distance at which the shot was taken in order to minimize perspective distortion. The version inserted below was the seventeenth saved draft. The first four aimed at capturing an exact copy of the model, and the next seven explored different variations. Four more minor revisions focused on specific refinements. The draft shown here is the fourth version of the seventh version of the fourth version. We then did two more on top of that to play with scaling, but ended up sticking to the original overall proportions.

Note the slightly concave base, which is a design element we're now using on all the handles we turn. The inspiration for it came from another Somerset-era Simpson. It reflects vintage lathe techniques, looks cool, feels nice (kinda like a worry stone), and serves the purpose of helping handles stand without sliding on wet counter-tops.

[Image: CAD-draft-grid-4_zpsd97a99fe.jpg]

Next is a photo of some printouts we compared. We batted these around for at least a couple hours.

[Image: C1-CAD-drafts_zps5be4a579.jpg]

Once we select a CAD drawing to prototype, the file is imported into CNC simulation software that enables G-code editing and backplotting. The G-code is ultimately run on a Linux-based CAM application that controls the lathes. The design we settled on resulted in a G-code program that comprises about 390 lines, most of which individually specify a pair of Cartesian coordinates on the lathe's X-Z plane. The CAD program generates those coordinates, but there are always interpolation errors/anomalies.

I can enlarge a G-code plot to about the size at which .04" x .02" of tool-path fits on my screen. I dial it back from there and then scroll slowly, back and forth, from one end of the plot to the other. For our Chubby design, I manually re-wrote about 50 lines of code to smooth segments that wouldn't have been off enough to survive polishing or otherwise be noticeable without aid of a microscope, but I do it anyhow.

When I was about two hours into that stage of the process for the Chubby project, something caused a scripting error that froze the program. I could move the cursor and scroll, but neither copy nor save. At the time I was working on a subset of the G-code that composed the upper half of the handle, so probably about 200 lines of code were at risk of loss. I was within just a couple tweaks of being done. There was no way I could exactly replicate the changes I'd made by starting over. So I started hand-copying the code onto a legal pad (see below). When I got to the bottom of the first page, it occurred to me that since I could scroll, I might be able to capture images of the G-code with my iPhone and then OCR it. Capture worked fine; OCR did not. I ended up shutting down and then manually keying in all of the code with the screen shots opened in PhotoShop next to the backplotter. That took 2-3 hours.

Here's a printout of the final G-code plot (I manually write the roughing cycles), followed by a shot of the hand-copied page of code.

[Image: Chubby-NC-Plot_zps6b7baa32.jpg]

[Image: Salvage_zpsff6ed04f.jpg]

The next photo shows a 24mm Dark Holler version flanked by the Somerset Chubby 1 on the left and a more recent example on the right. It's followed by an enlarged selection from the same image.

We only made two significant changes to the general profile of the Somerset Chubby 1. First, we raised the waist (i.e., the narrowed circumference immediately above the middle bead) by 1mm (at the 26mm scale) in order to make a little more room for a finger hold. (That change dictated either modifying the angle formed where the upper half of the handle runs into the bead in order to preserve the circumference at that point, or enlarging the circumference at the expense of the bead's dimensions. We opted for the former, which yielded slightly more curvature.) We also lowered the flared circumference just above the base with the same purpose in mind. The newer Simpson Chubby goes even further in that direction. We settled about halfway in between the Somerset Chubby and the modern Simpson.

Also note the modified bead profile. The top of the Simpson's bead forms more of a shelf as compared to ours, which rolls off. And we made it even chubbier, which seemed fitting.

Our modifications were fairly subtle. We sought to preserve the superb aesthetics of the original. What we gained ergonomically, however, was worth the trade-off in our opinion. Of course, that's something everyone can judge for himself.


[Image: Respectful-acknowledgement_zps0998b092.jpg]

[Image: Somerset-and-DH-C1-inset_zpsc31f1636.jpg]

The Dark Holler handles as shown in the two photos immediately above appear just as they came off the lathe, i.e., unsanded and unpolished. The 24mm, 26mm, and 28mm prototypes in the first photo below are also in the raw. The second one down shows a trio of polished 28mm handles turned from alternative ivory, Disco, and faux tortoise. The last photo includes 26mm versions of the Chief, PK-47, and Chubby in Disco.

[Image: Straight-off-the-lathe_zpsd276bb30.jpg]

[Image: Diversity_zpsf915c655.jpg]

[Image: Disco-Party_zps389f5ae5.jpg]

Cody took all the photos, contributed significantly to the design, and did the finishing.

I should add that we're still not quite done tinkering with the code.

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 01-05-2015, 03:23 PM
#27
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Great posts Ken. The Chief remains one of my favorite brushes of the many I have owned. Best of luck with this new endeavor. I'm looking forward to being a customer.

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 01-05-2015, 03:43 PM
#28
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Welcome Ken, many impressive handles see here, great job!!! BiggrinHeart

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 01-05-2015, 03:48 PM
#29
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(01-05-2015, 03:43 PM)lu20vt Wrote: Welcome Ken, many impressive handles see here, great job!!! BiggrinHeart

Thanks to all for the kind words.

It's good to be here.

(01-05-2015, 12:37 PM)evnpar Wrote: Hello Ken,

When I was active on B&B, I always enjoyed your posts and your comments convinced me to purchase a couple DE's. Now you have to come over to TSN with these beautiful handles and brushes. Some enabler! It would be an honor to own one someday.

Those were the days. I bought >60 vintage Gillette DEs within 6 months. I really didn't have an objective to collect. It just took that many for me to find my Grail razor.

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 01-05-2015, 04:37 PM
#30
  • ajc347
  • Senior Member
  • Exeter, UK
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I'm loving the information you've posted up in this thread Ken and it's been really interesting to read the history of the designs and the processes involved.

It's great to have you contributing in the Artisan section. I know how much of a labour of love the production of brushes are for you and it is awesome to both see and experience first-hand the results of all he hard work and effort you, Cody and Lee have put into this endeavour. Smile

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 01-05-2015, 04:38 PM
#31
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OK, last post of the day.

These photos are of the first small-batch we ran. It was a hoot. I took detailed notes that were entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Inspected each an every handle as it came off the lathe, first with a magnified visor and then under a jeweler's loupe.

The materials were alternative ivory, alternative horn, and butterscotch marble. Half Chiefs (Dark Holler version) and half PK-47s.

[Image: First-batch-hot-off-the-lathe-1_zps5422e640.jpg]

[Image: First-batch-hot-off-the-lathe-2_zpsc009f7f7.jpg]

[Image: Horn-Chief_zpsf323262c.jpg]

[Image: Horn-Chief-bottom_zps66708d0b.jpg]

[Image: Horn-PK-47_zps0a1f7e97.jpg]

[Image: Horn-PK-47-bottom_zps161e5853.jpg]

[Image: Butterscotch-Marble-Chief_zps5bb82542.jpg]

[Image: Butterscotch-Marble-Chief-bottom_zpsa419708c.jpg]

[Image: Butterscotch-Marble-PK-47_zpsb1d1b8da.jpg]

[Image: Butterscotch-Marble-PK-47-bottom_zps992a1156.jpg]

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 01-05-2015, 05:29 PM
#32
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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Welcome to the Nook as artisan, Ken!
Looking forward to obtain one of your brushes in the near future!
Georg

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 01-05-2015, 06:27 PM
#33
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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Great work Ken. I see a Dark Holler brush in my future!

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 01-05-2015, 06:30 PM
#34
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(01-05-2015, 06:27 PM)bullgoose Wrote: Great work Ken. I see a Dark Holler brush in my future!

Cool!

What we've done is simply a testament to what unfettered passion, utter cluelessness, and misuse of retirement savings can accomplish.

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 01-05-2015, 06:45 PM
#35
  • Lando
  • This deal is getting worse all the time
  • Bellevue, WA
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Very nice Ken
Any chance of getting some faux tortoise stock from Mr. Sabini to use for your handles, a la the original chief

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 01-05-2015, 06:45 PM
#36
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(01-05-2015, 06:30 PM)Chiefbroom Wrote:
(01-05-2015, 06:27 PM)bullgoose Wrote: Great work Ken. I see a Dark Holler brush in my future!

Cool!

What we've done is simply a testament to what unfettered passion, utter cluelessness, and misuse of retirement savings can accomplish.

2424

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 01-05-2015, 07:01 PM
#37
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(01-05-2015, 06:45 PM)Lando Wrote: Very nice Ken
Any chance of getting some faux tortoise stock from Mr. Sabini to use for your handles, a la the original chief

We've talked about it several times. I think he might pay us a visit later this month or in February. I'll bring it up with him again.

I'm pretty sure it comes in sheets rather than round rod. It's a different material and would present some new challenges for us. But it's very special. Has an old school quality, I think. And I'd love to see what we might turn out with it.

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 01-05-2015, 07:06 PM
#38
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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The examples of your work are amazing Ken...I certainly hope for the opportunity to get my hands on a few Biggrin

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 01-05-2015, 07:11 PM
#39
  • CRAusmus
  • Senior Member
  • Going from Texas to Georgia
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Thank you for sharing the process with us. Fascinating indeed Ken.

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 01-05-2015, 07:12 PM
#40
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Beautiful work !!! I can't wait to buy your disco handle

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