06-07-2015, 07:55 PM
#1
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Greetings all. I'm a casual woodworker that's dabbling in bush making. I've made a few shave brushes for friends, and I might actually have one left over for myself!

I'm being told I should consider making a bunch for sale. But i wanted to run these past true shave connoisseurs and see what you all thought. I'm still not 100% secure in my skills, and still working on making a very durable finish. So please, be honest.

Thanks in advance.

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 06-07-2015, 08:05 PM
#2
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It's a tough market to crack in to, wood handles with unknown knots especially.

I'd say you are best off making one or two to sell and testing the waters.  You'd be surprised at what people are willing to pay for this stuff.  You make break even, you may loose a few bucks or they may not sell at all.  A lot of time, people value their own work much more then others are willing to pay. 

Many do it just for the fun of it and not to make any money.  Personally, they are not my style, but they look well crafted.

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 06-07-2015, 08:18 PM
#3
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Personally I think they look really cool. Different handle designs than I normally see. They have a classy look ?


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 06-07-2015, 08:56 PM
#4
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Thank you - I appreciate your honesty. 

I like shave brushes with many different ways to grip them. And I make them big for men with big hands. Most of my friends are big guys  with giant hands - and I had them in mind when I made most of these. 

I'm not happy with that middle one in the first picture, I think that one is just going up on eBay for cheap - but the rest I'm proud of. I'm just not sure how well received they would be. 

I like grainy woods, multi-grips, and big brushes. I didn't see anything out there like that, so I started making them. Also, I'm using knots from Golden Nib and Whipped Dog. So far I like all of them. I tried a cheap knot that I picked up at a local woodworking store, and it was complete crap - I literally just threw that brush out I was so pissed at it. I've probably spent over $200 on knots, just trying them out and seeing what I like so I can make the best brushes for friends. So far the only complaint I've gotten is I make them too slippery from the polish (LOL) and that they go from super shiny so satin finish after a few uses. I think I need to just skip wax polishing these all together. 

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 06-07-2015, 09:06 PM
#5
  • Snuff
  • Senior Member
  • Belgium
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(06-07-2015, 08:56 PM)Lonely Raven Wrote: I like shave brushes with many different ways to grip them. 
Difficult to say without actually holding them but I suspect for me they wouldn't feel comfortable with all those ridges. But hey who knows it might just be the other way around. 

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 06-07-2015, 09:11 PM
#6
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Beautiful job! I like the 3rd one and love the tree at the bottom of the one with the ring. I would be interested in one with a tree bottom.

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 06-07-2015, 09:41 PM
#7
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Jeff - I'm still not sure how durable my finish is. Give me some time to test, and get more feedback front friends - and if I feel this finish is still good, I'll PM you. 

Thanks again for your thoughts. It's nice to hear from people that aren't my friends - even if it's suggestions for improvement.  Smile

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 06-07-2015, 10:12 PM
#8
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The first one on the left in the first picture, the tulip-esque handle I really like especially with the bottom, and the tree emblem in the handle are all ones I like in particular, but I can actually see something to be said for all of the handles you've made! Even the one you might not be happy with. I think you have some good brushes in the mix there! I like the variety, and very good ideas for handles!

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 06-08-2015, 08:54 AM
#9
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
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You obviously have some real skills working with wood.  I like the one with the tree on the bottom the most.  Very nice.  The other ones with the many bumps and ridges wouldn't be my cup of tea but others may feel differently.

I would suggest trying to put some kind of waterproofing inside the handle also (if you don't already) since as I'm sure you know, water does get inside the knot and thus on the inside of the handle as well. 

Good luck in your experimentation finding a durable finish and I wish you all the success possible!

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 06-08-2015, 09:09 AM
#10
  • kwsher
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX - USA
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I think you are on the right track. I also like that fact that you are differentiating via targeting a specific subset of the market to fill a gap. Hard to tell from the pictures but keep working on your finish work.

I would also consider your go to market strategy as a whole [sell direct? via channel?, etc.] and possibly look at seeding some of your top examples to some of the active community members, soliciting their honest feedback as a "beta" program. Service is king in what is becoming a crowded space so make sure you have a mechanism in place there too.

I applaud anyone who is willing to tackle a project like this and wish you good luck!

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 06-08-2015, 09:16 AM
#11
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I wish you success in your venture. For my hand, I would prefer a simpler, undulating design, as opposed to ridges. Good Luck!  Thumbsup

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 06-08-2015, 09:24 AM
#12
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I also would prefer simpler designs.
A detail that makes me feel not comfortable is them being wood with open pores and the large wooden areas directly around the knot. I could image problems to come with repeated use

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 06-08-2015, 09:30 AM
#13
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From a purely aesthetic standpoint, they are very pretty.
From a practical standpoint, I'm unlike your target audience in that I don't have big hands, and most of the brushes I own are on the small side.

At any rate, my wishes for success.

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 06-08-2015, 12:55 PM
#14
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Thank you again for all your suggestions. 

Just to clarify - the wood is sealed all around - even the one with the cracks/knot in it - I have basically epoxied the cracks in the knot to seal it, but still leave the cracks there. 

See, there is a style I enjoy, a Japanese aesthetic called Wabi-Sabi - where the flaws in the "artwork" are part of the artwork. So if I have a crack in the piece of wood, but it has a nice grain and good heft, I'll go ahead and use it and include the crack, or knot in the wood as part of the shave brushes design. 

I do also seal the pocket where the knot goes into. Twice in fact; once with an acrylic like coating that soaks in, and one again when the badger knot gets epoxied in. 

I've used one of my own brushes for a month - it was the very first brush I made. And I treated it very poorly. Soaking it for an hour before use, not drying it very well, dropping it on the ceramic tile.  I know that's not really long term testing, but the finish held up. My newer finishes start with that original coating, but adds a walnut oil/varnish/wax mix that gives it a nice gloss. I think the shave soaps are stripping away the wax and leaving the brushes with more of the original satin finish. So I'm going to revisit this and try something more durable. I just didn't want to spray coat these and buff them like everyone else. So I was trying a "french polish". 

I do appreciate all your suggestions - Know my brushes aren't for everyone. I make them for myself - and I do like them...except that one in the middle of the first picture...it's probably destined for the fire pit or something. I don't know. Smile

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 06-09-2015, 04:06 PM
#15
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They all look very nice.  That said, take a look on Ebay and Etsy at the numerous examples of others with a lathe.  There are hundreds of examples out there for sale.  As a business venture I think you would be lucky to break even if you factor in your time.  As a hobby, you may cover your materials but that gets old fast.  I'm sure you enjoy making them, you might not enjoy the business of making them.

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 06-10-2015, 04:44 AM
#16
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These are nice looking brushes  I started making brushes recently and have posted pictures.  I made the decision to make the brushes either for personal use or to give to friends.

Once you start selling, it is a new ball game.  Depending on your jurisdiction you may need a business license, pay taxes on the sale, etc.  The worst case scenario is you sell to an unsatisfied customer and have to deal with replacing/refunding.  If the brush is unique, it may be difficult to make a like replacement.  Please understand all of the possibilities if you "go in to business".  Just some thoughts.  I wish you the best if you pursue the business course of action.

Ed

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 06-10-2015, 04:55 AM
#17
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(06-07-2015, 09:11 PM)JeffersonIII Wrote: Beautiful job! I like the 3rd one and love the tree at the bottom of the one with the ring. I would be interested in one with a tree bottom.

+2 about wanting one with the tree bottom.  the best way to get in the market in my opinion would be to: 1 never substitute quality in parts or craftmanship 2 you need to find something that others arent doing, something to set yourself apart.  My favorite no name brush makers were the ones that sat there and took the time to find out what i wanted.  I told them about my brushes what i loved and hated about them all and with that info I let him run with it.

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 06-10-2015, 06:22 AM
#18
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Awesome - great food for thought! Thanks!

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