01-07-2016, 08:54 AM
#1
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
User Info
2 Band Comparison
 
It has been a while since I did a more comprehensive 2 Band comparison and the holiday break provided the time and leisure to do so. So I took on the task to compare a few distinct 2 Band brushes that I own (out of the 50+ mostly 2 Bands that I have). Where possible, I chose similar knot sizes and shapes. Please note that the results are obviously subjective – YMMV – and also related to the specific brushes used. Other knots from the same maker may vary as batches do. Also to note, I face lather exclusively and tend to use fan shape brushes with the exception of my Simpson 2 Bands that come in bulb only.
 
Without further delay: These are the brushes I used:
 
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Simpson Chubby 2 in 2 Band (28/47mm) (2012 batch)
M&F Style 1/ Size 2 in “Blonde Badger” (26/48mm) (2013)
Wiborg “White Badger” Barber handle (27/47mm) (2014/15)
VP Leonhardy 2 Band 800850 (26/57mm) (2015/16)
Shavemac 2 Band Silvertip Barber handle (26/46mm) (2015/16)
 
Handle Measures (Height / max Width); my measures.
Chubby (ivory):  45/42mm
M&F (ivory): 48/35mm
Wiborg (ebony): 57/37mm
VPL (plexi): 55/42mm
Shavemac (brown/beige): 56/38mm
 
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Criteria:
-       Softness/Facefeel
-       Hair Structure (degree of thickness)
-       Hair Color
-       Density
-       Backbone
-       Handle Ergonomics
-       Price
 
Scaling:
I thought about this a while and decided to not choose a scale from 1-5 (or 10) but instead a relative comparison “+” (e.g. more soft), “-“ (e.g. less soft) in a direct comparison. I close it out with a brief paragraph on each brush.
 
 
Softness/Facefeel:
Chubby  ++
M&F ++
Wiborg ++
VP Leonhardy  -
Shavemac ++
 
All brushes excluding the VPL are extremely soft in face feel. The VPL displays some scrubbiness with a hint of scritch (best compared to Simpson Manchurian or current Plisson HMW in my experience). The Chubby – due to its density and short loft – feels like a “wall of badger” in a very luxurious way. It still applies/releases lather well. Wiborg/M&F are extremely comfortable and allow individual hairs to be felt. The shavemac feels like a “mop” on the face (others may call this a “gel” feel). This is interesting as I have a total of 4 shavemac 2 Band silvertips all with the same diameter fan but different/higher lofts and those are similarly soft but allow individual hairs to be felt. Hence the barber behavior maybe short loft or batch specific (treatment?). The “mop” requires a bit of a different technique when acquiring product and applying it to the face, but is a great knot overall.
 
Hair Structure (+ thick, fine -)
Chubby  -
M&F +
Wiborg +
VP Leonhardy  +
Shavemac +
 
The Simpson 2 Band is the finest/thinnest hair, a truly remarkable batch of hair (late 2011 to early 2014), very unique and as it seems no more available. To allow for sufficient backbone all 2 Band of that period are bulb shaped (only recently I saw a Chubby marked “SILVERTiP with a more hybrid bulb shaped knot - indicative of a different hair type??). The individual hair strength of the other brushes is very similar.
 
Hair Color (+ more white)
Chubby  +
M&F ++
Wiborg ++
VP Leonhardy  -
Shavemac -
 
M&F and Wiborg show the whitest tips. VPL more grayish (claimed to be natural/untreated). Shavemac more yellowish. None display “hooked” tips in a larger scale. I view hooked tips as “damaged” hair tips either through hair treatment when manufactured or due to more aggressive user behavior (heat, pressure when loading or applying to face). I tend to be very gently with my brushes. If I have a brush with strongly hooked tips after a few uses, I attribute this typically to supplier treatment process (bleaching etc.). None present here.
 
Density (+ more dense)
Chubby  +++
M&F ++
Wiborg ++
VP Leonhardy  -
Shavemac ++
 
The shavemac, Wiborg and M&F (this is not a XL) are about equal in density – medium dense with excellent flow through. The Chubby – as expected – sticks out to be very dense with somewhat lesser flowthrough. The VPL is the least dense brush (and high lofted). A great lather maker with great flowthrough, but kind of floppy (for a 2 Band, would be fatal if 3 Band) compared to the others.
 
 
Backbone (+ more)
Chubby  ++
M&F +
Wiborg +
VP Leonhardy  -
Shavemac +-
 
The Chubby compensates the finer hair with its überdense knot and a very short loft. M&F and Wiborg have strong backbone, the shavemac a bit less but not dramatically so. The VPL has the least (26/57mm !!).
 
Handle Ergonomics (+ more ergonomic)
Chubby  -
M&F +
Wiborg ++
VP Leonhardy  --
Shavemac ++
 
This is subjective, of course, but I am a big fan of the M7/AS3M type handle. So, no surprise, I find the barber style handles superior here. The Chubby 2 handle is a bit awkward given the size of the knot (a Duke “4” style might be much better) but it is an icon, so we live with it. The M&F is great! The least comfortable is the Plexi VPL: massive handle, awkward to hold.
 
Price (+ higher)
Chubby  +++
M&F ++
Wiborg ++
VP Leonhardy  +-
Shavemac +
 
The Chubby is the priciest of this bunch. Further, this batch of hair is no more. Hence, a Chubby of this quality hair in great condition will go for $350+ (only beat by current Manchurian prices and Plisson HMW).  Wiborg and M&F play in a lesser price range followed by shavemac and VPL.
 
CONCLUSIONS
So which one is “best”? It’s in the eye of the beholder, but my summary below.
 
Chubby 2 in 2 Band:
What a gorgeous brush! Cloud soft, fine hair, great backbone, feels great on the face despite the massive knot with short loft! Absolute keeper, no doubt! Unobtainium hair batch! But I like Simpson 2 Band hair even better in smaller knot configurations with a lesser dense knot (23-26mm with about a 50mm loft, i.e. M7, Duke, X3, Eagle, Emperor and all the other members of my 2 Band Simpson gang). But that hair batch is SO GOOD!
 
M&F
M&F is a headache: Lee, a true master of his profession, sometimes responds or not. M&F hair knots are not very consistent. I owned 10, sold 7, kept the 3 I liked the most. The one in this comparison is a fantastic knot in a well manufactured, substantial handle. If you can get such a brush from Lee --- keep it!!!!!
 
Wiborg
Wow, THE surprise artisan of the last 18 months. Fantastic knots these “White Badgers”, great handles (no original designs though). Ability to customize handles and knots – though it seems Florian has a tough time to meet the demand. A clear recommendation for this knot though. Worth the wait. I got three.
 
VPL
This is an interesting brush. Not mainstream, more old school brushes – less dense, higher loft, traditional handle designs. I like this brush, because it is different and reminds me of the past. But I would not buy another one, as the others are more attractive to me.
 
Shavemac
Finally (!) a soft 2 Band knot from shavemac. This is a clear keeper regarding performance. However, I think you have to dial in the right knot/loft ratio. I have three 26mm fans with 46, 48 and 50mm lofts – and all feel different!!! For a fan you need to stay way below 2:1 ratio in my mind. For me the 46/48 ratio on a 26mm knot seems the best. I owned a bulb, 24/50mm, and did not like it. Further, Bernd is fantastic to work with: he will customize your brush to any extent possible and you can order a knot and have it placed by an artisan of your choice in a handle of your liking. And prices are fair and reasonable.
 
Now, all of this is my personal opinion and YMMV!
 
Enjoy your brushes, gents!

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 01-07-2016, 09:10 AM
#2
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
User Info
You may ask why did I not include a Simpson Manchurian?

Well, I have a few, 2 to be precise at this moment and I did no include my M7 Manchurian as in most categories it is less to my liking than the traditional Simpson 2 Band.
If I would have included it, the rating would have been as follows (for a 24/50mm M7 knot as pictured below). Recall the "+/-" does not mean "better/worse" but "more/less".

 

Criteria:
-       Softness/Facefeel                            -
-       Hair Structure (degree of thickness) ++
-       Hair Color                                      +
-       Density                                          ++
-       Backbone                                       +++
-       Handle Ergonomics                         ++
-       Price                                              +++


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 01-07-2016, 09:12 AM
#3
  • Shanman
  • Reserve Collection Squirrel Hair
  • NE Florida
User Info
Georg, have you noticed an inconsistency in the "new" 2 band Shavemac hair? Seems it is widely varying lately, at least from a visual standpoint. I'm noticing some snow white knots, some yellowish knots, some with heavily flagged tips, some with naturally tapering tips. I thought Bernd was nailing it down in consistency, but it seems otherwise...

In regards to Manchurian, the Classic 1 I owned years ago was harsh like D01, and I haven't seen the need to retry even though it seems to have become supposedly softer (and more expensive)!

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 01-07-2016, 09:21 AM
#4
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(01-07-2016, 09:12 AM)Shanman Wrote: Georg, have you noticed an inconsistency in the "new" 2 band Shavemac hair? Seems it is widely varying lately, at least from a visual standpoint. I'm noticing some snow white knots, some yellowish knots, some with heavily flagged tips, some with naturally tapering tips. I thought Bernd was nailing it down in consistency, but it seems otherwise...

In regards to Manchurian, the Classic 1 I owned years ago was harsh like D01, and I haven't seen the need to retry even though it seems to have become supposedly softer and more expensive.

Jeff, I agree. Less in appearance but in face feel. And as I say above, I am not sure if this is batch, treatment or loft driven. Definitely much more variation than my Simpson or Thäter brushes.

Below are my current four silvertip 2 Band shavemacs (from left to right):

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26/48mm in Rud Vey AS3M handle (still moist from this morning)
26/48mm in E7 AS3M variation (Bob Quinn)
26/46mm shavemac custom Barber Style
24/48mm shavemac stock handle

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 01-07-2016, 09:45 AM
#5
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Very interesting, Georg.
Thanks.

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 01-07-2016, 10:25 AM
#6
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Good findings I totally agree regarding the M & F brushes very inconsistent knots very hit and miss, and you definitely need to keep the Shavemac Silvertip two band hair to below the 2:1 ratio.

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 01-07-2016, 10:26 AM
#7
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
User Info
Thank you for such an informative thread Georg! You made some excellent points in your comparisons and summaries that I agree with--particularly about the Wiborg knots Biggrin

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 01-07-2016, 10:37 AM
#8
User Info
Thank you for your informative impressions on the brushes, Georg!

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 01-07-2016, 10:47 AM
#9
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
User Info
Very well done.  Thank you for taking the time to do this!

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 01-07-2016, 10:48 AM
#10
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Great informative post, Georg !

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 01-07-2016, 11:03 AM
#11
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
User Info
Yes, it is an interesting read from someone who has used an extensive number of brushes. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

The one Manchurian I have has no scratchiness to it. I think the one Shavemac 2 band fan, 26mm/50mm loft, compares favorably with the Manchurian QEII Jubilee. Both knots impress me for face lathering, soft tips and very good backbone.  Hard to go wrong with either for me.

Bob

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 01-07-2016, 11:09 AM
#12
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(01-07-2016, 11:03 AM)BobH Wrote: Yes, it is an interesting read from someone who has used an extensive number of brushes. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

The one Manchurian I have has no scratchiness to it. I think the one Shavemac 2 band fan, 26mm/50mm loft, compares favorably with the Manchurian QEII Jubilee. Both knots impress me for face lathering, soft tips and very good backbone.  Hard to go wrong with either for me.

Bob

I agree the Jubilee indeed is scritch free. To make Manchurian work for me it has to be a less dense, lower diameter, higher loft brush -  as the Jubilee is. A Chubby in Manchurian is unthinkable for me (good for my wallet). Then Ben (74) shared a pic of an older bulb shaped Manchurian Chubby 3 which seemed to be more forgiving. But then why shell out so much more money if similar can be had for much less...

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 01-07-2016, 11:10 AM
#13
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Also agree on the M&F.  I have had several and the one that I still have stands out above the rest.  

Until recently getting a 2-band Chubby, that M&F was my clear favorite brush.  The Chubby is on par with it.  In fact, they have very similar hair.

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 01-07-2016, 12:25 PM
#14
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Very informative and detailed post! I have yet to try the old Simpson 2 Band hair but I do have the latest SiLVERTip batch and I find the knot exquisite. Based on your findings, I think I would definitely enjoy the opportunity to try the old 2 band hair.

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 01-07-2016, 12:53 PM
#15
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bob gave me the opportunity to try the old hair and I am still grateful

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 01-07-2016, 01:27 PM
#16
  • Wrathen
  • Senior Member
  • Gulf Breeze, FL
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Nice review cool way of rating them with the + & -

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 01-07-2016, 04:52 PM
#17
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Great analysis Georg.

Inconsistency among knots is simply something one has to accept. (Unless purchasing synthetic).

Batches vary for a multitude of reasons. Climatic conditions and seasonal changes impact on hair and result in noticeable differences.

All just part of the fun!

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 01-07-2016, 04:55 PM
#18
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(01-07-2016, 04:52 PM)ben74 Wrote: Great analysis Georg.

Inconsistency among knots is simply something one has to accept. (Unless purchasing synthetic).

Batches vary for a multitude of reasons. Climatic conditions and seasonal changes impact on hair and result in noticeable differences.

All just part of the fun!

Agreed.

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 01-07-2016, 05:03 PM
#19
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Georg, what happened to you beloved Thäter 2-band brushes ?
Not part of the test ?

I currently have my 41 series black 28-29 mm 2-band bulb as my favourite brush of all in my collection along with my CH3 Manchurian.
My CH2 Jade 2013 Silvertip 2-band just after these two.

   

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 01-07-2016, 05:50 PM
#20
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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It had to stop somewhere Claus!
I still own 5 Thäters, three in 2 Band and 2 in 3 Band.
Thäter 2 Band scores in my top still due to its softness of tips, consistency and build quality. And at a favorable price point. If forced to pick between shavemac silvertip 2 Band and Thäter, I pick the latter for the knot. The only drawback of Thäter is the limited offering of handle choices and no custom option.

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