07-12-2012, 08:44 AM
#1
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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I just received a Berkeley 46B in best badger from BST yesterday. I'd like to post some of my impressions of this brush.

   

My first impressions of this thing are "Wow!" and "beautiful!" and "incredible value!" and "it's bigger than I expected". I can not believe this brush sells for under $50. This brush is dense and heavy. It is amazing at face lathering (haven't tried bowl lathering with it yet and may not for a while. I almost never bowl lather). I used it with Palmolive stick mushed in a bowl to just give it a good wash and test lather it. Then I used Savon du Midi to shave with. It is an incredible brush! I love it and I think for its price there is no equal badger brush out there. The handle is heavy and fairly comfortable, but not the best ergonomically speaking. Handles such as the ones on Semogue 1305 are way better. The craftsmanship of the brush is as can be expected from a Simpson - superb. The badger hair is the well-known and loved Simpson's best badger, which is really a very good combination of softness, backbone, scrubiness and flow-through. This brush is dense. It hold lather well, but does not hog it. It releases the lather as it is needed. I had a 3 pass shave and the knot was still loaded to the brim after I was done. It lathers like crazy. My only other Simpson is the Wee Scot and that brush amazes me every time I use it. The Berkeley is a different brush, but has a similar feel on the face. Soft, yet scrubby. I was looking for a slightly larger version of Wee Scot when I bought the Berkeley. I don't think I hit the target. Berkeley is much bigger brush and way bigger than I ultimately prefer. Wee Scot is almost perfect in its size. A bigger handle on that brush would probably make my SBAD go away (???!). However, the Berkeley is an amazingly good brush and it is affordable! I think I still want to try the Special and the Case (both in best) to see if there is a small Simpson out there other than Wee Scot that I like as much. The Berkeley is a loveable brush, though, make no mistake. It is outstanding. It is actually pretty similar in use to my Ever-Ready 650PB restore I did with a TGN finest knot. Different hair, and slightly different handling, but very similar face feel and size. I think Berkeley has a bit better flow through, but I need to investigate that further with side by side tests. The handle on the Ever-Ready is way better ergonomically, though the Simpson handle is better looking. Here are some pics of the two brushes together as well as my beloved Wee Scot.

   

   

   

   

   

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 07-12-2012, 08:51 AM
#2
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Nice brush. I too like Simpsons Best Badger.

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 07-12-2012, 10:09 AM
#3
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Simpson best badger makes for a very nice brush.

Vferdman, maybe this will help in your quest.

The left brush is a Simpson Best Commodore x1. With the scale in the picture you should be able to gauge what they're like compared to your Wee Scot and the Berkley.
[Image: DSC03682.jpg]

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 07-12-2012, 10:25 AM
#4
  • Elbe
  • Member
  • Wolfsburg, Germany
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(07-12-2012, 08:44 AM)vferdman Wrote: My only other Simpson is the Wee Scot and that brush amazes me every time I use it. The Berkeley is a different brush, but has a similar feel on the face. Soft, yet scrubby. I was looking for a slightly larger version of Wee Scot when I bought the Berkeley. I don't think I hit the target. Berkeley is much bigger brush and way bigger than I ultimately prefer. Wee Scot is almost perfect in its size. A bigger handle on that brush would probably make my SBAD go away (???!).

A Case or a 55 would be your brush.

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 07-12-2012, 10:29 AM
#5
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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I had a 46 in best badger which have been my worst Simpson brush : scratchy,no dense at all and no backbone or whatsover.Im sure I got a bad one and Im also sure Ill get a new one in the next 6 months or so.
Thanks for your inputs,I enjoyed reading this article.

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 07-12-2012, 10:45 AM
#6
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Teiste,

You must have got the monday morning monster!
Mine is one of the best:

http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread....ley-Thread

It's a fantastic brush!

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 07-12-2012, 10:56 AM
#7
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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(07-12-2012, 10:29 AM)Teiste Wrote: I had a 46 in best badger which have been my worst Simpson brush : scratchy,no dense at all and no backbone or whatsover.Im sure I got a bad one and Im also sure Ill get a new one in the next 6 months or so.
Thanks for your inputs,I enjoyed reading this article.

Definitely sounds like you got a dud brush. Mine is really dense and the Simpson best badger is very soft, has good backbone and is nice and scrubby. If this size brush is what you like, you should definitely try another one. This is one sweet brush. I would say the handle could be better ergonomically, but even that is being picky because I was spoiled by Semogue 1305 handle.

(07-12-2012, 10:09 AM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Simpson best badger makes for a very nice brush.

Vferdman, maybe this will help in your quest.

The left brush is a Simpson Best Commodore x1. With the scale in the picture you should be able to gauge what they're like compared to your Wee Scot and the Berkley.
[Image: DSC03682.jpg]

Brian, that's great, thanks. I wonder how the case measures up to the Special. Looks like they may be the same knot in different handles. Also, I wonder if the Case and the Special are a bit less dense than the Berkeley. I think a smaller knot in a handle like the Commodore or Special would be fantastic. Something on the order of 18mm or even a bit smaller. Sort of like a best badger scalpel Smile Wee Scot is very good at it. It's amazing that a brush so small can compete with just about all others out there. Maybe my face is smaller than most, but I just do not like to cover half of my cheek in one swipe. I enjoy scrubbing my skin a little patch at a time. Wee Scot is the only brush I have that obliges me in that.

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 07-12-2012, 06:35 PM
#8
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My Berkeley is about my favorite brush. Small enough for travel but big enough for everyday rotation. Soft tips and good backbone. Not so dense as to hog lather. Just a great brush. Teiste, I agree that you must have gotten a bad one!

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 07-14-2012, 08:23 PM
#9
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i hope you are enjoying your new brush.

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 07-15-2012, 12:56 AM
#10
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Thanks for the review and congratulations on acquiring a fine brush!

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 07-15-2012, 08:43 AM
#11
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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I have been using the Berkeley for the last few shaves. I really like it. I still feel it's a tad too large, but I am getting used to its size. As I mentioned above, my Ever-Ready 650PB restore with TGN finest is about the same size, but a tad more dense making it more of a lather hog than the Berkeley. I really like that brush and the Berkeley is pretty much that brush with more flow-through. Both brushes are wonderful. I love the Berkeley. It has a very solid feel and works just about perfectly. I highly recommend this brush to anyone who is looking for a great face lathering badger on a budget. This brush is high quality and has amazing badger hair. It's well put together and has good weight to it. It is dense, but not a lather hog, it's soft, but scrubby. And it's affordable. What more can one ask for?

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 07-15-2012, 09:35 AM
#12
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A lot is made of the Colonel X2L being the perfect starting Simpson brush, the Berkeley deserves the chance too.

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 07-15-2012, 01:53 PM
#13
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(07-15-2012, 09:35 AM)Simpson1919 Wrote: A lot is made of the Colonel X2L being the perfect starting Simpson brush, the Berkeley deserves the chance too.

+1

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 07-16-2012, 08:14 AM
#14
  • jss
  • Active Member
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(07-15-2012, 09:35 AM)Simpson1919 Wrote: A lot is made of the Colonel X2L being the perfect starting Simpson brush, the Berkeley deserves the chance too.

Thanks for the recommendation....

Julian

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 07-16-2012, 08:23 AM
#15
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Thanks for the review. I'll look forward to hearing more when you've had more experience with the brush.

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 07-16-2012, 08:39 PM
#16
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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It is really hot here in western Massachusetts. So hot that shaving is really kind of a crap shoot. So, tonight with 36 hours' worth of growth on my face I decided to not shave, but do a side-by-side brush test. I figured just face lathering two brushes for three passes each will be fun. So, chose my new to me Simpson Berkeley 46B and the Ever-Ready 650PB restored with a TGN finest fan shaped knot. The two brushes are pictured in the pictures above. The dimensions of the brushes are very similar. Ever Ready has a 22mm knot with 49mm loft, but the knot that I ordered was actually officially a 20mm knot. TGN finest fan XH (extra hair) is an amazing knot and I recommend it to anyone who likes the two band badger brushes. So, for the test I decided to lather some GFT Rose. I will not comment on how fast and how well each brush lathered as that is very difficult to gauge. Instead I will comment on how the brushes felt and the quality of the three pass lathers. First pass made it obvious how different the two bushes are in feel. The Berkeley is a bulb shaped brush that has much less backbone than the TGN finest. However, I could for the first time feel the scritch of the Simpson's Best Badger. Only in comparison to the TGN finest could I tell that the Berkeley was actually a bit scritchy. Very pleasantly so, but scritchy, which I never noticed before. TGN felt stiffer bust with no scritch. Also, the fan shaped knot was more focused in lather application. I really prefer the shape and stiffness of the TGN brush. Second pass (no shaving, just lather, rinse, repeat) was similar to the first, but I noticed that the TGN brush was starting to give less lather. On the third pass the Berkeley was still oozing lather, but the TGN had to be squeezed a bit. It still had tons of soap in it, just needed it coaxed out. This is where I realized that there is no way I could control the amount of product that went into each brush, so the whole test was forfeit. I rinsed thoroughly and got out my Arko stick. I rubbed the Arko against my now clean, but still unshaven face so that it covered the entire area of growth with just barely visible film. I then face lathered the Berkeley until I was satisfied that all the product was incorporated. Berkeley worked wonderfully for this task, of course as it did before when I used it with Arko for shaving. I then rinsed thoroughly again and applied Arko to the growth again as closely following the way I did it the first time as possible. I think it worked. I got about the same amount of product on my face and lathered the Ever-Ready. Ever-Ready TGN brush is one of my all time favorite brushes so far, so no surprise there. It lathered like a champ. Again, rinse and second pass with the Berkeley. At this point my neck started getting sensitive to the brush. I felt the scritch of the Berkeley as irritation now. But this was something like eighth lathering! Anyway, second pass with Arko went great with both brushes and so did the third. After that my neck was on fire. The TGN brush did not feel painful even on the irritated neck! Both brushes produced very similar amounts and quality of lather, TGN again needing a bit of coaxing to release soap in later passes and Berkeley feeling much scritchier than TGN, but again, under normal shaving conditions I find the feel of Berkeley very pleasing. In fact the one thing I wish my Ever-Ready did have is a tiny bit more scritch. Otherwise a darn close to a perfect brush.

So, the results:

Berkeley is scritchier than the TGN Finest, but it's not a bad thing for me.

I find Berkley's bulb shape and softer backbone making for less precise lather application. TGN's stiff fan shape is absolutely awesome for putting lather exactly where I want.

Berkeley has better flow-through and does not need coaxing to give up the soap at an even rate throughout the shave. Not a huge thing, but TGN needed to be squeezed a bit in pass two and three.

Both are fantastically great brushes and are really more different than I thought they may be. Berkeley is a great Best Badger brush. It has a great feel to it and works very well. The Ever-Ready has a slightly more comfortable handle and also feels great as the handle is also solid resin. The cost for the TGN restore was about $40 including the knot and the original donor brush and shipping. My labor not included, of course. Berkeley can be had for about that or a little more. I think if best badger is too scritchy for you and you want to go two band, then the TGN route is definitely a way to go. I don't think you can buy a commercially produced two band for anything close to what a knot and a handle will cost. TGN finest is a very high quality knot, too. No shedding at all in my case. Not one hair came out of this brush yet.

Hope you enjoyed this little comparison and found it useful. It may be apples to oranges, but still for me it was interesting as I do not have a large rotation and really think one or two brushes should be all I need. Of course I have more than that, and I like them all, but I do not have that many and am thinking of thinning the herd to three badgers and two boars. That that point I will have pretty distinctive brushes that are not like one another and will be able to choose what I feel like using based on the attributes of each brush.

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 07-17-2012, 07:50 AM
#17
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(07-16-2012, 08:39 PM)vferdman Wrote: It is really hot here in western Massachusetts. So hot that shaving is really kind of a crap shoot. So, tonight with 36 hours' worth of growth on my face I decided to not shave, but do a side-by-side brush test. I figured just face lathering two brushes for three passes each will be fun. So, chose my new to me Simpson Berkeley 46B and the Ever-Ready 650PB restored with a TGN finest fan shaped knot. The two brushes are pictured in the pictures above...

Hi

Thank you for the write up, I found it an interesting read Thumbsup

Personally I think The Golden Nib Two Band Finest badger hair knot is the best all round knot they sell, and without question offers the best value for money of all the knots they sell...

Take care, Mike

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 07-17-2012, 10:29 AM
#18
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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(07-17-2012, 07:50 AM)mikeperry Wrote: Hi

Thank you for the write up, I found it an interesting read Thumbsup

Personally I think The Golden Nib Two Band Finest badger hair knot is the best all round knot they sell, and without question offers the best value for money of all the knots they sell...

Take care, Mike

I agree about the TGN finest knots. I wish they carried a 16mm or 18mm finest in fan. I am really trying to approach the Wee Scot without copying it, but rather being inspired by it. My Ever-Ready restore was like that. Wee Scot with a larger handle and knot. I think the TGN finest is a bit too dense for my goal here. Also it is not nearly as scrubby as the Simpson's Best. I wonder if it's possible to get an 18mm best/silvertip in fan. I would love to make a brush with that...

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