03-14-2016, 09:12 AM
#1
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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Here it is, the tournament we've all been waiting for!  It's the time of year where many come with the hopes of winning but only one will go home with a trophy.


It's Manch(urian) Madness!

[Image: m1m1I9Y.jpg]


The players in this game are back row, left to right:

Brad Sears G3/30 - Romera 2nd Anniversary Buffalo Horn - Brad Sears Beehive - Romera Biscop

Front row, left to right:

Simpson M7 - Simpson Duke 3 - Simfix Pearl - Zenith 506A - Shavemac #944 D01 2-band (not Manchurian by name, but gets compared frequently)

[Image: K1PkPwX.jpg]

The rules are simple, I will randomly choose and use each brush for one shave over the next nine days.  I will take notes on my experience each shave and come back here to update the thread.  At the end I will select my favorites and seed them in a "Final Four" and then ultimately try to pick a winner.  Along the way hopefully I can shed some light on some similarities and differences in these brushes.  I am going to do my best to not have any preconceptions on what a Manchurian brush actually is, instead just do my best to put the experience into words and give an honest unbiased opinion.  All of these brushes were purchased by me, with my money and I have no personal relationships with any manufacturer or artisan outside of the actual purchasing process.  Questions and comments are welcomed throughout the process.

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 03-14-2016, 09:57 AM
#2
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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[Image: L5OJjPJ.jpg]

Simpson Duke 3 Imitation Ivory

The Duke 3 is a classic British brush that has been around for several decades.  The handle has some excellent curves that are both pleasant to look at and hold.  The imitation ivory resin has a very subtle white and off-white swirl pattern which didn't come through well in my photo, but it's a nice change of pace from the standard faux ivory so prevalent in the Simpson line.  The engraving is a nice touch and the gold decal adds a nice touch of class.  The handle is a bit small in my hands, with the circumferential rings crowding my fingers when using my standard base grip (thumb on one side with forefinger and middle finger on the other).  The knot measures 25mm in diameter with a 50mm loft and is very well formed.  The hand tied knot is symmetrical and only a few stray hairs stick up above the rest.  On to the shave...

The moderately dense knot holds a lot of water, even after giving it my standard two-three shakes after soaking the brush the knot had water trapped deep within.  Face lathering was a little messy as a result, with water dripping down my chest as I applied the freshly loaded proto-lather to my cheeks and neck.  The dripping soon ceased and the lathering process was rather enjoyable.  The tips of the brush are scritch-free and moderately soft.  There is no gel-like sensation or silkiness, but at the same time I could lather with this brush for a very long time and would not expect to experience any irritation.  The backbone is firm but the knot splays with just a little bit of effort.  I do enjoy the scrubby sensation this brush provides and found myself spending a little extra time with the initial lathering process and also in between passes re-applying the lather.  The flow through was excellent with the brush easily providing lather for each pass without any special techniques needed to coerce the lather out of the knot. 

The Duke has set the bar high early on in this tournament, but I know there is some stiff competition to come so it's too early to start talking chalk.  Another contender to come tomorrow!

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 03-14-2016, 10:19 AM
#3
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looks like an amazing nine days ahead, have fun!

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 03-14-2016, 01:41 PM
#4
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Dave that's awesome man! I am looking forward to reading your comments everyday... I've used some of these brushes and if your preference is brushes is anything like mine, I think you ll like the Romera the most...

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 03-14-2016, 01:49 PM
#5
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This should be great fun! Nice book by the way....I have it too. Maybe it's time for a Herf?

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 03-14-2016, 02:32 PM
#6
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I need a simfix :/

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 03-14-2016, 04:21 PM
#7
  • refles
  • Senior Member
  • New York
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Can't wait for the madness! Will be a great comparison workup!

Should we do brackets for this?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 03-14-2016, 04:58 PM
#8
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Looking forward to your comments!

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 03-14-2016, 10:08 PM
#9
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Romera Biscop looks amazing

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 03-14-2016, 10:45 PM
#10
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Great - thank you for doing all the hard work for us Biggrin

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 03-15-2016, 12:22 AM
#11
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Great thread, and idea  Thumbsup

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 03-15-2016, 07:42 AM
#12
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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[Image: 4u8v3R0.jpg]
Zenith 506A

Today's brush is a newcomer to the Manchurian game.  Hailing from Italy it's the Zenith 506A.  The Zenith presents itself with a very classic exaggerated hourglass shape.  This shape makes the brush very easy to control and grip, though the ultra-slim waste may not be the most comfortable for guys with girthy fingers.  The faux ivory resin won't turn many heads, but I am a fan of this classic color.  Finishing on the handle is good overall, though a little rough around the "socket" in which the knot is placed leaving me to believe that this handle may be injection molded rather than turned on a lathe but I'm definitely not an expert in manufacturing.  The hybrid shaped knot is well formed and symmetrical, measuring in at 27mm in diameter with a 51mm loft.

After soaking the brush and shaking it out a few times the brush loaded up quickly and I built a beautiful lather on my face in no time.  This brush has a medium density, but due to the resiliency of the hair and the lower loft it offers plenty of backbone.  The tips are soft yet scrubby, pretty much what I have come to expect from Manchurian hair.  Again I'm not talking gel-tip or silky soft, but there is a lot of room for differentiation between those terms and the point at which any irritable effects are noticed (e.g. scritch, scratch, poke, prickly,etc.).  At any rate I could easily lather with this brush for an extended period without irritation.  The flow through was excellent with all three lather applications requiring no extra effort. 

In comparison to the Duke 3 from yesterday I would say the Zenith has more backbone and tips that are slightly less soft.  The knot is also noticeably less dense, though not embarrassingly so.  I actually prefer the handle design and ergonomics of the Zenith more, but the Duke definitely looks and feels better made.  The Zenith offers an unmistakable Manchurian experience at a fraction of the cost.  However there is much to be said about handle options and a denser knot, and there will be tomorrow when the Manch Madness continues! 

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 03-15-2016, 08:46 AM
#13
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The Shavemac in the front row right gave me SBAD something fierce.

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 03-15-2016, 04:07 PM
#14
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I'm going to go out on a limb and pick the Simfix Pearlescent as the winner. Of course I still want to read all the impressions! Smile

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 03-15-2016, 04:39 PM
#15
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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Dave, do you play stirring Manching Band music during your shave? Never mind. On second thought, it's probably not such a wise idea... the cymbal crashes might be a bit unnerving and possibly dangerous to your well-being.

W00t

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 03-15-2016, 05:37 PM
#16
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(03-14-2016, 10:08 PM)NSmalls Wrote: Romera Biscop looks amazing

YES!! If it performs as well as it looks then this brush is a potential winner

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 03-16-2016, 08:24 AM
#17
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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Thank you for the wonderful comments and thoughtful predictions!

[Image: IMYhKRk.jpg]


This Artesenia Romera Biscop is made from a dark stained Granadillo wood.  Although I consider the Biscop to be an original design, it is definitely influenced by classic British brushes.  The finish on the handle is not perfect with some finish sanding work incomplete around the protruding ring and base ring.  On a resin handled brush this would drive me crazy, but on the wooden handle it seems to add a nice rustic touch.  This brush is one of the original made available on Gustavo's website (this is the actual brush pictured on his site for this model).  The perfectly symmetrical knot is a hybrid shape with strong bulb characteristics even though it is sold as a fan shape.  The knot measures 26mm in diameter set at 53mm of loft with a few stray hairs protruding from the rest.  Although he does not tie his own knots, the quality of this one seems to be on par with the others in this roundup. 

In use, the brush immediately demanded attention as the tips are the softest yet and by a large margin.  Rather than a scrubby feeling, the silky tips seem to combine with the firm backbone to create a massaging experience.  The higher loft allows the brush to splay with little effort, but the hairs remain resilient and provide a very controllable lather application.  Keeping the brush in contact with the face using very little pressure the contact area is small and then applying a little pressure, as in when building the lather, the brush feels large and luxurious.  The handle feels great in hand, being the largest in girth to this point making it the most comfortable this far.  The base ring and middle "grip ring" both are well placed for my preferences and the micro-texture naturally occurring from the wood grain just feels nice.  While I mentioned I could face lather with the earlier two brushes for extended time without irritation this brush actually makes me want to keep lathering and lathering and lathering....

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 03-16-2016, 09:53 AM
#18
  • Gabe
  • Senior Member
  • Arizona
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Beautiful Romera. I want one now. Excellent thread idea.

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 03-16-2016, 05:04 PM
#19
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That is one beautiful knot Dave!

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 03-17-2016, 08:54 AM
#20
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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[Image: h0TJiRY.jpg]

Brad Sears G3 3-band Manchurian


Here we have the first of my two Brad Sears 3-band Manchurians.  This model is the G3 which is a beautiful design both aesthetically and ergonomically.  The handle is made from Faux Briar resin and has a very nice swirl pattern.  The finish on the brush is nice with one spot between the two rings that could use a bit more finish sanding and polish, something I will plan on doing myself in the future.  The 3-band Manchurian is a new product from Brad and I believe it is pretty unique in the marketplace.  These knots are hand-tied, imported and made to Brad's specifications.  The hair is very symmetrical with a few stray hairs protruding above the others.  This is the fan shape option, which again is more of a hybrid with a subtle dome shape.

While it shares the Manchurian name with the other brushes reviewed so far it doesn't share many attributes.  The 30mm knot is set fairly low at 54mm loft, this combined with the moderately high density give the brush a nice medium-firm backbone.  However, the individual hairs are more flexible and will act as one unless a small amount of pressure is applied, forcing the knot to splay.  While face lathering the tips of the brush offer a strange combination of scrubby, softness and just a slight hint of scritch.  It is quite honestly a nice melange, but at the same time confusing especially when trying to contemplate a way to convey this experience to others.  Although it is a large knot. it is pretty easy to control where the lather is applied thanks to the domed shape.  The flow through is adequate for a three-pass shave and this has a lot to do with the fact that I tend to load pretty heavily.  I rinsed a few passes worth of lather out of the base of the knot that would have needed to be squeezed out to access.  Overall this is a nice brush, but I feel it is a little out of it's element in this tournament, as much as I feel any 3-band brush would be. 

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