05-14-2016, 01:21 AM
#1
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Does anyone know if badger hair decreases in quality or ages with no use? For example, if you buy a brush and never use it, how long will it be good for? Indefinitely? 

About use, if you use 1 badger brush on a daily basis, how long can you use it for until it's quality decreases, or you need to replace it?

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 05-14-2016, 03:00 AM
#2
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
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Lee Sabini told me a couple years ago with everyday use his XL's will last around 3 years. So think how long they will actually endure when used in rotation and dried and cared for properly.
I have 1980's Somerset Simpsons passed down from my father I really take care of and their still going strong.


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 05-14-2016, 04:39 AM
#3
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I think if you buy a brush and never use it it will "last" indefinitely. But without using it how would you know it is "lasting" in the way it was intended to last? It becomes Schrödingers brush.

VTMAX - that's really cool about the inherited Simpsons. The only shaving stuff my dad passed down to me was a a ghastly corded Norelco electric.


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 05-14-2016, 04:43 AM
#4
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(05-14-2016, 04:39 AM)jpakstis Wrote: I think if you buy a brush and never use it it will "last" indefinitely.  But without using it how would you know it is "lasting" in the way it was intended to last?  It becomes Schrödingers brush.

I think the way to tell would be if someone had or acquired a 50 or 100 year old unused brush, then used it today. Is the hair quality the same? Does it lather the same? Etc...

...Or, someone could have set aside a perfectly good brush for decades, then pick it up again to see if there's any changes.

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 05-14-2016, 05:04 AM
#5
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(05-14-2016, 03:00 AM)VTMAX Wrote: Lee Sabini told me a couple years ago with everyday use his XL's will last around 3 years. So think how long they will actually endure when used in rotation and dried and cared for properly.
I have 1980's Somerset Simpsons passed down from my father I really take care of and their still going strong.


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This is interesting! I thought a quality would last a lot more than 3 years! Granted daily use for 3 years is a lot of use. By I still would expect more than 3 years... Obviously most of us here don't have to worry since we all have at least 3-4 brushes in a rotation Smile

It's worth mentioning that my $5.99 omega boar (my first brush) lasted about 5 years, used it once or twice a week!

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 05-14-2016, 05:05 AM
#6
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Here's my opinion and others I'm sure might think a bit differently about this topic. The brushes I have owned perhaps 50 or so now , have all been at their best for the first couple years. After this time they start to show a bit of wear and eventually the center of the knot starts to develop a different feal. Painters and bowl lather gents may not notice this , two band or short lofted brushes may take longer to develope this , gentle brush users may not experience this at all. I have never experienced a failed brush over time just a slight difference in face feal , so to me they show wear after a long period of consistent use. As far as hair goes , I believe the hair becomes a bit brittle over a long period of time and breaks down. Again these are my opinions and others will have different views.

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 05-14-2016, 05:59 AM
#7
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
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Simpsons used to supply a lot of their house brushes to Brooks Brothers on 44th Street & Madison.
Gary Young from the family, of course, still uses those brushes from back in the day. His advice on the Chubby:
Dry out of the bathroom for 48 hours, near a window ledge if possible, rub palm over the hair after 24 hours to encourage capillary action, then another 24 hrs to fully dry the knot. Works great on all my brushes!



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 05-14-2016, 06:02 AM
#8
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
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Yes, the paintbrush style certainly helps. I have gone through a couple Chubby's over the years face lathering. It happens.


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 05-14-2016, 06:26 AM
#9
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(05-14-2016, 05:05 AM)ultra~nova Wrote: Here's my opinion and others I'm sure might think a bit differently about this topic. The brushes I have owned perhaps 50 or so now , have all been at their best for the first couple years. After this time they start to show a bit of wear and eventually the center of the knot starts to develop a different feal. Painters and bowl lather gents may not notice this , two band or short lofted brushes may take longer to develope this , gentle brush users may not experience this at all. I have never experienced a failed brush over time just a slight difference in face feal , so to me they show wear after a long period of consistent use. As far as hair goes , I believe the hair becomes a bit brittle over a long period of time and breaks down. Again these are my opinions and others will have different views.

I can echo this. I picked up a simpsons two band super a year or so ago. 

The brush sheds one or two hairs a shave now consistently if not more: the seller claims to have no knowledge of this and that he only used it a few times since his purchase (I'm at least the third owner). 

The hair is still heavenly and I plan on keeping the brush for the foreseeable future, but the density is definitely not chubby like.... Could also be that the brush is very much a bulb and not the hybrid type knots of current production. 

Upon contacting Simpsons, I found out that the brush was from the early 90s (based on the font and placement of the engraveing) and most likely on its last legs....

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 05-14-2016, 06:51 AM
#10
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As with anything the more and harder it's used the faster it will wear. The only way I see an unused brush not deteriorate would be to keep it in a sealed, climate controlled environment. How many NOS brushes have we all come across with a knots just falling apart and shedding like a long haired cat but has never touched soap or water?

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 05-14-2016, 07:06 AM
#11
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(05-14-2016, 06:51 AM)FreddieP318ti Wrote: As with anything the more and harder it's used the faster it will wear. The only way I see an unused brush not deteriorate would be to keep it in a sealed, climate controlled environment. 

+1

I have a lot of brushes. There are some I  once used regularly and which never shed (that I noticed) except occasionally after I neglected one for 6+ months and then saw it drop 2-3 over the course of a couple uses. My theory has been that those had dried out to much. But I really don't know.

I think many factors probably affect knot longevity, importantly including how the hair/knot was processed before installation in a handle.

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 05-14-2016, 07:16 AM
#12
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(05-14-2016, 04:43 AM)Len Wrote: I think the way to tell would be if someone had or acquired a 50 or 100 year old unused brush, then used it today. Is the hair quality the same? Does it lather the same? Etc...

The problem is that hair used 50 to 100 years ago might not be comparable to today's hair. For instance for a long time many brush makers used "pure" badger hair but only to distinguish from boar, horse, or mixes. Even now it is hard to distinguish what constitutes a "pure" grade; Kent's pure brushes are very nice whereas Simpson's are not. Also brushes back then were geared toward one-pass shaves. I don't know if brushes these days are designed more for multiple-passes but there weren't a lot of "uber-dense" brushes back then. Finally the only brushes to have survived that many years back then were either really well made or really well maintained so they are outliers.

And then you have the whole issue of handle materials.

(05-14-2016, 04:43 AM)Len Wrote: ...Or, someone could have set aside a perfectly good brush for decades, then pick it up again to see if there's any changes.

Buy a nice brush and then set it aside for decades just to test whether it lasts that long? Sounds like something a crazy person would do. I can barely get a brush out of its box before I want to use it!

And if you're talking about someone who bought a brush decades ago and never used it and you want to see how it's holding up, that's not instructive because it's unused.

Unless your question is how long does a brush last unused? That seems like quite a strange hypothetical because in my opinion the lifespan of an unused brush is a pretty insignificant issue; it's the lifespan of a used brush that matters. If I'm shelling out $100+ I'd like to know it will last a good while (pretty remarkable that Lee says his brushes should only last 3 years, although Brooks Brothers say their dress shirts should only last 2 years and I have some since 2007 that are in perfect shape).

But I would imagine an unused brush would last centuries. It's not like a plastic/acrylic/resin handle would just disintegrate and it seems like hair doesn't either.

Probably the best way to investigate how long a brush lasts is just to ask forum members here.

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 05-14-2016, 07:34 AM
#13
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I just sold a near 40 year old Plisson HMW. Never shed a hair or had hairs break mid shaft, and was rarely used. If you care for them a good one will last an awful long time.


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 05-14-2016, 07:59 AM
#14
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(05-14-2016, 01:21 AM)Len Wrote: Does anyone know if badger hair decreases in quality or ages with no use? For example, if you buy a brush and never use it, how long will it be good for? Indefinitely? 

About use, if you use 1 badger brush on a daily basis, how long can you use it for until it's quality decreases, or you need to replace it?

Look after them well ....... And they will look after you!!

Once in a while treat them to a good hair conditioner, some of my Rooney's & Simpson's are 30 yr old.


Charles. U.K

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 05-14-2016, 08:09 AM
#15
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(05-14-2016, 07:59 AM)whatmorebrushs Wrote:
(05-14-2016, 01:21 AM)Len Wrote: Does anyone know if badger hair decreases in quality or ages with no use? For example, if you buy a brush and never use it, how long will it be good for? Indefinitely? 

About use, if you use 1 badger brush on a daily basis, how long can you use it for until it's quality decreases, or you need to replace it?

Look after them well ....... And they will look after you!!

Once in a while treat them to a good hair conditioner, some of my Rooney's & Simpson's are 30 yr old.


Charles. U.K

Charles, what kind of conditioner?  Is there any special kind made for brushes?

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 05-14-2016, 08:50 AM
#16
  • MarkW
  • Senior Member
  • Isle of Man
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I'd work on an approximate 5 year lifespan, based on regular use (3 - 4 shaves per week), provided the brush has been cared for & properly maintained.

In regards an old but unused brush, the environment in which it has been stored will play a key role in its ability to function as intended & trouble free. If still boxed & housed within a dry interior it should be almost as good as new.

Mark

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 05-14-2016, 09:19 AM
#17
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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The oldest documented wild badger lived to be 14. the average lifespan is given at 5 to 10 years. Avoiding a case of mange; badgers do shed but unlike some brushmakers replace their hair. Once the individual is deceased hair can be preserved under the right conditions for a very long time as shown by the red hair of Ramese's Mummy or these two I am sure Phil saw at the Chicago field museum. The solution is to assemble a pride of brushes and take pride in their care. These are the infamous Lions of Tsavo, a distinct subspecies and their living heirs.[Image: OlXNxVq.jpg][Image: ZBCOhwp.jpg]

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 05-14-2016, 11:36 AM
#18
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(05-14-2016, 01:21 AM)Len Wrote: About use, if you use 1 badger brush on a daily basis, how long can you use it for until it's quality decreases, or you need to replace it?

I purchased a Vulfix 2234S  Super Badger from George & Son Cutlery on SW Washington Street in Portland and used it seven days a week until two years ago (2014), when I purchased a Mühle 33K252 synthetic, which has been my daily driver ever since.  So when did I buy the Vulfix and therefore how long did it last?  George & Son closed its doors (after well over a century in business) some time in Bill Clinton’s first term in the White House, I think, and I had bought my brush at least five years before George & Son closed.  So I estimate that I used the Vulfix daily for at least 20, maybe as many as 30, years.  But that is not a good estimate of its ultimate lifespan, because it still looks today exactly the way it looked the second time I shaved with it, when the knot had bloomed from the way it looked in the shop; in all that time, I think that it has not lost a single hair, so my estimate is that it would be good for another 25 years.

Take good care of a brush, and it will take good care of you.

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 05-14-2016, 11:45 AM
#19
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(05-14-2016, 03:00 AM)VTMAX Wrote: Lee Sabini told me a couple years ago with everyday use his XL's will last around 3 years.

This is very interesting as my M&F 3XL Heritage 2-Band Tortoise is almost four years old with with, approximately, 1-2 days of weekly use and it shows no visual signs of degradation.
I'll try to use it more frequently and report back in five years to see what the outcome will have been by then. Biggrin

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 05-14-2016, 12:00 PM
#20
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(05-14-2016, 05:05 AM)ultra~nova Wrote: Here's my opinion and others I'm sure might think a bit differently about this topic. The brushes I have owned perhaps 50 or so now , have all been at their best for the first couple years. After this time they start to show a bit of wear and eventually the center of the knot starts to develop a different feal. Painters and bowl lather gents may not notice this , two band or short lofted brushes may take longer to develope this , gentle brush users may not experience this at all. I have never experienced a failed brush over time just a slight difference in face feal , so to me they show wear after a long period of consistent use. As far as hair goes , I believe the hair becomes a bit brittle over a long period of time and breaks down. Again these are my opinions and others will have different views.

I have yet to own a brush, that I have used more than say 20 times..........I started my SBAD in 2012, and have not yet stopped - slowed down, yes, but not stopped.

I was in at 125+ badger high5 quality brushes in 2014, and now I'm down to 35-40 total.

My thoughts are, that if you own a collection of brushes and rotate them, they will last longer.

Each of my brushes are used less than once a month, so let's say on average I use each of my brushes less than 10 times a year. I think a brush, even a cheap boar, will last decades that way.

However if you only own 1 brush and shave 5-6 times a week, I would think you could wear a brush down in a year or so, give or take.

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