11-27-2016, 07:43 PM
#1
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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The issue of supply and demand  has  people all lathered up again. Wolfman's, Paladins, UFO handles have seen phenomenal demand. When folks like Brad Sears  join them behind the millet seed sacks at Roarke's Drift there is little relief as the Zulu regiments continue advancing. How many units have these folks produced to date? Is it in the thousands, hundreds? How many potential customers are there?  A quick glance at the major forums shows membership  large enough to give pause even to said Zulus. Guestimate a percentile not interested or unable to invest in one, cut the remainder in half and the number is still staggering. Yet, by some of the impressive displays of collections SOMEBODY is successfully acquiring these items. It might as well be you, or me; and if not tommorow or next month or a few years  our odds still beat Vegas and the lottery commission. Meanwhile, a lot of people seem to manage a passable shave with product undreamed of when these forums began. Why, I
would even entertain the idea a few ENJOY that VIE LONG and MERKUR and see results just as satisfying. This isn't bout running with the big dawgs people. It isn't some new golf club made in Lichtenstein rumoured to make weekend putters into Arnold Palmer. it's fun, or should be.

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 11-27-2016, 08:06 PM
#2
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Kav, I was making beer this afternoon. I now have 10 gallons fermenting happily away in my basement.  

Did the Paladin release go fast?

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 11-27-2016, 08:09 PM
#3
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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I was plotting revolution and missed it. I believe it took 12 minutes for most to sell with a few lingering.

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 11-27-2016, 09:46 PM
#4
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I seem to have settled down into a relaxing state of mind regarding brushes.

I feel content and happy with my 18 Thater's and Shavemac's.

Am I missing something ?

I have been around the block, following the hype and buying 100's of top badgers.
In the end my Thäters and Shavemacs beat them all, for my preference.

I haven't looked at a Paladin, Romero, Wiborg, Varlet and what ever the brush of the week is called, for months.
And I don't feel the lust to do so.

A badger is a badger, they don't grow new types of badger hair last time I checked.
If you trust your brush maker and know he can make you any handle you want in a wide variety of badger brush hair knots built to your exact specifications, I simply don't need to look further.
Thäters are the softest badgers I have ever owned, and I know when I want my Thäter fix, I'll just grab one of my 8 Thäters.

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 11-27-2016, 10:19 PM
#5
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Hmmn... I don't see what all the fuss is about. I missed on a few releases before nabbing a UFO handle and a paladin brush. (And yes, I do believe the paladin is different from thater, shavemac, and simpson). I am on the wait list for a Brad sears w/ M&F knot. We'll see if that's worth it or not, but that'll pretty much wrap up my brush exploration as I have all the variety I need.

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 11-27-2016, 11:00 PM
#6
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(11-27-2016, 07:43 PM)kav Wrote: The issue of supply and demand  has  people all lathered up again. Wolfman's, Paladins, UFO handles have seen phenomenal demand. When folks like Brad Sears  join them behind the millet seed sacks at Roarke's Drift there is little relief as the Zulu regiments continue advancing. How many units have these folks produced to date? Is it in the thousands, hundreds? How many potential customers are there?  A quick glance at the major forums shows membership  large enough to give pause even to said Zulus. Guestimate a percentile not interested or unable to invest in one, cut the remainder in half and the number is still staggering. Yet, by some of the impressive displays of collections SOMEBODY is successfully acquiring these items. It might as well be you, or me; and if not tommorow or next month or a few years  our odds still beat Vegas and the lottery commission. Meanwhile, a lot of people seem to manage a passable shave with product undreamed of when these forums began. Why, I
would even entertain the idea a few ENJOY that VIE LONG and MERKUR and see results just as satisfying. This isn't bout running with the big dawgs people. It isn't some new golf club made in Lichtenstein rumoured to make weekend putters into Arnold Palmer. it's fun, or should be.

So where can I buy this golf club made in Lichtenstein? Does it have a shaving brush built into the handle in case I want to tidy up a bit while at the golf course, and if so, what kind of hair in what sort of knot does it use? Inquiring minds want to know...

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 11-28-2016, 06:04 AM
#7
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I prefer my Shavemac and Thaters by a large margin over any of the artisans brushes I've purchased with the exception of Artesania Romera. I would like to try a Varlet and a Declaration brush simply because they are tying their own knots. Every other artisan brushmaker is buying off the shelf knots from China, Paladin included.

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 11-28-2016, 06:52 AM
#8
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(11-28-2016, 06:04 AM)twister Wrote: I prefer my Shavemac and Thaters by a large margin over any of the artisans brushes I've purchased with the exception of Artesania Romera. I would like to try a Varlet and a Declaration brush simply because they are tying their own knots. Every other artisan brushmaker is buying off the shelf knots from China, Paladin included.

Agreed, which is why these artisan brushes simply do not tempt me at all.

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 11-28-2016, 06:57 AM
#9
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(11-28-2016, 06:52 AM)CHSeifert Wrote:
(11-28-2016, 06:04 AM)twister Wrote: I prefer my Shavemac and Thaters by a large margin over any of the artisans brushes I've purchased with the exception of Artesania Romera. I would like to try a Varlet and a Declaration brush simply because they are tying their own knots. Every other artisan brushmaker is buying off the shelf knots from China, Paladin included.

Agreed, which is why these artisan brushes simply do not tempt me at all.
I, on the other hand, am constantly "tempted" by these gorgeous brushes---regardless from where they source their badger hair. I have never, ever seen a handle more gorgeous (and SHINY!) than those from Paladin.  Babeando

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 11-28-2016, 07:45 AM
#10
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(11-28-2016, 06:04 AM)twister Wrote: I prefer my Shavemac and Thaters by a large margin over any of the artisans brushes I've purchased with the exception of Artesania Romera. I would like to try a Varlet and a Declaration brush simply because they are tying their own knots. Every other artisan brushmaker is buying off the shelf knots from China, Paladin included.

That's not exactly true.

First, I spent six months evaluating and providing feedback on knot samples before placing our first order in November of last year. I established at the outset and have reiterated many times that we care about quality over cost.

All of our knots have been made to agreed specifications that varied in significant respects from the off-the-shelf samples we were initially provided. I inspect, measure, and weigh knots; input the data into spreadsheets; and feed observations back to our supplier. The emails that have been exchanged over the past 18 months would fill a thick, 3-ring binder. 

Early this year we obtained a commitment from the supplier to have knots made to our requirements by three specially selected workers. 

Despite these efforts, a very significant number of the 600 knots we've purchased to date (>10%) won't be used in making Paladin shaving because they did not satisfy our requirements. 

One of the two founders of the small but well established company in China that has supplied our knots spent two long days with us (in our home and in our shop) last month. That meeting was the primary objective of his travel to the US. Over the course of that visit, we carefully went through and discussed about 50 knots I had pulled to serve as examples either of what we like or don't like. Our discussions were very candid and thorough. Going forward, the workers selected to make our knots will be differently instructed and rewarded for quality rather than output. I plan to visit the production site next year.

Highly skilled Chinese workers have been making brushes of various types for a long, long time. It is my belief that the quality and consistency issues that have come to characterize Chinese-made, badger-hair, shaving-brush knots are attributable more to reward systems than lack of skill. And although I don't think knot-making involves anything like rocket-science, I do believe mastery of traditional techniques based on long practice and acquired skill makes a difference. Otherwise, who made a particular knot or where it was made would hardly matter. 

This isn't intended as argument. I just want to set the record straight.

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 11-28-2016, 07:50 AM
#11
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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I do enjoy my Shavemac and Thäter brushes, but boy, I also love my new Paladin and am hoping to pick up one or two more.

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 11-28-2016, 07:53 AM
#12
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(11-28-2016, 07:45 AM)Paladin Shaving Wrote:
(11-28-2016, 06:04 AM)twister Wrote: I prefer my Shavemac and Thaters by a large margin over any of the artisans brushes I've purchased with the exception of Artesania Romera. I would like to try a Varlet and a Declaration brush simply because they are tying their own knots. Every other artisan brushmaker is buying off the shelf knots from China, Paladin included.

That's not exactly true.

First, I spent six months evaluating and providing feedback on knot samples before placing our first order in November of last year. I established at the outset and have reiterated many times that we care about quality over cost.

All of our knots have been made to agreed specifications that varied in significant respects from the off-the-shelf samples we were initially provided. I inspect, measure, and weigh knots; input the data into spreadsheets; and feed observations back to our supplier. The emails that have been exchanged over the past 18 months would fill a thick, 3-ring binder. 

Early this year we obtained a commitment from the supplier to have knots made to our requirements by three specially selected workers. 

Despite these efforts, a very significant number of the 600 knots we've purchased to date (>10%) won't be used in making Paladin shaving because they did not satisfy our requirements. 

One of the two founders of the small but well established company in China that has supplied our knots spent two long days with us (in our home and in our shop) last month. That meeting was the primary objective of his travel to the US. Over the course of that visit, we carefully went through and discussed about 50 knots I had pulled to serve as examples either of what we like or don't like. Our discussions were very candid and thorough. Going forward, the workers selected to make our knots will be differently instructed and rewarded for quality rather than output. I plan to visit the production site next year.

Highly skilled Chinese workers have been making brushes of various types for a long, long time. It is my belief that the quality and consistency issues that have come to characterize Chinese-made, badger-hair, shaving-brush knots are attributable more to reward systems than lack of skill. And although I don't think knot-making involves anything like rocket-science, I do believe mastery of traditional techniques based on long practice and acquired skill makes a difference. Otherwise, who made a particular knot or where it was made would hardly matter. 

This isn't intended as argument. I just want to set the record straight.
Informative post. Whatever you are doing sir, you are achieving amazing results. I wish you continued success!!  Cheers

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 11-28-2016, 07:54 AM
#13
  • beamon
  • Active Member
  • Greenville, SC USA
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(11-28-2016, 06:57 AM)primotenore Wrote:
(11-28-2016, 06:52 AM)CHSeifert Wrote:
(11-28-2016, 06:04 AM)twister Wrote: I prefer my Shavemac and Thaters by a large margin over any of the artisans brushes I've purchased with the exception of Artesania Romera. I would like to try a Varlet and a Declaration brush simply because they are tying their own knots. Every other artisan brushmaker is buying off the shelf knots from China, Paladin included.

Agreed, which is why these artisan brushes simply do not tempt me at all.
I, on the other hand, am constantly "tempted" by these gorgeous brushes---regardless from where they source their badger hair. I have never, ever seen a handle more gorgeous (and SHINY!) than those from Paladin.  Babeando
The posts quoted certainly make the case for "YMMV", don't they? But then, doesn't every aspect of wet shaving make the same case? 

I am surprised that looks and appearance carry so much weight in such a utilitarian endeavor as shaving. Mind you that I am the guy that delighted in carrying his Midas Grade Browning O/U shotgun to the firing line remarking about appearance. How does it go, "Let he who lives in glass houses... "? And, who can deny the 'Paladin Shine' and the extra time it takes with polish and rag wheel on the lathe? 

Suspect that Kav's estimate of the size of the market for artisan products is bolstered by the fact that virtually every man (and woman) shaves to some extent. But what proportion of that potential market can be wrestled away from the carts considering the geld that Gillette and others are throwing into the battle? Dunno, but it will be interesting to watch what shakes out.

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 11-28-2016, 08:00 AM
#14
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(11-28-2016, 07:54 AM)beamon Wrote:
(11-28-2016, 06:57 AM)primotenore Wrote:
(11-28-2016, 06:52 AM)CHSeifert Wrote: Agreed, which is why these artisan brushes simply do not tempt me at all.
I, on the other hand, am constantly "tempted" by these gorgeous brushes---regardless from where they source their badger hair. I have never, ever seen a handle more gorgeous (and SHINY!) than those from Paladin.  Babeando
The posts quoted certainly make the case for "YMMV", don't they? But then, doesn't every aspect of wet shaving make the same case? 

I am surprised that looks and appearance carry so much weight in such a utilitarian endeavor as shaving. Mind you that I am the guy that delighted in carrying his Midas Grade Browning O/U shotgun to the firing line remarking about appearance. How does it go, "Let he who lives in glass houses... "? And, who can deny the 'Paladin Shine' and the extra time it takes with polish and rag wheel on the lathe? 

Suspect that Kav's estimate of the size of the market for artisan products is bolstered by the fact that virtually every man (and woman) shaves to some extent. But what proportion of that potential market can be wrestled away from the carts considering the geld that Gillette and others are throwing into the battle? Dunno, but it will be interesting to watch what shakes out.
Until I actually "hold" a product in my hand or use said product, what else, besides "word of mouth", is there to make a judgement? Last time I checked, one cannot "test drive" a shave brush before making a purchase.

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 11-28-2016, 08:03 AM
#15
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BTW, there aren't that many vendors willing to "inform/educate" his/her clients vis-à-vis their products. So, another thank you to Ken. 

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 11-28-2016, 08:17 AM
#16
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(11-28-2016, 07:54 AM)beamon Wrote: The posts quoted certainly make the case for "YMMV", don't they? But then, doesn't every aspect of wet shaving make the same case? 

I am surprised that looks and appearance carry so much weight in such a utilitarian endeavor as shaving. Mind you that I am the guy that delighted in carrying his Midas Grade Browning O/U shotgun to the firing line remarking about appearance. How does it go, "Let he who lives in glass houses... "? 

Isn't it very simply up to everyone to decide for himself what a particular brush might signify beyond basic utility, and how much, if any, value to assign to it?

I think for many it comes down to more than practical mileage. Experience of a shaving brush occurs as much between the ears as on the face. The fact I might not understand what someone else sees in, likes about, or is willing to pay for a brush doesn't very often move me to question either his judgment or my own.

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 11-28-2016, 08:20 AM
#17
  • beamon
  • Active Member
  • Greenville, SC USA
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(11-28-2016, 07:56 AM)Tsarbomba Wrote: Ken, thats a great explanation of the time, effort and dedication you put into your brand. You shouldnt even have to post that kind of stuff.
But he really does have to "post that kind of stuff" to differentiate his operation from other artisans who do, indeed, "buy off the shelf knots". Otherwise, Ken is lumped into the same bag as them. This allows him to expand on how 'his method might excel over others by having a greater stock of hairs from which to choose'.

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 11-28-2016, 08:22 AM
#18
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(11-28-2016, 08:20 AM)beamon Wrote:
(11-28-2016, 07:56 AM)Tsarbomba Wrote: Ken, thats a great explanation of the time, effort and dedication you put into your brand. You shouldnt even have to post that kind of stuff.
But he really does have to "post that kind of stuff" to differentiate his operation from other artisans who do, indeed, "buy off the shelf knots". Otherwise, Ken is lumped into the same bag as them. This allows him to expand on how 'his method might excel over others by having a greater stock of hairs from which to choose'.

Proof should be in the pudding. But you're right.

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 11-28-2016, 08:26 AM
#19
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age old question about paying anything...the tulip craze way back when in the Netherlands...I hope this thread applauds the artisans and asks the consumer to vet the product for integrity.

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 11-28-2016, 08:30 AM
#20
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(11-27-2016, 07:43 PM)kav Wrote: Why, I would even entertain the idea a few ENJOY that VIE LONG and MERKUR and see results just as satisfying.

That would be me Smile I love my horse hair brushes and affordable razors - but I also really enjoy seeing and reading about the high end stuff I'm unlikely to own and use myself Biggrin

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