04-08-2017, 07:30 PM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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I am not a shaving equipment collector, but this week I acquired only my fourth shaving brush since the late days of the George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush père) Administration.   The four brushes all remain in service, and are all different; only three appear in this post.  

[Image: lnsh8mA.jpg]

The newest acquisition is a Semogue Owners Club two-band badger brush with the sexy cherry wood handle; it (obviously) is the brush in the middle of the photo above, flanked on the left by my Vulfix 2234S Super Badger brush that I acquired about 1990 at George & Sons Cutlery on SW Washington Street in Portland, where the shop had been since 1879; sadly, George & Sons did not survive to the present day.   So far as I am aware, that brush never has lost a hair in over a quarter century of hard use.  To the right of the new Semogue in the photo is a Mühle 33K252, a Sivertip Fibre v2 brush, which was put into service at about this time in the spring of 2014, and today has approximately 1000 shaves on its odometer.   Both the Vulfix and the Mühle are well bloomed, but the Semogue, as seen here, is straight out of the mailing packet from Portugal, and as yet has never touched shaving water or shaving soap.  For historical comparison, here is a photo of the same Vulfix side by side with the same Mühle three years ago, when the Mühle was as much a virgin as the Semogue is today:  

[Image: RQs1Etj.jpg]

Here are the three brushes, in the same relative positions, but lying flat to show the spread and density of the bristles.  (The Semogue remains unbloomed.)

[Image: Vm8dNEW.jpg]

And, finally, here is a view of the three brushes from above, for a further appreciation of the differences in density and spread of the bristles.

[Image: VSVcifW.jpg]

Tomorrow, the Semogue will have her maiden voyage as a worker; it will take some time (link) to give the new brush a fair trial, but starting tomorrow, she will be in the traces and expected to pull her weight.

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 04-09-2017, 12:13 AM
#2
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Nice write-up.  The wood on your SOC has a very nice grain, and I look forward to your thoughts on the knot.  What's the fourth brush?

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 04-09-2017, 04:23 AM
#3
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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Congratulations on a fine collection of brushes...I have all three and like them very much.  I was never partial to wood handles until I purchased my first Semogue, an SOC boar; I now have a cherry-handled 3-band silvertip and a cherry-handled 2-band finest.  The performance of my of Muhle synthetic pleasantly surprised, as I had been sceptical of synthetics.

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 04-09-2017, 09:58 AM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(04-09-2017, 12:13 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: Nice write-up.  The wood on your SOC has a very nice grain, and I look forward to your thoughts on the knot.  What's the fourth brush?

The fourth brush is an original issue LOccitane Plisson synthetic.  Unlike the Mühle STFv2 synthetic’s knot, the bulb knot of the Plisson retained its original shape (did not bloom) in use, and the Plisson now has a more-or-less permanent home in a tube inside my Dopp kit.

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 04-09-2017, 10:30 AM
#5
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Congratulations on your new SOC!

My first badger brush was a SOC 2-Band with cherry handle like yours. It's  lovely, I like it and I've used it quite a bit.  But not so much since I've been spoiled by the awesome 2-band knot of the Semogue Foro Afeitado 2016 SE I scored last December.  Dissatisfaction is bound to occur for those of us who fail to constrain ourselves to a smaller fleet of brushes as you've done.


I bought a Vulfix 2235s Super Badger - the same as yours except one size larger - last  year.  It's interesting to note that yours has a more bulbous shaped knot whereas mine is essentially a fan shape.  I wonder if that is a change Vulfix made in the intervening years or simply within the expected range of variability for a handmade product.  FWIW I find my Vulfix 2235 Super Badger knot to be very soft on the cheek, nearly as soft as my Kent BLK8 silvertip.



Fun fact: I read somewhere (can't cite the source) that the 223x handle design originated in the 1860s as a tribute by London brush makers to Prince Consort Albert after his death in 1861.

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 04-09-2017, 03:17 PM
#6
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(04-09-2017, 04:23 AM)Rufus Wrote: Congratulations on a fine collection of brushes...I have all three and like them very much.  I was never partial to wood handles until I purchased my first Semogue, an SOC boar; I now have a cherry-handled 3-band silvertip and a cherry-handled 2-band finest.  The performance of my of Muhle synthetic pleasantly surprised, as I had been sceptical of synthetics.

Wow, Rufus, either you are very discerning to have tastes that coincide exactly with mine -wink-, or you have such a large collection of brushes that you have duplicates of any three brushes I could name! 

I, too, was pleasantly surprised by the Mühle STFv2 brush, which I had purchased originally just because I wanted a quick-drying synthetic brush for travel.  Once I had it in my home, however, I found myself reaching for the Mühle more and more and using the Vulfix badger brush less frequently; soon, the Mühle became my everyday brush.  Last month, when I pulled out the Vulfix for a change of pace, I was surprised at how “floppy” (i.e., lacking backbone) it now felt to me, and how much, compared to the Mühle, it splayed on my face.  I realized then that perhaps what had made the Mühle STFv2 become my go-to brush was that I liked its relatively greater backbone.  That, in short, is why I decided to try the Semogue 2-band, which has a reputation for having a lot of backbone for a badger brush with soft tips.  

We shall see.

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 04-09-2017, 03:46 PM
#7
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How did the SOC fair on it's maiden voyage?

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 04-09-2017, 04:34 PM
#8
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Wonderful photos!

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 04-09-2017, 04:41 PM
#9
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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Nice photos of some well used brushes. I hope you get as much satisfaction from the SOC as you have the others. Enjoy Smile

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 04-09-2017, 05:06 PM
#10
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(04-09-2017, 03:46 PM)old school Wrote: How did the SOC fair on it's maiden voyage?

Yes, I'm also interested in your thoughts about this brush.

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 04-09-2017, 06:43 PM
#11
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Let us know how the SOC worked out Tom.  Your discussion of the Vulfix versus the Muhle was really interesting.  My first brush was really floppy, but I really didn't understand that until I bought my first boar.  Then I started to understand what backbone meant to me.

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 04-09-2017, 06:58 PM
#12
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(04-09-2017, 03:46 PM)old school Wrote: How did the SOC fair on it's maiden voyage?

Well.  
The new Semogue brush lost two (2) hairs in its first working lather.  (The shaving soap was Haslinger Schafmilch.)  

That is — exactly — two hairs more than my (only) previous badger hair brush (the Vulfix 2234S) lost in (approximately) 25 years of daily use.

Or an infinite proportional loss of hairs compared to the Vulfix standard.  (Cannot divide by zero.)

That said, the two loose hairs could have become loose in the manufacturing process, and in a quarter century of use of the Vulfix brush, I did not perform a forensic level inspection of my lather for loose hairs every day.  I hope — and expect — that the two hairs that the Semogue brush lost in the first shave will prove, over time, to be outliers.

As for the shave, the new Semogue certainly exhibited more backbone than either the Vulfix or the Mühle ever did, with, however, a resulting lather that was neither as rich nor as protective as the lather that the older brushes routinely produced.  I think, and trust, that the initial behavior of the Semogue will change for the better over the next two dozen or so shaves.

Onwatd and upward.

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 04-09-2017, 07:25 PM
#13
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(04-09-2017, 10:30 AM)Mazama Wrote: Congratulations on your new SOC!

My first badger brush was a SOC 2-Band with cherry handle like yours. It's  lovely, I like it and I've used it quite a bit.  But not so much since I've been spoiled by the awesome 2-band knot of the Semogue Foro Afeitado 2016 SE I scored last December.  Dissatisfaction is bound to occur for those of us who fail to constrain ourselves to a smaller fleet of brushes as you've done.
La-la-la-la....  I can’t HEAR you!

(04-09-2017, 10:30 AM)Mazama Wrote: I bought a Vulfix 2235s Super Badger - the same as yours except one size larger - last  year.  It's interesting to note that yours has a more bulbous shaped knot whereas mine is essentially a fan shape.  I wonder if that is a change Vulfix made in the intervening years or simply within the expected range of variability for a handmade product.  FWIW I find my Vulfix 2235 Super Badger knot to be very soft on the cheek, nearly as soft as my Kent BLK8 silvertip.
That has been my (retrospective) assessment of my 2234S, as well.

(04-09-2017, 10:30 AM)Mazama Wrote: Fun fact: I read somewhere (can't cite the source) that the 223x handle design originated in the 1860s as a tribute by London brush makers to Prince Consort Albert after his death in 1861.
While that certainly is an interesting historical annotation, and I thank you for sharing, I am having a hard time getting my mind around how the shape of a shaving brush handle can be appreciated by anybody but a niche fetishist as a tribute to a deceased prince.

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 04-24-2017, 04:38 AM
#14
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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Portugal Windage

(The term “windage” has two related, but essentially opposite, meanings.  The technical meaning, found in dictionaries, relates to the deflection of a ballistic projectile by the effect of friction from the atmosphere (wind) from the trajectory that the object would have taken had it been in a vacuum.  The far more common usage, rarely found in dictionaries, is a semi-jocular reference to seat-of-the-pants adjustments to what otherwise would be precise measurements; for instance, when I asked my orthopedic surgeon about the jig that he would use to line up the metal implants in my knee reconstruction, he assured me, “Don’t worry, we don’t use Kentucky Windage procedures here.”)

After a couple of weeks of daily use, the Semogue S.O.C. two-band badger brush pictured in the opening post of this thread has bloomed nicely, and has become my favorite brush.  

The official dimensions of the 24 mm knot from Semogue state that it has a 53 mm loft.  That is similar, but slightly larger in both dimensions, to the 23 mm Sivertip Fibre synthetic knot in my Mühle 33K252 brush, which Mühle states to have a 51 mm loft.

Below is a picture of the two brushes hanging bristles down from two brush stands of identical height.  The circular area where the brush meets the stand is slightly chamfered in one stand, and square cut in the other, and the tops of the respective brushes’ handles that rest on the stands are of different profiles, also, with the Mühle having a curve in its acrylic handle, and the Semogue having its famed chrome ring.  However, I estimate (windage) that the cumulative effects of those two factors contribute probably about one millimeter to how far down the bristles hang.  
[Image: ER7YueY.jpg]
It appears to me that the “51 mm” loft of the Mühle on the left is greater than the “53 mm” loft of the Semogue on the right; does it look that way to you, also?  

To minimize one of the factors, while leaving the two brush stands in the same place, I switched the positions of the brushes, with the Semogue now hanging from the left brush stand and the Mühle hanging from the right brush stand, and tilted the Semogue slightly to get the chrome ring “inside” the stand’s circular cut-0ut:  
[Image: ESA7dAJ.jpg]
To me, it still appears that “51 mm” (Mühle) is greater than “53 mm” (Semogue).  The Semogue performs beautifullly; no complaints there; but the measurements are curious.

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 04-24-2017, 01:03 PM
#15
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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Good to hear that you're enjoying your new brush. Yes, the Muhle appears to be longer lofted than does the Semogue.

Talk to us about the SOC. Is there backbone from here to eternity? My SOC 2 band is without question the stoutest brush in my den. Obviously, the knot on your brush has opened up, but what of the tips? Have they softened in two weeks of regular use? How much do you love the handle, btw? I find it to be one of the more comfortable brushes in my collection.

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 04-24-2017, 04:08 PM
#16
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(04-24-2017, 01:03 PM)chazt Wrote: Talk to us about the SOC. Is there backbone from here to eternity?
My experience with brushes is limited to the handful that I have owned over the past 50 years, so I have a sparse base with which to compare it; the Semogue certainly has much more backbone than any other badger or synthetic brush that I have used over the past quarter century.  I had a couple of inexpensive boar brushes in the 1979s and 1980s, but I honestly have no strong recollection now how much backbone they had back then.


(04-24-2017, 01:03 PM)chazt Wrote: My SOC 2 band is without question the stoutest brush in my den. Obviously, the knot on your brush has opened up, but what of the tips? Have they softened in two weeks of regular use?
I think that they have, but the change, as yet, has not been night and day, and I am cautious about allowing buyer’s bias to influence my subjective assessment of small incremental changes.


(04-24-2017, 01:03 PM)chazt Wrote: How much do you love the handle, btw? I find it to be one of the more comfortable brushes in my collection.
In two words, A LOT; it is the most comfortable, workable, brush handle I ever have manipulated.

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 04-25-2017, 02:50 AM
#17
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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Sounds like some serious brushlove going on! Enjoy your shaves, Tom Smile

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 04-25-2017, 04:19 AM
#18
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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So, with all this SOC talk, I broke mine out for today's shave. It's a solid and well made brush, for sure. A must-try for those unacquainted!

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 04-25-2017, 08:05 AM
#19
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Nice report.  Glad you are enjoying it.  Thanks for the impressions of the handle shape -- it never looked comfortable to me, but I've never used one.  Glad to hear the positive impressions.

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 04-26-2017, 01:57 PM
#20
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(04-25-2017, 08:05 AM)wreck | fish Wrote: Nice report.  Glad you are enjoying it.  Thanks for the impressions of the handle shape -- it never looked comfortable to me, but I've never used one.  Glad to hear the positive impressions.

As you can see, the Semogue’s handle is much longer than the Mühle STFv2’s handle.  This allows me to wrap my fingers around the bulbous portion of the Semogue more in the manner of a sleeve than in the manner of a C-clamp, which, more or less, is the way I grab the Mühle.

La manche, c'est mieux!

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