08-20-2017, 04:27 PM
#1
  • chazt
  • Super Moderator
  • Queens, NY
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Since giving up my home office when one of my adult children moved back home, my den's footprint has shrunk considerably. All my hardware and software is stored in a 4 drawer mahogany cabinet that belonged to my mom. I keep 2 razors and 3 brushes out in a downsized rotation which now lives on top of a bookcase in my wife's tv room (next to said 4 drawer cabinet). The brush rotation changes once a week or so.

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(Mom's cabinet)
The other day I looked up and realized that three particular brushes comprise the heart of my favorite rotation. Each is quite special and is reached for more than the rest. Funny thing, though. They're all unoriginal. Each has a knot-handle combination that's been modded in some way. Each is now significantly more pleasing to me than it was previously.

The D3 was the first to be hot-rodded. After using the brush for about 6 months I came to realize that the original Best knot was not going to soften any further and subsequently contemplated putting it on BST. However the handle fits me well, and so after a little research and a couple of emails, I decided to send it out to Rudy Vey for a reknot. Man oh man, what a great experience that was! Rudy's probably around 50 miles, give or take, from me. I mailed it out to him and got it back in just under a week! This was the super speediest turn-around of all time. I was clearly so fortunate that Rudy's workload at that moment was able to accommodate my job. Rudy's work is spot on. He replaced the original 24/47 Simpsons Best knot with a Shavemac 25/50 2 band fan. Yowza!! My Duke 3.1 is one of a kind, and a joy to use. Thank you, Mr. Vey Smile

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(This pic was taken today. Damn! Right?)

Some may recall a thread I started last October (Customer Satisfaction) commending Mark Watterson at Simpsons for his top shelf customer service. With no hesitation, he graciously replaced a relatively new Chubby 2 Super that developed a crack along the shoulder. The replacement brush was delivered quickly and I was not asked to return the cracked one. I immediately began breaking in the new brush but looked longingly at the first one languishing on the shelf unused.

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(the cracked shoulder)

By this time I had become a fan of Bob Quinn's handles and knots. While I'd already purchased some of Bob's brushes and was quite pleased with his work, I sorely missed using that CH2 knot. Around this time Bob had posted a gorgeous lignum vitae Lotus (the silhouette of which is not quite the same as that of the Paladins, btw) on his Elite Razors website. I thought it looked like the head of a judge's gavel. Man, it was sharp! When I'd finally made the decision to ask Bob about removing the Simpsons knot and putting it into one of his handles, that LV Lotus had been sold. "No problem," he said. "I have enough LV remaining and can make a handle just for you." This came with a caveat, however. Bob was concerned that I might find that the knot no longer felt as I'd grown accustomed to, and justifiably didn't want an unhappy customer posting all over the interwebs. I assured Bob that I was willing to take that chance, and absolved him of any such responsibility; even said so in writing. I eagerly packed up my broken CH2 and sent it off on it's journey to the world wide headquarters of Elite Razors.

A few days later pictures of my new brush handle appeared in my inbox. My pulse began to race. This was even prettier than the previous lignum vitae Lotus! Bob asked, "you like?" I replied, "yowza!!" These are the photos Bob sent prior to sealing the handle and sending it my way.

[Image: omUJC7W.jpg][Image: hRx4oXU.jpg]

A week and a dozen or so coats of waterproof shellac/varnish later my Elite Razor lignum vitae brush with transplanted Simpsons Chubby 2 Super knot was on its way back to me in beautiful downtown Bayside, NY.

[Image: 56Hl32D.jpg]
(The finish really soaked in and darkened the wood. I like it.)

Because I can only leave a handful of brushes out at any given time, they're often put back in their boxes and are stored in my brush drawer. The knot looks almost new every time I put it back in rotation (see above).

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(This pic was taken today. It's been in the active rotation for about a week or two.)

Lemmetellya. Bob nailed the transplant. He must have measured the Simpsons knot and handle with an electron microscope caliper. The knot feels exactly as it did when it lived in the Chubby handle. The wonderful wall of badger was back home in a bigger and way more substantial handle. The brush simply exudes grooviness. I use it every third to fourth shave. Amazingly, it has not shed a single hair which is a great testament to the knot making craftsmanship of the Simpsons company knot makers and to the skill of Mr. Quinn. Out of respect for the artisan, and knowing Bob's reluctance to take on such a job I kept this project under wraps until now. When the idea for this thread about mongrel shave brushes occurred to my burnt out brain I asked Bob if he'd mind if I talked about it publicly. He gave his blessings and here we are.

Finally we come to a Thater 4125/3. Now, basically every comment I've ever read about Thater brushes raves about soft, cloud-like knots. So of course, I had to have one. Order placed. When it first arrived I thought, "uh-oh, something's wrong here..." It was downright uncomfortable. No kidding, it felt like I was lathering with my boar bristle hair brush. Ouch!! Where was the soft? After about two week's worth of shaves it improved ever so slightly, but it remained by far my most uncomfortable and SCRITCHY brush. I wanted to ditch it, put it on BST, but how could I take advantage of another Nooker? I used it sporadically after that, hoping one day it would magically improve. It didn't. Based of my two previous excellent experiences, I finally decided to contact Bob once more, hoping he'd be willing to do another reknot on my behalf. We discussed a course of action, and agreed that the brush would be best served by replacing the OEM knot with one of his 28mm 2 band Manchurian knots set to the same height as the Thater knot. This is the result:

[Image: 2qdyQ7v.jpg]

The Thater/ER is now a joy to use. I reach for it quite often. The handle as we know is super ergonomic. And Bob's Manchurian knots are just fabulous. Now I can legitimately say that my Thater 2 band brush truly has cloud-like soft tips. I love it!

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A big, huge THANK YOU to Rudy Vey and Bob Quinn for their craftsmanship and technical abilities. These brushes may be a bunch of mutts, but they're certainly not dogs!

Thanks for reading my long-winded post, and please feel free to share your mongrel brushes!

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 08-20-2017, 04:36 PM
#2
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Thanks for taking the time to put together this great writeup.  I really enjoyed it.  It really is interesting how small and big changes affects our appreciation of things -- BTW, I'll take the Duke!  Smile

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 08-20-2017, 04:41 PM
#3
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That's awesome!

I have a couple mongrels as well. Glad to see I'm in good company. I'll have to take some pictures and share also. Inspiring. I especially appreciate that you gave each one plenty of time before making a change and ultimately taking action to enjoy your brushes rather than abandoning the knots and handles completely.

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 08-20-2017, 06:22 PM
#4
  • chazt
  • Super Moderator
  • Queens, NY
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(08-20-2017, 04:36 PM)wreck | fish Wrote: Thanks for taking the time to put together this great writeup.  I really enjoyed it.  It really is interesting how small and big changes affects our appreciation of things -- BTW, I'll take the Duke!  Smile

Tom the D3.1 is incredible. Sorry, but it's not available. Good try, though Wink

(08-20-2017, 04:41 PM)bakerbarber Wrote: That's awesome!

I have a couple mongrels as well. Glad to see I'm in good company. I'll have to take some pictures and share also. Inspiring. I especially appreciate that you gave each one plenty of time before making a change and ultimately taking action to enjoy your brushes rather than abandoning the knots and handles completely.

Thanks, Todd! I look forward to seeing your mongrels Smile

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 08-21-2017, 05:18 PM
#5
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Great write up and i love that the knot wasnt wasted.

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 08-21-2017, 07:01 PM
#6
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Excellent write up Charlie.  That Lotus type handle with a Chubby 2 knot looks great, and the Manchurian White knots are really top tier.

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 08-21-2017, 07:06 PM
#7
  • chazt
  • Super Moderator
  • Queens, NY
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(08-21-2017, 05:18 PM)thefat98 Wrote: Great write up and i love that the knot wasnt wasted.

(08-21-2017, 07:01 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: Excellent write up Charlie.  That Lotus type handle with a Chubby 2 knot looks great, and the Manchurian White knots are really top tier.

Thanks, guys. I enjoyed putting that together.

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 08-21-2017, 07:20 PM
#8
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Beautiful brush modifications! As a fan if Simpson brushes in general, I must say I feel a bit guilty saying the Shavemac knot looks stunning in the Duke handle. Enjoy!

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 08-21-2017, 07:49 PM
#9
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Here's my contribution.

A Simpsons Polo 8 originally in Best that has had an Elite Razors Manchurian fan knot for a few months now. I love the handle and the Best badger knot in it just wasn't the right balance of softness and backbone. It had the latter but not the former. Now it's just how I like it. At a little bit higher loft than I might have otherwise set it in another handle. It just works and I am really happy I didn't let apprehension of ruining a good brush stop me from having a great brush now.
25mm X 53mm.

A Triad handle with a Thater 2 band silvertip that just had to be set at a lower loft. 28mm X 53mm.

A Razorock Beehive that came with a gastly synthetic knot that now has a Maggard knot in bulb. 30mm X 56mm.

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These are all knot replacements. I won't call them restores necessarily since the original knots weren't really unusable. I have given them another lease on a useable life by putting different knots into them.

A Keyhole 3 with an Ace Shaving two band badger knot. The original Best badger knot was just a touch too small and high lofted to face lather with. This knot is a touch larger but also lower set and with similar density and flow through as the one it replaced. Another one I pondered over many times before ultimately redoing. I just love the Keyhole handle. I have three from Simpsons and a Paladin Sherlock. This one is a little softer and open feeling, but gets more use now than it ever did before the change.

A Col. Conk with a Frank Shaves finest flat top knot. It's not a Shavemac flat top but it's a good, scrubby, little punch of badger. With the handle being so similar to a mini Polo or perhaps a cousin of a Persian Jar, I really like that I can get some use out of it. With its original sparsely filled badger knot it had little chance of getting into my active rotation. Now it's a solid player.

Most recently the Envy Grosvenor. Yup a Grosvenor with a two band Envy White extreme knot. The original mixed badger and bristles knot got a fair shake to earn its keep. It was either a new knot or a trip out with the mailman in the next box of freebies. This is an excellent all around brush. Proof incarnate that bigger isn't always better. A solid 22mm knot with proud posture and velvet covered tops. I really like Envy White knots and this one reaffirms it to me each time I use it.

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And a wick group shot.

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 08-21-2017, 08:04 PM
#10
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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(08-21-2017, 07:20 PM)cessnabird Wrote: Beautiful brush modifications! As a fan if Simpson brushes in general, I must say I feel a bit guilty saying the Shavemac knot looks stunning in the Duke handle. Enjoy!

Thank you, I enjoy it frequently Biggrin

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 08-21-2017, 08:12 PM
#11
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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Todd, you must really dig the new found usability you're getting from the reknotted brushes. The PL8 must be a dream! And for sure the Conk and the RR beehive look like they're fun to use. I've never experienced a flat top kno - I'm guessing it's got an extreme fan feel. Thanks for sharing and for taking the time to photograph your brushes.

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 05-30-2021, 04:15 PM
#12
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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2:17 PM, May 22. The USPS takes possession of my much enjoyed Simpson Keyhole 3. There’s something about the handle’s ergonomics that for me even surpasses the visual appeal which by itself is homminahomminahomminaandayabbadabbadoozylicious Biggrin . The OEM Best knot on this particular brush was in all respects but one, outstanding. It had golden, soft tips with nary a hint of scritch. Backbone and flow through, just right. Great brush, right? Yep, you guessed it. Shedder of the first degree. I’d had the brush for six months or so when it started to shed. Used it on and off for another six or more months and finally gave up. It was sell it, PIF it, or reknot it. A#1, I don’t have the skill to reknot a brush, and I like it too much too see it go permanently, so instead I sent it off once again to Mr. R. Vey of South Plainfield, NJ. Rudy performed magic with the Duke, so I was confident the KH3 was in good hands.

12:31 PM, May 27. The USPS delivers a package to my front door.

[Image: rQeTzUA.jpg]

As with the D3, Rudy switched out the Simpson Best knot with a Shavemac 2 band knot. I have washed it once, let it dry, and used it once. The plan is to use it in a short rotation with a few new brushes for a month or so. Will follow up down the road. Here’s a few other pictures of the KH3 with it’s shelfmates.

[Image: ETFoH7t.jpg][Image: 9i1kEF1.jpg]

Shout out to Rudy Vey!

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 05-30-2021, 04:26 PM
#13
  • MaxP
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  • Des Moines, Iowa
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Congrats on the Keyhole reknot. From here it looks great. And indeed kudos to RV for his fine work

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 05-30-2021, 04:39 PM
#14
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That's a great knot upgrade to your Keyhole handle.

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 06-04-2021, 02:43 PM
#15
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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(05-30-2021, 04:26 PM)MaxP Wrote: Congrats on the Keyhole reknot.  From here it looks great.  And indeed kudos to RV for his fine work
Apologies for not following up sooner..
Thanks for the congrats, I’m quite pleased with it so far. It’ll be a few more shaves before it reaches it’s full potential. I’m looking forward to the process : )

(05-30-2021, 04:39 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: That's a great knot upgrade to your Keyhole handle.
Apologies for not following up sooner..
Thanks! Yep, so far so good. It’s not there yet.
So many brushes, only so many shaves!
Biggrin

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 06-05-2021, 06:17 AM
#16
  • ARGH
  • Senior Member
  • Boston, MA
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Thank you for starting this thread and awesome brushes everyone! Here is a couple of my favorite upgrade that I use most often:

Shavemac ebonite with an Odin’s Beard bulb from Viking Soaps
Simpson’s M6 with an Oumo Manchurian 
Simpson’s Milk churn with an Oumo Hooks
Rooney with an Odin’s Beard bulb from Viking Soaps (while replacing the knot I ended up removing the logo)

[Image: 41ic4XB.jpg][Image: KGauHjl.jpg][Image: UiOlLOM.jpg][Image: mtTStCB.jpg]

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 06-05-2021, 02:59 PM
#17
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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(06-05-2021, 06:17 AM)ARGH Wrote: Thank you for starting this thread and awesome brushes everyone! Here is a couple of my favorite upgrade that I use most often:

Shavemac ebonite with an Odin’s Beard bulb from Viking Soaps
Simpson’s M6 with an Oumo Manchurian 
Simpson’s Milk churn with an Oumo Hooks
Rooney with an Odin’s Beard bulb from Viking Soaps (while replacing the knot I ended up removing the logo)

[Image: 41ic4XB.jpg][Image: KGauHjl.jpg][Image: UiOlLOM.jpg][Image: mtTStCB.jpg]

Your Milk Churn is a seductress.

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 06-05-2021, 03:08 PM
#18
  • ARGH
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  • Boston, MA
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It indeed is. I got it in NOS condition, but the original knot was atrocious… Levi of Prometheus Handcrafts expertly removed the knot and enlarged the socket to fit one of my favorite Oumo knots.

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 06-05-2021, 03:13 PM
#19
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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(06-05-2021, 03:08 PM)ARGH Wrote: It indeed is. I got it in NOS condition, but the original knot was atrocious… Levi of Prometheus Handcrafts expertly removed the knot and enlarged the socket to fit one of my favorite Oumo knots.

The knot looks to be about as large as you can fit in the MC. How big did you go?

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 06-06-2021, 08:15 PM
#20
  • ARGH
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  • Boston, MA
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(06-05-2021, 03:13 PM)chazt Wrote:
(06-05-2021, 03:08 PM)ARGH Wrote: It indeed is. I got it in NOS condition, but the original knot was atrocious… Levi of Prometheus Handcrafts expertly removed the knot and enlarged the socket to fit one of my favorite Oumo knots.

The knot looks to be about as large as you can fit in the MC. How big did you go?

The knot is 24mm, the socket is ~25mm

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