11-24-2017, 01:28 PM
#1
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
User Info
I am a hunter of shaving brushes and I am hunting for eight years by now.


Originally I was looking for that one brush that rules them all, the Holy Grail Brush - my Precious!

Until I realized there are several brushes that I must possess.

I started too late for some of the great brushes of all times to get them first hand (Rooney Finest). Others, I indulged in and got as many as I could - Simpson 2 Band (the famed 2011-13 batches). Some I got hold of later…. 

There are some brushes that are truly so unique that they will always be amongst the greatest of them all: Rooney Finest / Heritage of old, Simpson “Super” 2 Band, Vintage Plisson HMW (80s and earlier). As of late there has been an inflation of brushes from all kinds of sources. Most of these will be forgotten soon, while others may become members of the Hall of Fame of shaving brushes one day.

Here are three that belong in that Hall of Fame. They are “unobtainium” (unless through BST and auction sites) and they are truly terrific.

For me these three are the Essential Rooney of all times:

Rooney Finest Style 1/Size  2 (23/57mm)
Rooney Heritage 3 Band Stubby 3 (24/50mm)
Rooney Heritage 2 Band 2XL (27/48mm) “Gel Batch"

Each of them unique in their own way, simply fabulous.

[Image: CSF0MTX.jpg]


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[Image: ydciDls.jpg][Image: UQEtWl9.jpg]

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 11-24-2017, 01:54 PM
#2
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[Image: a6L0S0z.jpg]

Rooney appreciation thread! These brushes are the senior citizens of my collection and the point of reference. All the new kids on the block always get compared to these old timers Smile

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 11-24-2017, 02:08 PM
#3
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
User Info
(11-24-2017, 01:54 PM)happydaze Wrote: [Image: a6L0S0z.jpg]

Rooney appreciation thread! These brushes are the senior citizens of my collection and the point of reference. All the new kids on the block always get compared to these old timers Smile

Excellent collection!!!!

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 11-24-2017, 02:41 PM
#4
  • BSWoodturning
  • Co-Owner, Brad Sears ShaveWorks
  • Maryland Eastern Shore
User Info
very nice! Biggrin

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 11-24-2017, 04:45 PM
#5
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Nothing today compares to the old Rooney’s , I have been very fortunate to own all of these grades. I do regret selling them as they are truly irreplaceable and it did indeed take me about 7 years to finally get a style 1 finest.

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 11-24-2017, 06:01 PM
#6
  • Gabe
  • Senior Member
  • Arizona
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Very nice collections gentlemen.

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 11-24-2017, 07:49 PM
#7
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German that 2XL really speaks to me...beautiful brushes.

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 11-24-2017, 07:58 PM
#8
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Wonderful brushes, German. These have always been grail brushes for me as well. I was only able to buy one of these new from Vintage blades in 2013, the Highlander (middle row, 3rd brush). Shave's seem to be extra special when any of these brushes are used. 

[Image: bZVUukI.jpg]
Rooney Original Heritage 3-band on top, Heritage 2-band in the middle, and Finest below. The 2-band 2XL is from the Gel Tip batch, and possibly the Stubby 2 single-ring as well.  The other 2-bands came from later batches, but are still wonderful brushes. I may even like the hair better on those brushes vs the Gel Tips, since the tips have more texture. And speaking of texture, the Finest's are about as good as it gets in that regard.

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 11-25-2017, 06:06 AM
#9
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
User Info
(11-24-2017, 07:58 PM)shevek Wrote: Wonderful brushes, German. These have always been grail brushes for me as well. I was only able to buy one of these new from Vintage blades in 2013, the Highlander (middle row, 3rd brush). Shave's seem to be extra special when any of these brushes are used. 

[Image: bZVUukI.jpg]
Rooney Original Heritage 3-band on top, Heritage 2-band in the middle, and Finest below. The 2-band 2XL is from the Gel Tip batch, and possibly the Stubby 2 single-ring as well.  The other 2-bands came from later batches, but are still wonderful brushes. I may even like the hair better on those brushes vs the Gel Tips, since the tips have more texture. And speaking of texture, the Finest's are about as good as it gets in that regard.

Wonderful collection of Rooneys!!! I agree with your observation on the "gel batch". I owned quite a few 2 band Heritage brushes of later batches before they vanished completely. The later ones, however, did no longer possess soft tips and become harsher to use. Eventually, I turned to Lee and asked him to make me a Stubby 3 with 2 band hair as soft as the old Heritage line and he cam though with the Stubby pictured below that is indeed worthy the original Rooney claims. Sadly, many of the latest M&F/BSSW also show pretty rough hair, likely a reason why so many are being sold on BST.


[Image: XCIx3iV.jpg]

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 11-25-2017, 07:45 AM
#10
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just wonderful seeing all these beauties.  I have followed Germans lead through my own hunt.  Chasing a spectacular brush is my favorite hobby.  Appreciating the shave just validates the effort.

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 11-25-2017, 05:25 PM
#11
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So I have to ask...are the great brushes of the world equal parts craft/skill and serendipity when it comes to the knot?  Since many are favored for the vintage of the hairs used, it makes me wonder.  A knot can be well refined and thoughtfully made -- hairs sorted, placed, tied, glued, set appropriately -- but the opportunity for greatness comes from that special hair that comes along?  And did makers cultivate the sources of those special hairs?  And where are those badgers and their offspring that made those special hairs? 

You guys are much more experienced with these brushes, so wondering if you have any thoughts on this...and hopefully this adds to the discussion instead of being a distraction.

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 11-25-2017, 08:43 PM
#12
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(11-25-2017, 05:25 PM)wreck | fish Wrote: So I have to ask...are the great brushes of the world equal parts craft/skill and serendipity when it comes to the knot?  Since many are favored for the vintage of the hairs used, it makes me wonder.  A knot can be well refined and thoughtfully made -- hairs sorted, placed, tied, glued, set appropriately -- but the opportunity for greatness comes from that special hair that comes along?  And did makers cultivate the sources of those special hairs?  And where are those badgers and their offspring that made those special hairs? 

You guys are much more experienced with these brushes, so wondering if you have any thoughts on this...and hopefully this adds to the discussion instead of being a distraction.

Excellent question. Have wondered what he same thing myself.

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 11-25-2017, 10:52 PM
#13
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Looking at those Rooney's I have to lament on the fine Rooney brushes I had and sold. *sigh*

Most of what I have now are the aftermath Rooney brushes that just don't display that same niceness that 3-band heritage had. I was never a fan of the 2-band, but I do regret selling a first run Stubby 1 I had. Lil' Chub Dub Stub as I liked to call him. Even the Morris & Forndran hair for blonde used to be a good approximation for Finest for a time when it was first introduced, and I got rid of that too. Now it's nothing like the Rooney brushes of yore I had. Not all are bad mind you. Practicality wise the Rooney Beehive 2 and Emillion 2 I have now are much more practical, but the Rooney Emillion 2 I had in faux horn and the Ebony 3/1 Finest were truly special, and to me deserving of a status outside the typical grading scale.

I think you're closer to what it is for what makes a great brush Tom. There are moments when a truly special batch comes along, but from what I've felt of vintage brushes, even the lower graded hair is typically a grade above what there is today, but you can find great batches of hair to this day. I mean look at Rooney. They came back from being defunct, and to me the 3-band Heritage and Finest were truly extraordinary, and these were all done in a very short period time in the 2000-2010's. Semogue has impressed me with their LEs and specials that they made, and I've never been disappointed with it being a step above what they ordinarily produce. There are several more, but to me Rooney is a shining example that brushes of yore were indeed yes special, but not to worry, brushes just as special, and even more special in cases, as those made decades ago can be made, have been made, and will continue to be made so long as individuals want to purchase them.

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 11-25-2017, 11:22 PM
#14
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
User Info
Here's my only vintage Rooney: in bristle, date uncertain, possibly 1940s??  It has an older decal, hard to see, but more detailed than newer versions. The back of the celluloid handle says either B56 (I think) and other now faded and obscure lamp-black. I have not been able to find any information about this particular brush. 

[Image: eTNPs5r.jpg]
[Image: IxosUHx.jpg]
[Image: O2fUrcQ.jpg]

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 11-25-2017, 11:46 PM
#15
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Gents, what modern brushes feel most similar?

What about their feel makes them pleasurable to use?

I've got and have had many brushes. No Rooney or M&F. I did buy a new M&F colab brush that didn't work out for me. Too rough without sufficient loft with a sizable glue bump. It likely would have been hearty in time and lost some of it's roughness. I didn't feel like it would be better than the current stiff and scrubby brushes I currently had and invested into with time and effort and money. Some of my favorite brushes are likely ones others wouldn't favor. I'm cognizant of that. 

I'm curious to know what attributes or balance of characteristics come together in these particular Rooney's though. I suspect that they are beyond my proverbial grasp but I would like to understand the draw they have.

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 11-26-2017, 02:23 AM
#16
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(11-24-2017, 01:54 PM)happydaze Wrote: [Image: a6L0S0z.jpg]

Rooney appreciation thread! These brushes are the senior citizens of my collection and the point of reference. All the new kids on the block always get compared to these old timers Smile


Wow Nick ,  lovely extradense chubby 2008 year  Biggrin

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 11-26-2017, 02:28 AM
#17
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Stunning Collections guys  Clap

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 11-26-2017, 05:07 AM
#18
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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I have a Rooney 2/1 Finest I purchased 8 years ago. It's been a very nice brush, but my greatest disappointment too: the centre of the knot has started to hollow out. Fortunately this does not affect the performance of the brush adversely, but I had not expected it to happen. On the other hand, I purchased a Simpson Polo8 Super 2-band silvertip on spec. several years ago, and it is one of my favourite brushes. In fact, it is my favourite 2-band; I much prefer it to my shavemac, Thater and VP Leonhardy 2-bands

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 11-26-2017, 06:26 AM
#19
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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@ Tom & Peter

There is no doubt for me that the key brush makers have their specific hair suppliers and if they do not sort themselves they will have sorted to their specification.

Rooney Finest strikes me as "unicorn" hair in terms of feel, length of tips and coloring (this amber hue...). Nobody has been able to reproduce these attributes. The Simpson 2 Band from 2011-13 was from one specific supplier - Mark admitted so when commenting once that the inconsistency of earlier 2 band hair was driven by different suppliers and they had moved to one. But also that batch of hair is gone for good.

Of course there are variations badger by badger, year by year, but sorting the best hair also plays a big role.

These days everybody is selling badger knots and artisans source them from "their" suppliers in China. A lot of that is "dressed up" mediocre hair with heavy chemical treatment to make it "soft" and "white". I prefer the lesser treated variants of old - but nobody truly knows what all has been done to that hair but the supplier.

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 11-26-2017, 08:44 AM
#20
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Very interesting stuff, thanks for your comments German.  I think a few items have just made it onto my list to watch for.  Appreciate it.

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