10-12-2018, 04:50 AM
#21
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(10-12-2018, 04:25 AM)challer Wrote: What benefit do you think your getting from combing? Never done it myself and never had a problem.

The only reason we comb knots before shipping a brush is to get out as many loose hairs (that would otherwise shed in use) as possible.

But I can at least imagine a theory in support of combing for the sake of maintaining a knot in good condition. If you search, you can find photos of badger-hair knots that have hollowed out around the center. I think this can happen for at least a couple reasons, one primarily related to construction and the other to manner of use. I'd guess sometimes the two might operate in combination.

The use-related cause occurs when hairs in proximity to the center of a knot become twisted together, presumably from loading/lathering in circular motions. When that happens, the hairs can pull on each other, resulting in stress, weakening, and ultimately breakage. I'm sure pressure can also be a factor.

Many brush-makers (going back a long time) have recommended against using brushes in circular motion. It's hard, if not practically impossible, however, to avoid circular loading/lathering entirely. I try to mitigate whatever harm might otherwise result from long-term repetitive practice by changing between circular and painting motion, and also reversing directions. I don't know if that helps, but I've only ever had one knot hollow out at the center. It was in an M&F brush I'd bought second-hand, and I suspect it was already doomed when I got it.

Anyhow, I suppose very gently combing a knot to remove twists and tangles might help if they appeared to be developing in the course of use.

That said, I've never noticed a problem with tangles forming in my brushes, and I don't comb the ones I use.

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 10-12-2018, 04:50 AM
#22
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Largely it's done for horse hair brushes as they have the tendency to get entangled after use. Combing helps keep them in good shape.

people like to do different things in this hobby...cleaning razors, combing brushes, rearranging their shaving cabinets etc etc.


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 10-12-2018, 06:19 AM
#23
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(10-12-2018, 04:25 AM)challer Wrote: What benefit do you think your getting from combing? Never done it myself and never had a problem.

Ken nailed it with the hollowed out knot reference. When I first started this hobby I came across an article detailing the demise of a somerset chubby and told myself I will never let that happen to any of my nice brushes. Spent too much time and money tracking most of them down to let them fall into disrepair. 
That said I've never had any issues with any of my knots and have felt that it is probably an unnecessary habit for awhile. Ultimately one that doesn't hurt anything if done with care so I carried on as I did notice a few of my gel tip and well broken boar knots drying in clumps at the tips and felt it was probably not good for longevity of those knots. Brushing them solved that issue but brushing them wet will break the finer hairs so only dry brushing for those. The thicker shafts of manchurian and D01 hair did not have any issues while damp but I will no longer brush any damp brushes now just fully dry knots. Easy enough just reversing the order of the habit to the beginning of the shave before soaking the knot.

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 10-12-2018, 06:52 AM
#24
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(10-12-2018, 06:19 AM)w_mcnabb Wrote:
(10-12-2018, 04:25 AM)challer Wrote: What benefit do you think your getting from combing? Never done it myself and never had a problem.

Ken nailed it with the hollowed out knot reference. When I first started this hobby I came across an article detailing the demise of a somerset chubby and told myself I will never let that happen to any of my nice brushes. Spent too much time and money tracking most of them down to let them fall into disrepair. 
That said I've never had any issues with any of my knots and have felt that it is probably an unnecessary habit for awhile. Ultimately one that doesn't hurt anything if done with care so I carried on as I did notice a few of my gel tip and well broken boar knots drying in clumps at the tips and felt it was probably not good for longevity of those knots. Brushing them solved that issue but brushing them wet will break the finer hairs so only dry brushing for those. The thicker shafts of manchurian and D01 hair did not have any issues while damp but I will no longer brush any damp brushes now just fully dry knots. Easy enough just reversing the order of the habit to the beginning of the shave before soaking the knot.

I should clarify that when I said brushing the tops before drying, I meant just lightly over the top with my palm or against a towel, NOT with a brush. That I would not do for the reasons you stated.

A thing about badger hair is that is hydrophilic (as compared to boar bristles or horse hair). Bleaching also alters chemistry to some extent in a way that appears to increase adhesion (i.e., wet hair clumping with other wet hair). When wet hair dries in crunchy/brittle clumps, it's more highly at risk of being damaged (think of dried sand-castles), especially if the tips are hooking. So, as much as it might be fun to let knots dry in clumps, I don't. The best way I've found to remove them is to shake out the loose water and then brush (very lightly) the palm of my hand back-and forth over the tops (and/or do the same thing with a soft, cotton towel).

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 10-12-2018, 09:27 AM
#25
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Here's a photo of the combs we use to remove loose hair. These came from a producer in China, and I think they were probably made specifically for that application.

They can draw blood occasionally.

[Image: combs_zpsi5auol5f.jpg]

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