04-17-2019, 12:56 PM
#1
  • Crag
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I read a Facebook post where Mark at Simpson stated they may have to retire the Manchurian line since controls and harsher export laws are making acquisition of High Mountain White Manchurian very hard to come by.  What are you thoughts?  Is this really the end of the Manchurian line?

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 04-17-2019, 01:17 PM
#2
  • nikos.a
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My thoughts are... an excuse for even higher prices.

What is a Manchurian Badger anyway? Are there such special species?

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 04-17-2019, 01:28 PM
#3
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(04-17-2019, 01:17 PM)nikos.a Wrote: My thoughts are... an excuse for even higher prices.

What is a Manchurian Badger anyway? Are there such special species?


Agreed! It's BS, badger hair of any grade has never been easier or cheaper to obtain.

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 04-17-2019, 01:39 PM
#4
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(04-17-2019, 01:28 PM)Rohleder Wrote:
(04-17-2019, 01:17 PM)nikos.a Wrote: My thoughts are... an excuse for even higher prices.

What is a Manchurian Badger anyway? Are there such special species?


Agreed! It's BS, badger hair of any grade has never been easier or cheaper to obtain.

Source? I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I've not heard that claim before.

Technically speaking, Manchuria is a specific region in northern China. It could well be that it's getting harder to source badger hair from that area for some reason.

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 04-17-2019, 01:54 PM
#5
  • RyznRio
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It could be a clever ruse by Simpson to start a run on Manchurian Badger.  (i seriously doubt it) 

I have heard of honey badgers but as far as I can tell Manchuria is a region in north east mainland China

does any other brush maker call a high grade of badger Manchurian?

if harsh customs laws make it impossible to source badger from China (i seriously doubt it) 

then it will be the end of badger brushes of any kind other than Chinese badger brushes.

it could be a clever way to gain control a very small but devoted market for badger brushes

Because badgers are a protected species in North America and most of Europe, virtually all commercial badger hair comes from mainland China, which supplies knots of hair in various grades to brush makers in both China and Europe.

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 04-17-2019, 02:08 PM
#6
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[quote pid='915607' dateline='1555538074']
RyznRio...does any other brush maker call a high grade of badger Manchurian?
[/quote]

This is what Gary Young (Alexander Simpson's Great Nephew) had to say on the matter:

Quote:As for Manchurian/High Mountain White, these are my thoughts on that...

High Mountain White & Manchurian.
Sometimes called other names as well- Genuine White, Upland White, etc. These are generally limited edition brushes with magical powers and inflated price tags. In actuality, these are mostly two band brushes with different colouration than the other brushes that particular manufacturer sells. Marketing and hype are these brush's main features. How the knot is formed and the density of the hair mostly determine the face feel of a badger knot, not the coloring of the hair.

A "true" High Mountain White or Manchurian badger brush will be made from a small section of hairs on the neck of the European Badger (Meles Meles). However many brushes marketed as "High Mountain brushes" come from the pelt of a hog badger, rather than the more common European badger. Hog badger hairs are about 1.5 times thicker than European badger hairs, giving them a bit more backbone. Does it make a difference in the quality? Nope. It shouldn't make a difference in price either, as the knots are sourced from China, and the cost is about the same as their silvertip counterparts. True High Mountain White hair is more expensive, due to the small area of pelt it can be collected from.

The Origin of the "Manchurian" name.

When Charles Roberts first offered these brushes, that were made exclusively for Enchante (as they were, at the time, one of the highest volume Simpson retail outlets in N. America ) they were labeled 'Extra Super'. However, Charles was trumpeting that this was extra special rare badger bristle that came out of the colder climate of Manchuria. On the old forums some of us started to refer to them as 'Manchurians' and CR quickly took the nudge and told David Carter he wanted subsequent specimens to be actually labeled that way; 'Manchurian badger'.

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 04-17-2019, 02:09 PM
#7
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There is much more availability of badger to consumers, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier for Simpson to get the grade they are use. There are MANY more companies making badger brushes, maybe that is part of what is making it harder for them to get the grade they use.

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 04-17-2019, 02:39 PM
#8
  • nikos.a
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No way they use hairs from native Manchurian badgers... There is not such thing.

Marketing ploy.

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 04-17-2019, 02:50 PM
#9
  • MaxP
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(04-17-2019, 02:39 PM)nikos.a Wrote: No way they use hairs from native Manchurian badgers... There is not such thing.

Marketing ploy.

There is so little integrity on the part of many organizations that it is difficult to trust.

I AM NOT suggesting this sentiment applies or doesn't apply to Simpsons.  I'm just expressing a skeptical point of view.

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 04-17-2019, 03:05 PM
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(04-17-2019, 01:28 PM)Rohleder Wrote:
(04-17-2019, 01:17 PM)nikos.a Wrote: My thoughts are... an excuse for even higher prices.

What is a Manchurian Badger anyway? Are there such special species?


Agreed! It's BS, badger hair of any grade has never been easier or cheaper to obtain.

That's actually not true. We're paying over 2.5-3 times the prices we did in late 2015-16, and we're braced for that trend to continue. It might be getting easier for buyers of individual knots, but obtaining truly high grades of well-dressed hair in quantities (e.g., over 100 knots) is getting harder. 

My understanding is that demand for lower grades has fallen off based on a combination of factors. The less demand there is, the less hair is produced. And the quantity of high grade hair that's available is a direct function of the quantity of lower grade production.

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 04-17-2019, 03:16 PM
#11
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(04-17-2019, 02:39 PM)nikos.a Wrote: No way they use hairs from native Manchurian badgers... There is not such thing.

Marketing ploy.

Yes, there is no "Manchurian Badger" genotype.

There is a so-called Manchurian Badger grade of hair, but IMO it only has meaning with reference to a particular source. Simpsons Manchurian Badger might have started out as a clever marketing concept (like "It's Toasted!"), but it developed to be meaningful notwithstanding the fact Simpsons Manchurian Badger has not been narrowly homogeneous over the years. But I think that's the nature of badger hair in general. Discussion of the difference between Simpsons Manchurian Badger hair from 2011 vs. 2012 or 2013 was interesting (at least to some) and useful. There was a somewhat settled frame of reference, not unlike that which existed in relation to early Rooney Finest hair.

Beyond Simpsons usage, "Manchurian Badger" has no meaning to me whatsoever; it's just emotive noise.

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 04-17-2019, 11:45 PM
#12
  • nikos.a
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(04-17-2019, 03:16 PM)ChiefBroom Wrote:
(04-17-2019, 02:39 PM)nikos.a Wrote: No way they use hairs from native Manchurian badgers... There is not such thing.

Marketing ploy.

Yes, there is no "Manchurian Badger" genotype.

There is a so-called Manchurian Badger grade of hair, but IMO it only has meaning with reference to a particular source. Simpsons Manchurian Badger might have started out as a clever marketing concept (like "It's Toasted!"), but it developed to be meaningful notwithstanding the fact Simpsons Manchurian Badger has not been narrowly homogeneous over the years. But I think that's the nature of badger hair in general. Discussion of the difference between Simpsons Manchurian Badger hair from 2011 vs. 2012 or 2013 was interesting (at least to some) and useful. There was a somewhat settled frame of reference, not unlike that which existed in relation to early Rooney Finest hair.

Beyond Simpsons usage, "Manchurian Badger" has no meaning to me whatsoever; it's just emotive noise.
Thanks for the info.

I even google it a while ago, but I didn't find such a thing. That's why it didn't make sense to me when I saw that he has difficulties sourcing this specific hair type.

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 04-18-2019, 01:38 AM
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(04-17-2019, 03:05 PM)ChiefBroom Wrote:
(04-17-2019, 01:28 PM)Rohleder Wrote:
(04-17-2019, 01:17 PM)nikos.a Wrote: My thoughts are... an excuse for even higher prices.

What is a Manchurian Badger anyway? Are there such special species?


Agreed! It's BS, badger hair of any grade has never been easier or cheaper to obtain.

That's actually not true. We're paying over 2.5-3 times the prices we did in late 2015-16, and we're braced for that trend to continue. It might be getting easier for buyers of individual knots, but obtaining truly high grades of well-dressed hair in quantities (e.g., over 100 knots) is getting harder. 

My understanding is that demand for lower grades has fallen off based on a combination of factors. The less demand there is, the less hair is produced. And the quantity of high grade hair that's available is a direct function of the quantity of lower grade production.


I bow to your greater knowledge on the subject Chief. I can only form an opinion as someone wishing to purchase badger hair directly from China and obviously don't know the ins and outs of the brush industry... It's been my recent experience that high quality knots have never been cheaper or easier to obtain for me as an individual, no doubt it's different for a business. I would put the lower demand for the lesser grades down to the rise of synthetic brushes which have all but slaughtered the budget badger brush market... Nobody wants to suffer a "pure" or even "best" grade when a better alternative is available for the same or often cheaper price.

With regard to Simpson, I've purchased 7 of their brushes in the past 6 months and all have been terrible. Shedding issues, large glue bumps, lots of inverted hairs, knots falling apart after one use, and on top of all that the hair grades seem to have severely degraded... All brushes purchased were sold as (and stamped on the handles) "Best Badger" yet the hair grade was a shadow of its former self, I bought the same or similar models from Simpsons years ago and the best grade was always virtually indistinguishable from silvertip but this latest batch were far closer to pure. I think they would be well served to follow your lead and only sell high end brushes, the cheaper stuff they knock out is so bad at this point that it only serves to damage the brand.

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 04-18-2019, 01:50 AM
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I hope this thread does not turn into a "Let's Bash Simpson" extravaganza. 

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 04-18-2019, 02:43 AM
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(04-18-2019, 01:50 AM)primotenore Wrote: I hope this thread does not turn into a "Let's Bash Simpson" extravaganza. 


Absolutely, Joseph. 

Mark informed me of this position, a month ago.
I've bought many of the various brush brands over the years and sold them all, bar two. None has met the Simpson Manchurian characteristics that I look for in my brushes. As someone who needs no persuading in buying this grade (and I own a few), I fail to see what Mark would have had to gain in telling me, unless it was fact.

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 04-18-2019, 07:34 AM
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This article raises some interesting questions about what might be driving prices:  https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/...-trade-war

- Increasing demand
- Trade policies
- Animal rights issues
- Hunting restrictions
- Farm raising or catching them in the wild

Viscerally, I think actually the last one might be the most significant with the context of the first reason.  My experience with North American badgers in the hunting and trapping world makes me think I would rather randomly stick my arm in up to the elbow in a wood chipper than deal with inherent hostility of badgers.  They smell terrible and are simply unadulterated mean disposition with four legs, sharp teeth, and big claws.  Admittedly, my knowledge of badger husbandry is limited, but its practical implications may have an impact on the hair market.

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 04-18-2019, 10:23 AM
#17
  • Crag
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[quote pid='915603' dateline='1555537145']

Source? I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I've not heard that claim before.

Technically speaking, Manchuria is a specific region in northern China. It could well be that it's getting harder to source badger hair from that area for some reason.
[/quote]


As I said in my OP, the source is Mark at Simpson in a recent post on the Simpsons Shave Brush Facebook page.

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 04-18-2019, 10:35 AM
#18
  • Crag
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(04-18-2019, 01:50 AM)primotenore Wrote: I hope this thread does not turn into a "Let's Bash Simpson" extravaganza. 

(04-18-2019, 02:43 AM)Optometrist Wrote:
(04-18-2019, 01:50 AM)primotenore Wrote: I hope this thread does not turn into a "Let's Bash Simpson" extravaganza. 


Absolutely, Joseph. 

Mark informed me of this position, a month ago.
I've bought many of the various brush brands over the years and sold them all, bar two. None has met the Simpson Manchurian characteristics that I look for in my brushes. As someone who needs no persuading in buying this grade (and I own a few), I fail to see what Mark would have had to gain in telling me, unless it was fact.


Exactly.  I have 5 Simpson brushes, and except for one Somerset era brush, have never had any issues with any of them, and none from the current owners has had any issues.  I have an Emperor 2 Somerset that sheds 3 hairs for every shave, but even at that rate, and using it for several years, I have felt no difference in the quality of the knot whatsoever.  My only angst is the hairs getting stuck in the lather on my face, so let's not turn my OP into a Simpson bashing thread please.

The topic is the virtual end of Simpson Manchurian branded hair quality, and thoughts of happiness or remorse at that.

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 04-18-2019, 10:38 AM
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(04-18-2019, 10:23 AM)Crag Wrote: [quote pid='915603' dateline='1555537145']

Source? I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I've not heard that claim before.

Technically speaking, Manchuria is a specific region in northern China. It could well be that it's getting harder to source badger hair from that area for some reason.


As I said in my OP, the source is Mark at Simpson in a recent post on the Simpsons Shave Brush Facebook page.
[/quote]

I wasn't questioning you Matt, since you stated your source (as you stated again), but rather Rohleder and his claim that badger hair has never been easier or cheaper to obtain.

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 04-18-2019, 01:37 PM
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This brings to my mind the demise of the Rooney Finest brushes maybe 10 years ago by now. Lee Sabini stated back then that he could no longer access the quality of badger hair to continue the Finest line, and he introduced the Heritage line. I had the opportunity to speak with him via email a couple of years ago and I inquired about the possibility of a M&F brush with Finest quality hair ... no way he could get it he said. 

As to Simpson and Manchurian knots, I've had an older Somerset made Manchurian and I used to say it would take the chrome off of a trailer hitch. I love scritch in a brush, but that Chubby 2 was too much of a good thing, and I sold it. I've got a couple of Somerset Super two bands that are wonderfully scritchy, and a few Isle of Man Manchurians that are great, but not scritchy. A different knot than the Somerset stuff. 

So all I'm saying, and I'm no expert, is that I don't doubt Simpson's word in claiming that they may not be able to access the same quality of hair. Lee Sabini said that years ago, still says it, and it wasn't a ploy to raise prices. My two cents. ;;-)

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