08-21-2019, 09:35 PM
#1
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The most expensive brush I have is a Semogue SOC 2 band finest badger and I really like this brush and it makes wonderful lathers. But I am wondering what qualities the more expensive brushes offer, apart from the beautiful handles and their materials, more expensive hair and the fact that there is more craftsmanship that goes into those brushes. Is there a huge difference in performance? To use a car analogy, is it just the case of the Semogue SOC 2 band being a fully loaded Honda accord, whereas say a Simpson Chubby Manchurian badger is an Audi A6. Would be really nice to have a Audi A6, but life would be perfectly great with a Honda accord and one may choose to spend their money on other things than an Audi A6.

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 08-21-2019, 09:46 PM
#2
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I am with you on this.

Semogue 2 Band is a fine brush for face lathering.

Have used and sold Paladin, Simpson etc and though I crave for some of those pretty looking brushes am largely satisfied with my Razorock 400 Synthetic, Proraso Boar, Semogue, Maseto brushes.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 08-21-2019, 09:47 PM
#3
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Funnily enough I just made a thread about my rotation... 

I got a high end, artisan made brush I wouldn't give up for the lift of me - soft, fluffy, lovely handle, handmade.. all the good stuff. Will last me a lifetime.

But I also got a supermarket brush in my rotation that I enjoy using, although the knot isn't nearly as dense, nor as soft, nor will it last more than a few years.

YMMV; a high end brush is often subjectively better (for certain definitions of "better"), but sometimes a Opel makes more sense than a Mercedes... and even a Trabant will get you to where you're going.

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 08-22-2019, 07:55 AM
#4
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Good point.  To some expensive may be a $50.00 brush.  To others not.  They may have a threshold of, say, $100.00, $200.00, etc.  It is subjective.  Along as you are pleased all is good.

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 08-22-2019, 10:02 AM
#5
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Here’s one way to look at it. Think of shave brushes like wine. You can certainly enjoy a $10 bottle, and many people do. A $20 bottle will likely be a bit more refined. For $40-50 the wine is better still. The $100+ wine will likely be even “better” if you’ve gotten to the point of appreciating the difference between a $20 bottle and a $50 bottle (for the record, I stopped experimenting at $125). Same thing with shave brushes. Yes, a SOC will make wonderful lather. You might enjoy a more expensive/deluxe brush more. Maybe, maybe not. But yeah, maybe.

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 08-22-2019, 10:21 AM
#6
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(08-22-2019, 10:02 AM)chazt Wrote: Here’s one way to look at it. Think of shave brushes like wine. You can certainly enjoy a $10 bottle, and many people do. A $20 bottle will likely be a bit more refined. For $40-50 the wine is better still. The $100+ wine will likely be even “better” if you’ve gotten to the point of appreciating the difference between a $20 bottle and a $50 bottle (for the record, I stopped experimenting at $125). Same thing with shave brushes. Yes, a SOC will make wonderful lather. You might enjoy a more expensive/deluxe brush more. Maybe, maybe not. But yeah, maybe.

+1

Or whiskey, or horses, or guitars....

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 08-22-2019, 11:24 AM
#7
  • RyznRio
  • Active Member
  • Connecticut
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If you buy top of the line brushes/razors/cars/guitars etc they tend not to decline much in value. some even appreciate. 

so if you spend $300 on a brush in 3 years of regular rotation used once a week and well maintained the value of the brush will be about $300. (minus the BST discount)

less expensive brushes after 3 years of regular use typically lose all their value.

me personally, I have not yet spent more than $15 on a brush.  I have 3 Omega, boar, synth and a very large synth and 2 $10 silver tip ebay specials. I bought one and then quickly ordered a backup. great brush and beautiful handle. the brush shed like crazy for a while but now is still very dense and stable. most gents would have trashed it for spoiling the soap. 

since it was my first brush I stayed the course and I am rewarded with great lather. there is bliss in ignorance. now that I am an "expert" the brush would have become a cat toy and I would be writing that I was duped by a chinese ebay charlatan and my own greed. 

generally, you get what you pay for so if you know what you want it is easy to find stuff that satisfies your needs.

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 08-22-2019, 12:24 PM
#8
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(08-22-2019, 10:02 AM)chazt Wrote: Here’s one way to look at it. Think of shave brushes like wine. You can certainly enjoy a $10 bottle, and many people do. A $20 bottle will likely be a bit more refined. For $40-50 the wine is better still. The $100+ wine will likely be even “better” if you’ve gotten to the point of appreciating the difference between a $20 bottle and a $50 bottle (for the record, I stopped experimenting at $125). Same thing with shave brushes. Yes, a SOC will make wonderful lather. You might enjoy a more expensive/deluxe brush more. Maybe, maybe not. But yeah, maybe.

I agree with you but I have two further observations to make:

1) The relationship between price and quality is not linear. This is certainly true for wine (where collectors raise prices of certain wines way above their quality level, i.e. there are $200 bottles out there who sell for $20,000), and actually for everything else I can think of. I'm not necessarily saying that people who blow $20K on a Romanée-Conti  are idiots, but they aren't merely paying for the wine. 
 
2) Logically there is a point where any object (shaving brush, bottle of wine, screwdriver, whatever) cannot be improved further, not in any meaningful way (i.e. it may get better in theory but no human can detect the difference anymore). At that point you could still make it more "desirable" by using exotic materials, fancy designs, fancy packaging etc and while this may increase the value of the brush, it won't make it any better. So are we talking about quality or value? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with spending money for aesthetic or emotional value, but the distinction matters.

/Steve

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 08-22-2019, 12:37 PM
#9
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(08-22-2019, 12:24 PM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 10:02 AM)chazt Wrote: Here’s one way to look at it. Think of shave brushes like wine. You can certainly enjoy a $10 bottle, and many people do. A $20 bottle will likely be a bit more refined. For $40-50 the wine is better still. The $100+ wine will likely be even “better” if you’ve gotten to the point of appreciating the difference between a $20 bottle and a $50 bottle (for the record, I stopped experimenting at $125). Same thing with shave brushes. Yes, a SOC will make wonderful lather. You might enjoy a more expensive/deluxe brush more. Maybe, maybe not. But yeah, maybe.

I agree with you but I have two further observations to make:

1) The relationship between price and quality is not linear. This is certainly true for wine (where collectors raise prices of certain wines way above their quality level, i.e. there are $200 bottles out there who sell for $20,000), and actually for everything else I can think of. I'm not necessarily saying that people who blow $20K on a Romanée-Conti  are idiots, but they aren't merely paying for the wine. 
 
2) Logically there is a point where any object (shaving brush, bottle of wine, screwdriver, whatever) cannot be improved further, not in any meaningful way (i.e. it may get better in theory but no human can detect the difference anymore). At that point you could still make it more "desirable" by using exotic materials, fancy designs, fancy packaging etc and while this may increase the value of the brush, it won't make it any better. So are we talking about quality or value? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with spending money for aesthetic or emotional value, but the distinction matters.

/Steve

My view is that no one is really in a position to tell anyone else what a brush is or ought to be worth to someone else. It comes down to individual experience, which can be influenced by a broad range of factors including aesthetics, signification, etc. 

The relationship between price and quality depends on how "quality" is defined and measured. That's not fixed.

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 08-22-2019, 12:55 PM
#10
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(08-22-2019, 12:37 PM)ChiefBroom Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 12:24 PM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 10:02 AM)chazt Wrote: Here’s one way to look at it. Think of shave brushes like wine. You can certainly enjoy a $10 bottle, and many people do. A $20 bottle will likely be a bit more refined. For $40-50 the wine is better still. The $100+ wine will likely be even “better” if you’ve gotten to the point of appreciating the difference between a $20 bottle and a $50 bottle (for the record, I stopped experimenting at $125). Same thing with shave brushes. Yes, a SOC will make wonderful lather. You might enjoy a more expensive/deluxe brush more. Maybe, maybe not. But yeah, maybe.

I agree with you but I have two further observations to make:

1) The relationship between price and quality is not linear. This is certainly true for wine (where collectors raise prices of certain wines way above their quality level, i.e. there are $200 bottles out there who sell for $20,000), and actually for everything else I can think of. I'm not necessarily saying that people who blow $20K on a Romanée-Conti  are idiots, but they aren't merely paying for the wine. 
 
2) Logically there is a point where any object (shaving brush, bottle of wine, screwdriver, whatever) cannot be improved further, not in any meaningful way (i.e. it may get better in theory but no human can detect the difference anymore). At that point you could still make it more "desirable" by using exotic materials, fancy designs, fancy packaging etc and while this may increase the value of the brush, it won't make it any better. So are we talking about quality or value? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with spending money for aesthetic or emotional value, but the distinction matters.

/Steve

My view is that no one is really in a position to tell anyone else what a brush is or ought to be worth to someone else. It comes down to individual experience, which can be influenced by a broad range of factors including aesthetics, signification, etc. 

The relationship between price and quality depends on how "quality" is defined and measured. That's not fixed.

That was exactly what my second point was about: 
"Quality" in a pragmatic sense can be defined as how competently it is performing its job and that is objectively measurable. It may not be practical to measure it, or even possible for the average user, but it can be done. This definition of quality is therefore "fixed". That's one thing. 
"Value" on the other hand is a matter of how the user feels about the object and that is not objectively measurable because it is inherently subjective. That's something else.
These need to be kept apart in any constructive discussion.

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 08-22-2019, 12:56 PM
#11
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(08-22-2019, 12:55 PM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 12:37 PM)ChiefBroom Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 12:24 PM)RazorSteve Wrote: I agree with you but I have two further observations to make:

1) The relationship between price and quality is not linear. This is certainly true for wine (where collectors raise prices of certain wines way above their quality level, i.e. there are $200 bottles out there who sell for $20,000), and actually for everything else I can think of. I'm not necessarily saying that people who blow $20K on a Romanée-Conti  are idiots, but they aren't merely paying for the wine. 
 
2) Logically there is a point where any object (shaving brush, bottle of wine, screwdriver, whatever) cannot be improved further, not in any meaningful way (i.e. it may get better in theory but no human can detect the difference anymore). At that point you could still make it more "desirable" by using exotic materials, fancy designs, fancy packaging etc and while this may increase the value of the brush, it won't make it any better. So are we talking about quality or value? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with spending money for aesthetic or emotional value, but the distinction matters.

/Steve

My view is that no one is really in a position to tell anyone else what a brush is or ought to be worth to someone else. It comes down to individual experience, which can be influenced by a broad range of factors including aesthetics, signification, etc. 

The relationship between price and quality depends on how "quality" is defined and measured. That's not fixed.

That was exactly what my second point was about: 
"Quality" in a pragmatic sense can be defined as how competently the object is performing its "job" and that is objectively measurable. It may not be practical to measure it, or even possible for the average user, but it can be done. This definition of quality is therefore "fixed". That's one thing. 
"Value" on the other hand is a matter of how the user feels about the object and that is not objectively measurable because it is inherently subjective. That's something else.
These need to be kept apart in any constructive discussion.

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 08-22-2019, 01:34 PM
#12
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(08-22-2019, 12:56 PM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 12:55 PM)RazorSteve Wrote: "Quality" in a pragmatic sense can be defined as how competently the object is performing its "job" and that is objectively measurable. It may not be practical to measure it, or even possible for the average user, but it can be done. This definition of quality is therefore "fixed". That's one thing. 
"Value" on the other hand is a matter of how the user feels about the object and that is not objectively measurable because it is inherently subjective. That's something else.
These need to be kept apart in any constructive discussion.

I respectfully disagree. Maybe "quality" can be defined as "how competently an object is performing its job", but that doesn't necessarily mean quality (defined as such) is objectively measurable. 

"Quality" can also be defined in other ways. I don't consider myself obliged to accept anyone else's definition with regard to shaving brushes, and I don't consider anyone else as being obliged to accept mine. 

And even if your definition of "quality" were universally accepted, it still begs the question of what it means for a brush to do its "job".

I used to apply shaving cream to my face with my fingers. That worked well enough for me at the time. I could get a plenty good shave that way. I kept my job. 

But shaving, while it remained just shaving, acquired heightened significance for me about eight years ago. And that elevated the job of a shaving brush. Beyond removal of whiskers, the job of a shaving brush for me is to maximize the mindfulness, pleasure, and satisfaction I derive from shaving. That's not measurable by anyone but me, and what serves achievement of those objectives best isn't constant. It can change from day to day, which is part of the fun as well as the challenge.

I agree that there are aspects of quality that are at least to some considerable extent objective. But for me there are also qualitative aspects that are highly subjective and therefor personal. No one else gets to decide for me what those are or how they are to be comparatively weighed in an overall assessment of quality.

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 08-22-2019, 02:47 PM
#13
  • Puma
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  • Central Jersey
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(08-22-2019, 01:34 PM)ChiefBroom Wrote: But shaving, while it remained just shaving, took on elevated significance for me. And that elevated the job of a shaving brush. Beyond removal of whiskers, the job of a shaving brush for me is to maximize the mindfulness, pleasure, and satisfaction I derive from shaving. That's not measurable by anyone but me, and what serves achievement of those criteria best isn't constant. It can change from day to day, which is part of the fun as well as the challenge.

+1 on this and very well said, Ken.

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 08-22-2019, 07:36 PM
#14
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Its the Law of Diminishing Returns. Andertons TV has a great video about it. It is related to guitars in the video but can apply to almost anything.

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 08-22-2019, 08:08 PM
#15
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(08-22-2019, 07:36 PM)RoKuLiKa Wrote: Its the Law of Diminishing Returns. Andertons TV has a great video about it. It is related to guitars in the video but can apply to almost anything.

Is it though? It’s not as if Ken has added 2-3x the labor force to produce the same brush and charge the same price - that would certainly be diminishing returns. Most often when I see ‘the law of diminishing returns’ used, folks are arguing perceived value. The four types of value listed below are taken directly from Wikipedia, because I can’t be bothered to reframe them - and they are well described as is:

Quote:Functional Value: This type of value is what an offer does, it's the solution an offer provides to the customer.

Monetary Value: This is where the function of the price paid is relative to an offerings perceived worth. This value invites a trade-off between other values and monetary costs.

Social Value: The extent to which owning a product or engaging in a service allows the consumer to connect with others.

Psychological Value: The extent to which a product allows consumers to express themselves or feel better.

I recognize shaving brushes as having all four types of value, but understand that to some - a brush may have only functional value.

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 08-27-2019, 01:57 PM
#16
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(08-22-2019, 01:34 PM)ChiefBroom Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 12:56 PM)RazorSteve Wrote:
(08-22-2019, 12:55 PM)RazorSteve Wrote: "Quality" in a pragmatic sense can be defined as how competently the object is performing its "job" and that is objectively measurable. It may not be practical to measure it, or even possible for the average user, but it can be done. This definition of quality is therefore "fixed". That's one thing. 
"Value" on the other hand is a matter of how the user feels about the object and that is not objectively measurable because it is inherently subjective. That's something else.
These need to be kept apart in any constructive discussion.

I respectfully disagree. Maybe "quality" can be defined as "how competently an object is performing its job", but that doesn't necessarily mean quality (defined as such) is objectively measurable. 

"Quality" can also be defined in other ways. I don't consider myself obliged to accept anyone else's definition with regard to shaving brushes, and I don't consider anyone else as being obliged to accept mine. 

And even if your definition of "quality" were universally accepted, it still begs the question of what it means for a brush to do its "job".

I used to apply shaving cream to my face with my fingers. That worked well enough for me at the time. I could get a plenty good shave that way. I kept my job. 

But shaving, while it remained just shaving, acquired heightened significance for me about eight years ago. And that elevated the job of a shaving brush. Beyond removal of whiskers, the job of a shaving brush for me is to maximize the mindfulness, pleasure, and satisfaction I derive from shaving. That's not measurable by anyone but me, and what serves achievement of those objectives best isn't constant. It can change from day to day, which is part of the fun as well as the challenge.

I agree that there are aspects of quality that are at least to some considerable extent objective. But for me there are also qualitative aspects that are highly subjective and therefor personal. No one else gets to decide for me what those are or how they are to be comparatively weighed in an overall assessment of quality.

Yes, but that's exactly what I defined as "value" above. In my view "quality" must be measurable and quantifiable (at least in theory if not always in practice) in order to be a useful concept. I feel like you are coming dangerously close to a kind of relativism which I reject on both philosophical and practical grounds (where you end up with definitions so personal and subjective that they don't mean anything at all).

I touched upon something similar in another thread where I protested the idea that an object which falls apart under normal use can be considered "top quality" by any rational definition. 

But we can agree to disagree Smile

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 08-27-2019, 02:37 PM
#17
  • Puma
  • Senior Member
  • Central Jersey
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BST has been a wonderful thing for me and I have also won some really nice gear. If not for those things I would have never experienced my Everset (Varlet) brush or Wolfman razors. The Everset K2 is definitely better than some other brushes that I have that cost just a little bit less. However, it doesn't always work out that way. I have never heard someone say that their Wiborg is the best brush they have used, but it is probably the most expensive. I had this experience with Wolfman razors. They are incredibly beautiful and they shave great, but there are others that I prefer and they all cost a little less.

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 08-27-2019, 05:14 PM
#18
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It all depends what you value more.  Some people spend on cars, others food, vacations etc. If you are really into wet shaving, a high end brush can be very nice and worth the price for you.  IMHO, if you every try a Paladin or a Brad Sears/Morris Forndran, it might make it harder to enjoy lower end brushes.

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 08-27-2019, 05:53 PM
#19
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(08-27-2019, 01:57 PM)RazorSteve Wrote: I touched upon something similar in another thread where I protested the idea that an object which falls apart under normal use can be considered "top quality" by any rational definition. 

Let’s not conflate quality with reliability.

Reliability has sometimes been classified as "how quality changes over time." The difference between quality and reliability is that quality shows how well an object performs its proper function, while reliability shows how well this object maintains its original level of quality over time, through various conditions.

From: https://asq.org/quality-resources/reliability

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 08-28-2019, 08:16 AM
#20
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(08-27-2019, 01:57 PM)RazorSteve Wrote: Yes, but that's exactly what I defined as "value" above. In my view "quality" must be measurable and quantifiable (at least in theory if not always in practice) in order to be a useful concept. I feel like you are coming dangerously close to a kind of relativism which I reject on both philosophical and practical grounds (where you end up with definitions so personal and subjective that they don't mean anything at all).

I touched upon something similar in another thread where I protested the idea that an object which falls apart under normal use can be considered "top quality" by any rational definition. 

But we can agree to disagree Smile

And my point is that your insistence that "quality" must be measurable is perfectly fine for you to adhere to, but it isn't binding on anyone else.

We're talking about how a term might reasonably be used by different people. The fact I use it in the way I described should not be taken to imply I've fallen into broad relativism. We're discussing usage of a term, not the nature of objective reality.

How would you measure the quality of fine whiskey, or a work of abstract art, or a Zen koan, or the scent of a woman? Of course, you could do a survey. But that would just gather personal and subjective opinions. Not everything that matters can be measured. Meaningful discussion of quality doesn't necessarily require quantified measurement. Common understanding of terms does. And I'm just saying I think your definition of "quality" is unduly restrictive.

Why do you suppose there is so much discussion of quantitative vs. qualitative research/data?

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