04-14-2020, 12:15 PM
#1
  • BSWoodturning
  • Co-Owner, Brad Sears ShaveWorks
  • Maryland Eastern Shore
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[Image: CpBXebW.jpg]

For the past year or so, Lee Sabini and I have been talking about the badger hair he was able to secure while he owned Rooney -- especially the Finest and "Heritage" hairs remembered so fondly by the "old timers" among us.  

About three months ago, Mr. Sabini was able to reconnect with the suppliers who provided the distinctive Finest and Heritage hairs to Rooney.  These fellows, in turn, claimed to be able to obtain more of the same.  (I'll stop for a moment because this begs the question about why these suppliers fell off the map.  Short answer:  I don't know and, given where we are right now, I don't know that I care.)  Anyway, Mr. Sabini ordered two trial batches of hair for which we turned several bi-colour 2XL handles for testing and advertising purposes.  One batch of hair turned out to be a non-starter and is supposedly being replaced, but the other, used to fill the Antique Ivory/Tortoiseshell 2XL (shown below), is IMO quite amazing. 

I've been using (testing?) this brush over the past three weeks and found this hair quite unlike any I've ever used.  How does it compare to the Heritage hair from 10 years ago?  In that I'll defer to Mr. Sabini because the only Heritage brush I own is a smaller 3-band.  Subjectively, I find the knot to be very dense, with a firm yet flexible backbone that provides excellent "scrub" that is by no means harsh, and soft, non-scritchy, tips.  I had asked Mr. Sabini to craft this knot in his "hybrid" shape, so a Fan would necessarily have somewhat less backbone while a Bulb a bit more.  (For the record, this is a 28mm brush with ~52mm of loft.)  It's also worth noting that this batch of hair came through somewhat shorter than anticipated; so, for this trial batch at least, Mr. Sabini recommends it be used in shorter-handled brushes like the 2XL and Pug.


So what's next?


[Image: dZSvlu8.jpg]

  • First, we want to do some more testing and perform further comparisons (basically to be sure the new brushes are well broken-in so as to ensure "apples-to-apples" comparisons) before we make a definitive statement; however experience to this point suggests that this hair seems (operative word!) very close to the 2-band Heritage hair of days past.  (3-band hair is not currently contemplated.)  Badger hair, as most of us know, can vary from lot to lot.  Even so, we want to very careful to stay within reasonable parameters.  
  • In profile, this hair is both thinner and has less taper than the current Finest and Blonde hairs.  (Mr. Sabini tells me its profile is closer to a 3-band than the typical 2-band.)  This allows more hair to be packed into a given space, yielding a dense knot, yet with flexible backbone. (By that I mean this is not (IMO) a hard "Wall-of-Badger" knot.)  
  • The tips are soft with no "scritch" that either of us (Mr. Sabini or I) could detect.  Mr. Sabini commented that he's impressed with a "silkiness" (his word) he finds in this hair.
  • Bottom line:  IF it's agreed that this hair is comparable to the 2-band Heritage hair, it will likely be advertised as such; otherwise, we will give it a different name for obvious reasons.  Either way, Mr. Sabini and I agree that this is a very nice hair. 
  • Knot style:  As mentioned previously, this trial batch of hair came through shorter than expected.  For that and other (technical) reasons, Mr. Sabini wants to (a) limit the shape to his hybrid profile, as shown in the brush displayed previously, and (b) keep the loft between 50 and 52mm.  He also believes these knots might work best in shorter-handled brushes.
  • So which handles are we planning to offer?  That's still under discussion.  Because we believe this hair, by whatever name, to be unique, we plan to offer it in limited premium handle styles.  We're still talking about which ones.  The point is:  since this is distinctive hair, we believe it deserves distinctive handles.  In short, we want the entire "package" to be unique, and readily identifiable.  That means two -- or at most three -- patterns.  (I have my own thoughts, but I'm not ready to talk about them yet.  All I will say for now is that they will be (a) unique and (b) classically styled in the Rooney/Morris & Forndran mold.)
  • How many brushes will be available?  Right now, Mr. Sabini tells me has enough of this hair to make 30-35, 28mm brushes.  That number will comprise the first flight.
  • Will we offer different resin choices?  Yes.  Patron's choice.
  • When do we plan to start offering them?  I hope (subject to all the variables mentioned above, plus a few more) that we will be able to open-up ordering by the end of this week.  
  • What about pricing?  Pricing will be a modest premium, probably in the 10% range.
Final question:  what about the "Finest" hair mentioned before?  Unknown.  As I mentioned previously, the trial batch of hair intended to replicate the old Rooney Finest didn't measure up.  Mr. Sabini tells me the replacement batch might still be on a truck somewhere in China.  Time will tell.

Before closing, I do want to thank everyone for your interest and patience.  I also want to give a shout-out to the men who reached out with offers to help with testing and evaluation.  Your interest is very much appreciated!

I will be back as soon as we have more to share.

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 04-14-2020, 06:37 PM
#2
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The hair looks like the 2-band heritage after the initial release. I'm not sure when it was, but I noted a marked visual difference about a year later I think it was in the hair. I didn't have any at the time, but later brushes I got didn't have as extreme of gel tips, or dry as much to a crunchy texture, but between the two I would probably say the second type is the better, so if it is close to that, that is indeed a good thing!

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 04-15-2020, 05:38 AM
#3
  • BSWoodturning
  • Co-Owner, Brad Sears ShaveWorks
  • Maryland Eastern Shore
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(04-14-2020, 06:37 PM)kooshman7 Wrote: The hair looks like the 2-band heritage after the initial release. I'm not sure when it was, but I noted a marked visual difference about a year later I think it was in the hair. I didn't have any at the time, but later brushes I got didn't have as extreme of gel tips, or dry as much to a crunchy texture, but between the two I would probably say the second type is the better, so if it is close to that, that is indeed a good thing!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joe.  This hair has what Lee calls a silky, as opposed to gel, feel.  It's not surprising then that it doesn't dry to a crunchy texture.  I want to reconnect with Lee before saying more.  In the interim, I can say we plan to create (hopefully!) three handles to be filled with this hair.  The Bi-Colour 2XL is a definite.  The second is planned to be a multi-piece L7 of a type I don't believe has been made before.  Fitting everything together should be interesting, but if everything works, it should be a quite nice handle.  The third is a variant on the TH pattern (shown below in Ebonite) but done up in resin.  The TH pattern is one we are told Rooney designed and made for Truefitt and Hill some years ago.  To that, we've added a contrasting band sitting just below the ring -- the idea for which came from what I believe was a custom(?) Simpson brush posted on this forum a few months back.  The TH has a become a personal favorite as the handle seems to fit my admittedly large hand quite naturally.  My plan is to turn samples of those handles today.  (We'll see Smile . )

[Image: Bt25WiD.jpg]


On behalf of Nancy, Lee, and myself, I want to express our sincerest hope that this finds you well and safe with your family.  We hope you are able to focus on what is truly important and are able to rest in the knowledge that this crisis will end.  Please know that we are humbled by your support and sincerely appreciate you, our friends, patrons, and guests for being part of our circle during this difficult time.  

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 04-15-2020, 01:17 PM
#4
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The TH pattern is quite nice! I believe you are right on it being like a Simpson model posted here months back. I recall one like that. Butterscotch with a red band I believe it was. It didn't even occur to me that band was added in on the first reading and took a moment for that to sink in. That is quite the feat as often there can be problems with seaming two materials. I thought it was somehow solid and wondering how that happened like that!

Edit: Found it http://shavenook.com/showthread.php?tid=59585&pid=937488#pid937488

It was actually a Red Simpson with a butterscotch band. Odd how the memory goes sometimes. I remembered the red quite distinctly, but didn't think it was almost the entire brush going by memory. Back 11/15/19.

[Image: 0bQponp.jpg]

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 04-15-2020, 05:04 PM
#5
  • BSWoodturning
  • Co-Owner, Brad Sears ShaveWorks
  • Maryland Eastern Shore
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Great find, Joe!  Frankly, I couldn't remember the exact colors either -- just the fact that the accent band fell below the ring.  My hat's off to the fellow came up with the idea.  Brilliant -- as "simple" ideas often are.


And you're right:  the idea is to make everything appear seamless to the unaided eye.  Basic joinery is fairly straightforward.  In fact, an intermediate level turner should be able to master simple joints (in the Simpson example, where the butterscotch band butts up against the ring) in an hour or two with proper instruction.  (Mastering a joint that forms part of curve takes a little longer  Smile .)  Either way, it all comes down to understanding the technique, the material, and the adhesive(s); also paying attention, accepting the learning curve, and recognizing human frailty -- by that I mean:  you WILL mess up (hopefully not very often; but I do keep a "Rogues Gallery" of my more spectacular mistakes  Blush ).


Take care and stay healthy!

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 04-15-2020, 05:44 PM
#6
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One man's mistake can be another man's treasure sometimes! I recently acquired a brush that was obvious to see why it was a second, but it was just too unique in how the material presented itself turned that I couldn't say no to it and in no way consider it any less. Over time I've learnt to be more accepting of those imperfections. 

I hope you take care too, and to stay healthy as well!

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