07-27-2020, 02:15 PM
#1
User Info
Hi Everyone,

Its me again with another post based on my own curiosity about badger brushes.    

Background:  Back when I started wet-shaving in 2013,  there was a general consensus that the badger hair ranking was something like this:  

Pure > Best > 2-Band > 3 Band Silvertip

So naturally, anyone that was into wet-shaving at that time was thriving to get at least one of those infamous 3-band silvertip badgers, as their High ticket item. (most common at the time were Simpsons, Savile Row, Thater, etc).  Reviewers at the time praised the super-soft bristles, water/heat retention,  lack of scrub and luxury feeling in the face.

Fast-forward to the present, it seems the badger hair ranking have reversed between 2-band and 3 band silvertip and now the updated ranking is as follows:

Pure > Best > Silvertip > 2-Band

Of course, there can always be exceptions to the trend, but now in the majority of the cases, a 2-band knot will command a higher price than a 3-band silvertip knot/brush.  You can see these differences in wet shaving stores all through the web.

Personal preferences aside, does this indicate we were all wrong back then thinking 3-band made for a superior hair grade?  

Why did it take so long for the market to recognize this?


I'm no expert but based on my limited experience with 3-band silvertip knots (2 from Savile Row, 1 from AOS), is that after 5-6 years, all 3 knots are unusable, they literally are softer/floppier than a mop, having no chance of lathering any soap or to create a decent lather. Just be even getting them wet for 5 secs, they seem to disintegrate into a mop-like structure (of course this could also be specific to the brands I had, not necessarily to all 3-band silvertip).   Important to note that none of those 3 brushes were what we would call "dense".

So in overall, I would agree with the current market assessment that 2-band hair should be the most coveted for most brushes.  They have much better backbone, which i believe will big factor in increasing the longevity of these brushes down the road (also aided by the fact that now the trend is to super high density/bigger knots, which will prevent them from becoming floppy I can assume).


Big question is,  should we expect better longevity with these High Density, Bigger knots on 2-Band hair vs the traditionally smaller/much less dense 3-band hair?   

My guess is a Possible yes, but would love to see all of your opinions!

0 68
Reply
 07-27-2020, 02:33 PM
#2
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
User Info
You’re sure to get many replies.

An amazing 3 band knot kicks a so-so 3 band’s ass every day of the week. An amazing 2 band knot kicks a so-so 2 band’s ass every day of the week. Apples and oranges, imo.

In my experience the 2 band knots more often than not seem to have had their tips treated, whereas the 3 band knots don’t seem so. That might explain what you’re perceiving as a  softer face feel. 2 band hair shafts are generally thicker than 3 band hair. That might explain your preference for backbone. Perhaps if you’re finding 3 band knots floppy, look into a Chubby. My perception is that CH2 and CH3 feel “softer” than a CH1. Anecdotal observation (haven’t measured - no caliper) suggests the relative lofts seem taller on the 2 and 3. While my CH1 has zero scritch, it is a scrub machine! One other point re Simpson knots. A top quality Best knot can be just as wonderful as a less than stellar Super knot.

It’s fun trying different brushes. Like guitars, no two brushes are exactly alike.

19 4,411
Reply
 07-27-2020, 04:19 PM
#3
User Info
(07-27-2020, 02:33 PM)chazt Wrote: You’re sure to get many replies.

An amazing 3 band knot kicks a so-so 3 band’s ass every day of the week. An amazing 2 band knot kicks a so-so 2 band’s ass every day of the week. Apples and oranges, imo.

In my experience the 2 band knots more often than not seem to have had their tips treated, whereas the 3 band knots don’t seem so. That might explain what you’re perceiving as a  softer face feel. 2 band hair shafts are generally thicker than 3 band hair. That might explain your preference for backbone. Perhaps if you’re finding 3 band knots floppy, look into a Chubby. My perception is that CH2 and CH3 feel “softer” than a CH1. Anecdotal observation (haven’t measured - no caliper) suggests the relative lofts seem taller on the 2 and 3. While my CH1 has zero scritch, it is a scrub machine! One other point re Simpson knots. A top quality Best knot can be just as wonderful as a less than stellar Super knot.

It’s fun trying different brushes. Like guitars, no two brushes are exactly alike.

I think you made an excellent point here!  I had a Chubby 2 Super (3-band silvertip) and it was 100% different than the Savile Rows Silvertips.  The Chubby 2 super was super dense, with good backbone and I would assume the longevity on that brush would be similar to one of the current 2-bands in the market.  In a way is like Simpsons was ahead of its time with the CHubby and its super dense/biggers knots.  (the only reason i sold it was due to its lather-hogness, which I now believe was my lack of experience with that type fo brush at that time)

0 68
Reply
 07-27-2020, 08:08 PM
#4
User Info
The most backbone I ever felt was from a 3-band silvertip Shavemac and my softest brushes are Saponificio Varesino 2-bands - so we ought not make generalizations about backbone based on 2-band/3-band. Have a look at this thread, where knot setting is discussed in terms of shape and backbone: http://shavenook.com/showthread.php?tid=61352

Also consider hair thickness (some Manchurian knots feature thicker strands) as well as knot density - both of which affect backbone, particularly when coupled with how a knot is set.

36 2,137
Reply
 08-09-2020, 05:44 AM
#5
User Info
I’ve taken some time to think about this. Upon returning to forums, I’ve had a similar observation about the shift that’s occurred since I started this hobby. I started in 2006, relatively early for a lot of us, and as I’ve gotten back up to speed here I think I may have some ideas. This might read like an essay, but it’s just my opinion. 

Preface: I’m not sure the perceived value has changed that much. Rooney Finest Badger brushes were always their high-end line in the 2006-2010 era. I seem to remember some other manufacturers pricing their 2-band above others at that time, but I can’t remember specific examples.

However, you were talking mostly about public perception. I do agree that here in the forums most people are valuing 2-band more than back in the day. I think there are a few reasons, mostly driven by the manufacturers:

1. Treated 2-band tips: I firmly (ha) believe that all modern 2-bands are chasing the standard set by Rooney Finest brushes of that brief period. Max or near-max backbone combined with soft tips is not something that 2-band brushes all had back then. If you wanted soft tips or a soft feel, you were pretty much looking at Silvertip/Super Badger. The introduction of more bleached/treated tips has led to more aesthetically-pleasing 2-bands, but also a softening of the tips that puts them into a more popular range. What’s more, they’re so much more readily available that it really could just be a supply-side force. 

2. Soap popularity: I’m less confident about this, but it really seems like soap usage is more common these days. There’s been a wonderful rise of competent soap artisans that have really added to the variety of high-end products. I feel as if there were more people using creams 10 years ago. If more people were using creams, backbone was less essential for getting things going. I know that when I started, I mostly used creams, bowel lathered and used floppier brushes. As I shifted to more face lathering, I moved to brushes with more backbone without even noticing it. I know that @mike_the_kraken makes a good point above about not over-generalizing, but I don’t think it’s over-stating things to say that 2-bands generally have more backbone then their 3-band equivalents. 

3. Arrival point?: You ask “Why did it take so long for the market to recognize this?” I’m not sure we’ve reached any point of epiphany. Currently, 2-bands dominate the scene perception-wise, but styles go in and out and things might swing the other way again. I recently put together some brushes for the first time in years, and while most of them were 2-band (that’s where the action is!), I made a 3-band. It’s so great, just in a different way! For all of our friends here who have large collections of razors, blades, soaps, creams and brushes for variety, a 3-band almost seems essential because of the added dimension it brings. 

What does everyone think?

0 17
Reply
 08-09-2020, 06:17 AM
#6
User Info
(08-09-2020, 05:44 AM)LostinCincy Wrote: I’ve taken some time to think about this. Upon returning to forums, I’ve had a similar observation about the shift that’s occurred since I started this hobby. I started in 2006, relatively early for a lot of us, and as I’ve gotten back up to speed here I think I may have some ideas. This might read like an essay, but it’s just my opinion. 

Preface: I’m not sure the perceived value has changed that much. Rooney Finest Badger brushes were always their high-end line in the 2006-2010 era. I seem to remember some other manufacturers pricing their 2-band above others at that time, but I can’t remember specific examples.

However, you were talking mostly about public perception. I do agree that here in the forums most people are valuing 2-band more than back in the day. I think there are a few reasons, mostly driven by the manufacturers:

1. Treated 2-band tips: I firmly (ha) believe that all modern 2-bands are chasing the standard set by Rooney Finest brushes of that brief period. Max or near-max backbone combined with soft tips is not something that 2-band brushes all had back then. If you wanted soft tips or a soft feel, you were pretty much looking at Silvertip/Super Badger. The introduction of more bleached/treated tips has led to more aesthetically-pleasing 2-bands, but also a softening of the tips that puts them into a more popular range. What’s more, they’re so much more readily available that it really could just be a supply-side force. 

2. Soap popularity: I’m less confident about this, but it really seems like soap usage is more common these days. There’s been a wonderful rise of competent soap artisans that have really added to the variety of high-end products. I feel as if there were more people using creams 10 years ago. If more people were using creams, backbone was less essential for getting things going. I know that when I started, I mostly used creams, bowel lathered and used floppier brushes. As I shifted to more face lathering, I moved to brushes with more backbone without even noticing it. I know that @mike_the_kraken makes a good point above about not over-generalizing, but I don’t think it’s over-stating things to say that 2-bands generally have more backbone then their 3-band equivalents. 

3. Arrival point?: You ask “Why did it take so long for the market to recognize this?” I’m not sure we’ve reached any point of epiphany. Currently, 2-bands dominate the scene perception-wise, but styles go in and out and things might swing the other way again. I recently put together some brushes for the first time in years, and while most of them were 2-band (that’s where the action is!), I made a 3-band. It’s so great, just in a different way! For all of our friends here who have large collections of razors, blades, soaps, creams and brushes for variety, a 3-band almost seems essential because of the added dimension it brings. 

What does everyone think?

Amazing post.  appreciate this input a lot!!! thanks sir.

0 68
Reply
 08-09-2020, 06:41 PM
#7
User Info
Great read. I’m waiting for the day that SHD knots are a thing of the past haha. Most seem to be extreme lather hogs that you must squeeze the lather out of. Reminds me of using a sponge kinda.

1 38
Reply
 08-09-2020, 07:48 PM
#8
User Info
(08-09-2020, 06:41 PM)Whisker_whacker Wrote: Great read. I’m waiting for the day that SHD knots are a thing of the past haha. Most seem to be extreme lather hogs that you must squeeze the lather out of. Reminds me of using a sponge kinda.

Not if you know how to load the brush Wink

36 2,137
Reply
 08-09-2020, 07:56 PM
#9
User Info
(08-09-2020, 06:41 PM)Whisker_whacker Wrote: Great read. I’m waiting for the day that SHD knots are a thing of the past haha. Most seem to be extreme lather hogs that you must squeeze the lather out of. Reminds me of using a sponge kinda.

I think there are a lot of SHD knots today that don’t require squeezing lather out, but I get where you’re coming from. I remember when the first Rooney Heritage brushes came out. I promptly bought a Stubby 1 (I think). It was so dense and unusable that I laughed out loud. I now wonder if I would like it today, because my own habits have changed. I’ll never know, but it really turned me off from dense, and even just larger, knots for a long time.

0 17
Reply
 08-09-2020, 10:05 PM
#10
User Info
(08-09-2020, 06:41 PM)Whisker_whacker Wrote: Great read. I’m waiting for the day that SHD knots are a thing of the past haha. Most seem to be extreme lather hogs that you must squeeze the lather out of. Reminds me of using a sponge kinda.


I find boars to be more lather hogs than XD badgers. I normally use about 1 to 2 grams of soap depending on the soap and how soft it is. Things like Tabac way less.


Greetings from Santa Rosa, CA

0 421
Reply
 08-10-2020, 12:23 AM
#11
User Info
(08-09-2020, 06:41 PM)Whisker_whacker Wrote: Great read. I’m waiting for the day that SHD knots are a thing of the past haha. Most seem to be extreme lather hogs that you must squeeze the lather out of. Reminds me of using a sponge kinda.

Wholeheartedly agree with you there. I cannot stand them, feels like I'm lathering with carpet.

4 349
Reply
 08-10-2020, 09:18 AM
#12
  • u2u
  • Senior Member
  • GTA
User Info
During 2013 I was at the height of building my brush collection. My recollection doesn't match that of the OP. 
Two band was better regarded and harder to source than 3 band silver tip. Simpson was on a drive to sell their Manchurian brushes yet many of their fans fawned over the elusive two band. You had to be on top of your game to get a two band and you paid a premium. 
Seven years later and I will still pick a two band over three 90% of the time. Truth be told if I am using three band it is just to exercise my collection. 
Perhaps I was ahead of the game for a change but I think not. The senior forum members of the day steered me well.
My money says floppy brushes will be shorter lived compared to brushes with more backbone if all else is equal. They have to be worked harder to build a lather and apply it. The hairs are bent to a greater degree more often so they must be subjected to more fatigue per shave and that could result in failure. Accordingly I use only creams with floppies and any soap, hard or soft, with firmer brushes.

0 703
Reply
 08-10-2020, 09:53 AM
#13
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
User Info
Bring the avatar back!
Biggrin

19 4,411
Reply
 08-10-2020, 12:25 PM
#14
User Info
(08-10-2020, 09:53 AM)chazt Wrote: Bring the avatar back!
Biggrin

I'll consider it  Biggrin

4 349
Reply
 08-18-2020, 12:13 PM
#15
User Info
Glad to read this. I’m swapping out my modern wet shaving stuff for all vintage guff. Since my fortunes have changed since I got into wet shaving back in 2012 I’m also on a quest for holy grails -ie a British Aristocrat Gen 3, and really nice restored brushes with awesome knots. 
I need four brushes/set (well... want...). One for home daily, one at my fiancé’s, Small one for travel (I’m retired vet and disabled so I just haul off and check bags, so as not to degrade to dreaded cartridge razors with a carry on...) and last, one for the camper (don’t judge). 

Why the sea story? 1. I have a retired Coast Guard Sea Story card Cool  but 2. I recently bought a restored Ever-ready brush to start the brush set. While I love the handle (150B) I’m irritated at the quality of the replacement badger knot. Scritchy! So back to the ‘bay on my vintage quest and any resto that has a decent knot replacement is $80-100 and up.

So I figured I could purchase a bench grinder with buffing wheel and get out the Dremmel and start buying exactly the handle I want for $10-15 and replace the knots myself and buff out the handles. The knots out there really confuse me and I have to side with the OP, it did seem like 2 bands were the holy grail back when I started. Now there’s no band, 2, and 3 band, gel knots (of differing bands/no bands) and high mountain or Manchurian knots. Add to that peeps want wadded up high density knots and I have to also agree they are sponges - I have one and I hate it. Soft as all get out, but good for lathering your face, dog, and whoever else wants to shave. Takes days to rinse it out...

0 12
Reply
 08-19-2020, 06:03 AM
#16
User Info
Sorry for the long reply... does anyone know where I can source discounted yet decent said 2 bands?

0 12
Reply
 08-19-2020, 03:54 PM
#17
User Info
(08-19-2020, 06:03 AM)ChiefX Wrote: Sorry for the long reply... does anyone know where I can source discounted yet decent said 2 bands?

It depends what “discounted” means, but I’ve been very impressed with the Maggards SHD knots recently. Frankly, though, I made a 2-Band brush for a friend out of a Golden NIB Finest knot, and he was over the moon. No reason to get a “bad” knot to save 10-15 dollars here or there.

0 17
Reply
 08-19-2020, 08:43 PM
#18
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
DISCLAIMER:  Those who know me best know that I speak and write ironocally more than half the time that I speak or write at all, and may regard me as being overly facetious.  

O.k., this post is not facetious, though I expect that some may regard it as such.  

Well into my eighth decade (beyond the halfway point of completing it), I have had time in the past four or five years to complete home improvement projects that were put off or aborted mid-project over the previous four decades or so.  As a practical matter, that involves a lot of painting.  Over the previous decades, I have treated paint brushes as throwaways, with the time and effort it would consume to clean the brush at the end of a bout of painting regarded as worth more  than the price of a replacement throwaway brush whenever the next painting project may arise.  

In my de facto though not de jure retirement, I have been more intentional and perfectionist in my painting projects, and I have undertaken the research (there is a surprising — to some, probably — amount of empirical data available for such research) to find what brushes on the market are best for specific types of paints and for specific surfaces to which the paint should be applied.  (To save you the trouble of asking me, natural bristle brushes are generally preferable to synthetic fiber brushes for "oil" or alkyd- based paints, and synthetic bristle brushes are generally preferable to natural bristle brushes for "latex" or water-borne paints; and, between the two dominant brush brands in the United States, Wooster has an edge over Purdy.  But do not overlook Proform or Corona, two brands which have very fervent devotees.)  

Now, there is no direct correlation between a paint brush and a shave brush that you can apply to making a shave brush purchase; I never would use either a Purdy or a Wooster paint brush to apply shave soap or cream lather to my face.  But from reading, evaluating, and considering the opinions held in fora like painttalk.com and other sites of the ilk, where painting contractors, whose very livelihood depends on the brushes in their hands, engage in passionate discussions about the pros and cons of specific brushes for certain painting applications, I, for one, have learned how to evaluate the relative merits of two different shaving brushes.   At the very least, it should provide you with additional vocabulary and criteria.

Whether those discussions will help you depends, I suppose, upon your openness to new ideas and your diligence to absorb the data.

1 1,453
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)