08-30-2021, 10:22 AM
#1
  • Bax
  • Active Member
User Info
A travel brush was recently given to me that was pretty cool.  But it was in pretty nasty shape.  There was no way I could recondition or use the brush bristles, but I really liked the nickel plated brass container it was in.  I thought it would give my Dopp Kit a bit of panache and olde tyme class.  So I figured I'd try to replace the brush rather that try to restore the nasty one.  I have boar, badger, and horse hair  brushes, but have never used a synthetic brush, so figured I'd replace it with a synthetic.  As an added benefit, I figured a travel brush might be packed away wet once in a while, if there's a plane to catch, so synthetic would be better than natural bristles for a travel brush anyway.
    I had trouble getting the old brush out, but thanks to help from Mr. Dremel (with assistance from Mr. Leatherman), I was able to dig out all of the old brush and knot.  The knot was a mix of crusty, crumbly old glue, sticky goo, and hard-as-rock concrete.  The top of the brush handle that actually held the brush was actually crimped around the knot!  Good grief!  Without any crimping tools or measurable skill, I did what any self-respecting caveman would do... I mangled it getting the knot out.  I made such a mess of it that I used my Dremel tool to cut off the crimped top.  Finally I was able to clean it all out.  I had to re-shape it after all of my prying and digging, but the thin brass shaped pretty well with my ball peen hammer and a little chunk of a 2x4 as an anvil.  The knot was out and the base ready to accept a new knot.  Yay!
    Then I measured the hole with a digital electronic caliper.  The hole measured 22.96mm (or 0.904") in diameter.  It was about a fingernail-length deep (scientific measurement).  In order or the brush to fit inside the case when stored in the handle, it had to have a loft of no more than 5.5 inches or 7 inches from base of the knot to top of the loft.   I ordered a 22mm knot online.  The knot was less than 1mm too small in diameter, but I'd rather work with some free play rather than a knot that was too tight.  Then I had to impatiently wait for it to arrive ( I'm not a doctor, so am not comfortable with patients).
   Finally it arrived!   I plunked the knot in the base... and it sunk in too far!  The bristles abruptly splayed a lot wider than 22mm.  When I crammed the knot down in, the loft was squeezed - a lot.  I couldn't have that, because it'd pinch the knot together so tight that it'd be too stiff and perhaps unusable (certainly not soft and luxurious as I lather up my manly jaw).  I had to lift the knot up in the base a bit to make sure I got a good wide splay to the brush.  I put a spacer in the bottom that would lift the knot up out of the base a little bit.  I experimented with a few different thicknesses and settled on a 0.178" thick 12ga ALCAN Nitro Card (a shotgun shell spacer) underneath the knot, and it lifted the knot up just enough to give me a good looking brush.  Swell!  I added glue above and below the spacer, then slopped up the knot and crammed it into the base.  Then let it "set" and "cure" for 24 hours before use.  Here's a pic mashup:  
[Image: oBXLWYf.jpg]
     The 1st pic (at left) is a random one from the internet... not my brush... my brush was much nastier-looking.  Second pic is after I'd hauled out the old knot and cut off all of the twisted metal.  The third pic is the knot I bought online.  Last pic (at right) is the finished product.
     When I tried to stow it in the handle for travel, I realized that the spacer had raised the knot just a tiny bit TOO much!  When stowed inside the handle, a teeny-tiny bit of bristles stuck up outside the handle, which would get bent when I screwed the cap on!  Out came a mustache clipper (also handy for cutting out your ears to squeeze an extra week between haircuts), and trimmed off a little bit of the very tippety-top of the loft.  In the pic at right, you can hardly tell it's been trimmed, since I trimmed off just *barely* enough to fit perfectly in the handle for storage and travel.
     I used the brush for the first time this morning.  The brush was stiff for face-lathering and I didn't like it... but when I pushed on it a little bit harder, it spread out nicely to distribute the Proraso lather around my cute cheeks and masculine jaw.  "Ahh," thought I, " there's a little bit of a different technique required with a synthetic brush.  Got it!"  Then it worked fine.  The synthetic brush felt sort of different than what I'm used to, but I think it was a good choice for travel face-lathering.  It didn't give me the "luxury" feeling that a fat badger brush and hot lather provides, but for travel, I think this brush and a shaving soap stick will do the trick!  I plan to pair this up with a Tabac stick (or similar) and stick it in my Dopp kit.
   
   Mission Complete.

This was a fun, and relatively quick, project. 
As a side benefit, it let me add a synthetic brush to my collection. 
Yay!

  :-)
- Bax

0 328
Reply
 08-30-2021, 01:16 PM
#2
  • Chappy
  • Member
  • Oklahoma, OK, USA
User Info
Excellent job and looks great, Bax!  Clever you trimmed just a bit off the tips to fit in the tube.  I didn't even notice it until you said it.   Cheers

0 128
Reply
 08-30-2021, 01:25 PM
#3
  • chazt
  • Super Moderator
  • Queens, NY
User Info
Bax you did a fun project here. Thanks for sharing Smile

Do the fibers feel different where they’ve been trimmed? Scratchier perhaps?

19 5,463
Reply
 08-30-2021, 01:47 PM
#4
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
User Info
Nice looking restoration.  The one drawback of having travel brush in a metal container is that it is not ideal for flying if you want to have it in your carry-on bag, which I do.  Any time I’ve had one in my carry-on I’ve been pulled aside by the airport security screeners for examination of the contents of my bag.  Just an avoidable inconvenience.

9 1,203
Reply
 08-30-2021, 04:02 PM
#5
  • Bax
  • Active Member
User Info
Do the fibers feel different where they’ve been trimmed? Scratchier perhaps?
Gee I don't know. I'm too numb to know the difference I guess. I've never used synthetic before so I'm not sure what to expect. Not sure if the trimming impacted the brush feel or not!

- Bax

Oh, and good tip about the airlines Bryan! I hadn't thought of that!!!

0 328
Reply
 08-30-2021, 06:41 PM
#6
  • 2Chops
  • Senior Member
  • North Central PA
User Info
Well done Bax.  I did a brush restoration last year and I'm glad I did.  It was a fun process.  Now it's MINE.  As this one is now YOURS.  I have a few synthetics.  Two of them from PAA and I really like how they feel & perform.  Enjoy.

0 553
Reply
 08-31-2021, 04:41 AM
#7
  • RyznRio
  • Senior Member
  • Connecticut
User Info
For travel, I went with a Simpsons Trafalgar.  The synthetic Sovereign fibre T1 with a Simpsons travel tube. I also have a T3. Actually, the T3 has been the only brush I have been using at home in 2021. Badgers and Boars now make a nice display in the den but somehow the T3 (and T1 when travelling) are what I use when I shave. no more picking hair out of my soap or razor.

0 553
Reply
 08-31-2021, 07:15 AM
#8
  • Bax
  • Active Member
User Info
This morning I put together a kit like a classic olde timey gentleman might travel with. A GEM single-edge travel razor, the Better Brushes shaving brush, a stick of shaving soap, and a little travel-size bottle of aftershave balm.  This wasn't exactly like a 1940s gent might pack, but it was as close as I could come with the resources at hand. 
     The stick went on well, particularly where my whiskers were most wiry (chin and fu-manchu area), getting a lot of product on my face.  I soaked the brush under the faucet and gave it one "whip" into the sink to get out excess water, then went to work swirling the soap into a lather on my face.  The center so the brush seemed stiff and great for working the soap into a lather.  If I pushed on the brush a bit and splayed the bristles out, it seemed softer and swell for spreading the lather around my square, manly jaw and masculine (yet undeniably cute) cheeks.  Out came the "GEM Junior" razor to smoothly take down my whiskers in 2 passes, leaving behind a smooth, smiling face that only a mother could love.  It took me a while to get the hang of the GEM razors, but with practice, I guess I can use them OK now.  Although I usually get a much better shave with vintage Gillettes, I sure got a good shave with the GEM this morning!  I rinsed with cold water, then on went some Proraso after-shave balm.  Very nice.
[Image: 3fwDCkK.jpg]
This isn't my normal routine like I'd use at home.  Not even close.  This was my "if I was on a train trip across the country and shaving like a traveler in the 1940s" reconstruction.  Yes, shaving while making rumbling "clickety clack" noises was a challenge, and shaving under my nose while simulating the train whistle blast at RR crossings was dangerous for my upper lip, but  I managed to pull it off without a nick or cut.  I sort of had to shave between sound effects and in rhythm with the rocking of the imaginary train.  My beloved bride saw me in the bathroom shaving, then rolled her eyes and accused me of being an 8 year old.  I replied "Sorry, sweetie, 8 year olds don't shave." 

Who says shaving is no fun?
   :-)
- Bax

0 328
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)