10-10-2012, 03:33 PM
#1
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Article originally posted on A Sharper Razor - Straight Razor Shaving Blog

Kent, makers of the world's finest brushes, or so they claim. The title of England's best brushes is certainly disagreed with by Vulfix/Simpson I'm sure. Anyway, they do still have that royal warrant. Regardless of their standing in the brush making world, they certainly do make fine brushes. The BK8 and BK4 are no exception.

The BK8 is a good size brush. Significantly larger than the BK4. It is a much better all around brush in this author's opinion.

Brush Specs:
  • Height: 108 mm
  • Loft: 58 mm
  • Knot: 24 mm
  • Weight: 72 grams

Initial Thoughts


This brush is gorgeous. Kent brushes look and feel amazing. No doubts about that. However, many a wet shaver on the forums declares both the BK4 and BK8 to be too floppy. This is due to the large loft. The BK4 has a 55mm loft and a 22mm knot and the BK8 has a 58mm loft. This makes both brushes on the floppy side. Simply amazing for bowl latherers, but hardcore face latherers seem to find something to be desired when face lathering with those brushes.


Density/Flow


You can rest assured that if you purchase a Kent BK8, you will be greeted with a very well packed brush. Kent does not skimp on the hairs. This brush is on the dense side of the scale. Which is necessary because this brush has a relatively high loft. Not as high as say a Parker brush, but high, nonetheless. Kent has perhaps the highest lofts of any of the major brush brands.



The flow through is excellent. Even though the brush is very dense, it is not a lather hog. This is due to the very good loft to density ratio.

Construction/Design


This brush is quite simply of excellent design. The handles of Kent's past were certainly better, but you would be hard pressed to find a more elegant handle design. This handle is made of regular resin and was injection molded. This does not detract from the utility, but it does feel lighter in the hand than older models. The printing remains excellent. It hasn't rubbed off after many uses.



The knot does have a noticeable glue bump, but most of it is sunk into the handle. Actually, if it was more prominent, the high loft wouldn't be an issue at all.

Performance/Softness


Kent is known as having some of the softest hairs in the business. This hair is certainly top tier. Ranks right up there with Simpson Super, Vulfix Silvertip, & Shavemac D01. No bleaching is evident on these hairs. The black band is prominent and the hairs are extra long due to the high loft. If I were to describe what it is like shaving with this brush it would be "shaving with a cloud."



The high loft discourages most or some hardcore face latherers from using this brush. However, the loft belies the density and efficacy of shaving with this beauty. It is true that the loft is relatively high, however, that does not hold back this brush. The loft does mean it takes a little longer to load the brush using hard soaps. You really have to swirl the outer edge of the brush in the soap to get it really loaded. This is because the hairs flex quite a bit. It's not like loading with a Chubby. As such, using a cream is a good idea.

In terms of the face lathering experience, the brush performs admirably, but is not the same as shaving with a shorter lofted brush. Nonetheless, the brush works exceptionally well if you use primarily paintbrush strokes. Circular strokes will build up the lather, but the paintbrush strokes will lay it on thick for you. If you bowl lather, this brush is every wet shaver's luxurious dream.

Final Thoughts


This brush is a gorgeous example of one of the finest and most luxurious brushes available on the market. While it does not live up to its former glory, the price is not bad for what you get. The brush is simply pure luxury if you bowl lather. If you face lather, it is equally luxurious. The only downside for hardcore face latherers is the lack of scrub. But that is the tradeoff for shaving with a cloud.

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 10-10-2012, 03:37 PM
#2
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Lee , that was another great review of yours.Thanks a lot , my friend.

I had an old BK8 , which was purchased back in 2002 , and it was exactly what you have described , but the hair wasnt that white on the tips.Yes, I truly enjoy its handle , which is another classical one.

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 10-10-2012, 08:21 PM
#3
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Thanks for the review, Lee.

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 10-11-2012, 12:29 AM
#4
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I cannot argue with this review. At one time I owned a BK8 and BK12. Feels like a cloud is a good description, as well as being floppy. However, I have always wanted to try a BK4. Maybe someday I will get the chance.

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 10-11-2012, 12:44 AM
#5
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My own Kent BK8 is not used that often, but when it is this rewards me with a beautiful bowl lathering shave. I would describe it using paint strokes as being " kissed by an Angel "

Nice to own, but as you say a bit to floppy.

Charles U.K

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 10-12-2012, 02:34 AM
#6
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I had a BK 4. It was not very soft - stands no comparison to Thäter or shavemac- and was really floppy..,. I gave it away...

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 10-12-2012, 07:02 AM
#7
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(10-12-2012, 02:34 AM)German Wrote: I had a BK 4. It was not very soft - stands no comparison to Thäter or shavemac- and was really floppy..,. I gave it away...

I needed that- thanks for the laugh, German. I know how you love your 2-bands. The BK 4 never had a chance Smile

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 10-12-2012, 07:43 AM
#8
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I had a BK8 early on, sold it and then bought a BK12. The BK12 was just too big - the enormous bloom covered the entire side of my face, so I sold it and bought another BK8 which I am very happy with.

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 10-12-2012, 10:29 AM
#9
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I just picked up a Kent B&B LE 2008.., from all I have heard this is a real good face latherer with very soft tips. So I will give Kent another shot.., Wink
(10-12-2012, 07:02 AM)Kooze Wrote:
(10-12-2012, 02:34 AM)German Wrote: I had a BK 4. It was not very soft - stands no comparison to Thäter or shavemac- and was really floppy..,. I gave it away...

I needed that- thanks for the laugh, German. I know how you love your 2-bands. The BK 4 never had a chance Smile

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 10-12-2012, 11:37 AM
#10
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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(10-12-2012, 10:29 AM)German Wrote: I just picked up a Kent B&B LE 2008.., from all I have heard this is a real good face latherer with very soft tips. So I will give Kent another shot.., Wink
(10-12-2012, 07:02 AM)Kooze Wrote:
(10-12-2012, 02:34 AM)German Wrote: I had a BK 4. It was not very soft - stands no comparison to Thäter or shavemac- and was really floppy..,. I gave it away...

I needed that- thanks for the laugh, German. I know how you love your 2-bands. The BK 4 never had a chance Smile

That one its gonna be different than the BK4 or the BK8 , due to the shorter loft and the extra hair.

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 10-13-2012, 10:32 AM
#11
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That is what I hope for...

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 10-13-2012, 10:39 AM
#12
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(10-13-2012, 10:32 AM)German Wrote: That is what I hope for...

I've always wanted someone to make a BK4 with a shorter loft.... *drools*

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 10-15-2012, 05:44 AM
#13
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I haven't used any Kent brushes, but happen to think that the BK brushes are some of the nicest looking brushes in shavedom! Plus they come in that really cool red brush case!

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 02-23-2014, 01:00 PM
#14
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I bought several Kent products, brushes, shave soap, shave cream and hair brushes. The only shaving article I've used is their VS-10 which they call their Gel Shaving Brush. They describe it as having "Blended bristles" on the box and are no more specific on their website.

I emailed them to ask and received a short answer only that it was stiffer and designed to use with gels. I didn't ask them what type of bristles they were.

I bowl lathered with some King of Shaves gel I have and I wasn't impressed, it did not lather at all. But KOS gel doesn't lather well using fingers either so this is probably not the fault of the brush or my technique.

I haven't given up on this yet and will try some other gels and creams.

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