12-11-2012, 12:44 PM
#1
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Over the past weekend I received this shaving brush, Century USA Sterilized 4 (see images below), from Freddy.

The ultimate goal is to re-knot the brush (for Freddy, as a favour), if I feel confident enough to do so, without making a pig's ear of it...

Here is what arrived in the post from Freddy...

[Image: 0hjmG.jpg]

Century USA Sterilized 4



[Image: E3Xmr.jpg?1]

Century USA Sterilized 4



[Image: bF6l5.jpg]

Century USA Sterilized 4



[Image: UFXnG.jpg]

Century USA Sterilized 4



[Image: fBuuU.jpg?1]

Century USA Sterilized 4

A search around the web didn't turn up much information on this particular shaving brush.

Q. What year, time period, was the brush made?

Q. What hair makes up the knot?

Q. Has anyone re-knotted one of these brushes? If yes, any advice, information you can pass on would be greatly received by myself (and Freddy).

Existing brush spec's:
  • Overall height: 157mm
  • Wooden handle (viewable): 65mm
  • Black Bakelite ring (height): 25mm
  • Loft: 67mm
  • Black Bakelite ring (diameter): 30mm to 31mm
  • Knot hole diameter: 24mm to 25mm
  • Knot: Horse?

Edit: Added "Existing brush spec's"

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 12-11-2012, 12:49 PM
#2
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Wow for what I would guess its age is, the hair is in great shape. I am going to assume it is horse due to the apparent age and hair color.

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 12-11-2012, 12:50 PM
#3
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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Freddy you are in for a treat once Mike works his magic!!

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 12-11-2012, 02:09 PM
#4
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Mike , the only I can tell you is that the steaming method could seriously damage the wood handle , so I wont choose it to replace its knot.

To me , looks like horse hair , maybe mixed with boar , as they used to be popular among barber brushes back in the earlier 1900's (dont remember where I did read it) .. I have seen also a brush like that , from the earlier 1900's with a swastika on it , but nothing related to what we all know, but it was quiet curious.

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 12-11-2012, 02:19 PM
#5
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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What kind of knot are you putting in it Freddy?

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 12-11-2012, 03:53 PM
#6
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Hey guys, I got this brush from e-Bay a year or two ago and don't believe I spent much more than about $8.00 for it. I love the handle but I found the bristles to be way too scratchy, to the point where I felt they would leave red marks on my skin. Ironically, Mike thought they were pretty soft. Talk about YMMV! Rolleyes

Anyway, Mike has a couple of concerns but I told him not to worry. It may be a risk but I trust Mike and, even if a disaster should happen since he hasn't worked on a brush like this, I asked him to please record everything, with photos when possible, here at TSN. That way, we can learn from his experience and see the various steps that go into a reknot for this particular style of brush.

As for which knot, I've asked Mike for some suggestions and I'm hoping we can look on line together (he in suburban St. Louis and me in San Diego) and come up with something. If any of the rest of you have any ideas then please pipe in. Just as a little background, I have, and enjoy, badger, boar, horsehair, badger/boar blends, horsehair/boar blends, and a synthetic Some have more backbone than others while some are pretty floppy and I truly enjoy them all. What I don't have is a fan shaped knot but I think it would look ridiculous in that handle so I have pretty much written that off. I'm not leaning towards another silver-tip badger but enjoy my finest badgers and anyone who owns a Semogue or Omega boar knows what a treat boar can be. Horsehair seems to be a love it or hate it proposition and I am definitely in the love category. My latest brush is a huge 26mm knot Frank Shaving High-Quality Fiber and I am amazed at how much I am enjoying it. Make no mistake, it does not feel like the natural hair brushes but, honestly, it's like lathering with a pillow. As you can see, at this point I'm open to several ideas and am wondering what kind of loft I would like with a handle like this.

This is the first brush I have ever had reknotted so it's all new to me and I am really excited about it. Smile

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 12-11-2012, 04:17 PM
#7
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I don't know if Omega sells just their knots if you were to approach them, but an Omega Professional (Boar) would look great in that handle and if you have room for a big brush the Omega Pro's are soft tipped with nice backbone.

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 12-11-2012, 04:40 PM
#8
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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(12-11-2012, 04:17 PM)wingdo Wrote: I don't know if Omega sells just their knots if you were to approach them, but an Omega Professional (Boar) would look great in that handle and if you have room for a big brush the Omega Pro's are soft tipped with nice backbone.

Doug, I already have the 10098 and love it, both the bristles and the handle. It was seeing the handle shape in wood that made me buy the Century.

[Image: Omega10098Professionalboarbrush.jpg]

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 12-11-2012, 06:18 PM
#9
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That's what got me to thinking about the knot for you. It's an all time favorite of mine. I just found the plain black plastic handle too ugly for my rotation and PIF'd it away. I did pick up a 20102 (same basic knot shorter wood / black plastic handle), but it doesn't have the panache that your Century 4 has.

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 12-11-2012, 06:37 PM
#10
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What is the size of the brush?

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 12-11-2012, 09:17 PM
#11
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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(12-11-2012, 06:37 PM)SteelTown Wrote: What is the size of the brush?

I don't have the length of the handle or of the entire brush. Sad

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 12-12-2012, 10:45 AM
#12
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Gents

Thank you for the feedback, information so far...

(12-11-2012, 12:49 PM)wingdo Wrote: Wow for what I would guess its age is, the hair is in great shape. I am going to assume it is horse due to the apparent age and hair color.

Snap! was my thoughts when I first laid eyes on the brush. Knot is horse hair (I think) and is in great shape considering its probable old age...



(12-11-2012, 02:09 PM)Teiste Wrote: Mike , the only I can tell you is that the steaming method could seriously damage the wood handle , so I wont choose it to replace its knot.

To me , looks like horse hair , maybe mixed with boar , as they used to be popular among barber brushes back in the earlier 1900's (dont remember where I did read it) .. I have seen also a brush like that , from the earlier 1900's with a swastika on it , but nothing related to what we all know, but it was quiet curious.

Totally agree with you on not using the steam method to remove the knot. I plan to drill it out, then clean up with various hand-tools.

My thinking is also horse hair...



(12-11-2012, 03:53 PM)freddy Wrote: I love the handle but I found the bristles to be way too scratchy, to the point where I felt they would leave red marks on my skin. Ironically, Mike thought they were pretty soft. Talk about YMMV! Rolleyes

I think you may have misunderstood my feelings on the knot (I blame my British accent and British way of speaking, quite different from American, as my wife likes to constantly remind me :blahblah2Smile

I think the (horse?) hair is surprisingly soft when factoring in its probable old age, and was somewhat surprised the hair wasn't brittle...

There's definitely a LOT! of scratch/scrith/what have you, when the brush is used in circular motions, but when used in painting strokes it calms down a LOT!.

Either way the (horse?) hair still exhibits quite a good amount of flex and plenty of backbone -- definitely doesn't appear to be any brittleness there.



(12-11-2012, 03:53 PM)freddy Wrote: Anyway, Mike has a couple of concerns but I told him not to worry. It may be a risk but I trust Mike and, even if a disaster should happen since he hasn't worked on a brush like this, I asked him to please record everything, with photos when possible, here at TSN. That way, we can learn from his experience and see the various steps that go into a reknot for this particular style of brush.

Still have some concerns (it's my nature), though most should disappear -- assuming I get the knot out successfully, with no damage inflicted on the handle or Bakelite...

I'll most definitely document (with photos) everything I do and share it here on The Shave Nook.



(12-11-2012, 06:37 PM)SteelTown Wrote: What is the size of the brush?

Original post has been updated with that information.

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 12-12-2012, 11:00 AM
#13
  • DoubleB
  • Active Member
  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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That brush looks great!
A TGN Finest Fan 24mm with this handle would make a heck of a facelather monster I think!

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 12-12-2012, 11:57 AM
#14
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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(12-12-2012, 11:00 AM)DoubleB Wrote: That brush looks great!
A TGN Finest Fan 24mm with this handle would make a heck of a facelather monster I think!

Robbin, the funny thing is I considered a fan because I don't have one in my collection but I don't face lather. Also, I thought a fan would look not quite right with that handle. Perhaps I'll have to rethink that. As Teiste says, a face lathering brush can be used for bowl lathering and a bowl lathering brush can be used for face lathering.

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 12-12-2012, 12:12 PM
#15
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It looks like wild boar to me. Or maybe not wild boar, but the black boar. Very scratchy hair I'm told (from the hair dealers).

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 12-12-2012, 09:23 PM
#16
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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(12-12-2012, 12:12 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: It looks like wild boar to me. Or maybe not wild boar, but the black boar. Very scratchy hair I'm told (from the hair dealers).

Lee, if you're right about the type of hair, BOY, is it ever scratchy! In fact, when I first got it and felt the tips I almost thought it might be a talc duster that a barber might use on the back of a customer's neck after a haircut. I couldn't imagine anyone using that on his face!

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 12-12-2012, 09:38 PM
#17
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(12-12-2012, 09:23 PM)freddy Wrote:
(12-12-2012, 12:12 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: It looks like wild boar to me. Or maybe not wild boar, but the black boar. Very scratchy hair I'm told (from the hair dealers).

Lee, if you're right about the type of hair, BOY, is it ever scratchy! In fact, when I first got it and felt the tips I almost thought it might be a talc duster that a barber might use on the back of a customer's neck after a haircut. I couldn't imagine anyone using that on his face!

Actually, I'm fairly certain that the brush the barber uses is softer.

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 12-13-2012, 10:19 AM
#18
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(12-12-2012, 09:23 PM)freddy Wrote:
(12-12-2012, 12:12 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: It looks like wild boar to me. Or maybe not wild boar, but the black boar. Very scratchy hair I'm told (from the hair dealers).

Lee, if you're right about the type of hair, BOY, is it ever scratchy! In fact, when I first got it and felt the tips I almost thought it might be a talc duster that a barber might use on the back of a customer's neck after a haircut. I couldn't imagine anyone using that on his face!

A lot will depend on the actual manufacture date of the brush. If it's before 1924 (23?) it would be before the anthrax scare from horses and a very good chance it's tail hair which is quite a bit scritchier than mane hair. If it was manufactured after the great scare, I'd have to agree with Lee that this is wild boar hair which very well may never ever split open like domesticated boar would.

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 12-13-2012, 12:09 PM
#19
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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(12-13-2012, 10:19 AM)wingdo Wrote:
(12-12-2012, 09:23 PM)freddy Wrote:
(12-12-2012, 12:12 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: It looks like wild boar to me. Or maybe not wild boar, but the black boar. Very scratchy hair I'm told (from the hair dealers).

Lee, if you're right about the type of hair, BOY, is it ever scratchy! In fact, when I first got it and felt the tips I almost thought it might be a talc duster that a barber might use on the back of a customer's neck after a haircut. I couldn't imagine anyone using that on his face!

A lot will depend on the actual manufacture date of the brush. If it's before 1924 (23?) it would be before the anthrax scare from horses and a very good chance it's tail hair which is quite a bit scritchier than mane hair. If it was manufactured after the great scare, I'd have to agree with Lee that this is wild boar hair which very well may never ever split open like domesticated boar would.

Thanks, Doug. I didn't know that and am always amazed at the history of wet shaving in general.

To be honest, I wish the bristles were soft(er) because I would have loved to use a brush this old still in its original form but, as it stood, the brush was not being used at all and I do love that handle so it was time to see what a reknot would do.

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 12-13-2012, 01:31 PM
#20
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Today I decided it was time to cutout the (majority of the) knot -- prepare for full knot removal tomorrow.

Personally I don't like to use scissors to cut the knot out, I find it's too much like hard-work, plus the scissor blade tends to want to slip on me. Instead my preferred tool for this job is a hacksaw...

The handle gets clamped down firmly in place, doing so keeps both my hands free and fully available for the task at hand, plus the work piece is almost guaranteed not to move, slip on me while working on the brush.

The hacksaw allows me to cutout the knot as closely as I dare get to the handle (with minimal risk to the handle and myself).

As I begun to cutout (saw) the knot it almost looked like the spirit (years and years of dust, soap scum buildup, etc) of the brush rose up and floated up into the ether...

[Image: 89xzx.jpg]

Century 4 handle with old knot cutout



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Century 4 handle with old knot cutout



I bagged up the old knot hair and will either return it Freddy (if he wants it), or I'm currently thinking to take it to St Louis Zoo and see if I can get the animal hair identified...

[Image: Q9QLd.jpg]

Century 4 handle with old knot cutout

Tomorrow (time permitting) I will tackle the tricky part of fully removing the knot from the handle...

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