03-29-2012, 06:59 AM
#1
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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So, I ordered a SOC Cherry Boar from VS last week - with the international shipping it'll probably take more time before I'll see it at my doorstep. In the meantime I've been reading up a bit on boar brushes. And there is one thing I'm curious about while I've been poking around...

I understand one of the advantages of boar brushes is the efficiency in being able to load with hard soaps, etc. Also, I understand that over a period of time it becomes softer due to the ends of the bristles splitting.

My question is, that as the brush breaks in and becomes softer does it then become a little bit less effective in loading hard soaps? I know that backbone is talked about it soap loading but personally I always thought it was more of a function the ability of the hair/bristles to dig into the soap.

Thoughts/experiences?

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 03-29-2012, 07:05 AM
#2
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Actually no,Brent : the tips of the brush would split and maybe,only maybe,would loose a little bit of backbone,but if would be still a soap killer.Thats also depends on what boar hair the brush is using : its not the same the 75% tops boar hair,which has a lot of backbone and tips not as soft as the 95% best or premium tops (like the SOC brush uses).
The SOC its a soap killer,but also requires a lot of soap : is that a problem?Well,having as many soaps and creams as we all do have,dont think so.Biggrin
Enjoy it!

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 03-29-2012, 07:06 AM
#3
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Actually, once broken in it loads soaps/creams easier. Once broken in I believe the SOC you ordered will be one of your favorite brushes. I know both of my SOC brushes are.

Teiste posted a great article written by Zach on here and if you have not read it I suggest you do so.

Teiste's Post

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 03-29-2012, 07:26 AM
#4
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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Thank you both for answering the question! Seemed to me it'd dig in a bit less but now it's good to know there's more to it than that.

Looking forward to the SOC. Zach's tutorial was helpful along with the other threads on here! You guys know your boars. The best thing is that due to quite a few threads on here I've changed my preconceived notions on boars... when I started up a year ago there are many with the opinion that boars are sub-par. Lately I've learned they are only different and have their own unique joys.

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 03-29-2012, 07:35 AM
#5
  • Johnny
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  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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There are only two parts of the Zach article that I disagree with.

1. I do not use boiling water. I just use my tap hot water.

2. I only soak about 75% of the boar. I do not recommend letting any part of the wooden handle soak in water.

Just an FYI, I let my boars soak in hot water at a minimum of 15-minutes before I start to lather with them. I want the boar hair to soak up as much water as possible so the brush loads with lather/soap instead of soaking it up.

When you are through shaving, rinse well in hot water, give it a good shaking out, and hang to dry with the bristles down.

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 03-29-2012, 07:58 AM
#6
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(03-29-2012, 07:35 AM)Johnny Wrote: When you are through shaving, rinse well in hot water, give it a good shaking out, and hang to dry with the bristles down.

I would add to that. When finished, rinse well in hot water and then rinse moderately in cold water. Shake briskly (not violently) and then brush moderately against a clean towel, and hang with the bristles down. This is my routine for boar, badger and horse. Synthetic bristles skip the cold rinse because they don't have a cuticle.

The cold water is to get the cuticle to tighten back up, which should accelerate drying time by reducing surface area (albeit microscopically).

The towel fluffs the bristles apart a bit and improves air circulation, while also picking up a small amount of moisture.

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 03-29-2012, 07:59 AM
#7
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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(03-29-2012, 07:35 AM)Johnny Wrote: There are only two parts of the Zach article that I disagree with.

1. I do not use boiling water. I just use my tap hot water.

2. I only soak about 75% of the boar. I do not recommend letting any part of the wooden handle soak in water.

Just an FYI, I let my boars soak in hot water at a minimum of 15-minutes before I start to lather with them. I want the boar hair to soak up as much water as possible so the brush loads with lather/soap instead of soaking it up.

When you are through shaving, rinse well in hot water, give it a good shaking out, and hang to dry with the bristles down.

I know this is probably not the case but as boars break in do they soak up water a bit faster as they have softened a bit?

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 03-29-2012, 08:01 AM
#8
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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(03-29-2012, 07:59 AM)Brent Wrote:
(03-29-2012, 07:35 AM)Johnny Wrote: There are only two parts of the Zach article that I disagree with.

1. I do not use boiling water. I just use my tap hot water.

2. I only soak about 75% of the boar. I do not recommend letting any part of the wooden handle soak in water.

Just an FYI, I let my boars soak in hot water at a minimum of 15-minutes before I start to lather with them. I want the boar hair to soak up as much water as possible so the brush loads with lather/soap instead of soaking it up.

When you are through shaving, rinse well in hot water, give it a good shaking out, and hang to dry with the bristles down.

I know this is probably not the case but as boars break in do they soak up water a bit faster as they have softened a bit?

I believe they do.


(03-29-2012, 07:58 AM)Dirty Texan Wrote:
(03-29-2012, 07:35 AM)Johnny Wrote: When you are through shaving, rinse well in hot water, give it a good shaking out, and hang to dry with the bristles down.

I would add to that. When finished, rinse well in hot water and then rinse moderately in cold water. Shake briskly (not violently) and then brush moderately against a clean towel, and hang with the bristles down. This is my routine for boar, badger and horse. Synthetic bristles skip the cold rinse because they don't have a cuticle.

The cold water is to get the cuticle to tighten back up, which should accelerate drying time by reducing surface area (albeit microscopically).

The towel fluffs the bristles apart a bit and improves air circulation, while also picking up a small amount of moisture.

Thanks for the cold water tip, it makes sense, I think. So I will try it.

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 03-29-2012, 08:03 AM
#9
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(03-29-2012, 07:59 AM)Brent Wrote: I know this is probably not the case but as boars break in do they soak up water a bit faster as they have softened a bit?

If you let a boar dry thoroughly, it is as stiff as when it was new. The break in affects the skritchy feeling in the tips, which become softer when they get a chance to split 2-5 ways. A long soak is still a good idea for a broken in boar, because boar bristle is very thirsty. It will limit the tendency of boar brushes to "eat" lather if it is fully saturated and then given a squeeze before you begin loading soap or cream.

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 03-29-2012, 08:17 AM
#10
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I do all my lathering in either a bowl/mug/scuttle so I don't give my boar a squeeze. I just let it drip the excess water then start the lathering process. I whip up some lathers that look almost good enough to eat.

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 03-29-2012, 08:25 AM
#11
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(03-29-2012, 08:17 AM)Johnny Wrote: I do all my lathering in either a bowl/mug/scuttle so I don't give my boar a squeeze. I just let it drip the excess water then start the lathering process. I whip up some lathers that look almost good enough to eat.

My Dirty Bird always seems to have a teaspoon of water in it because of the lather creep rim she uses, so I give my brush a very gentle squeeze (almost a hug, really). I add water as needed, but hate starting out too wet.

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 03-29-2012, 08:39 AM
#12
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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I have been wet shaving almost two years, I am discovering the joy of using a boar brush. I recently added two more piggies a Semogue 1460, and a Vulfix 28, I have a nicely broken in Omega 48.

I think some peoples dislike for boars stems from a little longer break-in period, unlike a badger that after a couple uses it is fairly broken in. It took my Omega 48 a couple months to break in. Today it is fully matured and it is a great brush. I more then willing to use my boars during the break-in process, I know the end result will be a great brush.

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 03-29-2012, 08:42 AM
#13
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(03-29-2012, 07:26 AM)Brent Wrote: The best thing is that due to quite a few threads on here I've changed my preconceived notions on boars... when I started up a year ago there are many with the opinion that boars are sub-par. Lately I've learned they are only different and have their own unique joys.

Exactly! They are compared to badgers and they clearly aren't badgers.

I think the "stigma" of boar brushes as somehow being inferior comes from 2 sources, maybe 3 or 4.

1) The British effect, or mild xenophobia. It's not British, and everyone knows a badger brush is THE British brush for shaving. So by association, badger is what I want for shaving. This may also be steeped in xenophobia, after all "those" Italians, Portugese, Spaniards, whatever, don't speak the same language so what do they know? Of course I write this only to illustrate mild xenophobia, not because I agree with it.

2) Folks associate price with quality and really good boar brushes are fairly inexpensive, so how can it be good?

maybe 3) Lots of folks today want immediate gratification. A boar brush straight out of the box absolutely isn't as good as a badger, and requires break in to achieve badger softness and efficiency. I can imagine someone trying one brand spankin' new and expecting it to be up to full softness/efficiency immediately and being disappointed.

or 4) When dry even a fully broken in boar isn't as soft feeling as a Badger. Of course that completely disappears when water hits the brush, but it can be there when dry. Too, a badger has less backbone than a boar so it gives more when dry lending to that "not as soft" feel of the boar. Another way to write that is, the boar has more backbone even when dry. I have one badger that is scritchy, and even my absolutely least expensive boar from a liquidation outlet isn't scritchy.

Just a short note about price/quality... The last boar brush I got was an $8 10019 Omega. For the price, since I was placing an order anyway and already paying shipping, I couldn't say no. Every where the brush needs quality, quality is found. The savings is in the handle. It appears to be a hollow molded handle and not cast and machined acrylic. I may not be able to reknot it when it wears out long after I'm dead. That's too bad; I was plannin' on coming back to do that.

OK, back to seriousness, for $8, does it really matter if it can be reknotted? Just buy a few more now and be done with it. Can one even buy a boar knot for $8? Then there is the minor labor and time involved. $8 for a new boar is meaningless.

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 03-29-2012, 09:20 AM
#14
  • Brent
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  • Columbus, OH
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Good thoughts on some of the lack of enthusiasm people have for boars.

The extended break in period is kind of a bummer for many people (we're a "now, now, now" society) and in all honesty that was a bit of a turnoff for me. But I came to the conclusion that it's probably worth the wait and I can speed it up a bit... I'm sure I'm going to still use my beloved Rooney 3/1 Super during the break in period but it's not that much trouble test lathering the boar every other day if I'm on a week long badger kick to help it along. It'll be worth trying something different and you never know, I may really get a collection going like some of the guys on here (looking at oversaturn Smile).

The care instructions above are really helpful and it brings me to another question: from what I've researched badger hair "holds" water vs. "absorbs" water. Boar absorbs to a point (triggering the great tip on making sure it soaks longer). If you don't soak a boar brush much and lather, does some of the cream get absorbed into the bristles and could damage over time? I'm sure of course proper care would prevent that of course but I know build up ruins brushes so curious as to this being more of a concern for boar.

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 03-29-2012, 09:36 AM
#15
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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(03-29-2012, 07:58 AM)Dirty Texan Wrote: The cold water is to get the cuticle to tighten back up, which should accelerate drying time by reducing surface area (albeit microscopically).
Less surface area means less area from which water can evaporate, so it should actually slow it down.

(03-29-2012, 08:25 AM)Dirty Texan Wrote: I give my brush a very gentle squeeze (almost a hug, really).
Aww. I like to see a guy who's not afraid to show his feelings for his brushes.

As my brush has broken in over the past two weeks I have found I need to give it a "drop" or a gentle squeeze now. I think the split ends hold more water.

If I hadn't read about boar brushes on the forums, I'd have been disappointed with mine on first use for sure. I think that Omega et al would do themselves a favor if they included a "breaking in your new boar brush" pamphlet or something so people know that the best is yet to come. If I'd been in a store that stocked VDH badger brushes and Semogue boars side by side, I'd walk out with that badger because it feels nicer, and how is Joe Public supposed to know?

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 03-29-2012, 09:45 AM
#16
  • Johnny
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  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Yes Brent, if you don't soak a boar good, just wet it and start to lather, when the boar starts absorbing water it will also absorb the lather, incasing it within the hair. Here's what I do. Put the brush in a mug, fill to 75% of the boar hair, then here is the trick, I enjoy two cups of coffee while the brush soaks. Nothing like a well soaked boar after two cups of coffee to start your day.

And I agree with everything Brian had to say. Time and status symbol.

Now don't all you Simpson, Rooney, and Kent lovers get upset, I like those brushes also.

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 03-29-2012, 11:04 AM
#17
  • Brent
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  • Columbus, OH
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Thanks guys! I think that answers my questions.

Johnny - ill make sure I use the 15-20 soaking period. From a post on another forum it seems this also worked well for you in making the break in period as efficient as possible.

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 03-29-2012, 11:27 AM
#18
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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WOW,great answers here!

I must say that the fanaticism of some have put boar brushes on a place than they don't deserve.And when I mean fanaticism,I dont mean the people who like badger over boar brushes,since its a personal preference after all,but the ones who said that "boar is rubbish" like a mantra,and maybe have tried a couple cheap Chinese brushes or maybe haven't even tried one!.I even remember reading a guy a couple years ago,supposedly "knowledgeable",who said that boar was rubbish because Simpson never made a boar brush!!!and Gary Young recently said that Simpson made boar brushes...
For some folks badger hair would be always superior since they like its properties/qualities,for other would be boar,or horse hair or even syhthetic,but to say "this is good cuz I said and its more expensive, it and that's rubbish cuz its cheaper and I say it too" its not the way and I wanna avoid fanaticism like that.

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 03-29-2012, 12:42 PM
#19
  • Sargon
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  • St. Louis, Missouri
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In general, to date, I have preferred my boar and horse to badger. The badger lathers great, but I really miss the backbone when I use it. It is all very much personal preference, IMO. Anything better than a cheap trimmed boar will make a great lather, so from there is is more about asthetics and subtle differences in performance and feel on your skin.

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 03-29-2012, 12:51 PM
#20
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Never had a problem with my Semogues. Great brushes that continue to work well.

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