Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Forest brushes - Badger hair grades

I have written about badger grades in my shaving brush blog here:

There is some agreement on pure, best and silvertip being in ascending order of softness. But no consistency in other words like "super" or "finest". Rooney go from pure to best, silvertip,super and finest. Vulfix go pure, super and silvertip. Simpsons have pure, best and super. Edwin Jagger go pure, best, super then silvertip. And there are other variations.

For the time being, my New Forest brushes will just be two grades: Superior badger - a two band which is firm with soft white tips - and Finest silvertip. A high quality redressed silvertip.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shave of the day

Now discontinued, Coates is a superb cream. A custom brush by beejay of The Shaving Room Forum, a Merkur 38C with Gillette super Thin and DR Harris After Shave milk make another excellent combination.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shave of the day

Gillette Super Thin brilliant with the Merkur 38C. The Kent BK4/TOBS cream painted on - simply luxurious. Just too floppy for much scrubbing, but who cares? Each brush is different and this works best with creams and painting style lathering for me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shave of the day

After the Lord Mayor's Show brushes of recent days, the BK8 had a run out - stiil an upper range brush but well below half the price of the last three I've used. And a fine brush it is. Just a bit too big for my personal comfort but superb and more than adequate lather applied with a luxurious feel. The spatula makes it so easy to spread the cream around the bowl to speed up lather production. Merkur 38C/crystal platinum still good on the third day.

Shave of the day

After the Rooney Finest and High Mountain White Plisson came the Simpson Astor Super Two Band. This comes into its own with soaps but did a great job on the T&H Rose cream. Noticed a difference between the red personnas and crystal platinum which I used today. Not quite as sharp, but left me more comfortable and still with a very close shave.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shave of the day

This is a great combination. The little Plisson (22mm knot/ 53mm loft) produced superb lather from just a small blob of Coates in my pottery bowl. The Merkur/Red personna gave another exceptionally close shave with a very light touch. And DR Harris Milk finished things off nicely.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shave of the day

Shave of the day (SOTD) is a regular feature on shaving forums. A useful source of ideas and informal feedback about products. I've decided to add some to my blog. Starting today.
My new ridged bowl is becoming one of my most valued accessories. Big enough to work up great lathers. Today it was my Rooney Finest 1/2. Although expensive - at $299 simply too much - I only bought it to complete my shaving brush blog - it does a fine job with creams. And it feels sumptuous as you paint it on your face. With a loft of 56 mm it is a little too big for comfortable face lathering.
The DR Harris Rose is a relatively new product. A match for any of the rose creams. My Merkur 38C was on duty today with a Red personna - a very close comfortable shave. Who nicked the Merkur?

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Forest Brushes

New Forest Brushes is now established. For anyone who may stumble upon this blog for the first time this is how it began. I started blogging about bells after having done a lot of research and had put together a collection of bells by famous foundries. After becoming interested in traditional wet shaving I decided to write this blog. Then I had the idea of researching all about shaving brushes just as I did with my bells, collecting examples across price ranges and brands and publishing another blog. I began to think it would be fun to specify and have made my own brand of shaving brushes to sell to shaving enthusiasts and collectors. During my research I identified several manufacturers of shaving brushes and made contact with two to provide me with samples. I have now placed an order for a single first brush - a Superior Badger two band that I think is a superb brush. It should be because the manufacturer supplies knots and handles for other famous brands. The factory is based in China. Some people still have reservations about the quality of Chinese products. It's absurd really. About half the world's goods are now made in China. My Apple computers are made there. I really don't think they should have trouble making top quality shaving brushes. It's where the badger hair comes from.Mine will have hand made knots and lathe turned handles which are polished by hand.They will be excellent value for money. After I have assessed feedback from this first project others may follow. I will either have a successful venture or a an even larger collection of brushes! First launch should be in a few months.

Cold water shaving

Cold water shaving? Much discussion on shaving forums about this recently. I hate the idea but it's good to know that I can survive if my boiler packs up. Until then, I'm sticking with hot water and warm lather.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Razor heads

This is a great thread starter if you are after information about today's most popular new razors:

Razor heads

Sunday, April 11, 2010

David Rogers Lather Bowl

David Rogers is a studio potter based in Milford on the edge of the New Forest. I have some of the Dirtybird shaving scuttles and bowls. But they came from the USA. I wanted a fairly large ridged lather bowl and had a clear idea of a specification. So I contacted Dave and paid a visit to his pottery. Here is the result. For £12 I have a fine piece of pottery and a superb lather bowl that is a joy to use. It copes easily with my larger brushes and enables me to make great lather easily and quickly. One of my better buys.

Here's Dave:

And here's the bowl

Friday, April 9, 2010

Decision made

There will be a New Forest brand shaving brush soon. To begin with, just one brush. The bulb shape shown above. I didn't like the Finest Super idea in the end. These words are used by other makers but they don't denote the same thing. The knot is a high quality two-band. It is firm but with tips as soft as silvertip. It is a cut above most of the others in my collection so I've decided to go with a term I have not seen used elsewhere: "Superior Badger" The only other grade I will add will be a Finest Silvertip. I will consider adding fan shape versions and other sizes after assessing customer feedback - if I get any!

So it will be one brush to start with at a very competitive price. It will be a brush for the enthusiast by an enthusiast!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Forest Shaving Brush samples

Samples arrived of the first brush I am considering launching under the "New Forest" brand. A finest/super 2 band knot of 22mm and loft of 50mm. They will be tested by me and another shaving forum member in the coming days. One bulb shape and one fan shape. Here are the brushes out of the box (above).

And here they are after a few test runs. I'm delighted with their performance. Over the past few weeks I have tested over 50 brushes during the writing of my shaving brush blog. These sit comfortably among the best high end brushes. A nice balance of density and softness with excellent flow through which will work well with soaps and creams and suit face and bowl latherers. The fan shape is softer and more flexible than the bulb shape so may suit cream users rather more than the bulb shape. I will consider whether or not to obtain samples with extra hair and greater density for the fan shape. Not sure at present. Further testing of both brushes will continue in the coming days. I need to decide whether to go with one or both of the brush shapes.