Saturday, July 31, 2010

2201 is sold out

After just five weeks my New Forest Superior Badger has sold out. The feedback has been remarkable and very encouraging. The brushes have gone far and wide in the UK, to the USA nd Canada, many European countries, the Far East and Australia.

I will be taking a break now. More brushes will follow, starting with the New Forest Finest Silvertip 2211 which will go on sale in September.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Forest Badgers

There's no truth in rumours that Fido can be seen roaming in the Forest in search of badgers. But they are here. For many years I lived in Brockenhurst which is thought to have taken its name from the ancient term for badger.
Here's some interesting facts about New Forest badgers:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Still some left!

I still have some New forest 2201 brushes left. Someone posted on B&B saying I'd sold out. So if someone cares to put them right, Fido would be grateful. It will be nice to take a break when they are all gone! I'm off on more holidays soon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Forest 2202 - testing, testing.

I tried my 2202 two band sample brush - a sort of rounded fan shape - with a 46mm loft today. I just used string to simulate the effect. It really works superbly at this setting. I like this handle with a plinth like base and perhaps the string can be converted into a ring at the top? And I wonder if I can get the roundness into a rather flatter fan shape. I will ponder on and talk to my friend far away. These details matter.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Forest Finest Silvertip 2211

New sample brush

Used sample brush

This is my next New Forest brush, the Finest Silvertip. 22 mm knot, 48 mm loft. To be known as the 2211. A luxurious brush for cream users who like also to have a silvertip dense enough for hard soaps. This will do the job perfectly. I've been using it for several weeks and it just gets better and better. It will come with a more simple logo:

New Forest

Makers like shavemac, Thater and others don't carry brush descriptions on their handles, I'm going to follow suit. Bolder lettering should improve the longetivity of the logo print.
I aim to launch the new brush in September.


Guess the brands?

Anyone care to have a go? Two are Rooneys and each of the others is a different brand. So which are the Rooneys and who are the others? Just a teaser!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sales booming

There has been a fantastic reaction to my launch of the New Forest Superior Badger 2201 brush.

This little fellow has now invaded England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, USA, Canada, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Sweden Australia, Singapore and Italy. Feedback has been entirely positive and fair. Someone thought it didn't have the same stiff backbone as some of the Simpsons two bands. That's right but the loft of 50 mm enables it to have adequate backbone for hard soaps but also makes it a great brush with creams. Someone also pointed out the slight imperfections in logo print. That's fair too, and something I want my manufacturer to address.

I'm likely to sell out my stocks of this brush soon. I'll take a break then to assess feedback before launching my next brush. After gradually introducing new brushes I will be able to decide my future strategy. Perhaps a very small standard range plus regular small limited numbers of different handle shapes from time to time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fido's Ban from Badger and Blade

There has been discussion recently about why Fido was banned from Badger and Blade. I dealt with this in my post on 14 July "Never complain........."

I have been looking back to remember the actual sequence of events that led to my ban.

Here is a thread which I started shortly after I joined the site:

The Gentleman's Shop  My first grumble is in my post 09-11-2009 6.19pm

Then I started another thread:

Moving posts 

My grumble continued a bit more colourfully. Finally, it was immediately after my post on 09-11-2009 at 9.28 that I received my life ban. That was the post that caused Jim to finally lose patience. Perhaps my apology was too belligerent.

Badger and Blade members need to understand that this kind of incident does no credit to what is really a great web site with a lot of great guys having fun. Moderators really must show more tolerance towards new members, particularly those from the UK who have a rather different sense of humour.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brush testing

Another brush trial. My woodturner finally confirmed it is not easy using oak for brush handles. So I'm looking for other suitable woods. But I like these little brushes. One is a 22mm Finest Silvertip knot with a 50mm loft that I will use for my next New Forest brush 2202 in faux ivory.
The two band knot is the one I used for the New Forest Superior Badger 2201.
Both brushes will be retained in my collection for now.

A new day

The Gentleman's Shop Hungerford. A place you must visit.

After yesterdays rants, I feel a lot better. My brush sales continue and I am delighted with the excellent reviews. My next brush, a 22mm Finest Silvertip, is waiting in the wings. I'm going to hang fire on launching until later this year. This will give time for reliable feedback on my first brush.

Meanwhile I'm still enjoying using different brushes, creams and soaps. The chore has become a pleasure.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Forest Brushes - the skeptics

 Since launching New Forest Brushes, some people have questioned my integrity by implying that my enquiries about brush manufacturers for my shaving brush blog was for the purpose of starting my own business.

These are the facts.I'm an experienced blogger. I do a lot of research for my blogs. My first major blog was about bells. I studied the world of bells, contacted and visited some world famous bell foundries and assembled a large collection of bells as examples of the work of these famous foundries, past and present. This was the result:

                                            Fido's Bell Collection Blog

When I started to take an interest in shaving as a hobby it was inevitable that I would chart my journey in another blog. So Fido's Shaving Blog was published. I started to really enjoy collecting shaving brushes, and I decided to research them using the same approach I had adopted for my bell blog. So I looked at all aspects of choosing and using brushes. And then I wanted to find out who made them and how. Having visited bell foundries I thought it would be nice to visit a shaving brush factory and write something of interest to enthusiasts. Then I started to hit brick walls. First, I had a polite refusal from Kent. Then I completely failed even to make contact with Rooney about whom I knew little at the time. I had excellent cooperation from Vulfix - they were very helpful - at no time did I ask to visit their factory. After my reactions from Kent and failure to find anything useful out about Rooney, I did not contact other manufacturers for information.

It was during my research that I discovered that there were allegations on internet forums about the country of origin of some famous shaving brush brands. My enquiries led me to some Chinese manufacturers. Out of curiosity, I sought information about typical Chinese production costs for bulk quantities of shaving brushes. I was amazed. But I should not have been. Wages and overheads are so low in China that many goods are made at a fraction of the cost in the West. It's why most of the goods we buy are made in China.

I often read on shaving forums that enthusiasts would love to have the chance to use some top quality badger brushes but were reluctant to pay the high prices.

I love my sivertip and two band brushes. I can afford to buy them. And I have a lot.

So I thought wouldn't it be a good idea to have a few top quality brushes made to my specification. I could invest a relatively small amount of capital, take a modest return, and make it possible for shaving enthusiasts to enjoy great quality at an affordable price.

Since launching my first New Forest Brush I have been delighted with the response. They are selling so well, I'm very busy.

So busy, that I wonder just how many more brushes I wish to design and sell.

It may be impossible for some people to believe, but not everyone is motivated by money. I was lucky enough to retire early on a pension that means I don't need to work.

So if skeptics still think after reading this that my enquiries about the makers of their shaving brushes was motivated by an unscrupulous desire to take advantage for my own business purposes - think again.

Never complain, never explain - maxim suspended.

I have been the subject of discussion on some forums since launching my first New Forest brush.

I was banned from Badger and Blade following a discussion about why a thread I started had been moved without explanation. I thought the moderator had shown a lack of sensitivity and tolerance towards an enthusiastic new member. So I used a typically British way of expressing my frustration by using a phrase that might have been expressed in full but I thought that would be inappropriate - so I put it like this:

"I wish I hadn't bovered"

If I had thought that this would cause offence to a nation whose President's wife's favourite TV programme is "The Wire" I would not have used the phrase. Of course I regretted it, but the ban was immediate, there was no chance to express an apology because I was immediately blocked from the website.

Sadly, for a variety of reasons many people are banned from B&B in a manner that has caused great resentment on other forums around the world where there is often common membership.Sometimes there may be good reason. But surely a system should be in place to ensure people think they are being fairly treated.

People join forums mostly because they want fun by sharing information and opinions about a hobby of passionate interest. Sometimes people say things they regret.They should still be treated fairly and with tolerance.

I am just one unimportant example of how a difference in culture and use of language can lead to unfortunate misunderstandings.

My children think that it rather amusing that a respected former Chief Executive of a large UK Local Government Authority still had it in him to get banned from a shaving forum.

Personally, I think it's a sad world when adults cannot resolve differences in a tolerant gentlemanly manner.

I would like to rejoin Badger and Blade and be given the opportunity to apologise for my indiscretion. But no doubt some will think my motive is connected with my New Forest Brushes venture. But that's another story which I will deal with in another post.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Two band badger hair

My New Forest 2201 two band badger brush seems to have prompted quite a discussion on shaving forums.

Two band hair is simply that. It has a black band and a white band. It comes from long badger hair. So it is possible to have only two bands showing above the top of the handle.

There are two types of long badger hair - Long Finest Silvertip which is picked from the back of a rare breed of a long haired species of badger, only found in remote high mountain areas. It is the most expensive hair used to make badger brushes.

There is also Long Best Badger hair. This is the finer longer hair from the best badger grade, about half of which is wasted in the making of the brush head.This is very much like the Long Finest Silvertip but more widely available so lower in price, equivalent to the cost of standard silvertip.

As I explain in my New Forest Brushes Blog. The 2201 is made from Long Best Badger hair, and since only two bands appear above the level of the brush handle it is rightly described as two band.

The New Forest Superior Badger hair quality matches that of a standard silvertip. That's why one of my next brushes will be a Finest Silvertip - which is redressed and regraded silvertip.

I hope all this makes sense.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Another shaving forum!

I have discovered another shaving forum. And joined.The effort that people put into these sites is amazing. I'll be having a good look at the site. You can check it out here:

                                                The Original Safety

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Early days

By limiting my early sales of my New Forest Superior Badger 2201 through The Shaving Room Forum I'm getting used to a new daily routine and establishing my procedures for dealing with orders.
Sales are encouraging and early feedback is excellent. The next few weeks will be interesting.