Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today's shave

Martin de Candre - my favourite soap. New Forest Finest Silvertip prototype (Launch next week?) Fantastic lather built in the bowl. Maca Root balm from The Body Shop continues to impress.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Body Shop shaving products

The Body Shop have just one shaving cream, balm and facial scrub for men. These really are excellent products which for many, don't require shipping costs. Just pick them up in your High Street store. The cream has a delightful scent, lathers easily and provides all the cushioning and slickness you could wish for. I'm also very impressed with the balm. A light moisturising effect that lasts all day. The cream comes in a 200 ml pot for £8, the balm is £9 for a 100 ml tube. The facial scrub was given to me as a sample. It's not something I use but may suit some.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A new brush

I'm testing new brushes for my New Forest Brushes venture. I'm rather pleased with this Finest Silvertip with an onyx handle. I will be experimenting with other materials in the coming weeks. This one is not for sale! Handle height is 60 mm, knot 22 mm and loft 48 mm.

After use

Friday, September 24, 2010

Brush Logos

After trying other inks that didn't significantly improve the durability of the logo my manufacturer of New Forest Brushes is trying something else. A higher quality ink is to be applied which requires the handles to be placed in an oven at an appropriate temperature. He calls the device a logo roaster. I'm determined that this problem should be resolved. There's not much point to a logo that does not last long. I have had no complaints about the logo on my New Forest 2201 but I know the printing does wear off - too easily for my liking. I now expect my new brushes to be ready early next month.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another new cream

I used Maca Root for the first time today. Available in the UK for £8 (200 ml pot)
It's a superb cream. Slick, cushioning and a great scent. And so easy to create lather from in my bowl with one of my early silvertip brushes. As usual the small spatula comes in handy for scooping out the cream and spreading it around the bowl. Put a Swede in my old Gillette Superspeed. I find the blade too sharp in more aggressive razors.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Todays mix

An odd mix here. I just don't get on with sticks. So my Arko is stuffed in a ramekin dish. The brush is one I had made using a best badger knot and an oak off-cut. It gives a great shave. Proraso balm is a favourite - good value. The Floris EDT is a bit pricy but has a great scent. Back to my Chatsworth and a Gillette Swede for a change. It's fun putting together a different combination each day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't neglect Pure Badger

Pure badger is the 'lowest' grade of badger hair - often a little prickly with a firm backbone. Some of these brushes are excellent all round brushes. Mine is an early sample for my New Forest brushes venture. It is actually a very dense and quite soft brush that outperforms many of my Best Badger brushes. So don't neglect Pure Badger - you might find it suits you well. And they are the lowest price of all the badger grades. The Yardleys soap is my 1960s gift from an old friend. And it's a superb soap still.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shaving brushes - check measurements

When you buy a shaving brush on line, check the measurements. At the very least you want to know the handle height, the width of the knot at its base, and the loft of the brush hair. Websites do not often include all these details. They should. They are very important in understanding the size and suitability of the brush.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More Simpsons

I bought these to include in Fido's Shaving brush blog. These are among the smaller Simpsons brushes. Two things stand out for me about these brushes. They confirm my preference for brushes in the 20/22mm knot range and the 48/50mm loft range. I found each of these brushes just a bit too small for my personal comfort zone. The B1 Pure, Keyhole 2 Best and Emperor 1 Super are 18/42mm, 20/45mm and 19/44mm.

And also it struck me that the feel of the Best was really only just a little softer and less scritchy than the Pure, and the feel of the Super only marginally softer and scritchy than the Best. We pay a very high price for marginal improvements in "quality". But perhaps that is true of countless products. It is most certainly true in relation to many of the better known shaving brush brand names.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Frank Shaving

Frank Shaving have been getting a lot of publicity on some shaving forums. This is a Chinese manufacturer who supply brush heads, handles and complete brushes for brands and retailers. The company has recently decided to market their own FS brand through an agent on Ebay at very competitive prices. This is a Finest badger brush with a 22 mm knot and loft of 55 mm. At $9.99 plus $6.99 delivery it is exceptional value. One can say the loft makes it a bit floppy or that the hair quality doesn't come up to the quality of a typical Finest badger grade but it is a well made brush, will deliver more than enough lather and can be applied in comfort.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Forest Brushes

My latest New Forest Finest Silvertip is going to be delayed due to continuing problems in finding an ink that will improve the durability of the logo. Although I have no complaints about the logo on my first brush, the 2201, it does come off too easily for my liking. I know this is a problem with other brush logos but I want to get mine right. So I have agreed to a further delay in the search for better ink. I'm surprised that the manufacturer doesn't have other clients as fussy!

Meanwhile, I have been working on a locally made New Forest brush with my craftsman. I intend to have a few made to assess the demand and reaction. This is a prototype. It is made from tambootie, an African hardwood. It has the same two band hair used in my Superior Badger 2201. The handle height is 51 mm, loft 51 mm and knot width is 22 mm. A good backbone will make it a superb all round brush for use with soaps and creams.

One of the delights about having your own blog is that you cannot break any rules or conventions about listing items for sale. If anyone reading this blog is interested I'll deliver this specific brush anywhere for £30. A genuine, hand made in the New Forest, England, shaving brush. It's the first New Forest 2202 - the reference I will use for tambootie handle brushes of this size.

This brush has now sold. I will have a few more soon.

Email me at for further information and payment details.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Culmak have been making hand finished brushes in the UK since 1805. Take a look at the Culmak website and you will find just a few low priced shaving products. I bought this Viscount bristle shaving brush for just £4.99 delivered. Take out postage and VAT, and it leaves just £3.08 for Culmak. It's a stiff little brush, doesn't hold a lot of lather but it does whip it up and it's quite comfortable on the face. And it does the job. It's not only the Chinese who can offer great value.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Variety is the spice of life

For over 40 years I stuck with one razor, one cream and one after shave day after day until used up or requiring replacement. Since learning to treat shaving more seriously and as something like an enjoyable hobby I have accumulated collections of razors, blades, brushes, soaps, creams, after shaves and accessories
For the past week on holiday I stuck with two razors, one soap and cream and one aftershave.
It made me realise just how much I enjoy selecting a different mix of items each day, rarely using the same thing for two days running. Each day is different according to subtle changes of mood or thoughts.
Now I'm home I'm looking forward already to tomorrows selection. I have no idea what it will be but it won't include anything used in the past week.
Variety truly is the spice of life.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Taking a break

I'm now staying in St Ives, Cornwall just behind the buildings on the harbour front. This is a fantastic place with alleys and streets seemingly centuries old. It was a nightmare squeezing the car through the alley and into a garage. It will probably stay where it is now during most of our stay. It's fun deciding on the shaving gear to bring. My line up includes TOBS Mr Taylor cream, Cade soap, Jagger Chatsworth, Superspeed, Finest Silvertip and Superior Badger (I really do enjoy my New Forest brushes!) And Proraso balm.
I'll be browsing in the shops today. I noticed a local soap maker last night. I wonder if they have any shaving stuff...................

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New logo and handle shape

My next and future New Forest brushes will have this simplified logo with bolder lettering and new ink which should prove more durable. The shape of the handle will also be modified as shown in the photo. The brush head of the Finest Silvertip is shown in my most recent "Today's shave"

Today's shave

My New Forest Finest Silvertip prototype delivered a really superb lather with the Coates Almond and is a delight to use either for bowl or face lathering. My Floris Elite balm is running low - I seem to have had it for years. Jagger Chatsworth and old Gillette "Swede" gave a fine close and comfortable shave. A beautiful day in the New Forest.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Simpsons Polo

I'm still thinking about adding a Polo 14 to my collection. Fantastic pic here from Shaving The question is, where will I get the best deal? The Simpsons website list the price for the Polo 14 as £306 inc VAT. That's an expensive brush. But it's also a lot of brush at 145mm height, 32 mm knot and 62 mm loft.