Sunday, October 31, 2010

Todays' shave

A reminder today of just how good the New Forest 2201 two band is. Now sold out, it was widely acclaimed and I will one day restock. The two band hair in this brush is as good as anything available from any other brand, including Simpsons. And I have Simpsons two bands to compare with it. Today, it whipped up some super lather from an Arko stick stuffed into a ramekin dish. The Jagger Chatsworth had a Gillette Super Thin blade, one of my favourites. Maca Root after shave balm from The Body Shop finished things off nicely.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shave pics

Some people take some great pics for their shave of the day posts on the shaving forums. I always get a buzz when I see one of my brushes on display.

Razor Emporium

I don't accept adverising on my blog. It would give it a commercial feel which I want to avoid. From time to time I'm asked to provide links to other shaving sites. This is an interesting one. Two guys joining the internet revolution and using a lot of imagination and innovation to develop their business. The site is worth a look.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My blog

I thought I'd say a little today about this blog.

This is not a blog written to educate. That would be an insult to your intelligence. Several other blogs are doing a fine job and Mantic's videos are superb.

This is about my personal journey. I write blogs about all the interests I have taken up since retiring. It's really just a diary of some my shaving related action that I'm prepared to share with anyone whose interested. A lot of my time at the moment is taken up with my New Forest Brushes venture. I spend a lot of time studying the posts on the shaving forums which shows all those details in the minds of enthusiasts as they decide their brush preferences and discuss the minutiae of their obsession. It's so interesting to reflect on all the different views and perspectives.

And then I think!

I'm off for a shave.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Polo 14 Best - first time!

What a monster this brush is! The 34 mm knot 57 mm loft simply is overwhelming. Far too big to use as a practical member of a brush rotation. It's a beautifully made brush and I'm delighted to have it in my collection. But that's really what it is - a brush for a collector or for display in a shop.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Badger and Blade

Much has been written about the largest shaving forum on the internet. It contains a lot of useful information and has thousands of honourable members. But the way it is run has been attacked by many. Petty transgressions and quite innocent misunderstandings can lead to instant bans. Sometimes these bans are without reason or explanation. Several members of a UK shaving forum were banned recently from B&B simply because they were contributors to a forum where there has been much critism of the behaviour of the mods.

Enthusiastic reviews of new products are treated with suspicion. Accusations of "shilling" are quickly used to discredit and ban members.

Shilling is the practice of making gifts to induce another to promote your product.

I was accused of organising shilling to promote my first New Forest shaving brush. This was because there were so many enthusiastic reviews. When the chap with the largest shaving brush collection in the world called it "the best bang for your buck - buy one" and the much respected Rudy Vey compared it with the Rooney Finest, does anyone seriously think I needed to shill?

I was banned for multiple registration. Fair enough. Remarks I made as my alter ego hardly made mention of the qualities of my brush.

Now Badger and Blade are seeking again to discredit references to my brushes. Some remarks are libellous but there is little point wasting money on a prosecution.

It really is all rather absurd. There is this old English codger having shaving brushes made which are selling like hot cakes, getting rave reviews and getting lots of publicity.

Does anyone think designing and making a shaving brush is like rocket science? A shaving brush is a very simple object. If it's well made and fairly priced it will sell well.

So why are B&B so agitated?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Forest HQ

Bells still outnumber my brushes. At least a collection of brushes doesn't take up as much room! Spot the brush and knot?

I'm thinking seriously about giving my Simpsons Polo 14 Best Badger a first run out today. But then I haven't used the Chubby 2 for a while.....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Todays shave

A nice lazy shave today. It's the weekend after all!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shaving brush shedding - again

Some people get really concerned when a new brush sheds a few hairs, faithfully counting and recording the number of hairs lost on each shave.

I reposted recently advice I obtained from Simpsons about the subject. They recommended combing brushes with a fine comb to remove loose hairs.

Today, I conducted an experiment. I took a fine comb to several brushes in my collection, including Simpsons, Rooney, shavemac, Savile Row and Plisson. All the brushes have been used several times. Every single brush shed a few hairs!

What does this prove? Most brushes shed a few hairs! A brush really would have to shed a lot over a lengthy period before consideration needs to be given to taking the issue up with a vendor for a possible replacement. But if it really does start to bother you, it's worth at least enquiring about the possibility of replacement or compensation.

This is a great piece of research:

Brush shedding

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simpsons shaving brushes

If there's such a thing as shave porn, this is surely it:

From a recent post on B&B.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back to basics - creams or soaps?

There's something very satisfying about lathering with soaps. Some are quite a challenge, and if you lather on the puck then directly on to your face the whole thing can get messy and be a bit of hit and miss. Sometimes I swirl awhile on the puck then continue in a bowl - then there's even more washing up! But results can be exceptional.

Creams are different. Much easier to work with and I get more consistent results. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with soaps at all.

Then after a few days with creams, I fancy another session with soaps.

So it goes on!

Variety is the spice of life I guess.

And I do have a lot of stuff to use up.

Truefitt & Hill Rose cream
Trumpers Coconut cream
TOBS Mr Taylor cream
Castle Forbes Lavender cream
Coates Sandalwood cream
Coates Limes cream
Coates Almond Cream
DR Harris Rose cream
Body Shop Maca Root cream
James Bronley cream

Yardleys soap
Tabac soap
L'Occitane Cade soap
Crabtree & Evelyn Sienna soap
Crabtree & Evelyn Sandalwood soap
Mitchell's Wool Fat soap
Nanny's Lavender soap
Proraso soft soap
Martin de Candre soap
Art of Shaving Sandalwood soap
DR Harris Marlborough soap
DR Harris Arlington soap
Trumpers Rose soap
Palmolive (stick)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shave of the day

I was so pleased to see this in a post on a shaving forum - The New Forest 2202 two band does look good!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Shaving brush handle shapes

I'm planning to have more brushes handmade in the New Forest. This one of the shapes I will use. Very simple and like some others - but not the same! This is my tambootie hardwood. It's high oil content means that it is naturally waterproof and I may be able to leave some with a natural finish. Research continues. And I will soon be using different materials, including faux ebony and ivory. But I may not include a logo or if I do, it will be imprinted under the handle. If anyone has any thoughts about this please post a comment or email me at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chile mine rescue.

It gets this shaving lark in perspective doesn't it?

Fantastic achievement by an incredible team of people. They must be very proud today.

Shaving brush shedding

Some early reviews of the New Forest Finest Silvertip 2211 have commented on some early shedding.

This post will be of interest:

Shaving brush care and shedding

As one of the most respected and long standing manufacturers I wrote to Progress Vulfix for this information. My knots are not supplied by them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brush speculation

I noticed these posts on Badger and Blade about my New Forest Finest Silvertip.

"The site mentions that it's scritchy when dry, which is how I would describe my Rooney. Anyone know anything about why certain badger hair does this, or if it means that Rooney and New Forrest are sourcing their knots from the same place?"

"They aren't. New Forest and Rooney Two band are nothing at all alike. I think they're trying to imply that their brushes are made at the same place that makes Simpsons. Which if it were true there's nothing legally preventing them from saying that in plain english, so I don't see why they wouldn't. My guess (and it's just a guess) would be that the handles are probably made at the same place and they leave it vague so that a rumor might start that the knots are. I've sold both my Grosven LE and my NF 2210, so I can't compare them, but I seem to recall the hairs being different. Simpsons had more spine to it as I remember."

It is truly remarkable the assumptions people make! I noticed that my sample Finest Silvertip were slightly scritchy when dry yet very soft when wet. That's it! It has nothing to do with trying to convince people that I had them made at the same place as other makers or I get knots from the same place.
 I noticed this scritchiness on the best brushes I have from Plisson, Simpsons, shavemac, Savile Row and others!!!!!

I do not know who now supplies hair or knots to Rooney and Simpsons.

If anyone from Badger and Blade cares to explain this on B&B I would be grateful.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Things are going well

Since launching my new brush, it's been a bit manic. I have initiated very little publicity. Just one post on a UK and Spanish Forum. Then the internet did it's work. In the past few days brushes have been going out in all directions across the Altlantic, to Europe and the Far East. Early reviews are enthusiastic. This is a thread on my UK forum:

The Shaving Room

So far, so good.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Forest Finest Silvertip 2211 - early reviews

Apart from me, no one had tested my latest brush, so although confident that the brush would be well received, I have been relieved to read some early very positive reviews. This is typical (from a member of The Shaving Room forum:

"The new brush arrived in the post this morning, and promptly got the breaking in and deodorising treatment by knocking up a bowlful of Taylor's sandalwood cream. Entirely unnecessary, as it turned out, although it did shed a couple of short 'n' curlies in the process. On first inspection, I understood the point of Fido's "labels" thread: it did look very similar to the 2201 brush, but not any more. "Bloom" is the delightfully poetic expression which is used for the way silvertip brushes open out and relax with use - well this one looks like a blooming tom cat that's just had a fright. Already. I really am going to love this one.

Other people have covered the performance angle and I concur with what has been said: it holds a lot of water and not too much should be shaken out, and it produces, releases and at the same time retains more lather than one could reasonably expect for such a modest sized brush. It's far stiffer than a BK4 (which remains my benchmark for softness of tips, though), and gets stuck into the soap as well as any best badger or boar I've come across.

So there you go, a rave review, all on the basis of one shave. I don't like to be negative, so my reviews tend to be enthusiastic, but generally there's some criticism to leaven the upbeat tone. Not in this case: in a year's time, unless it disintegrates, I fully expect to be saying that this is the best brush I own.

Now, Fido, would you mind giving it a rest for a while, please? You're eating into the cut throat razor fund."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Brush numbers

I'm using a numbers system for my New Forest brushes:

First two:  Knot size  
Third: Grade - 0 for Superior Badger 2 Band
                      1 for Finest Silvertip
                      2 (to follow!)
Fourth             The number within the category.

So it's the 2201, 2202 (middle in the photo - none available right now) and the 2211

The brush on the right will be the 2221. More about that in the future.

The weekend is here. Sport as usual, will dominate.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wow! And thanks.

Within 2 hours of launching my New Forest Finest Silvertip 2211, I was overwhelmed with orders. And they keep coming in.

I'd like to thank everyone for their support.

I'm sorry members of Badger and Blade may find it difficult to read about the details of my brush, but there is nothing I can do about that. The continuing references to the shilling of my first brush are completely untrue. I admitted to multiple registrations to get round my ban as many others have done. I regret that now, but there are other welcoming forums to which I contribute.

Must rush - packing to be done!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Forest Finest Silvertip 2211

I'm pleased to announce today that my new brush is now available, Details are available here:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

24 hours

About this time tomorrow I will be posting details of my New Forest Finest Silvertip brush on my New Forest Brushes blog.

Soon afterwards it will be daily tasks 7 days a week until I sell out.

I have enjoyed the break since selling out my first brush. If anyone else fancies having a go at this brush business - bear in mind it takes up a lot of time and effort!

A preview!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Todays shave

The New Forest Finest Silvertip is a revelation with this handle. The extra height of the 60 mm handle makes it a delight to handle and use. The lather which overflows the brush head stays nicely clear of your fingers. As usual Coates performs superbly, whipped up easily in the lather bowl made by a local potter. I use my little spatula to smear cream around the bowl - it works a treat. Maca Root balm makes an excellent soothing after shave.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Brush loft comparisons

The New Forest brushes are 2 band 22 mm knot size set at a loft of 55 mm and 50 mm. The Simpsons brush is 22 mm knot with a loft of 52 mm.

Note the similarity of the brush hair and the differences arising from variation in lofts. 2 mm and above make a big difference to the feel and performance of a brush.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Forest 2202

One of my best kept secrets. I sold out this brush in two days after posting details on my New Forest Brushes blog. I only had a few made and will asses feedback before making any more. These were made by hand in the New Forest using tambootie, an African hardwood. I want to see how well the handle stands up to regular use. This is the same two band hair used in my NF 2201. This one is set to a loft of 55 mm. It makes it feel like a much larger brush. It feels truly luxurious and was not unwieldy when I used it for some scrubby face lathering. I love it.