Friday, December 23, 2011

Floppy bliss.

To be described as floppy is not a term of endearment among brush aficionados- or is it? This is a very floppy Vie Long silvertip and it was bliss using it today. Lather whipped up in a bowl then gently painted on in long sweeping to and fro motions. Arlington cream produced a thick creamy lather and has a delightful scent. The Merkur 38C had a rare run out - used with minimal pressure with a red personna, a comfortable close shave.

I love my daily ritual of choosing different things and varying my technique from face to bowl lathering and back again. Variety is truly the spice of life for some of us.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The first New Forest brush

This was my first New Forest brush. A limited edition of one! Made for me in England using a 24mm extra hair knot from The Golden Nib. The logo was added later. I learn something from all my one off brushes. The loft of 51mm is really too low. The extra hair meant that it probably should have been set at a higher loft. It would still have retained sufficient backbone but then released the lather better. This does hog lather although it is still an excellent brush for use with hard soaps as well as creams. It was after this that I began to think about the feasibility of making small batches of brushes to my specification and creating my own brand. Then I decided that if Kent Brushes could adopt an English County name for a brand then perhaps "New Forest" might be a good choice for a new shaving brush brand name. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Good value balms

My wife used to buy my after shave - usually Floris balm at about £35. These days I buy my own and spend a lot less. This Proraso balm is about £11 delivered, in the UK. A nice touch of menthol, not too greasy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beard styling

I had a beard like this once. I shaved it off years ago. I think often about growing another. If I do, I might find this site useful:


Among the "artisan" soap makers Nanny's Silly Soap Company is one of the best I've come across. A delightful thick cushioning lather and this one has a very distinctive scent I love - Yushu.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Simpsons Chubby 2 and Trumpers CB2

There was much discussion on shaving forums a few months back about a new range of Trumpers brushes, so I thought I'd take a look at one. The Trumpers CB2, which appeared to be a replica of the Simpsons Chubby 2. To kick things off, here are some  photos of the two brushes - both now used. Click on the photo for a closer view.

There are some strong similarities. The brush dimensions in handle height, diameter, knot width and loft are virtually identical. The shape is very close but there are differences in detail that make it obvious that that the CB2 is not an exact replica. Design is very much a matter of personal taste - I think the CB2 is spoilt by the indented line below the logo. The Trumpers handle is lighter in colour and has the look of a handle made by an automated lathe - but then no claim is made about how the handle is made.

The biggest difference is in the knot - the hair quality, shape and density. No one familiar with Simpsons Best Badger Chubby brushes will think this is a clone. The CB 2 hair is good quality,   but has slightly prickly tips and nowhere near the density of the Chubby.

There is too a significant difference in price. The Chubby 2 in Best retails at £120, the CB2 is £100. Probably a fair reflection of relative value?

Finally, performance. I expressed my opinion about the Chubby 2 here. While less dense, the CB2 produces an abundance of lather and the flow through is excellent. The brush is softer and will be more appealing to cream users who prefer to lather in a bowl and paint on the lather. But it will also make an excellent brush for use with soaps and face lathering for those not so keen on stiff backboned short lofted brushes.

Value?  Premium prices for premium brand names. If you want this type of brush - these are the sort of prices you have to pay.

Another visit to Geo F Trumpers

No, not Trumpers - but a nice place to have morning coffee. Then off to Trumpers shop in Curzon Street, London. I decided to take a close look at the new Trumper brushes that were said to be virtually the same as some brushes that used to be made for them by Progress Vulfix - rebranded Simpsons Chubby brushes.

I bought a CB2 in Best to compare with my Simpsons Chubby 2 in Best.

This is the Trumpers CB2. I'll post more soon.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Brush re knottting

This is a very old brush. I call it my Barny badger. It has very a short loft - 38mm, and it's not comfortable to use. One of the New Forest brushes I'm planning to make next year is a short lofted fan shape two band with a 20mm knot. I thought one of these knots would look good in this little brush handle and enable me to test how good it would be with a loft of 45mm. I'm not a natural handyman but I thought I'd give it a go. With a pair of scissors, a penknife and a drill, I managed to remove the old knot. The diameter of the hole was 22mm - just right to set the 20mm knot comfortably in it to a depth allowing the loft to be set at 45mm.

I'm delighted with the result.

I didn't try to repolish or restore the handle. The colour difference is due to different lighting! I plan to use the brush this weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Face or bowl lathering.

No - not me, just a free stock photo. I've been doing a bit of scrubby style face lathering these past few days. So very different to gently painting on lather made in a bowl. I must say that after a good facial scrub with the brush my skin feels exceptionally soft. While painting on the lather is a more luxurious experience it doesn't seem to leave the skin feeling quite so good. It got me thinking about which method is likely to be more beneficial to my skin. Anyone got any thoughts about this?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Red personna

I tried a lot of different blades when I returned to a DE razor. These are the blades I now use every day in my Jagger Chatsworth razor. Not too sharp - just right for me. We all have different skin so one blade will not suit everyone but if you do find some blades a bit too sharp these are worth a try. Mine cost £15 for 200 from The Gentleman's Shop in Hungerford. At 7.5p each they are a lot less than the Mach 3 blades I was using. And they last me from 4 to 7 days.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

After the cull

I assembled a lot of brushes to include in Fido's Shaving Brush Blog. I have twice sold off many of the brushes, the last lot quite recently on The Shaving Room forum. I had intended to part with more. But it's not easy to part with some things is it?  Here are the survivors. Some people ask me which are my favourites. I don't have any. I love 'em all!

A bookcase is a handy place to store your brushes. But make sure they are completely dry before putting them in one like mine which has glass doors.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blade of the day.

Most pics that appear on the shaving forums don't show the blade used. After trying many sample blades I finally settled on red personna as my regular blade. And nearly every day I use it in my Jagger Chatsworth razor. Practice makes perfect so I really feel I have mastered the razor technique I need for a satisfying shave. I still change brushes, soaps and creams and switch between bowl and face lathering so not all my shaves are as good as some. But variety is what I enjoy - apart from blade and razor!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


As a DE devotee, it might be regarded as a heresy to return to a cartridge blade. I decided today in another rush, to grab a Wilkinson Hydro 5 razor. Learning from previous experience I painted on a thin layer of Mr Taylor cream lather and very lightly ran the blade over my face for a very quick three pass shave. I really didn't feel I was taking anything off. But after applying my balm I discovered I had given myself a very close comfortable shave. I'm not returning to cartridge razors any time soon, but it's not difficult to understand their continuing popularity among general shavers.

It made a change.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lather - how much?

I rushed my shave a bit this morning. I face lathered but didn't spend as much time on it as usual. I settled for a relatively thin layer of lather for each pass. The result? A very good shave - nice and smooth. A nice thick layer of lather is pleasing to make but it's not essential - certainly not for me with my DE razor. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The mighty Polo 14

Getting used to actually using the giant Polo 14. Shown here alongside the Duke 3, the Polo did a fine job today with Castle Forbes Lavender cream. Lathered in a bowl and painted on. Lovely shave!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In praise of floppy

The brush is a Vie-Long 16510 silvertip, my floppiest brush with a 23mm knot set to a loft of 60mm. Lathered in a bowl and painted on with a gentle swirl before smoothing over it is a truly sensual experience. It's great to have a variety of brushes in a collection. So don't neglect floppies!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A razor snippet

An interesting thread here.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Take a look at Mantic's new website - this is a useful post: the shaving tips are worth reading - you could have a go too!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tigris Perla

This is a New Forest brush made from a cast polyester resin named Tigris Perla. The Tigris is a famous river but I have no idea of what "Perla" is intended to denote. I'd be delighted to hear from anyone with ideas about the significance of the name of this material.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Another go?

My three straight razors have been in the drawer unused for too long. Now do I want to give it another go? If not, should I simply sell off all the gear to someone who might like to try this most traditional method of shaving?

Must give it more thought...........

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A rare shave

Had a real change today. Rubbed the stick over my face, lathered up, shaved off the lather rather haphazardly, reapplied lather left in the brush and did the same again. A big difference to my usual slow, systematic four pass shave. I was in and out of the bathroom in a few minutes and off to market for breakfast. My wife was pleasantly surprised. This could be my regular Saturday morning routine as I seem to try to be out much earlier than usual - it gets busy quickly at Lymington market!

The line up today was Palmolive, Vulfix Pure shaving brush ( not the most comfortable brush in my collection ) Jagger Chatsworth/red personna and Proraso balm.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Changing tastes

I've noted several discussions on shaving forums about people starting to prefer higher lofted brushes. I've never been keen on very short lofted brushes in the mid to lower 40mms range. I prefer brushes from around 48mm  to the mid 50s depending on knot size. This is a two band I had made which has a 22mm knot set to a loft of 58mm. I've been using it recently and it really is a delightful brush to use. The two band hair ensures a reasonable backbone and it has excellent flow through. I don't have any plans to produce any more of these but I'll certainly be considering setting 22mm knots at around 52mm to 54mm lofts to assess demand. Tastes do change!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Royal Enfiel Bullet Classic EFI 500

Shaving's not my only interest!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Replating a razor

This might be of interest to anyone wishing to restore an old razor:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Favourite things

A few of my favourites. Jagger Chatsworth with red personna has been my daily choice for a long time now. The mini casserole dish makes a very practical container for palmolive soap sticks - amazing value for money soap that produces lather as good as anything costing several times the price. The brush is unique, for now. A fan shape two band with a 22mm knot with a loft of 50mm - just perfect for face lathering. A New Forest brush not yet in production. Truefitt and Hill 1805 balm - finishes things off perfectly.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Guide to Gourmet Shaving

There is a mass of information about shaving on the internet. But there are very few books about it. For those who take an interest in shaving using more traditional products like double edge blade razors, brushes, creams and soaps here is a book to study and enjoy. And an ideal gift for someone you might wish to encourage to share your passion for treating shaving as a pleasure rather than a chore.

Here you will find suggestions about all the things you need to do to master traditional shaving methods. Techniques for improving your daily shave and many ideas for all sorts of different products to try. Michael Ham, self styled "Leisure Guy" is an enthusiastic blogger on several subjects, including shaving, and he contributes regularly to a number of shaving forums. This is the 5th Edition of the book - well timed to include among those early Christmas gifts to others or an early one to yourself. Now available on Amazon as a book or, soon, kindle.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I used this little brush today. It's a Plisson High Mountain White. I revisited my Fido's Shaving Brush Blog to check my earlier impressions. This is an expensive brush and I still think that at nearly £200 it is overpriced. Yet I have to admit - it's a delightful shaving experience to use it and I'm still glad I've got it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Martin de Candre

Martin de Candre make one of my favourite shaving soaps. You can find details here:

Savon a raser

For a 170g jar, at 34 euros it's still an expensive soap. But at long last, they now make a more reasonable shipping charge of 6 euros to the UK. So when my jar is finally used up - it's lasted over 2 years so far in my rotation - I'll be reordering.

This is the main online shop - you may select language by clicking on the relevant flag in the top left of the page:

Martin de Candre - online shop

Friday, September 16, 2011


If you use one of these:

Like one of these:

You shouldn't notice the prickliness you often get with lower priced brushes. Ironic really since most manufacturers of high priced brushes tell you this is the correct way to use a shaving brush!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Super Badger 2 Band brushes

Spotted this thread on Badger & Blade:

2 banded super.....

I'm surprised that there is said to be a shortage of 2 band hair or brushes. I have a variety of New Forest Super Badger 2 bands and haven't experienced any problems with securing stocks of badger hair knots in 2 band. Perhaps a benefit of being a smaller brush maker?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Badger & Blade

My troubles with Badger & Blade are well documented and I have no wish to add more about my personal case. It's past, and I have no wish to be involved there any more. But as a member of several shaving forums I still like to know what's going on around the internet shaving community.

I knew about this thread, but I only recently took a look at it in detail. It's quite remarkable. Joel, the man behind B&B, registered as a member of this forum and submitted some most interesting posts making offers to disaffected former members of his site and giving his take on the issues raised by the thread.

Take a look here:

Pogonotomy Shaving forum - thread about B&B.

If not a member you will need to register to access the link. To do that, you go to:

Pogonotomy Forum

Sorry about this, I hadn't realised when I first published this post that the thread can only be accessed by forum members. But it does make interesting reading! The thread is in the General off topic area and titled "Who else here was banned for life by B&B"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The power of the internet

My little New Forest Brushes venture has only been made possible through the power of the internet. The research and study of information readily available through use of the internet, the ability to create and use a simple website plus sites like Paypal and Ebay make it possible for anyone to start up a small international business these days. And they need not stay small - many big name businesses have started and thrived since the internet was first established. New Forest Brushes now has customers in many countries - including some surprising ones! This is the latest list of countries to which brushes have been shipped:

Czech Republic
South Africa
United Kingdom
United States

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rotating too often?

An essential aspect of treating shaving as a special interest or hobby is building up a collection of products to use. So most of us end up with perhaps too much of everything. So we tend to change things often - be it razors, blades, brushes, creams, soaps and so on. By doing so we may enjoy the variety but I sometimes think we end up not getting the best out of what we have. Each product takes time to understand how to best use it. If we change things frequently perhaps we run the risk of never quite getting what we are after - a smooth comfortable and enjoyable shave. I'm going to start extending the time I use each combination of products. Just for a change!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today's shave

Castle Forbes Lavender shaving cream is simply superb. Wonderful aroma and so little needed to create lather very easily. DR Harris Arlington aftershave milk is a recent addition  I'm really enjoying. Jagger Chatsworth/ red personna and a New Forest Finest Silvertip 2213 completed the line up that produced a delightful shaving experience. But then it's like that most days for us shaving enthusiasts!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

TSR meet

Thousands of enthusiasts post on shaving forums. Few ever meet. Some will always have reservations about meeting people who post anonymously on the internet. The Shaving Room is a UK based shaving forums. One of the members, Mikael from Sweden, intended to visit London this August and suggested that members of the forum might like to join him and visit some of the famous london Barber/Gentleman's shops followed by a few drinks in a London Pub.

So on Saturday 6 August 2011  a small group of us met up with Mikael and visited Trumpers. Taylors of Bond Street, DR Harris and Truefitt & Hill. We followed up with a few drinks at The Chequers Pub in Duke Street. We all had a great time. A few gifts were exchanged, we had a raffle that raised some money for charity, bought a few more things we didn't need and returned home having made a few more friends. If you are a member of a shaving forum and it's feasible to arrange a meet, go for it!

A few reminders of the day:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blooming silvertips

Shavers comment often on the bloom of a shaving brush. Some tend to bloom more than others. The silvertips most of all. Here's a New Forest Finest Silvertip - with a 22mm knot and 50mm loft. I'll compare in a future post with a two band brush.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Badger pics

I never know quite how I feel when I see a badger close up!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Bluebeards Revenge

Such an odd name! This cream is supposed to ensure your beard doesn't return too quickly. As someone with a lot of creams and soaps, I'm not likely ever to find out how effective this cream is at affecting beard growth. But it's a fine cream anyway. A little makes a lot of superb creamy lather that enables a pleasant smooth shave. A good quality cream - worth a try, if only to find out what all the fuss is about!

Read more about it on the innovative website:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Forest Brushes

A new range of brushes has now beeen released. These have a new decal. This will avoid the need to build up large batches of brushes for a long trip to a specialist printer for pad printing. More handle materials are now available including alternative ivory, bone, tortoiseshell, horn and tigris perla. Full details can be seen here:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Straight razor shaving

I gave it my best, but it is not for me. I did a lot of research, bought all the gear, studied forums, books and videos and gave it a trial. I did eventually have some satisfactory shaves and I can fully understand the enthusiasm for this type of traditional shaving. For me, it was a step too far. I already take a lot longer over shaving doing my three pass plus a tidy up ritual with a DE razor. The additional preparation, cleaning and maintaining the straight razor, plus the messiness compared with DE shaving started to make it more of a chore than a pleasure.

So now my razors and strop and other bits and pieces lie dormant until I decide to pass them on. I'm really pleased I made the effort - it made me appreciate the pleasure it must give others but also confirmed my own preferred shaving method.