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!