View Full Version : Shaving Brushes: What's your favorite?

Dream Burls
05-09-2013, 08:34 AM
Lefty, of Sharp and Shiny, has been educating me in the shaving brush market. I had no idea there were so many brands and so many shapes and so many sizes and..... well you get the picture. So the more I learn (and Lefty's an encyclopedia) the more choices come into consideration and it's getting a bit confusing. So I thought - let's get KKF's thoughts
I'm a face latherer using a cake of soap.

What brush do you use? Are you a face or bowl lather? Why do you like yours? Opinions and recommendations are welcome. Thanks.

Dream Burls
05-09-2013, 08:36 AM
I tried to fix a typo and duplicated the post. Let's go with this one please.

05-09-2013, 08:58 AM
Hi. i face lather just like you so i would recomend a 2-band 50mm loft or a 3-band extra stuffed silvertip with a 46 to 48mm loft. key for a good face lather brush is soft tips and a ferm backbone.
i can tell you a few brands i know and own.

first one i wanna recomend is New Forest. the founder of this brand (Phil) is a great guy that has put up a line of brushes that is outstanding value for the money. thay cost half or even less then half of what a known big maker cost but performs just as good.
i own 3 of his brushes and love them very much! i recomend getting "Tubby 1 or Tubby 2" great brushes. very good backbone in them. he sells them via his blog so just google him.

next maker is Rod Neep. also outstanding hand lathed brushes. i recomend his 3-band Extra Silvertip knot. i would recomend a deeper mount on it around 47mm for a real good face lathering brush. i just spoke with him and he told me his latest batch of extra silvertipknots are superb. google rod neep pen and brush maker.

Simpson. the bigger models cost money but are top notch. chubby 2 2-band etc.

M&F (morris & forndran) good maker but price is higher like with simpson. no website you haf to mail him. he makes a model calld xl2 i like.


Dream Burls
05-09-2013, 09:04 AM
I knew you guys would have a lot of recommendations. Of course, they will make my choosing even more difficult, but the journey is sometimes more important than the destination. Thanks for the input Magnus.

05-09-2013, 09:11 AM
do you want to spend 70$ or 400$ on a brush is the question.

get yourself a New Forest Tubby 1. thay cost 43 pund shipped. I think its a perfect brush.


Dream Burls
05-09-2013, 09:38 AM
I didn't want to limit this tread by putting in any price barriers. Just interested in getting some thoughts on the subject. Even if I can't afford it I can still admire it and learn what makes it special. Thanks again.

05-09-2013, 09:57 AM
I like the silver tip badgers best.
The type of lathering will determine the size of the brush, then if you are using soap or cream also will add to the equation.
How long a handle you like is another variable, shape as well.
For real deep info on brushes from guys that have tried tons of them, go to SRP or Badger and Blade.

05-09-2013, 10:07 AM
Since you are in NYC you can always stop by a couple of the shops that are located in the Wetshavers bermuda triangle- where your money disappears without a trace.

Cambridge chemists (http://www.pharmacyny.com/default.aspx) and Pasteur Pharmacy (http://www.yelp.com/biz/pasteur-pharmacy-new-york) are two.

As Magnus mentioned Rod neep is a fine craftsman and does really nice work. Another is Rudy Vey, he has access to the Shavemac Knots and can create a custom brush to your specs ( hmmm...burl?)

At the end of the day the brushes job is to pick up product, soap or cream, and create an emulsion with water, the art of the brush though, is all about the pleasure of the aesthetics.

There are as many choices in brushes as there are knives, for a very detailed look you can always stop by the B&B brush forum (http://badgerandblade.com/vb/forumdisplay.php/7-Shaving-Brushes) and see what the boys are up to.

Here are a couple of my favorites-

http://badgerandblade.com/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=13608 (http://badgerandblade.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=13608)

Sterling silver Chubby 1 from 1962

http://badgerandblade.com/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=7218 (http://badgerandblade.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=7218)

Modern chubby 1
http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa261/bobfarvour/Bardstown Custom Shave/SDC13838.jpg
From our charity auction last year- a Bob Favour


Rudy Vey Keyhole with Shavemac DO1 knot

Dream Burls
05-09-2013, 10:22 AM
Thanks Jim, nice collection you have there. I have surfed the B&B forum and there is certainly a lot on info and opinions in there, almost too much. That Bermuda triangle, as you so eloquently put it, is about a mile from me so I'll get over at some point.

05-09-2013, 11:04 AM
Uh oh...I now fear for you and everyone who reads this. I'm more addicted to brushes than I am razors. Aside from all of the fun stuff you and I have discussed (Magnus and Jim have also hit on it), there are two things I just realized I haven't mentioned to you:

Number one - I use a Rudy Vey as one of my main brushes.

For me, the magic knot is best badger (two band), set at 2.4 times the diameter. Ie. 20mm diameter, with a 48mm loft. For a face-latherer, of soaps, this is fantastic. I wil throw in a caveat, however, since it might be just too short for many people. I easily get three passes out of my Simpson Wee Scot (it looks like a thimble with a tuft of hair on it :D), and 4 passes worth of lather out of the brush Rudy and I came up with (18mm x 43mm). Which leads to...

Number Two - Bigger is not always better, in this case, and especially when you like an accurate brush and wasting less product...which I do.

I'd like to put out a little challenge for the bowl-latherers out there: try face lathering (if you have a big brush, shorten the knot by pinching it between your thumb and forefinger). Do this for three consecutive shaves and see if you don't start to notice less ingrowns, better skin and that you don't need your 28mm x 60mm Silvertip anymore. :D

05-09-2013, 12:03 PM
I could not agree more, I prefer a 20-22 mm brush for the most part and when properly loaded will provide all the lather I need for a fantastic multipass shave.

05-09-2013, 12:19 PM
Oh, I should also say, if I'm an Encyclopedia, then Jim is the guy who wrote, then decided what was necessary to put into the encyclopedia, so it would all fit. :D

05-09-2013, 12:51 PM
If you are looking for a great brush, pricey, but the best I have come across, check out Plisson. Both the two and three band way outperform my Simpson and Shavemac. The three band is more on the soft/flexible side while the two band has more structure when wet. Nothing wrong with the Simpson or Shavemac, but the Plisson demonstrates a level of luxury the others don't. Plisson has great horn handles. I like the 12 size seems just right.

I use a bowl and a moss scuttle. Great combo to make nice warm lather. I highly recommend them. Look them up a potter in Canada makes them Sara Bonnyman I think.

05-09-2013, 12:54 PM
http://i1144.photobucket.com/albums/o496/ReedEdwards/DSC03672_zpsb4a3a15b.jpg (http://s1144.photobucket.com/user/ReedEdwards/media/DSC03672_zpsb4a3a15b.jpg.html)
Probably my favorite of mine. Morris and Forndran from Lee Sabini, 22mm knot in a caramel swirl beehive handle.

05-09-2013, 10:56 PM
Love the beehive shape!

05-10-2013, 03:55 AM
or you can lathe your own brushes :)


05-10-2013, 06:33 AM
Favorite brushes:

Plisson High Mountain White
Simpson Polo in two-band
Simpson Chubby in Two-band
Simpson Manchurian badger, Longness.
Rooney's Finest.
Shavemac D01
Thater Two-band.

To name a few:)

05-10-2013, 07:16 AM
Very surprised that nobody has mentioned Kent brushes, I've used this little baby with success for years:
BTW I am a face latherer and use Geo F Trumper Sandalwood shaving soap
(OK I'm a bit of a Britophile)

05-10-2013, 07:19 AM
IMO kent bk series has way to weak backbone for facelathering. good for soft creams in bowl thou.

05-10-2013, 07:29 AM
IMO kent bk series has way to weak backbone for facelathering. good for soft creams in bowl thou.

I might be misusing the term facelathering then. I do use the Sandalwood soft cream in the bowl and lather it up on my face though. Does the term facelathering only refer to hard soaps?

05-10-2013, 07:42 AM
Magnus, I'm a face latherer, and the BK works for me, fairly well. It's not a "face-lathering brush", but it is a brush that can do well with both, however excels in the bowl. It depends if you're talking BK2, or BK4...or higher (the hair is different, as the BK2 has "pure", while the BK4 has "silvertip"). Given the choice, I'd skip the more expensive Silvertip from Kent, but anyone can PM me on that one.


05-10-2013, 08:42 AM
i got the bk4 and bk8. i would not say thay do well at facelathering but hey we all have diffrent opinions of how thay should work :) however i cant speak of the bk2 since that brush is to smal for my taste but pretty sure it has a better stiffness to the backbone. same with the bk12 horn.

05-10-2013, 08:51 AM
I might be misusing the term facelathering then. I do use the Sandalwood soft cream in the bowl and lather it up on my face though. Does the term facelathering only refer to hard soaps?

facelathering = loading the brush with soap hard or soft or cream, then work up the consistency of the lather in the face.

Bowllathering = loading the brush with soap hard or soft or cream, then take it to a bowl and work up the consistency of the lather in a bowl, then take it to the face.

Dream Burls
05-10-2013, 09:28 AM
I've started to look at 2-Band brushes as I have read they have more backbone for face latherers like myself. The WSP Monarch keeps popping up as a very value oriented ($75) 2_Band silvertip option. Anyone have any experience with this brush/brand?

05-10-2013, 09:33 AM
I've started to look at 2-Band brushes as I have read they have more backbone for face latherers like myself. The WSP Monarch keeps popping up as a very value oriented ($75) 2_Band silvertip option. Anyone have any experience with this brush/brand?

yepp thats a fairly good brush for the money.

Dream Burls
05-13-2013, 07:22 AM
Just thought I'd let you know that, after a lot of vacillating, I finally purchased a Kent BLK4. There were a lot of factors involved, one being that I will use this brush very rarely as it will live in a weekend place where don't typically shave so I couldn't justify the cost of my top pick, the Simpson Persian Jar 2 Super 2-Band. It then came down to the Kent and the Monarch. Since I could get both for around the same price ($77/75) I went with the Kent, thinking that it might be a better quality product. I do recognize that the loft and stiffness of the BLK may not be optimum for a face lather, but I'm used to using a pinch grip (just like on my knife) and my "everyday" (being retired I only shave a couple of times a week) brush is a New York Shaving Co. Silvertip with a 52mm loft and I love it.

I should have it sometime next week and when I finally use it I'll let you know my thoughts. Thanks for all your input.

05-13-2013, 07:56 AM
Cool, Myron! Kents are a great product. I'm sure you'll be impressed. That price is unreal! I won't tell you all the cost of one, but man...did they fall off the back of a truck? :D

Dream Burls
05-13-2013, 08:18 AM
Got it thru eBay. It was listed for 54 BPS but I offered 50 and it was accepted. The seller is Hairbrush and Comb out of Essex, GB. There's another $20 in shipping, but I still think it's a great deal.

05-21-2013, 04:29 PM
In approximate go-to order:
TGN 18mm finest badger in a self-restore handle
Vie Long 12705 horse
Omega boar (B&B Essential branded)
TGN 24mm Silvertip in a self-restored Ever Ready C40 handle
Semogue Owners Club Boar
Vie Long horse/badger beehive.

I've avoided the expensive badger route so far :)

Dream Burls
05-21-2013, 05:07 PM
Just got my Kent BKL4 yesterday and took it out for it's maiden voyage this morning.

The good: beautiful presentation case, great f&f, didn't lose even bristle on the first go round, nice bloom
The bad: much smaller handle than I'm used to, didn't lather that well, but that could be because it's new

No complaints for the money. When I hit the lottery I'll go after the Simpson PJ2 Super 2 Band. Until then....

05-21-2013, 05:26 PM
My favorite brush right now is one I bought direct from China on eBay. IIR it was made by the same co that ties knots for Kent and several others. All they do in the UK is glue the knot in the handle. The same is true for a lot of brushes marked made in England. It's held up well but I'm glad to know Lefty sells Kent. I'd much rather buy from some one here in the future than a Chinaman on fleabay.

05-21-2013, 05:27 PM
Whipped Dog Silvertip, 22mm knot. It has served me well so far.