Shaving brushes

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vferdman

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I've been making shaving brushes for a while now. I sell them on Etsy and really enjoy using them myself. Until recently I made them without a lathe using a drill press a turning apparatus. Not great. Now that I have my Jet 1014 mini lathe I am learning the skills by making pens and now I feel that I have enough to make some brushes too. I want to keep this thread going to show off my new brushes as I make them. They usually go into my Etsy store inventory, but some are made for friends, family and by commission.

This one is my third lathe brush. I made it out of butterscotch poly resin I bought from a supplier that also sells brush knots. I have tried casting my own resin and had fun with it. I will try it again soon and the blanks will also be made by myself. I love doing as much as possible myself.

Here are the pictures:

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approximate dimensions:

Total height: 98mm
Handle height: 48mm
Loft height: 50mm
Knot: 27mm
 
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Dan Masshardt

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Cool. They are on my short list of new things to try.

Have you tried different knots to see what you like best? I'm trying to decide which one to buy.

Thanks for sharing these.
 

vferdman

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Cool. They are on my short list of new things to try.

Have you tried different knots to see what you like best? I'm trying to decide which one to buy.

Thanks for sharing these.

I have tried many knots for shaving brushes. I like boar knots and have a few brushes made with Omega boar knots. I just buy the cheapest Omega brush with a knot I like and extract the knot out of the cheapo ABS handle. Omega boar knots are some of the very best boar knots out there. They are also inexpensive. I recently bought an Omega 49 brush for $10 on amazon. Amazing large (27mm) boar knot. Haven't set into a handle yet, but will soon.

As far as badger knots, I don't even bother with anything but the two band finest. I buy mine at TGN (The Golden Nib) on the web. They also sell pen kits and blanks. The two band badger knots they carry are excellent. Allow extra 2mm for knot to expand out. So if you buy a 24mm knot it will most likely make a 26mm brush.

Best of luck and enjoy the shaves once you do make a brush. You'll never go back to canned goo again. Get some artisan shaving soap from a multitude of excellent soap makers here in US (too many to mention, but Mike's Naturals are some of my favorite).

--
Vladimir
 
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It looks pretty neat. I've been on the lookout for brushes as per my preference. Brushes made from badger hair are tough yet pliable and they are my favorite so far.
Does your brush have excellent water retaining properties?
 

vferdman

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It looks pretty neat. I've been on the lookout for brushes as per my preference. Brushes made from badger hair are tough yet pliable and they are my favorite so far.
Does your brush have excellent water retaining properties?

Badger hair comes in many different grades and several species of badger. This brush is made with hair from a badger sometimes referred to as "Manchurian". It is mostly black with some white/silver tips. This type of hair is usually called "two band" because of the way the hair looks in a brush. A band of black and a band of silvery tips. More conventional badger brushes will be made from a different badger species and will have three bands (usually referred to as "Best Badger" grade) or just look all grey, referred to as "Pure badger". Pure badger brushes are usually inexpensive and prickly to the skin. Not a bad thing, just most people don't like it. Best badger can be very soft, but floppy. I find two band badger to be my favorite because it is both resilient and extremely soft at the tips. So the knot is very sturdy against the face, yet not prickly at all. Feels luxurious and soft, yet massages the face and spreads the lather wonderfully. Most badger hair brushes hold a lot of water/lather. The knots I use are extremely dense and hold a tremendous amounts of water/lather.

As for the soaps, do yourself a favor and try a hard or a soft soap. You may never go back to a creme again. I tried several high end cremes and have come away disappointed every time. Art of Shaving stuff is okay, but way overpriced for what it is, so try something else for soap. I can give you suggestions. PM me if you like. There are so many artisan soap makers on the market right now, it's amazing. Most of them are light years ahead of AOS and less expensive. As I mentioned, check out Mike's. Also How To Grow A Mustache, Petal Pusher Fancies, Barrister & Mann, Strop Shoppe, RazoRock, Stirling, Dapper Dragon. Those are just off the top of my head.
 

vferdman

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What are you guys using for razors? I've been looking for a good double edge safety razor kit, but there don't look to be many out there....

Here's a redwood burl set I recently put together:

My daily razor is a 1926 Gillette Big Fellow with New Improved head. I went through many DE razors and ended up using the Big Fellow most of the time. I still have a bunch of DE razors that I need to sell, but some I will hang on to. Check out Merkur Progress. It's an adjustable razor and is one of my favorites. You can get them brand new for around $70 or used for $50 or so. Great razors. I also have and enjoy some inexpensive made in India DEs that are open comb. They are sold by many vendors on line for around $30. They are called Cadet or RazoRock sells them as their own brand and so do many others. The razor in your picture is a "TTO", which stands for Twist To Open and is not my thing at all. I tried a few different ones including the vintage Gillette (who invented it) and just did not care for them. Many people enjoy them, so don't take my word for it. Do try a simple three piece DE like a vintage Gillette (look for them on yard sales and flea markets. They look terrible and are cheap, but shine right up and work as good as the day they were sold. My Big Fellow is amazing and I got it for $20) or a Merkur or Edwin Jagger or Muhle. They are out there and a decent one will cost around $30 - $50 new or less for used (look for the used ones on shaving fora like TSN).
 

vferdman

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What are you guys using for razors? I've been looking for a good double edge safety razor kit, but there don't look to be many out there....

Here's a redwood burl set I recently put together:


I am sorry, I just wrote the previous response and then realized you are asking about the kit to make a DE with turned wood. Sorry about that. Your burl set looks awesome. I saw some kits for the DE handles for three piece razors. The handles are pretty standard on most three piece razors and so you can turn a handle and use it with your EJ or Merkur or whatever. Look here to see what I am talking about.
 

vferdman

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Is anyone making the soap dish for these as well? Just seems like a nice matching soap dish would be great. I am thinking about making a set for myself soon.

A soap bowl or just a lathering bowl would be awesome. Lots of fancy and expensive shaving soaps come in lathe-turned wooden bowls, and those are beautiful, but kind of inadequate for anything other than making the soap look good on the shelf. A really useful soap bowl would be about 5" in diameter and fairly cylindrical in shape. I am not up to making bowls yet. Still learning to turn spindles, but when I start on the bowls, a shaving soap bowl will be one of the first projects I do. I have many soaps that I keep in either tins or plastic tubs and they would all be better stored and used in a bowl with a lid.
 

southernclay

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I think a resin or really dense wood bowl would be awesome. Truestone would be really nice but cost would be pretty rough. I used to use a coffee mug but with nice materials seems like all matching would be a sweet set.

You'll be able to do a bowl in no time at all.
 

vferdman

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I think a resin or really dense wood bowl would be awesome. Truestone would be really nice but cost would be pretty rough. I used to use a coffee mug but with nice materials seems like all matching would be a sweet set.

You'll be able to do a bowl in no time at all.

I am hoping to try a bowl soon, but I am concentrating my efforts on spindles because of my brushes and the pens are really digging into me now also :) I have not even taken the bowl gouge that came with my tool set out of the box yet. I am using the roughing gouge, spindle gouge that I re-ground to a fingernail shape, a skew and a parting tool. So far no scrapers and no bowl gouges. But I am getting there.

I agree, a resin or worthless wood bowl would be excellent for soap. I need to think of a good mold for that kind of blank. As I said, I would like my soap bowl to be around 5" in diameter. Based on my experience that size really allows the brush to move around well and pick up soap efficiently off the puck.

Back burner for now, but will happen, I am sure.
 

Shock me

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I agree, a resin or worthless wood bowl would be excellent for soap. I need to think of a good mold for that kind of blank. As I said, I would like my soap bowl to be around 5" in diameter. Based on my experience that size really allows the brush to move around well and pick up soap efficiently off the puck.

Back burner for now, but will happen, I am sure.

There's this from a while back, by Jonathon Brooks. The soap dish is at the end of the series of pics, I didn't want to just repost the soap dish pic, lest somebody think I was claiming it as my own...

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f13/finally-finished-up-my-christmas-turnings-pic-heavy-90842/
 

Brooks803

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Is anyone making the soap dish for these as well? Just seems like a nice matching soap dish would be great. I am thinking about making a set for myself soon.

I agree, a resin or worthless wood bowl would be excellent for soap. I need to think of a good mold for that kind of blank. As I said, I would like my soap bowl to be around 5" in diameter. Based on my experience that size really allows the brush to move around well and pick up soap efficiently off the puck.

Back burner for now, but will happen, I am sure.

There's this from a while back, by Jonathon Brooks. The soap dish is at the end of the series of pics, I didn't want to just repost the soap dish pic, lest somebody think I was claiming it as my own...

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f13/finally-finished-up-my-christmas-turnings-pic-heavy-90842/

Greg ya beat me to it! Thanks for posting the link.
 

Shock me

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Greg ya beat me to it! Thanks for posting the link.

I remembered those pics from almost three years back b/c

1. Unless I'm mistaken, those are Ion Storm blanks, one of my all time favorite blanks. The patterns on the soap dish are fantastic.

2. The soap dish itself is WAY cool. I wish my own non-penturning lathe skills were up to that kind of work.

And because I can't stand thread hijackers, let me say I LOVE the OP's brush!
 

panamag8or

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What are you guys using for razors? I've been looking for a good double edge safety razor kit, but there don't look to be many out there....

Here's a redwood burl set I recently put together:


I am sorry, I just wrote the previous response and then realized you are asking about the kit to make a DE with turned wood. Sorry about that. Your burl set looks awesome. I saw some kits for the DE handles for three piece razors. The handles are pretty standard on most three piece razors and so you can turn a handle and use it with your EJ or Merkur or whatever. Look here to see what I am talking about.

I wonder what marine sealant he's using on those wood brushes.
 

gratz

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I actually finish the brushes with a rattle can spray on gloss finish, only been using mine for a few months, so only time will tell how it holds up.
 

CrimsonKeel

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How large do you make your handles? I've made one and plan on making a few more with some castings i have done. I just made the first one to fit my hand and i was wondering if there is a set size that is the norm give or take a few MM.

Great color on that handle too.

Also what do you use to glue your knots in?
 

Travis Fry

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Thanks I am a brush shaver already myself However my preference is the shaving cream from the art of shaving over soap I've not tried enough soaps probably though

You have done well so far to avoid getting SAD (Soap Addictive Disorder), wherein you end up with several lifetimes' worth of "samples". I like Kell's Original, but have just started making my own.

To get back to the point, are any special tools needed to turn brushes like these? I'm pretty new to this lathe stuff.
 

CrimsonKeel

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Thanks I am a brush shaver already myself However my preference is the shaving cream from the art of shaving over soap I've not tried enough soaps probably though

You have done well so far to avoid getting SAD (Soap Addictive Disorder), wherein you end up with several lifetimes' worth of "samples". I like Kell's Original, but have just started making my own.

To get back to the point, are any special tools needed to turn brushes like these? I'm pretty new to this lathe stuff.

not really. I use a chuck to hold mine but you could do them as spindles and just cut off the one end and finish it.
 

vferdman

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To get back to the point, are any special tools needed to turn brushes like these? I'm pretty new to this lathe stuff.

I have purchased a bottle stopper mandrel from Ruth Niles and that is a good way to turn most of the handle between centers and then at the end clean up the bottom of the handle without the tail stock support. The mandrel will hold the piece fairly securely without the tail stock. However, the size of the mandrel does not allow for some designs of the top part of the handle because it is difficult to get a tool in the very top part of the work. I have also used a drill chuck in the head stock holding a smaller mandrel that allows me to come in with a gouge or other tool very close to where the knot opening will be and shape it as I like. I do not yet have a scroll chuck, but that could be used in conjunction with some sort of double sided adhesive tape or hot glue and a waste wood block. I am sure there are other ways I can't think of right now.
 

EBorraga

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Looks good. I enjoy making these. The world of wet shaving is pretty wild. I've met alot of interesting people through it.
 

robutacion

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I get a few order to supply blanks for these shaving kits, some from stabilized wood that I always recommend for these types of wet use accessories, some blanks cast (Resifills) and often, they want the matching blanks to turn the soap dish/bowl, also, many possibilities here...!

However, when I saw your brush, I remembered of a Sweden fellow that wanted me to make a few bases for the brushes, out of true Aussie woods.

The interesting thing was that, he sent me professional drawings of the base and mention that, the design was from a very famous brand. He also mentions that, the dimensions of the base were specific to a famous brand of of "knots" I call them hair heads, these one he purchased were made of some specific animal, I believe.

Anyway, I'm not into that category of items so, I know nothing about brands, sizes, and anything related to the old art of shaving but, I had specific drawings and that I can read.

I took some pics of them when I finish spraying so, I will attached to the post however, they are not intended to compare or anything like that, maybe another design possibility, is good enough for me but I still thing that full acrylic made pieces for these kits, are better than wood for durability...!

*- #14 She/Bull-Oak

*- #47 Stone Acacia

*- #17 Silver Wattle

*- Pic of the branded one he wanted to copy (shape)

Cheers
George
 

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vferdman

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The high end brushes are made with badger hair. There are various grades of badger hair and knots differ greatly in size and shape. Some folks prefer smaller brushes, some large and everything in between. the Edwin Jagger brush is very nice shape and your copies are very lovely. The wood is okay to use since most people into wet shaving really take good care of the equipment and dry the brushes well after use. The hair wicks the moisture from inside the hole. there are many factory made wooden handles, but most of them are some sort of plastic or resin. Stabilized wood is very nice, but not necessary, IMO. As long as there is a good water proof finish, the handle should hold up to many years of use.

Thanks for posting the pictures!
 

robutacion

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The high end brushes are made with badger hair. There are various grades of badger hair and knots differ greatly in size and shape. Some folks prefer smaller brushes, some large and everything in between. the Edwin Jagger brush is very nice shape and your copies are very lovely. The wood is okay to use since most people into wet shaving really take good care of the equipment and dry the brushes well after use. The hair wicks the moisture from inside the hole. there are many factory made wooden handles, but most of them are some sort of plastic or resin. Stabilized wood is very nice, but not necessary, IMO. As long as there is a good water proof finish, the handle should hold up to many years of use.

Thanks for posting the pictures!

Thanks for your words and thank you for not seeing my pics as a comparison to your work, that was not my intent...!

Like in so many other "things" in life, never stops to amaze me how some people that a "random" item or "use" and make it a passion. hobby, business and or everything in between. There seems to be always so much more than what meet the eye, even in the most simplest of the thing in our everyday lives, fascinating stuff...!

Cheers
George
 

vferdman

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I am all for people making their own brushes if they can and so desire. It's not about that. I combine turning with knowledge and experience with shaving brushes because I use them myself and have been for a while. I thought I can produce a very nice brush with what I know and skills I have. So far I have been receiving good feedback, so people like my creations. I put my heart into the work and try to make a tool for luxurious experience. If others wish to make the same thing I don't mind and don't see it as a threat. I am also learning to turn mostly because of the brushes, not making brushes because I know how to turn. The shaving brushes inspired me to become a turner. I am still learning to turn, but I do know what a good shaving brush is.

Thanks for posting your pictures. It's all good.
 

vferdman

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I have created another LARGE brush. This one is truly large. The knot is 30mm and the rest of the handle is nice and large. I modeled it after "Emperor" or M6 style handles, but way bigger. Those with large hands and craving a large knot in a brush will be delighted. The wood is amazingly beautiful. Pictures do not do it justice. I took some pictures of this brush together with some other well-known brush to represent the scale. This brush is LARGE and beautiful.

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Brush Dimensions (approximate):

Total height: 128mm
Handle: 73mm
Loft: 55mm
Knot: 30mm Bulb shape
 

vferdman

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I have just completed a special to me project. It is re-handling the venerable Omega 49 Pro. I bought the Omega on Amazon and extracted the knot from it and turned a handle I think is more worthy than the ABS plastic one that originally came with it. I really love the Omega 49, but IMO the handle is not very pretty (but fine for the price these go for) and the loft is a bit too high on these brushes. So I turn the handle I think is good for it and drop the loft to around 58mm-60mm. This one ended up at 59mm loft and 28mm knot. Test lathers with this brush produced amazing results and I even had a test shave with it, which proved to be worth the effort. I put this brush into my Etsy store, but I am sure I will make one for myself soon. Just love the large Omega boar...

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Brush Dimensions (approximate):

Total height: 132mm
Handle: 73mm
Loft: 59mm
Knot: 28mm
 

penmaker1967

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lovelt brush may i asj how do u get the know back out i have a few that i want to re handle and not sure how to go about getting the knot back out
 

vferdman

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lovelt brush may i asj how do u get the know back out i have a few that i want to re handle and not sure how to go about getting the knot back out

I usually use new knots in my handles, so I don't have to take them out of brushes. The old brushes I restore I usually throw away the knot since it's not very good compared to the new one. On few occasions I did remove the knot from the handle I used different techniques depending on the type of knot. Badger knots I sometimes steam out. I use a vegetable steamer. The boar such as the one in my last brush I sacrificed the handle. It was a hollow handle that had a black plastic "bucket" supporting the knot. I cut most of the handle off on my table saw and then used a rotary tool with a cutting wheel to carefully make vertical cuts in the remnants of the handle toward the knot. Must be careful not to cut into the knot. Basically, it's a case-by-case analysis. If you want to share your brush pictures I can give you an idea how to separate the handle from the knot. Also matters if you want to save the handle or not.
 

vferdman

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I have just completed a brush in Burmese Blackwood and TGN two band finest badger. I really love this wood! It is super dense, making the handle very heavy. I used CA to create a glass-like finish of over a dozen coats. This brush is one of my very favorites so far to come off my lathe.

Brush Dimensions (approximate):

Total height: 110mm
Handle: 60mm
Loft: 50mm
Knot: 27mm Bulb shape

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vferdman

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I made another brush in a resin handle. I call this "Burnt Butterscotch Pearl". There is a lot going on in this material. Black, red, gold, pearl, all swirling together in a mesmerizing display. The knot is TGN two band finest. I really like this brush a lot.

Brush Dimensions (approximate):

Total height: 112mm
Handle: 62mm
Loft: 50mm
Knot: 25mm Bulb shape

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vferdman

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I have created a brush in Bethlehem Olivewood handle and TGN two band badger. This brush came out really well. The wood is very beautiful. My first olivewood turning and I am absolutely in love with this material. The knot is one of the best I've gotten from TGN. It is almost perfectly shaped, the hair is of excellent quality. Super soft tips and amazing backbone and density. This brush is available in my Etsy store and is sure to make someone a very happy shaver.

Approximate dimensions:

Total height: 110mm
Handle: 60mm
Loft: 50mm
Knot: 28mm Bulb shape

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Dan Masshardt

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I have created a brush in Bethlehem Olivewood handle and TGN two band badger. This brush came out really well. The wood is very beautiful. My first olivewood turning and I am absolutely in love with this material. The knot is one of the best I've gotten from TGN. It is almost perfectly shaped, the hair is of excellent quality. Super soft tips and amazing backbone and density. This brush is available in my Etsy store and is sure to make someone a very happy shaver. Approximate dimensions: Total height: 110mm Handle: 60mm Loft: 50mm Knot: 28mm Bulb shape

Finish on the olivewood?
 
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vferdman

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I have completed a new brush for my Etsy shop. This one is made with Tambootie wood that has a dark and light wood in it. It is absolutely stunning. The light side has a knot coming in from the dark side. It is really a beautiful piece of wood. I finished it with CA for water-proofing and I polished it to a high gloss.

Approximate dimensions:

Total height: 102mm
Handle: 52mm
Loft: 50mm
Knot: 25mm bulb shape

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