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Thread: What a difference a brush makes - how long do they take to 'season'?

  1. #1

    Default What a difference a brush makes - how long do they take to 'season'?

    I had my first shaving using a Franks Shaving silvertip badger yesterday and I was mightily disappointed. Before that I was using the BodyShop synthetic brush and every time the synthetic went into the soap (Crabtree & Evelyn Sandalwood) I got a luscious thick lather - I was an instant soap and brush convert.

    Yesterday after several soaks in hot water I tried the Franks Silvertip and got *nuthin'*. It was the weakest, wateriest gutless lather and I spent nearly twice as long working at getting something that wasn't even close to being as good as I got with a synthetic.

    I am very glad this wasn't my first brush experience because I would have to say I would be pretty turned off brushes and soap.

    So do I persist with this brush? Do they take a while to season? Not sure if the Franks are considered good or poor (the reviews generally seem favourable) but my first experience with that was a huge let down compared to the synthetic.

    I could see people getting disheartened quite easily if that was the average experience with a Franks Silvertip brush.

  2. #2
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    first off you used too much water.dont give up on badger.it realy is better.try it with more product and less water.if that doesnt work send the piece of junk to me and ill dispose of it properly for you:}
    Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!

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    I will second what eastomjac said. You had too much water in the Frank's brush. Synthetic fibers do not absorb water, natural fibers do. Several soaks is too many. Furthermore, you have to make sure that you flick the excess water out of the Frank's brush.
    It is just soap, hot water and a sharp blade. It isn't rocket science or a Zen ritual.

  4. #4
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    I meant that I soaked it shortly after purchase several times. I only had it sitting in water for about 5 minutes before use and I used a tonne of soap and there was no excess water... Maybe it had more than I thought but I went through a lot more soap than with the synthetic.

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    That sounds like too much water. My boar brushes are nearly dry when I start making lather. I then dip the tips of the bristles in water if I need a bit more. I used C&E Sandalwood for YEARS until all of the SF Bay Area stores closed. I use boar brushes exclusively and have never had a problem.
    It is just soap, hot water and a sharp blade. It isn't rocket science or a Zen ritual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eastomjac View Post
    first off you used too much water.dont give up on badger.it realy is better.try it with more product and less water.if that doesnt work send the piece of junk to me and ill dispose of it properly for you:}
    i say again
    Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!

  7. #7

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    With badger brushes, soak them for a few min in hot water, or just run under the tap - then firmly shake it out. Finally, grab the hairs, and without pulling, squeeze as much water out as you can - THEN run the brush over the soap and start your lather.

    Badger brushes need to be shaken out completely before lathering, or else you'll get a watery, useless lather; they hold plenty of water even after shaking out as much as you can

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    +1
    I'm 37, I'm not old....Well, I can't just call you 'man'

    Justin- Prisoner #49 - The Year of Gentlemanly Shenanigans 2014 - Still In

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    I'd also suggest a longer load time, I found the FS Silver-Tip too soft for my liking.
    Tabacaholic since 1976

  10. #10
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    No, they don't really 'season' you need to adjust your technique and not assume the brush is at fault.

    You're going from one type of hair to a completely different one. What works for one, won't necessarily work for another. Have the badger damp enough to load up creamy masses of soap, without going to your extreme and creating a sloppy foam party for one. Use some common sense and experiment a bit to start the right dampness. Once loaded and add water in dips to get it worked up into lather on your face or bowl.

    Quote Originally Posted by xmacro View Post
    Badger brushes need to be shaken out completely before lathering, or else you'll get a watery, useless lather; they hold plenty of water even after shaking out as much as you can
    Again, this depends on the badger. A very dense and/or long lofted one would work well that way, as they always stay damp. Others may be far too dry.

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    More product less water.
    Dave

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    Sounds like a matter of technique. Brushes don't all perform identically, especially when you're switching from one type of bristle to another as you are with going from synthetic to badger. You need to understand their differences and adjust your technique accordingly.

    Your current technique is just better suited to your synthetic. If you can adjust your technique so that you're looking for the proper indicators of brush loading and lather building then you'll have better results in general no matter what brush or soap you use. If you memorize specific steps then you're stuck with using a particular brush, soap, water, etc and will have problems any time you change any of those variables.

    It sounds like you're not sufficiently loading the badger and/or using too much water. I do soak my badgers but shake them out until they're nearly dry and that gives me consistently good results as I have a known starting point to work from. Posting pics at different stages (shaken out after soaking, loaded, building lather, etc) would help us to troubleshoot your issue.
    Last edited by takeshi; 09-19-2011 at 06:08 AM.

  13. #13
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    I second Takeshi comment on switching brushes. I recently added an Omega 48 to my den. The difference between a badger and boar is night and day. The badger defnitly holds more water then the boar. Each brush lathers differently, I like the boar for the task of harder soaps and the badger for softer soaps.

    When using the badger I flick out the excess water and then squezze it a litttle there is still enough water left. Then I began lathering adding a little water as needed. I read on a post; "do 20 laps with the brush to bring optium lather" This techinque has worked well for me.

    My Omega 48 boar,is reaching the one month mark. The bristle tips have began to spilit, it has began to blossom out, it is becoming softer. I wish that I had purchased a quality boar earlier. I believe for a newbie learning to lather. A quality boar is the better choice in learning the art of lathering. In hindsight I understand that.
    Brad, Steward General Shaving, Knight of the Veg Table, OGA, B.O.T.C., Old Foggies Club, Stirling Syndicate

  14. #14
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    I use soaps 99% of the time, and never with a silvertip brush. I find they just don't have the backbone I desire.
    -Nick

    STEWARD TO THE SHAVING SOAP FORUM
    Have a question? We are here to help


  15. #15
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    Well I had another crack this morning and I was miserly with the water. I loaded up so much of the soap it felt like I could actually see the level of the puck going down before my eyes... Meh. Still not much lather. If I get a chance over the next week I will indeed take some pix at the different stages. I think it was almost too dry this morning.

    I guess I'm just surprised at the effortless lathering with a $17 synthetic VS a $40 silver tip badger which I wrestled with for ages trying to get my lather on (and thereby extended the shave time when I am already rushed of a morning).

  16. #16
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    Silvertips are by design very soft - feels great on the face, but obviously will take more work to lather from soap.
    You can't blame the brush for working exactly as designed....
    Just call me Chris.

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