Okay, SBRAD has kind of taken over from RAD recently, so I’d like to show you all my two latest editions. On the left is my new Rubberset 153 with TGN synthetic knot, and on the right in the foreground is my new face-lathering brush sporting a WD black badger.
For the balance of this post, I’ll talk about the synthetic Rubberset, and the following post will cover the wooden black badger brush.
Rubberset 153 - before
So, this was the image from the eBay auction - just a plain boar brush in need of a hair transplant. Luckily, the top and bottom sections of the handle weren’t glued together so it made it easy to get the old knot out. In fact, for the most part, all of this was done using hand tools (with 2 exceptions), so all of you out there who think you need fancy tools to reknot, this shows that it can be done with just regular hand tools.
Knot removal was mostly uneventful with the usual round of cutting the existing boar knot out, and then clearing the opening. Using a big flat-bladed screwdriver and rubber mallet, I tapped it in and turned to start the extraction of the knot. Tapping a bit too hard resulted in a ‘crack’ sound, but this wasn’t the top bit splitting - it was the plaster-like shelf inside the top that broke. So as I now knew it would break, I started bashing it away and in no time I had cleared the bulk of the old knot, with just a bit of it to remove using a knife and hooked probe.
The original opening was about 22mm or so, and I wanted to put a larger diameter knot in there. As a suitable WD silvertip knot was out of stock at the time, I decided to use a TGN synthetic knot which required me to open up the hole to 24mm. Although I enlarged the hole using my rotary tool, I could have easily done this with my exacto and some sandpaper as there was just a small interior lip to remove to make it the required size.
After crafting a cork shelf (thank you champagne cork) and judicious use of epoxy, I glued everything up and inserted the new knot with a little twist. And here’s what it ended up like:
After impatiently waiting for the knot to set, I did a test lather on it in good ol’ VdH and it developed an admiral palm lather - thick and soft. There was no wet dog smell (but it did smell like a stuffed animal, if that counts) and I looked forward to my initial use. First real use was with C.O. Bigalow and discovered that the synthetic fibers are sort of peculiar: while the brush loads up on soap really well, it’s not so good as a bowl lathering.
It was very difficult getting the loaded brush to ‘offload’ its goodness in the bowl in its first cream use - so much so that I thought that I hadn’t used enough. After adding a bit more to the brush, it still did not want to offload it to the bowl but once you got it to the face, it did its job well. The breach of the knot holds onto the lather very well and delivers a very good lather to the face - I don’t know how it can tell, but I repeated it with a second lather of a Mama Bear’s soap to very similar effect for its second use.
The bristles have very good backbone like a boar brush, but the tips are extremely soft like a silvertip. Its density is like a horse brush but more springy to the face. It doesn’t bloom, either (I forget if the pics are ‘before’ or ‘after’ use images as they were so similar). I’m not sure I’m sold on it yet, but it does make an interesting addition.
[continued next post]