Brush Chronicle #12 Morris & Forndran

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by djh, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. djh

    djh Moderator

    Welcome Badger and Blade Shavers to this Twelfth Edition of the Ultimate Brush Chronicles. It is my pleasure to be able to join with Ben to present what we hope will be a fun and informative Badger Brush Bonanza. The subject of our studies is the Morris & Forndran brush range- a name which I am sure many of you are familiar with, but which also remains something of an enigma.

    Ben (ben74) doesn't need any introduction here in the Brush Forum. As a regular visitor and brush aficionado, he is as well-known and well-respected for his knowledge as he is for his wonderful collection and indeed also for his skills with the camera. Together we will be putting these brushes through their paces by testing them with different soaps and creams and inviting input from our readers by way of questions, photos, observations and thoughts. Feel free to get involved! The Brush Chronicles are only as good as the Members help us to make them.

    Morris & Forndran


    This photo is of my brush which has a 26mm knot, loft of 51mm, handle height of 49mm, Blonde Badger hair and is a fantastic face-lathering machine. I recall that the brush cost me about £85 and I do believe that it was money well-spent. It compares favourably with other premium brushes and now with the much-expanded range of M&F brushes available, they are starting to become more widely seen.

    This morning's SOTD. My M&F brush with Czech & Speake's Oxford & Cambridge Soap- something to look forward to when I walk away from the computer and head to the bathroom!


    I hope to return later and post some thoughts on my shave and get this Chronicle up and running. Welcome Ben- it is great to have you on board and I certainly hope that you can have some fun!
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  2. djh

    djh Moderator

    My chosen brush always soaks in warm water whilst I am under the shower and performing my prep.


    Then, after a gentle shake out to remove water, it is time to hit the soap.


    After 30 seconds loading


    A minute of loading and it is time to make some lather....


    I am normally a face-latherer but for the sake of taking photos, I reach for a bowl. Adding a couple of drops of water and away we go....


    Some more water and after a minute, it is time to shave. This brush is quite large, relatively dense and builds lather quickly. Obviously it also needs quite a bit of product in order to make a proper lather (not that that is a bad thing at all) and if I were to use brushes like this one each day, I would get through a serious amount of soap.


    For someone who changes brushes like socks, the idea of sticking to one brush only for a couple of weeks can be difficult. Something tells me that I am going to enjoy the next two weeks.....
  3. Beautiful pictures! We look forward to your account of this brush. There is definitely a sense of mystery with M&F. Thanks for taking the time to spread SBAD.
  4. I am going to especially enjoy this installment as I've been eying one of these beauties.

    Will Ben be using the exact same brush? I notice the chronicle is on the M&F range, though you will be sticking to one brush.

  5. Imho, this is the quintessential M&F brush. Page one of 108. However, Ben could offer up analysis of his other M&F brushes. That, too, would be interesting and might take quite some time.:w00t: Best, Bradley
  6. djh

    djh Moderator

    Thanks for stopping by to check up on the Chronicles.

    Hi Tony,

    I will definitely be sticking to one brush (as that is the extent of my M&F collection :wink2:), but it is possible that we will see several models from Ben over the course of the next two weeks.

    Thank you, Bradley. We will see what Ben has to offer us in next few days.
  7. Thank-you to David for the very kind introduction.

    I'm looking forward to being a part of this endeavour almost as much as I enjoy using my M&F brushes. Aside from amassing a small army of M&F brushes (that I liken to "special forces" in the war against stubble) I've also developed a keen friendship with their maker Lee Sabini (a man that probably needs little introduction here, yet little is known about). The brand and the man himself share an element of mystery and it is my hope to not only showcase his work, but with his blessing provide some background to the M&F brand.

    Although not brand new to the Badger & Blade forum, I am new to this level of contribution and review, so I'm more than happy to take direction from members in terms of what you would like to see and learn. I hope to share with you many brushes from my M&F collection, rather than showcasing a single brush. I understand that this deviates from Brush Chronicle norm, but to me an important element of the M&F phenomenon is the variety of brushes and level of customisation that Lee is prepared to offer.

    In an attempt to maintain some regularity and continuity for comparison of performance across various soaps and creams (as well as bowl versus face lathering) I intend to focus on Lee's famed 2 band Blonde Badger. I do have a number of 3 band knots from Lee. These are comparable with Rooney Super (but unless specially requested) I'll exclude these from my review as in my eyes the Blonde Badger is the true M&F brush.

    For those that have seem some of my collection, you will be aware that I have a variety of handle shapes. From "Beehive" to "Barrel" and "Vase" to "Victorian" and most in between. I have a range of sizes from tiny through to the huge! And materials a plenty including horn, wood, metal, moulded resin, turned resin and even fossilised rock. I also possess a range of knot dimensions and shape. By sharing my assessment of a variety of M&F Blondes, I believe this Chronicle with achieve wider appeal. We all have differing preferences when choosing brushes and I believe it's this theme that is central to the success of the quasi-bespoke nature of Lee's business.

    For me, Morris & Forndran is synonymous with Marvellous & Fabulous. I hope that my input to this Chronicle will assist you in forming a similar appreciation for this brush.

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-08 at 10.44.47 AM.jpg
    Stubby, Victorian and Stubby

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-08 at 10.52.18 AM.jpg
    36mm vs 18mm

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-08 at 10.59.39 AM.jpg
    Butterscotch beauties

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-08 at 11.01.01 AM.jpg
    Imitation Jade and Ivory
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  8. beginish

    beginish Moderator

    Thank you, David and Ben. I'm looking forward to following this. Though the first Chronicles dialed in on a single brush, later Chronicles have covered multiple models of a brand. In the case of M&F, that is entirely appropriate given the diversity of brushes, and I hope many other M&F owners will contribute as well.
  9. djh

    djh Moderator

    Thanks for those wonderful shots Ben; I'm certainly looking forward to seeing your brushes in action. I will be wandering off shortly to shower, shave and get ready for a late luncheon with guests this afternoon but in the meantime, here is a photo of some of the software which I plan on using with my M&F brush during these Chronicles. With luck, I will be able to return with some lather shots later.....

  10. djh

    djh Moderator

    And what a wonderful Sunday morning shave it was....


    Today I had D R Harris' Lavender Shave Soap in the bowl and it was a great experience. Harris is one of my favourite companies for shaving software and whilst this soap may not be my favourite from a scent point of view, it is definitely a terrific performer.
    After 30 seconds of loading, my brush looked like this:


    And after a full minute of loading, I had enough soap on the brush for my purposes...


    At this point, I would normally add a few drops of water to the brush and then move to my wet face to start making lather. That approach makes it somewhat difficult to take worthwhile photos! So, I am off to a lather bowl- after adding a few drops of water and mixing for 30 seconds things are looking good:


    A few more drops of water and after a full minute of lathering I'm ready to shave. Being a relaxed Sunday and having so much beautiful lather on hand, I make a 3rd pass which was most enjoyable.


    I finished off my shave this morning with Speick AS and then a little English Fern EdT. Now I'm ready for our visitors.
  11. Truly awsome pictures! How could I NOT buy this brush now...? :online2long:
  12. i have an email in to Lee on a brush, still awaiting a reply, but i do like the look of that knot size and handle shape.

    perhaps in jade or swirl.....oh the decisions i have to make

    perhaps i missed it, but can you give the Overall height of the brush as well as the Handle height...i like to get loft based on those numbers as opposed to try and measure myself (less chance of error).
  13. djh

    djh Moderator

    I have just edited my initial post to add the info...... but Total Height = 100mm, Handle = 49mm

  14. Morris & Forndran

    Where do I start?

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 3.56.18 PM.jpg

    Its abundantly clear I really should start with investing in a light box, learn how to centralise pictures in my posts (hey I just figured this out - yay!) and beg David for as many tips as he's will to share on photography. Please join me in congratulating David on his artful compositions and perfect control of lighting. And please be patient with me as I struggle through this endeavour.

    My next issue is deciding what brush to use. The picture above represents a sample of my M&F holding and evidently I have a few to choose from. So if there is a particular size of knot or shape of handle please feel free to post or PM your request. I also have quite the stock pile of soaps and creams, so if there are any requests in this department or suggestions for hardware/software combinations, I'd be happy to oblige.

    Apart from being afflicted with MF-SBAD, I have 3 young children and an equally demanding (but incredibly beautiful) wife. I also have a job where my "clients" aren't mindful of holidays, family commitments or promises to chronicle M&F brushes and hence I ended up working the majority of the Easter break. I did shave this morning, but having had only a few hours sleep and the need to be speedy as I was required back at work post haste (yes my wife dislikes my job even more than my all consuming passion for pogonotomy) I didn't have the time to record the event for this chronicle as I had originally intended to do, but I promise action pics very soon!

    My shave this morning needed to expedient and effective. I made my selection from some previously identified reliable performers and I wasn't let down. No time to bowl lather and I chose the convenience of a shower shave (as for me this reduces not only prep, but my entire shave time).

    I chose a Merkur 1904 and loaded a Gillette 7 o'clock yellow (first time I'd used this blade). My favourite soap, Martin De Candre (in the supplied open wooden bowl) joined me and I decided on this M&F brush...

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 4.43.01 PM.jpg

    This particular M&F brush reminds me of my Simpson Eagle G3 in Best, mostly due to it's handle shape, but also in terms of performance (as both brushes seem to enjoy the task of devouring hard soaps). It's a great face latherer and the handle feels secure in the hand which is important in the shower. The knot in this brush has opened more than some of my other 2 band blonde badgers, but my account for this is primarily that it rates among my favoured brushes and hence sees more use than others. The knot is not as densely packed as other M&F brushes in my collection, but the result is improved flow through and much of the backbone associated with the 2 band blonde badger endures. The tips provide some sensation on the face, but are not scratchy. I find this brush marvellously enjoyable to use and most reliable for producing quick results.

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 4.42.40 PM.jpg

    Time for some stats...

    Knot width: 20mm
    Kont height: 44mm
    Handle height: 50mm
    Total height: 94mm
    Handle Material: Imitation horn
    Acquired: 2011​

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  15. I managed to slip away from work earlier than expected. The wife and kids have given up on me and headed down south to our famed wine producing region "Margaret River" to spend some time with the grand parents who reside their (unfortunately not on a winery!) Wine is another interest that sees me amassing collections above my ability to consume (or use in the case of brushes), in fact I may just celebrate the opening of Brush Chronicles with a nice West Australian red! Before I do... I'm a man of my word and it time for those promised action pics... So without further ramblings, let me introduce...

    Morris and Forndran 2 Band Blonde 3/2

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.21.14 PM.jpg

    Ok, I admit this is probably not the most exciting selection I could have made. But rather than wow you with one of the more unique handled M&F brushes from my collection, I decided it was prudent to start by showcasing the M&F's performance rather than it's aesthetics. In my opinion, the best way to do this was to choose a style and size that the majority of members would be familiar with and subsequently be able to draw comparisons from.

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.27.08 PM.jpg

    I chose another frequently used product, Cella (the hard soap, not the soft one from the red tub) and as I was actually going to shave for the second time today I went with bowl lathering, which the height and shape of the handle lends itself to doing.

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.35.15 PM.jpg

    I filled a Muhle porcelain bowl (the same bowl I intend to make the lather in) with warm water and dipped the brush in just long enough to snap a quick pic. (Badger was chosen as a shaving brush material for it's water holding properties, IMO there's no need to drown the brush for any prolonged soak time.)​

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.30.28 PM.jpg

    I usually employ a generous amount of product to make my lather, but in an effort to illustrate how well the 2 band blonde badger performs I made the conscious decision to under load the brush. I did not pre-moisten the surface of the hard Cella soap and I simply brushed the M&F lightly back and forwards across the soap for somewhere between 10 and 20 seconds.

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.40.51 PM.jpg

    Moments after some vigorous to and fro-ing in the bowl... I can't post any further pics... it's not like you wanted to see any lather was it?

    (continued next post)​
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012

  16. Morris & Forndran 3/2 with Cella (continued)

    Maybe up to 30 seconds later, time for a few drops of water...

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.45.35 PM.jpg $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.47.14 PM.jpg

    Within a minute, the lather cometh...

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.49.00 PM.jpg

    A few more drops...

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.50.35 PM.jpg

    And within minutes I'm ready to shave...

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.52.26 PM.jpg

    (continued next post)

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012

  17. Morris & Forndran 3/2 with Cella (continued)

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.55.11 PM.jpg

    Marvellous & Fabulous!

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.56.57 PM.jpg

    Post bloom.

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 5.56.07 PM.jpg

    Handle height: 60mm
    Knot: 24 x 54mm

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  18. djh

    djh Moderator

    Beautiful stuff, Ben. Thanks for the kind words and thanks as well for your great photos. I'm quite envious of your wife and kids being down in Margaret River- I actually drank a bottle of my favourite WA red on Friday!

    This morning's set-up.


    And a couple of comparison shots:



  19. Fellow B&Bers, help me choose tomorrow's brush. Here are a few from my collection...

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 6.12.00 PM.jpg

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 6.13.42 PM.jpg

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 6.14.31 PM.jpg

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 6.16.01 PM.jpg

    $Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 6.17.10 PM.jpg
  20. djh

    djh Moderator

    Bring on the Beehive!

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