Semogue Boar...I don't get it??

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by todot62, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Okay, When I first started using a brush about 15 years ago, I started with just a cheap boar I found at our local grocery store. It lost a few hairs every time I used it, but worked "fine" for one pass shaves for about 8-10 years. About 3-4 years ago, I came across this site and bought an inexpensive pure badger which was a significant step up from my old grocery store boar. Of course if you are hanging around this site, you're not going to just have one of anything, so I was lucky enough to pickup a vintage re-knotted Every Ready with a TGN 24mm Finest, and this has been my brush ever since. It lathers ANYTHING well, whether in a bowl or on my face, and it does it without even thinking about it. I think a monkey could get a great lather with this thing.

    Just recently I've been reading the religious fervor around Semogue brushes, especially the 620, and thought I would give it a try. I also lucked into a 610 as well. So here I am with a nicely broken in 620 (60+ shaves) and 610 (about the same) and I've been trying to see what all the hype is about, but unfortunately, I just don't get it. Compared to my TGN Finest, In order to get a decent lather, I have to soak the Semogues MUCH longer, and use WAY more soap or cream. God forbid if I want to do a 2-3 pass shave with either Semogue, because that's not going to happen unless we start the lather process all over again. On the other hand with my TGN with half the soap in half the time, I can get a 5-6 pass shave (If I wanted) without even breathing hard.

    What am I not getting here? I think I understand the different technique of a boar (remember I used one for many years), but with all the hype, maybe I expected these Semogues to be something different than they can be. Is the hype centered around the fact that they are a great brush in their price range, or are they great at any price? They are great feeling and great looking brushes, and I would LOVE to find a place in my heart for them and join the club, but they cannot even come close to doing what my TGN can do. Can anyone help me understand this Semogue religion, and what I gain if I stick with my Semogues?

  2. Having owned about 50 Simpson, Plisson, Kent, Vulfix badgers,....I'm pretty much using my Semogue 1305 daily. I often fantasize about buying another high end badger brush but then the next morning I whip up a great lather with the Semogue and call it a day. One of the very best values out there in my opinion. I use primarily Santa Maria Novella, Acqua di Parma, and Blenheim Bouquet creams with it. Those high end creams have no idea I'm using a low end boar with them.
  3. not to derail thread here but, can you tell a difference in the ADP vs razorock?
  4. There are so many different types of brushes out there because there are so many people with different tastes in what they want. There is no universal this one is the best. Each has its own quirks, characteristics, strong, and weak points.

    If you find that one does not work for you put it down and move to something else. Come back to it in 4-6 months and see if you still feel the same. I am amazed when I put a brush away because I am not happy/satisfied with the performance only to pick it up at a later date and be blown away...
  5. Thanks for the info Cabby. I do understand HOW to lather a boar, but I guess my question is WHY. I think everyone will admit (or maybe they won't, idk, that's just what my experience is) that a good badger will always lather easier and faster than a boar, but I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is why do so many people WANT to work at it? What do you gain for all the extra time and effort? Is it just a thing like shaving with a straight will always be more trouble than a DE, yet some people do it anyway? But at least with the straight, some would argue that you get an even smoother shave, so therefore it's worth the extra time. Plus there is something to be said about the experience of a straight razor shave as well. I'm just trying to figure out why using the Semogue 610 or 620 would be worth my time.


  6. ok, that's a fair question. Being a newbie to DE shaving I'm not best qualified to answer the question posed, although if I were to guess it would be a boar vs. badger water retention issue.

    I also agree with the sentiment of why people would choose a straight over a DE. It seems like too much effort involved (for what I would conceive anyways) a minimally closer shave.

    Shave with an R41 and a feather and tell me how a straight could get any closer...?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  7. Tod, i have never used the 620, but have the 830 which i think is Semogue's best boar brush, overall. The 1305 is probably their second best boar brush, in my opinion. i think people who like boar brushes like the backbone and how it exfoliates and massages the face when face lathering and the enjoyment of the whole process of pampering once self. To each their own. Once the brushes were broken in, i have never had an issue producing lather with either of these or with any of the other Semogue boars that i have. i face lather, now for four months, and i can produce very thick, smooth, slick lather for three or more passes with some good tallow based soap. Unfortunate that you can not seem to get accustomed to them. For the price, they do just as great a job as the more expensive brushes. i guess everything is subjective. i would highly recommend the 830, but the 1305 is also very good. i wish i could make a video to send to you, but i do not have a video camera. Here is a video that may help?!

    Here are some pictures i took this morning of my Semogue 1800 just rinsing under tap with warm water for 10-15 seconds, then shaking 1/2 or more of the water out of the brush (i use a drier brush then add water a bit at a time), then swirling MdC for 15 seconds, palm lathering for 20 seconds while adding a bit of water twice without using moderate pressure. This is how most of my boars lather using MdC, Mystic Water soap, and MJ Soaps. i wish i could make a video to demonstrate. i do not use Marco's method as i seem to get great results the way i lather and do not use 1/4 of the soap! Nothing wrong with his method. i just prefer mine. The pictures are in progression starting with the brush rinsed of most of the water. Good luck, sir.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  8. mdevine

    mdevine Moderator Contributor

    I haven't found this to be the case. I have three badgers, two Simpsons and a Vulfix, and three Semogue boars, a 610, SOC and 2011 LE FB1. I exclusively face lather soaps and find it easier to lather the boars than the badgers. I find myself reaching for the boars twice as often. As with most wet shaving products, YMMV.
  9. I've been totally unimpressed with the 1305 I bought after all the love posts I read here. Pretty handle and that's about it. I think I just prefer a nice badger brush more. I was going to sell it on BST but honestly it's too much trouble for $15-20 so I guess it'll be a cabinet queen.
  10. I looked at that video and that's exactly what I'm talking about. By the time he gets through trying to get that boar lathered up using the Marco method, I would have been on my second pass with my badger with just a few strokes on the puck. Dip the badger in the water for a few seconds, shake it out a bit, do a few swirls on a moist puck, and start lathering your face.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  11. My boars lather amazingly and preform phenomenally. They leave nothing to be desired when compared to badgers. The difference is in price and feel, but I like the feel. But I definitely don't see the badgers lathering faster.
  12. Then I'm either doing something wrong, using the wrong boar, or both of my brushes are not there yet. I like the feel of them as well, especially the 620. That's why I even started this thread; to have a reason to use them. Maybe it's a matter of getting a feel of the water content of the brush. I know the boar absorbs water while my badger holds water, so maybe I just need to get that right. But whatever, I can't see myself ever spending 5 min to get a brush to lather.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  13. In those videos brucered gets good results, but along the way, shows the problem I have with boars. Here is his brush after loading MWF, before lathering in the scuttle:


    Note the complete lack of visible product in the top half of the brush. I know he hasn't attempted to fill the brush at this stage, but my problem is that when I face lather with a boar, the lather never works its way into the base of the knot. I'm not even sure brucered manages to, though clearly the mass of lather he makes in the scuttle does stick to the side of the brush, at least.
    My usual frustration with boars (face lathering) is that half a brushful of lather won't last the 3 passes I make.
    Badgers, in comparison, not only fill through with lather, they also fluff out sideways, increasing their effective volume. They hold a ton of lather.
    I will try using a scuttle with my boar brush. It may at least give me some insight.
  14. Boars have a much longer break-in period. They get better and better with use. I also really recommend letting them dry out completely between uses for the first while, as that helps the ends split and get softer. Then use the crap out of it and it will respond by performing better each time you use it. That's been my experience so far.
  15. I prefer badger brushes for the feel but I like using my 1305 quite often. I use it mostly with cream and RazoRock soap making lather in a bowl. It literaly explodes in less than a minute, and I have enough lather for three passes. I apply lather by working with the tips almost without pressure and don't use circular motion.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2017
  16. My 1305 is used 6 of 7 days a week. I have no problem making enough lather for my 3 passes every time. After it's broken in it feels at least just as nice as my badgers to.
  17. Like todot62, I too got a 1305 because of the great hype. Like todot62, I must be missing something or doing something wrong. My 1305 is a lather hog. It takes twice as long with twice as much product to build a good lather that the brush just won't give up. The best I've ever done is get 2 good passes. This was when I was using it exclusively for 3 weeks. Then someone said to use it every other day to let it dry and let the ends split. I've hand lathered every other day just to get it broken in, but each morning I reach for my Simpson Colonel or a vintage restore with TGN badger knot.
  18. I have a 620, 830, 1305, and a SOC on the way. The best Semogue that I own is the 830 (thanks Celestino). It makes good lather right off the bat and is the best face lathering boar I own. I prefer my Omega 10065,10048, and 10049 over the 1305 and the 620. I will say that what helped me with the 1305 was watching bruce and edgerunner's 1305 videos. I'd imagine the 1305 will get better with more use, but my Omegas worked well out of the gate.

  19. I'm glad you included that pic, because you are correct...when I look at most boar videos, they use 50 times more product, end up with a watery sludge and are proud of the results. I'm sorry, but I couldn't shave with that stuff. Nor would I want to because my badger would have given me a very think robust amount of cream. Are the boar users holding up this video as "the explosion of cream" that's been referred to?

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