Vintage Horn Brush 1900 - restore SBS

Discussion in 'Brush Making and Restorations' started by 55dougie, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Folks, what I would like to do is take you on a short step-by-step to restore a Vintage Horn shaving brush from 1900. I bought the brush on *bay for $37.50 shipped from France.... I took a bit of a chance as the photo wasn’t great and I don’t know french.... so I rolled the dice! This is what I got:

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    The brush has a beautiful beehive shaped handle and wasn’t in bad shape. I thought it could be brought back to life. The badger hair was brittle and falling out, if you touched it the hair crumbled and broke off. The handle was dirty with old soap scum and had several small chips, but hey it was real horn.

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    The bottom has lath rings from being turned, soap scum and a couple of chips here too! As I was checking out the knot and it’s stability in the handle, I tried to twist it a little and something moved..... but in the handle? I took a closer look and the bottom --- unscrewed! Cool, this is looking like a better and better purchase. The underside of the knot could be seen and the glue holding the knot, but the threads and inside were in great shape... You could see the light through the horn too! Wonder What they did with the space? Hide stuff or was it just used for installing the knot? Seams like a lot of delicate work for a very good craftsman to cut male and female threads in these two pieces of horn and risk breaking or cracking the horn in the process.... If anyone knows why the French maker did this back in the early 1900’s I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. I know other makers did it as well on brushes in the 10940’s & 50’s, like Ever-Ready, but why?

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    Anyway, over the next few days I will try and transform this brush back to it’s former glory. I will; replace the knot, clean and polish the handle and smooth the small chips. I will need to build a shelf inside the top half of the handle for the new knot to sit on and I want to retain the space underneath it for the small hiding place.

    Stay tuned!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  2. Looking forward to this.:thumbup1:
     
  3. Looks like a great find for you. I read somewhere that they used to make brushes like this so you could put a little soap or cream in the brush for traveling. If I"m wrong, someone please point this out for me. I tend to hallucinate facts that I believe to be true.
     
  4. Nice one :thumbup:
     
  5. DSB

    DSB

    Very nice find. Best of luck with your restoration!
     
  6. Very nice. Best wishes on the restore. I look forward to seeing your progress.
     
  7. Subscribed, excited to see your progress!:thumbup1:
     
  8. The fact that it unscrews is great. You can approach the old knot from below with a drill. I did this with an old brush that, well, kinda, came apart while I was working on it. Turned out great for that reason and it was easy to set the knot and seal it water tight from below. I used GOOP for outdoor use. Worked great!
     
  9. Subscribed also. Taking "a bit of a chance" is being modest. I look forward to following your commentary. A beautiful brush handle. Isn't great when you take a chance and it works out.
     
  10. Sub'ed!
     
  11. binowatch, that sounds like it worked great.... But I think for this handle I am going in from the the top... I don't want to take any chance of damaging the threads for the "cap" on the bottom. I'll get back to work on it in the morning... Hopefully all will go well...... :thumbup1:
     
  12. :w00t: Great Find I have a couple of old RubberSet handles that unscrew as well, I'm stumped on that as well. Be very gentle with this restore and it will be Beautiful Good luck
     
  13. Hex

    Hex

    +1 Ditto

    That's a real beauty.
     
  14. jwhite

    jwhite Moderator Emeritus

    A little tip for cleaning up and 'nourishing' the horn to keep it from getting brittle and cracking or splitting. Give it a rub with neatsfoot oil, and follow with a rub of fine pumice/rotten stone and oil to polish. If you cant get the neatsfoot mineral oil will work also.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  15. The first order of business is to remove the knot, so let’s get to it. I use a razor blade knife and cut the hair as close as possible to the top of the handle without hitting it with the knife. I use a new sharp blade and cut a little at a time as I turn the handle until I give it a nice “flat top” hair cut. I want a nice flat top to drill down into with my drill....

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    Next - I cover the handle with painters tape to protect it during drilling.... as a side note I could have done this before cutting the hair off it....

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    I also wrap the handle with a strip of kitchen cabinet shelf liner, the spongy stuff. This will grip the handle and the vise jaws when I drill out the knot. I use a rubber band to hold the strip in place. It's critical that the handle does not move during the drilling process!

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    I set the handle in the drill vice and used a 3/4 inch forstner bit for the job. The bit is just slightly smaller than the knot hole opening which is 21.5 mm. Now the key is to be lined up dead center on the knot hole and have a nice gap all the way around. I will clean out what remains after drilling. I also want to ensure that I do not nick or hit the edges of the hole while drilling.

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    Drilling down into the handle until I feel the bottom of the knot give way. A smelly, gooy mess is the result in this case. I quickly remove the handle and clean out the remainder of the old knot, which easily breaks away from the sides of the hole and then clean up the drill bit.

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    Next - I take the handle to the sink and clean it with a old tooth brush and mild dish soap....

    Here is the finished result for now....Also, a Fan Shaped Finest Badger measuring 20mm knot x 60mm tall will be the knot of choice for this brush.

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    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  16. moving right along, GREAT WORK!
     
  17. lookin good:thumbup:
     
  18. jwhite

    jwhite Moderator Emeritus

    looking good:thumbup1:
     
  19. Snargle

    Snargle Contributor

    Sweet! That's looking real nice. The TGN Finest Badger fan-shaped is an amazing knot. I've done a couple of restores with that one and I love the results!
     
  20. This is very awesome. Should be a beauty.
     

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