I am a newbie, and I've yet to use my straight razor. I decided that I needed a coordinated brush, and after searching high and low (well, maybe not that high nor all that low), I discovered that it was virtually impossible to find a brush that would make a set with my new Dovo Black Star green pakkawood razor. What's so hard about green? After all, Kermit is green and so is the Jolly Green Giant. You'd have thought that I was trying to match fuschia. So I acted like one of my kids and said to myself, "Daddy, I want my brush to match. I NEEEEEED it!!!! DES-PER-ATE-LY!!!" Thanks to this forum, I got in touch with Rudy Vey who made me a lovely brush out of birdseye maple that he dyed in the same tone of green as my pakkawood razor. I can now watch my 3-1/2 hour long dvd of how to live life with a straight razor and how to wet shave, burnish my blade on my Mountain Mike strop (another indulgence), and then lather my face. The question is, after all of this effort, what are the advantages of a custom-made brush? Other than that it is green, that is. No one had measured my hand, or allowed me to heft the handles to see how heavy I liked it, etc. But I will swear to you that my brush is perfect, even if it is small and light, because I have a trimmed beard that I grew for the first time in my life following foot reconstruction surgery that left me immobile for 10 weeks. If I had a big ol' heavy brush, I'd end up schmearing the lather all over the beard and taking it off by accident, or parts of it anyway. The small, light brush allows me to "color inside the lines" with the lather, so it is probably the correct solution to a problem I never knew that I had. All of this verbiage is as self-indulgent as my brush. But why did I have to spend three times the money to get a Rudy Vey when I don't even know if I'm going to last at this wet shave stuff? Did I get something superior? Tawk amongst yourselves, as we say here in New Yawk, and come up with a way for me to justify all this expense to myself. In the meanwhile, I'll attach some of my photos to this entry when I get back home from the office.