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"Nathan" by ThatDarnRob w/ Cashmere knot

ThatDarnRob brush with AP Shave Co. Cashmere knot

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This was cross-posted from this thread in the Shaving Brushes forum and updated here. I looked for a "Reviews" forum, and not seeing any, posted a review there. Only now did I see the tab for Reviews.

I'm trying to be frugal and all and up until now, aside from vintage razors I've been picking up that correspond to the years my ancestors have turned 18, I've been making do with my original starter kit from Maggard's. That <$10 synthetic shaving brush has been serving me well. But when I saw ThatDarnRob's "Nathan" on Etsy, something about its classic lines and colors just called my name. I could not justify spending the $50 for the brush and shipping, but I spent it anyway.

Nathan shaving brush 1.jpg

Nathan shaving brush 2.jpg

Rob Moffett AKA ThatDarnRob makes his handles by hand-pouring the resin, gluing different colors together, turning them on a lathe, etc. He was very responsive to my inquiries as I clung to the contemplative stage of my journey. I was a little reluctant to pull the trigger on this one partly because I was not familiar with the knot, AP Shave Co.'s synthetic Cashmere. But what I could learn from the Internet was mostly good, with only the backbone coming in for some hesitant criticism. Certainly AP Shave Co. seems to have a great reputation.

But who am I fooling? I've barely been using a DE for six or seven weeks now, and am just testing my third brand of blades. All I can compare any brush to is that Maggard's starter synthetic. So keep this in mind as I share my experience.

Anyway, the brush came in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I got to use it shaving Easter Sunday. I don't know what it is, but it just somehow "feels good" every time I look at it. Probably an American consumer gene in me. That orange reminds me of squirt guns when I was a kid, and the cream part just seems to set it off so elegantly, reminiscent of a classic butterscotch-and-ivory brush. I did notice that the knot was not installed with perfect symmetry; seen from certain angles, I can perceive a tiny bit of "lean" to the brush. I'm not sure if this is due to the knot's seating or how it was trimmed, but I've decided it doesn't bother me.

The 24mm knot is made of very thin synthetic fibers, but densely packed to shore up its backbone. Comparing it to my Maggard's 22mm synthetic, I believe I did find "Nathan" to be a tiny bit softer and the fibers had just a little more give. I measured my brush at 25mm at the base with a 57mm loft and 55mm bloom. There seemed to be about 40mm from the glue to the tip of the crown.

I drizzled a little warm water on top of some Maggard's London Barbershop soap before stepping into the shower. After showering and combing my hair, I loaded up my new brush. It seemed to me that loading didn't take as long with this brush as it has been taking with the Maggard's synthetic. There's certainly enough backbone here for the way I've been loading soap and face-lathering. (Everything I know about loading and lathering I learned from Michael Freedberg on YouTube.) I read sometimes of people liking pig bristles to open up their pores and rouse their beards, and maybe this wouldn't be bristly enough for them; but for whipping up a lather on my face, this was just fine. I certainly wouldn't call it floppy or weak.

This brush does seem to hold onto the lather a little more than the Maggard's synthetic. For my third pass I gently squeezed the rich luxurious lather out of the brush onto my hand, then picked that lather back up with the brush and applied it to my face; there was plenty, more than enough for a generous yogurt-like coating for my final pass. Before doing this, on my third pass the brush was releasing a thinner layer of slick lather.

All this lather manipulation meant I was wielding this brush with some slick fingers a time or two. The handle is machined in a way that makes it easy to grip and control the brush. One specific feature I like is that the base has been hollowed out somewhat so that it is slightly concave. This prevents what has happened to me several times with my Maggard's brush--it drifts around on my bathroom counter on a layer of water.

I was a satisfied customer as I rinsed the brush and admired my DFS with no nicks or weepers. Now excuse me while I go rest my eyes once again on my precious....

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