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*New*Forest *2201 2-Band Shaving Brush

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I like my Custom Shavemac D01 (21mm/50mm) just as much as my Custom Shavemac Finest (19mm/45mm) and Rooney 1/1 Super Silvertip (20mm/44mm) but for different reasons. I've said this quite a lot in B&B posts, and it's true. I will now consider adding the *New *Forest 2201 (22mm/52mm) to that statement. Costing approximately $42, this may very well be the best brush available for the money, and some may find it to be the best brush for them, regardless of cost.

It's a well made brush with a comfortable, lathe-turned handle. The bottom of my 2201 isn't perfectly flat, like my other 3 favorites, which suction themselves to the bathroom counter if they're wet. The *New *Forest's knot ("dome" in profile) also isn't as perfectly formed as my other 3 handmade brushes. None of this is a deal breaker for me, but it may bother some people. I've seen Simpson brushes with much, much wonkier (asymmetrical) knots.

The *New *Forest carries the ambitious moniker "Superior Badger" on its chest, further proof that there's no standard hair grading system and manufacturers call hair grades whatever they feel like. It's 2-band silvertip hair, which, for the uninitiated, just means the hair has two distinct bands of color. Black at the bottom with white tips.

I face lather hard soaps about 98% of the time. The *New *Forest is a good face lathering brush, but to me, it seems to be more of an all-around performer. It's fine for soaps, creams, bowl use, and acceptable for face lathering. This brush is designed to appeal to the masses, and I'm sure it will. Today, I did two practice lathers with the 2201 on my hand to clean the brush and cut back the badger funk, which wasn't terribly pronounced. I face lathered some Mitchell's Wool Fat for my first shaving pass, rinsed out the brush, then face lathered a Palmolive stick for my second pass. There was enough lather left in the brush for my touchups and probably enough for two or three more passes, had I needed it. It's lost about 10 hairs through all of that, and hopefully that will stop soon. It's not uncommon for a new brush to lose a few hairs.

I don't think anyone should expect this to have the same qualities of Simpson, Rooney, or Shavemac 2-bands. I don't own any of those three brushes, but everything I've read by folks on B&B leads me to believe those three brushes have more backbone and density than the New Forest. Someone who took the plunge with those brushes will hopefully chime in. I'll limit this review, however, to my favorite brushes.

My D01 and Rooney have similar backbone (firm) and my Shavemac Finest has just a touch less, owing to less density. The *New *Forest isn't nearly as firm as my Shavemac Finest because of it's loft and density. The *New *Forest has the least amount of backbone I would ever want in a brush. The lack of density isn't a bad thing, though, because the *New *Forest releases lather very easily. That's also what I like best about my Shavemac Finest. Bear in mind that my Rooney and Shavemac Finest cost nearly twice as much as a New Forest, and my Shavemac D01 cost nearly 4 times as much as the 2201.

The *New *Forest's finest attribute is its softness. The tips of this brush are as soft as my Shavemac D01, which makes the 2201 a real pleasure to use and a serious bargain. It's a silvertip brush with best badger pricing. The 2201 is like the B&B Essential, regarding density, but the *New *Forest has a little more backbone and much softer tips. This is a brush that would cost a lot more, were it made by a UK or German company. It's nice to see a really nice brush in the $40 price range ($50-ish, if the British pound goes back up to its normal value, relative to the dollar.) This would also be a great choice for those with sensitive skin.

Please read all of this with the understanding that I am part of a niche market (hard soap face latherer) within a niche market (traditional wet shavers), and most brushes don't have the qualities I like. If the *New *Forest had a 45mm loft, particularly important if it was fan shaped, and/or was more densely packed (20% more perhaps), I would like it better. For now, though, it's a keeper that performs admirably, and I'm saying that as someone who's more than willing to jettison a brush that doesn't meet with my approval. It's very good, in its own unique way, and I think I'll enjoy the variety.

Please feel free to discuss this thread here. Comparison photos are also in the discussion thread. They won't post here for some reason.

-Andy

Latest reviews

I have the 2203. This is a prototype Fido made with a shorter loft.

Handle 50mm
Loft 44mm
Knot 22mm


Have been using this brush for about two weeks now and I am still blown away with it!

I had only got "The Colonel" a few weeks before thinking it would be the one.
The one to end my longings!!:001_rolle

I thought the really short loft would make it suitable for soaps but no it also handles creams with equal efficiency.

£30 /$45 for a wonderful two band?



I am almost annoyed! I had been thinking of a Duke 3 in best after Christmas but now I don't think I'll need it.
This is probably the best mid-sized badger brush in the world for the price. Each of those qualifiers is important.

The size and shape are essentially identical to a Simpsons Persian Jar 2. A Simpsons PJ2 in Best or Silvertip is a better brush. But only incrementally better, and it costs more than twice as much. Similarly, a Simpsons Berkeley in Best can be had for slightly less money than the NF2201, and in terms of quality it is better, but it's a smaller brush.

All that is by way of frame of reference and comparison. The NF2201 is not a bad brush by any means. Quite the contrary, you could have one as the only brush you ever owned, have a marvelous shaving experience each morning, and save many hundreds of dollars over what you'd spend building up a Simpsons/Kent/Shavemac/Rooney collection. [Because there is no such thing as owning only one Simpsons brush. :blush:] The knot bristles are stiff enough to stand up to vigorous lathering, and yet the tips are relatively soft; the density is good, and it releases lather easily (unlike the denser Simpsons, which hold onto lather like velcro). The handle shape and weight are well-adapted for either bowl or face lathering. It has an overall feeling of major-league quality quite out of proportion to its minor-league price.

If you are a beginner wet-shaver, and want to move up from your cheap/no-name boar or badger brushes, the NF2201 is a definite buy, and at $42 from Fido, or $38 or so on the B/S/T, it's a genuine bargain. If you already have a full stable of Simpsons/Kents/Shavemacs/Rooneys, the only reason to own this brush is pure curiosity. [Or you could buy it and sell all your other brushes. :biggrin1:]
Price
4.00 star(s)
Density
4.00 star(s)
Quality
4.00 star(s)
Ergonomic
4.00 star(s)
Latherability
4.00 star(s)
Softness of Tips
4.00 star(s)
Stiffness of Tips
4.00 star(s)
I have used this brush exclusively now for six weeks. No shedding and it just keeps on getting better. Easy to use,easy to keep clean. Soft at the tips but stiff enough shafts for the firmest soap.

At ~$42US new it was a bargain. The reviews above are right on target.

The only thing one should know is that it is a smallish brush, not a monster brush. It suits my hands and preferences perfectly and I would buy it again in a heartbeat, but if you want a big brush this is not it.

I have seen a couple of these coming on to the B/S/T recently and I would recommend this brush for everyone from a newbie to the most experienced wet shaver. At the $40, or so, they are commanding- jump if you see one and want to own a really fine brush without the top heavy price:001_smile
Price
5.00 star(s)
Density
4.00 star(s)
Quality
4.00 star(s)
Ergonomic
4.00 star(s)
Latherability
4.00 star(s)
Softness of Tips
5.00 star(s)
Stiffness of Tips
3.00 star(s)

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