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Shavemac Finest Custom (19mm diameter/45mm loft)

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Pictured are my 21mm/50mm custom Shavemac brush with D01 hair (Nacre handle aka white faux marble), and my new 19mm/45mm Shavemac in Finest (Blue faux marble handle). I would like to share my impressions of the Finest hair grade, particularly in reference to D01. A recent flurry of custom D01 purchases, spurred by a 20% discount organized by huntmol and Bernd at Shavemac, resulted in some comments by new D01 owners about that hair grade's propensity to hog the lather. I had to know if a short-loft finest brush, which is less dense than a D01 knot, would alleviate the problem.

Please note that when I say 45mm and 50mm loft, that is what I ordered, but there will always be a couple mm of variability in a handmade brush. With that said, my Finest brush's loft is approximately 2mm shorter than my D01's loft. I feel this is close enough to reasonably compare these brushes as short-lofts. Both brushes are bulb shaped.

I face lather 75% of the time, bowl lather the rest of the time, and I like small-diameter, short-loft, firm brushes. I use soaps 90+% of the time. Both of these brushes are wonderful for soaps and creams, as well as for face and bowl lathering, so that's all I'll say there.

Density: Both brushes are very dense. The D01 is, as expected, more densely packed. The density of Finest hair, however, does result in it releasing lather more easily... better flowthrough, so more density doesn't always equal better performance. Those new to dense, high-end brushes may find Finest's ease of use appealing. I think it's great. Finest also seems to require less soap. Probably a good thing, given how much some of us spend on soap.

Softness of tips: No surprise here. D01 tips are softer... barely. Shavemac Finest is in no way a scritchy hair grade. I think I may prefer the way Finest feels over D01, but that's a tough personal call. Finest sort of feels like broken-in Rooney Super at the tips. Soft but not too soft, if there is such a thing.

Backbone/stiffness: Again, D01 is stiffer, but it's density is likely responsible for that. Short-loft Finest is not at all floppy. The only brushes I've used that are stiffer are my Rooney 1/1 and D01. Finest chews up soaps, like Mitchell's Wool Fat, with the best of them. Better than D01, actually. I gave the Finest brush an "8" on stiffness of tips because the overall brush isn't as stiff as others, but it's not far off either.

Price/Quality/Value: Here's a major point. My 21mm/50mm D01 was $160 shipped to the US. My 19mm/50mm Finest was $80 shipped to the US. For a direct comparison, add about $15 to the cost of the Finest brush, to make it a 21mm knot, so you're looking at $95 shipped for a 21mm in Finest. For a difference of $65, I don't think D01 is worth it for a lot of people (heresy, I know). So you'll have to shell out about 68% more cash to go from Finest to D01 for marginally better performance, if at all. Like I said, the Finest brush releases lather more easily than D01, so in my book, Finest (in a short loft anyway) nudges out D01.

I would say that those looking for a great all-around bowl and/or face lathering, soap and/or cream brush, should definitely consider a 19mm/45 to 50mm Shavemac in Finest. I don't feel anything is lost with the smaller knot Shavemacs. They perform like much larger brushes. One would have to own these two brushes to feel the subtle differences, which are, for the money, pretty minor.

I hope this helps assuage any concerns about Shavemac's Finest hair grade quality and performance as compared to D01 (and likely silvertip... I'm not buying another brush to find out). Finest is an all too often overlooked hair grade, in my opinion. If you can't justify spending over $100, and you want an amazing brush with whatever handle color and shape that strikes your fancy, this may be the brush for you. Personally, this is my favorite brush now.



p.s. - the handle shape on my Finest brush is the most comfortable I've ever used.

The thread in which I originally discussed the merits of Finest and D01 is located here. Photos are there, too.

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The Shavemac 19/45 mm is an outstanding brush for it's size. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the small loft and knot combination. This is a winner for both soaps and creams. There is no learning curve in how to use the brush. It does not hog lather at all. You can get an excellent custom made brush for a reasonable price. If you are considering a brush in the moderate price range, this is definitely worth serious consideration.
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+1 Andy. Great to see your comprehensive review posted here. :thumpup:
Good review!

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