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A Tale Of Kents And Madness

I had a shave with the BLK8 last night. It’s been some years since I used my BK8 and I’d forgotten what it’s like. It’s actually a very large brush because of the high loft, so it’s going to be interesting when I get to the absurdly large BK12 that I bought. I’d forgotten how big the size 8 Kent knots are when they’re in action.

I was surprised too that the BLK8 didn’t feel as floppy as I thought I remembered. It’s actually a pleasingly soft brush with effortless splay, but not floppy, in my opinion. Of course all these terms are relative, so it depends what you’re comparing to and what you expect, and these Kents are definitely different from most modern badgers.

Altogether it is a very nice brush for my preferences and the hair is patently very high quality. I’m very glad I acted on it when I saw these in the shop window. I still feel Plisson HMW hair feels even more special, for whatever reason, but if you like a soft brush and you can find a Kent silvertip then it really is a treat and the hair quality is streets ahead of the silvertip knots you find from modern brands. I acknowledge that these brushes are not the type that is in fashion now (thick black 2-band hairs, low loft, densely packed, high backbone, chemically treated tips).

I do think there is a good argument to be made for owning a traditional silvertip brush. Even if it’s not your current preference it’s a different experience, a different kind of luxurious feel, and you can’t really get them from many places. I think they make better lather too, though I think you can also get similar results with some of the best current synthetics. Perhaps there are still sources for this kind and quality of badger hair, but I wouldn’t count on that without evidence. So if you can find something like this I say buy it and keep hold of it.

I do sometimes wonder if the development of modern 2-band knots was perhaps precipitated by a lack of high quality silvertip hair. You can make the 2-band tips white and soft by bleaching them; you can’t make the hair finer but you can persuade people that backbone is a positive attribute; and eventually they’ll get used to the crusty, gelled tips and consider it normal. Maybe I’m just an old cynic.

I would very much like to see the BK12 in full bloom sir...
Then you shall be the first to see it. I’ll try and use it tomorrow once I’m back home.

My photo of the BLK8 above was before it saw water. I wish I had taken a pic after the shave - it’s a whole ‘nother thing now. Kinda like one of those tiny sponges that become like a house brick when they’re soaked.
Then you shall be the first to see it. I’ll try and use it tomorrow once I’m back home.

My photo of the BLK8 above was before it saw water. I wish I had taken a pic after the shave - it’s a whole ‘nother thing now. Kinda like one of those tiny sponges that become like a house brick when they’re soaked.
When I first spied the pic of your BK8, I was thinking whoa - that must have been in the tube for quite a while. My BLK8 blooms obscenely when shaving, I honestly cannot imagine just how big that 12 is going to splay.

I'm in Chicago (Deerfield) tomorrow for a week - coincidentally we had thought to travel across to Toronto for a bit
I have to say, posts from you are welcome because of your dedication to the ART of wet shaving. You do not take no or "are you sure you wouldnt like to see something else?" as an end to your inquisitions and curiosity. A rare blend of knowledge and wanting to see or know "what's that" which could be around the next corner. My applause is deafening.
Didn't realize how many Canadians from Toronto we have here on B&B. Toronto is on my list of places I want to see and experience. I've heard lots of great things about that city. Also, do y'all know that Truefitt & Hill has its North American headquarters in Toronto? When I ordered a shaving scuttle with soap from them, it was shipped from Toronto.
I would very much like to see the BK12 in full bloom sir...
Ok, here it is and, as you expected, it is magnificent with the knot bloomed. The BK12 is so shockingly enormous that it’s quite hard to find a way to make the scale of it clear in a photo. It’s just multiples bigger than another large shaving brush. When it’s full of lather you just need to dab it on your chin in order to lather the whole face. Ok, the last bit is an exaggeration, but not by much.

I only have a small selection of my brushes with me currently, as I am between homes, though I’ve been adding to them. I took a pic together with the other largest brushes I have on hand - a Zenith 502 27mm boar, a Thäter 4125/4 30mm bulb, and the Kent BLK8. You can kinda see that the BK12 is much bigger, but I think it rather gives the appearance that the other three are small or medium-sized brushes. In reality the Thäter is a really big brush - both the handle and the knot.

There’s a pic with it in my hand. I have pretty large hands and can easily spread my fingers to span a foot across.

The overhead shot is next to the Thäter 30mm, and the soap tub in the other pic is a 250ml Razorock XX jar.




Wow look at that bloom! I must admit a bk12 would picque my interest if I ever say one, could eventually line up my son and me and lather both of us at the same time. Its a beauty.

Someone mentioned truffitt and hill headquarters in Toronto... do you know if they have a public accessible factory store or something like that?
It would be hilarious if you do go there and buy the rest of their Kents, @Balin. You’ll have to admit that you know the guy who bought these three, otherwise it’s too much of a coincidence and you would probably frighten them. They’ve had the brushes since 2020 at least - probably longer - and they’ve never sold one, or ever expected to, until today. I really think it made them feel awkward when I bought three brushes.

In case you’re interested the size 8s are CAD 230, size 4s are CAD 150. I don’t know what the price on the size 2s is, but obviously less. The price stickers were obviously the original ones from the time they first got them in stock. The size 12 was CAD 280 but they couldn’t find any more of those and mine was probably the only one they had. Of course it’s quite possible they found another cupboard full of them after I left the shop.
I would but I am in restraint this year! If they have lasted this long I will try my luck in January!

I will admit that I was directed to their shop by you though!!
By the way, I’ve noticed that the brushes have stickers under the base, and I’m guessing they show the month and year of manufacture. The H4 has “09/16” and the BK12 had “1013” before I peeled it off and threw it away(!). The BLK8 doesn’t have a sticker but I think I probably took it off and didn’t pay attention to what it said.

Still, it’s interesting if I’m right and the BK12 is from 2013 and the H4 from 2016. Both quite a few years older than when Kent stopped making badgers.

No wonder the store was so shocked to sell three of them in a single day in 2023.
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