What's new

Am I man enough for a Kent BK12?

Now that I've been wet-shaving for awhile, I am getting the itch to get a new, bigger, better brush. A lot bigger, and a lot better. I'm currently shaving along with either my Omega B&B Essentials or my gifted Vulfix 404. I like both, but they are both (at least partially) boar, and I want to move up the luxury ladder. I have a $100 Amazon gift card, and a BK12 is $199, so for a $100 investment I could get a pretty serious brush.

I only bowl lather at this point, and I use a mixture of creams and mostly softer soaps (Stirling, etc.) I have a WCS shaving bowl that hasn't seen much duty lately, and a Dirty Bird 1.5 scuttle.

Part of my worry is that I've never cared for a badger brush, and I don't want to unknowingly beat the crap out of it. My scuttle has web lather-building ridges - Will they rip up the tips of the brush? I worry about applying too much force while lathering, too.

I guess I'm just worried. What's it like moving up to the big leagues? Should I start smaller/cheaper? Are there guides somewhere for making sure you don't hurt your brand-new $200+ silvertip brush? :blink:
Not to talk you out of it, necessarily, but honestly if I were you I'd take things one step at a time… the BK12 is one heck of a brush. They are actually way too big for many people - do you even know if you'd like a brush that size? I think getting a larger, but not monstrous, brush would be a better place to start. That being said, if you do go for the BK12, you will probably be able to recoup most of your money if you choose to sell it. At the end of the day, though, the choice is yours.

I wouldn't worry one bit about the lather ridges on your DB 1.5 damaging your badger brush. Just don't push too hard (like with any bowl).
Thanks for the feedback - I dont' properly know if I'll like a brush that big, since both of mine are tiny in comparison. I was thinking of getting something like the Whipped Dog 30mm silvertip with a basic resin handle just to see how I like the bigger brushes. Less that 1/4 of the overall cost, too. How do WD knots compare to something like a Kent?
I'd suggest something closer to a 25mm dia knot.
the blk12 is a 30mm +/- knot and is huge.
the kent bk8 is excellent and approx. 25mm.
I don't have access to mine immediately, otherwise I'd give a precise measure.
here is the blk12 compared to the bl8 and bl4.

$kent brushes-MD4_8152.jpg
May I suggest that you try a Whipped Dog 30 mm Silvertip and see if you like a large brush first. If you don't like the Whipped Dog, you are not likely to enjoy the bigger feeling Kent.
I don't have any experience with a BK12 but I do have the whipped dog 30mm and a BK8. I really enjoy both brushes. The Kent is softer but has less backbone. The Kent is actually the softest brush I have ever used. I love large brushes, the only way to know if you like them is to try one. I say get the BK12. You can't go wrong with only spending 100$ of your own money on the kent. If you don't like it I'll buy it from you.
I have a BLK12 and here are a few of my thoughts on the brush.
While BIG the softness and quality of the brush is undeniable. It is THE brush for bowl lathering creams and has no problems lathering soaps such as Mikes. I've found the brush uses no more soap than one allows it too. I made the "mistake" of adding two almond size cream of GFT Coconut and made enough lather for myself and my wife! 99.9 % of the time there is no such thing as too much but in this case there was. My point is this brush makes great lather with a wee bit less than an almond size drop and this brush does not "soak up" the cream whole doing so. Also this idea of the brush being too soft and lacking backbone is misguided in my opinion. If you want more backbone which the BLK12 has IF one uses a dryer brush. There are tricks. For instance using only the tips to lather the soaps while leaving the other half of the brush dry allows you to have more back bone. Leave it soaking only half the bristles or squeeze out the "right" amount of water and it's give you the combination of cloud like feel with back bone. Couple of ways to achieve it. On the other hand if the brush is really wet then no you won't have the desired back bone.

My only criticism of the brush is for now as it's new is the lack of flow through. Again, this is only if you exploit the brushes full loading capacity not only will you generate a ton of lather in the bowl but have a huge load inside the brush. Once squeezed out you'll have enough for another four passes! There in lies my only critic. But a lot of brushes do this. I've taken this brush both to max load and light load and you'll have to find what's right for you. There is also complaints I hear about lather "creep" up handles of smaller brushes. No worries here. That 4" diameter brush once bloomed put a stop to lather trying to escape:)
The ergonomics of the brush is great also. I don't like dinky handles that cramp my fingers. This brush heft feels good too and you know you have a brush in your hand and it won't fly out of your fingers.
It's a great brush and wouldn't trade it for anything else out there.
Couple of endorsements

And finally...

Good luck!
Last edited:
I've been doing a bit of shopping, and it looks like the closest "cheap" option is a TGN Grade A Silvertip (30mm is sold out, I'd need to get a 28mm) and with a handle, that comes out to about $80. The BK12 would hardly be any more expense to me... I may have to break down and get one tomorrow.

I have no doubt that the big, bad 30mm Whipped Dog is a nice brush, but from what I've read, the knot isn't quite comparable to the softness and feel of the Kent.
It may be too late, but I say definitely get the WD first for several reasons:

It is so much less expensive you won't notice it (yes you are techniquely only spending $99 on the kent, but that $100 to amazon could be used on almost anything imaginable).
You should definitely try a brush of that size before taking a dive in the deep end.
It will give you a brush to begin learning to care that isn't so expensive so if you do mess something up it isn't the end of the world.
And possibly most importantly, you'll have a 30mm Silvertip WD! They may not be quite the very top quality, but (based on a large amount of talk here on B&B) they are high quality knots that can compete with many knots even into the lower triple digits. If you like the size, you definitely won't regret having another brush, and if you find the quality that bad in comparison to the Kent, which I doubt, you can easily resell it here on B&B.

My $.02...but it doesn't make sense to me to do otherwise.

Goodluck with whichever route you choose!
Everyone should own a Kent..... One. They are beautifully made with cloud like badger which is luxurious. I love looking at my BK8. It is nice to use but a bit on the large side. The 8 is a pretty wide paint brush with less control than any of my other brushes. I love looking at it and it is impressive sitting on my shaving shelf with the red presentation box. I most always reach for another brush to actually use. I think a BK 12 would be even more impressive to look at but my face would have to be twice as large to need such a mop. I love my Simpsons for luxury and control. If I want to have the ultra soft feel of my Kent with total control in applying the lather, I reach for my Savile Row 3120 Silvertip. The Kent is impressive and beautiful. I think the 12 would be quite a display brush after the novelty of lathering with it wears off. I wish I had gotten a good deal on a BK4 instead of an 8. As they say, hindsight is 20 20.
The BK12 is a very big brush, especially for bowl lathering. I find that even my BK8 is a little too big for me when using a scuttle. I find the BK4 to be perfect for bowl lathering. YMMV.
Then there's this:

When the knot needed replacement on my BK4 I substituted it with a TGN Finest XH and found it much improved!

Hmm... It seems like the overall answer is... No. It's just too big and too floppy to jump right into at $200, especially coming from beginner brushes. I'm now carefully monitoring B/S/T, reddit's shave_bazaar, and weighing my options between places like TGN, WD and Rudy Vey.

Half of my motivation, honestly, was having a new, awesome brush for my birthday shave on Wednesday - but rushing into a brush seems like a bad idea. I'll embrace my perfectly serviceable Vulfix or Omega this week, and probably next week too.

Thanks, everybody, for your feedback! Still very interested to hear what your experiences are with bigger "custom" brushes for bowl lathering, as I can use every bit of experience I can get.
Last edited:
Welp, I finally made a decision - I grabbed a WD Firehouse 30mm silvertip brush last night - just waiting on Larry's email. For the price, it's a no-brainer, and if I don't love it, I'm sure I can find a great home for it here or on /r/shave_bazaar.

I can't wait to finally have a monster brush! My scuttle and I will be in heaven soon :)
Top Bottom