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Another Simpson Q.

Which I thought I would ask separately rather than derail the other thread.

If I were to go to a shop in Old London Town, and get myself a Simpson Duke 2 Or Chubby 2 in Best Badger - what should I be looking out for in terms of the hair and knot if there's some variation, which I've heard there can be...?

Also - which of those should I get? I'm leaning Duke because of price, but I don't mind spending more if people reckon it's worth it.

(If it makes a difference - I use a straight.)
 
The Duke 3 is my favorite Simpson brush. It’s a really great size for everyday use and a great all arounder. Bowl lather, face lather, this brush does it all. Not to big, not to small. The Duke 3 is a Goldilocks brush.

The Chubby 2 is a big and dense. It’s almost a little too dense. It’s doesn’t have the flow through of the Duke. It also takes ages to dry. It’s nice but not as practical as the Duke 3.

Best can be really good. This is one case where more expensive is not necessarily better. If you are able to see a few in person look for the one with the whitest tips and the least dark tips in the knot. Best is variable and it’s hard to gauge the softness when the brush is new and dry but you can try. I’ve generally had good experiences with Best. You’d be unlucky to get a prickler.
 

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The Chubby will have more backbone. Either will be suitable for hard soaps or creams. I exclusively bowl lather and both work well for this purpose. The Chubby 1 handle was too short for me
 
If you are heading to Jermyn Street or anywhere else in London for that matter then expect Simpson brushes to be way more expensive than you can find them online. In brick and mortar shops you will only find ivory coloured handles and you will not find Manchurian hair grades as these are almost always only available directly from Simpson. That said if you want a single example of a Simpson Best brush then I would opt for the Duke 3 as a better all rounder than the Chubby 2 which will be much larger, for me too large. As said above the Duke will not hog the lather in the same way as a Chubby can. Best is variable and many seem to prefer a Best which resembles three band Super in that it has softer tips and less backbone. I prefer the exact opposite and like a Best which is closer to Pure with good backbone, plenty of scrub, and a little prickle. For that reason, for me, Simpson Best is the best value in Simpson hair grades and is far superior to Super which I do not care for. Pay attention to the lofts as these too can be variable and a lower loft will give a firmer, scrubbier knot, which will bloom less and feel smaller on the face, which I would prefer but you may not. My Duke 3 is my number one brush. Enjoy your trip 👍
 
Thank you for the thoughts @Tomo @Legion @EclipseRedRing !

And for the pictures Tom - I think I'd be with you and prefer the look of the Duke to the Chubby, though undecided on 2 or 3 (another reason I suppose to see them in person).

Richard - I had been thinking of wandering around St. James' of an afternoon, but perhaps not... it doesn't have much else to recommend it apart from that massive Waterstones anyway. Any shaving shops anywhere in London you'd particularly recommend?

David - thank you kindly for introducing more variables into the equation ;) I'd never even heard of 'face lathering' before!
 
Thank you for the thoughts @Tomo @Legion @EclipseRedRing !

And for the pictures Tom - I think I'd be with you and prefer the look of the Duke to the Chubby, though undecided on 2 or 3 (another reason I suppose to see them in person).

Richard - I had been thinking of wandering around St. James' of an afternoon, but perhaps not... it doesn't have much else to recommend it apart from that massive Waterstones anyway. Any shaving shops anywhere in London you'd particularly recommend?

David - thank you kindly for introducing more variables into the equation ;) I'd never even heard of 'face lathering' before!
In and around Jermyn Street you obviously have Taylor Of Old Bond Street, Geo F Trumper, Truefitt and Hill, and D.R.Harris which might be worth a trip if you like their products. I only buy vintage razors, soaps, and aftershaves, and my brushes are directly from Simpson or Semogue or are bought used, so I tend not to frequent brick and mortar stores. I was in London two weeks ago at the Philippine Embassy near Trafalgar Square which is near St.James' and London was very quiet, in terms of road traffic but also pedestrians. If you are not a regular in the St.James' area then you have The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace within easy walk.
 
Thank you for the thoughts @Tomo @Legion @EclipseRedRing !

And for the pictures Tom - I think I'd be with you and prefer the look of the Duke to the Chubby, though undecided on 2 or 3 (another reason I suppose to see them in person).

Richard - I had been thinking of wandering around St. James' of an afternoon, but perhaps not... it doesn't have much else to recommend it apart from that massive Waterstones anyway. Any shaving shops anywhere in London you'd particularly recommend?

David - thank you kindly for introducing more variables into the equation ;) I'd never even heard of 'face lathering' before!
Yah, rub a soap stick all over your stubble (I'll even cut a puck in half and wrap it in foil to make a stick), then build lather right on your face with the brush. Foolproof, softens the beard, quick. I've tried it all, and that is the way to go for me.
 
Yah, rub a soap stick all over your stubble (I'll even cut a puck in half and wrap it in foil to make a stick), then build lather right on your face with the brush. Foolproof, softens the beard, quick. I've tried it all, and that is the way to go for me.

This is the current start, creamy middle, and end of my current shaving regime:

0206A41B-D750-493D-ADE9-5984763AF728.jpeg


I admire its honest, no-nonense, Australian-ness. As well as how easy it is to find on a shelf.
 
In and around Jermyn Street you obviously have Taylor Of Old Bond Street, Geo F Trumper, Truefitt and Hill, and D.R.Harris which might be worth a trip if you like their products. I only buy vintage razors, soaps, and aftershaves, and my brushes are directly from Simpson or Semogue or are bought used, so I tend not to frequent brick and mortar stores. I was in London two weeks ago at the Philippine Embassy near Trafalgar Square which is near St.James' and London was very quiet, in terms of road traffic but also pedestrians. If you are not a regular in the St.James' area then you have The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace within easy walk.

Ta! I will make a note of those, I was probably going to go to Trumpers anyway I think, so will check out the others too.

(I was probably never a regular in St James', but I am a born and bred Londoner until moving to Aus a couple of years back. The proper part of London though... south of the river ;))
 
This is the current start, creamy middle, and end of my current shaving regime:

View attachment 1357306

I admire its honest, no-nonense, Australian-ness. As well as how easy it is to find on a shelf.
Ha. That is what I used when I was a teenager starting to shave, because it was what was there, and I was using a vintage Gillette tech I found in a bag of my dads army stuff. I should try it again, just for fun. I’m sure it works fine.

It used to be called Fauldings.
 
Great advice above!

I face lather and prefer smaller/medium sized brushes. Two of my favorite brushes are a Duke 2 and Chubby 1, both in best badger. For me a Chubby 2 would be just too big. But YMMV for sure!

Now, variation is part of Simpsons charm (or a problem depending on your point of view.) Two specimens of the same model may differ a fair bit, especially with their best badger grade. Some overlap the super grade while others are closer to pure.
 
Ta! I will make a note of those, I was probably going to go to Trumpers anyway I think, so will check out the others too.

(I was probably never a regular in St James', but I am a born and bred Londoner until moving to Aus a couple of years back. The proper part of London though... south of the river ;))
I should have said, while you are in London, if you want to try face lathering soap, buy a shave stick of DR Harris (I like the Arlington scent, but YMMV). It's not cheap, but IMO it is one of the finest soaps available, and the plastic tube is great for travel as well.

Their shop is in St James's.
 
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Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
Why not take the ferry from Liverpool to the Isle of Man and visit the mother ship? You can have your pick of Simpsons there, and Man is a lovely destination for 2 or even 3 days' visit. And the Manx language is pretty cool. The road signs are as though someone took Irish and wrote it out phonetically so that English speakers could pronounce it. And wait till you meet the mythical Anna Dillon at the Simpsons office. An accomplished athlete, she is. And she's much more interesting than Mr Watterson.
 
I've never actually been to the Isle of Man, but that does sound like a good excuse. I've also always quite wanted to go to the IoM TT, so perhaps a future visit could get them both in.

In the meantime though I got me a Duke 3 BB from Taylor of Old Bond Street. I'm sure shopping around online would have found it cheaper, but it was the same price as the Simpson website, and it's a somewhat expensive bit of frippery whatever way you spin it so quibbling over a few quid seems somewhat antithetical.

IMG-3640.jpg


It was certainly useful being able to see sizes in person (some shaving brushes are tiny!), and feel differences between brushes - there certainly was a little variation in the BB. And in the end I think I agreed with the majority consensus above - the Duke 3 just felt completely right - the Platonic Ideal of shaving brushes.

Plus I do enjoy those old St James' shops, and the extraordinary-looking people who invariably run them. I used to work in retail, and it's always fun to see people's levels of customer service as I'm probably not their archetypal customer; covered in whetstone mud, oil, epoxy, wearing a bandana and leather jacket. Unsurprisingly ToOBS, and Trumper where I bought some soap, are both slick enough to know not to judge a book by its cover, and passed with flying colours.
 

Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
I've never actually been to the Isle of Man, but that does sound like a good excuse. I've also always quite wanted to go to the IoM TT, so perhaps a future visit could get them both in.

In the meantime though I got me a Duke 3 BB from Taylor of Old Bond Street. I'm sure shopping around online would have found it cheaper, but it was the same price as the Simpson website, and it's a somewhat expensive bit of frippery whatever way you spin it so quibbling over a few quid seems somewhat antithetical.

View attachment 1365569

It was certainly useful being able to see sizes in person (some shaving brushes are tiny!), and feel differences between brushes - there certainly was a little variation in the BB. And in the end I think I agreed with the majority consensus above - the Duke 3 just felt completely right - the Platonic Ideal of shaving brushes.

Plus I do enjoy those old St James' shops, and the extraordinary-looking people who invariably run them. I used to work in retail, and it's always fun to see people's levels of customer service as I'm probably not their archetypal customer; covered in whetstone mud, oil, epoxy, wearing a bandana and leather jacket. Unsurprisingly ToOBS, and Trumper where I bought some soap, are both slick enough to know not to judge a book by its cover, and passed with flying colours.
Every traditional shaver needs a Duke 3, and it looks like you've got yourself a good one. And a memory to boot! Great fun shopping in the barber shops and men's shops of London. What I'd give for a day in Jermyn St with my pockets bulging with money. I'd been using boar bristle brushes for yonks but in 2008 I bought my first badger brush at Truefitt & Hill in St James' St, and it's still going strong. That I bought it in the shop has always made it feel more special than many of the more expensive brushes I've since bought via the internet.

Enjoy your new Duke!

Easter shave2.jpeg
 
Every traditional shaver needs a Duke 3, and it looks like you've got yourself a good one. And a memory to boot! Great fun shopping in the barber shops and men's shops of London. What I'd give for a day in Jermyn St with my pockets bulging with money. I'd been using boar bristle brushes for yonks but in 2008 I bought my first badger brush at Truefitt & Hill in St James' St, and it's still going strong. That I bought it in the shop has always made it feel more special than many of the more expensive brushes I've since bought via the internet.

Enjoy your new Duke!

View attachment 1366719

There's certainly something nice about the old-school way of shopping isn't there! Plus of course I had never seen or experienced that number of different brushes in person, so was great to get an idea of things :)

And then when I got home I found an unopened bottle of Old Spice that I must have bought a few years back (in a nice glass bottle which you don't get in Aus), so my new shaving setup felt very classic and traditional...

IMG-3669.jpg
 
^^^
Is that a butterknife handle? :D

Ha! Not actually a million miles away... it's a small version of a traditional Japanese octagonal kitchen knife handle, made from Red Mallee Burl, Syrah vine wood, and buffalo horn:


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