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Dark Holler Design Works preview


I don't have anything to offer for sale here yet. We're still working some things out (which will probably never end). In any case, this might seem to be a premature debut. But we (that is, my son and I) have shot past the bounds of fail-safe with this venture. I'm all in, and no longer comfortable posting on the progress of my handle-making trials in the Shaving Brush Forum. So I've pinned on a Vendor Badge, and now here's a report and preview.

The M&F Group Buy was a terrific experience for me. However, it ended up feeling a little like playing air guitar. Drawing something isn't the same as making it.

In early January, my son and I made a road trip from KC to La Crosse, Wisconsin, to buy a 25ish year-old CNC lathe. As it turned out, we hauled back three. Since then, another road trip (to Grand Rapids, Michigan) added a CNC mill along with some other stuff, and I talked a friend who runs a biotech company into selling me a spare fume hood that was gathering dust in storage.

The lathes sat in the foyer of our house from January to mid-May. Shortly after returning from La Crosse, I was offered a consulting job I couldn't refuse, in consequence of which I didn't have time to make room for the lathes, let alone figure out how to run them. But I started working at that in earnest (many long days) toward the beginning of June (see this thread).

There's a whole lot more involved in turning and finishing brush handles than I had any concept of. We still have a great deal to learn. Nevertheless, it's time to put something out there.

I like turning acrylic. And I intend to offer affordable brushes made with acrylic handles. But I recently landed some ebonite, and it's on an entirely different plane. It's also much more challenging to work with. All the better.

Some photos follow below. They speak for themselves. Not perfection, but a lot of character, IMO.

Watch this thread for updates.

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Great looking handles Ken. I love the shape and material choices and can only imagine they are even more stunning in person.

They appear to have great character and the material has awesome lines and depth to it.

Very well done. :thumbup1:
Wow...I love the idea of an Ebonite handle shaving brush. Ebonite feels great in the hand...much more "organic" than acrylic or other plastics.

My only question is how the Ebonite (hard rubber) will stand up to hot water and soaps. I'm seriously into vintage fountain pens, and Ebonite was a common pen material back in the early part of the 20th century. It's "common knowledge" among the pen collecting community that prolonged exposure to water (particularly hot water) can cause damage and discoloration to Ebonite pens. Also, sunlight can cause color shifts. Maybe there's a reason that early shaving brushes didn't have Ebonite handles? Have you had any real-time experience with using this material in a shaving brush?
They look like they'd have a place in the shaving set of a man with good taste.
They're not the colors from children's toys, quite pleasing to the eye.

Good luck.

Stick with subdued class like this and you'll do great.
... The M&F Group Buy was a terrific experience for me. However, it ended up feeling a little like playing air guitar. Drawing something isn't the same as making it....
The shaving gods are smiling.

Somehow I knew that you were not content with playing air guitar after the Chief group buy. Or as Cooncatbob used to say: There's nothing wrong in making a dream work.

I wish you all the best in this effort!
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