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Ever-Ready 850L: A Botched Restoration Salvaged

This Ever-Ready 850L has been in my “awaiting restoration” stash of vintage brushes for well over a year. In actuality, I started the restoration months ago, but botched it to such an extent that I doubted it was worth finishing. Since I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, I just put it aside in favor of working on unspoiled projects. For those who are interested, I’ll summarize this tale of how badly things can go with a restoration— quite quickly— and for those not interested, you may want to skip the narrative and go directly to the photos.

Removal of the old knot was uneventful; a relatively gentle tug was all it took to remove it intact. The Lucite handle had numerous chips along the bottom of its octagonal base, and most were too deep to sand out. In considering alternatives, it occurred to me that Lucite, since it’s relatively soft, might be trimmed with a router or shaper. Mustering my Google Fu skills, I found a fair amount of support for the proposition that Lucite could, in fact, be shaped successfully in this fashion. I have an old, tabletop shaper that sees use very infrequently, so I set it up with a straight carbide-tipped router bit to remove from each side along the bottom of the octagonal base a band approximately 1/4” tall and 1/8” deep, thereby eliminating the offending chips. It seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. The results were, however, pretty disastrous. While succeeding in eliminating the old chips, a greater number of new, larger and deeper chips were produced.

The collage below depicts the condition of the brush as acquired, along with the mess I made in attempting to remove the chips from the handle.

$ER 850L B4 Collage.jpg

At this point I put the handle aside for at least six months. Over the holidays I treated myself to a lathe, and it occurred to me that with some luck, I might be able to salvage the Ever-Ready 850L handle. I’ll spare you the details, but I managed to turn the chipped octagonal band into a tenon. Then from a leftover scrap of maple from another project, I turned a small base to fit the tenon. I hollowed the base because I wanted the manufacturer’s information that's impressed in handle bottom, along with the socket itself, to remain visible. As a quick aside, the impressed lettering proved to be neither as deep nor as crisp as I initially thought, so perhaps I might as well have covered it.

After light sanding and polishing the handle, I decided to paint the socket a bright green and go with green aniline dye for the maple base. My hope for the base was to preserve the nice grain pattern. Unfortunately, the maple just wouldn't take the dye evenly, so the effect was splotchy. I ended up applying several coats of ebony tinted polyurethane to the base.

$ER 850L After Components Collage.jpg

Finally, for the new knot I went with a 22mm TGN Best Badger. I haven’t yet set the knot, and I forgot to measure the loft. I’ll have to update this post when the brush is truly finished.

$2014-02-05.jpg $E-R Lucite After Black Base.jpg
This is by no means my favorite restoration, but I’m glad I didn't give up on it.

Update: I set the 22mm TGN Best Badger knot earlier this evening; the loft is 48mm. Incidentally, this is my first restoration using TGN's B2 Best Badger, and it's a really great looking knot. Densely packed and very soft.

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Hi Jim, thanks for sharing. I'm glad you didn't give up it has turned out very nice, very distinctive and certainly one of a kind.

I would be be proud that it didn't end up as a paper weight!

I look forward to hearing how it performs.


Thanks to all for your kind comments-- much appreciated!

Masterfully modified, sir! I'd buy one if it was purposely designed the way you modified it.


That green reminds me of a little brush I once restored.

I'm humbled, Brian-- thanks much! I now recall your little green Lucite brush, and it very well may have been my inspiration for going with bright green.

Notwithstanding everything that went wrong with this restoration, my biggest regret is that the green aniline dye on the maple base didn't work out. Had it not been splotchy, I think it would've looked especially snazzy. And although I added the base purely for aesthetic reasons, I think this very well may have improved the ergonomics of the handle.

Finally, as a heads up for everyone who frequents the Brush Making and Restorations sub-forum, I've decided to PIF this brush. I haven't yet settled on the particulars of the PIF, but I plan post something tomorrow, probably in the General Shaving Discussion forum. So, if you're interested in owning this brush, be sure to throw your hat into the ring. Good luck!
I just realized that i misread the last post, so I edited it. I'm blushing here. Jim, I think you should try turning that shape, or something very similar.
I just realized that i misread the last post, so I edited it. I'm blushing here. Jim, I think you should try turning that shape, or something very similar.
Wow. I was looking at a few posts back. Anyway, thanks Jim, for the inspiration compliment. Good on you for offering a PIF.
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