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First affordable Simpson in best badger?

I have spent the past too many days combing through the forum archives, yet still I struggle!

I am new to DE shaving and already I LOVE it. I am still breaking in a beechwood Omega 80005 but starting to get half-decent results. The problem is... I think I have caught the bug, and already I find myself justifying the looming purchase of a badger brush, decidedly in best. I also find I am inexplicably drawn to the Simpson line, a victim of the hype if you will. So essentially I am looking at my first entry into this realm in the form of a small/medium size (and hence affordable) model. The Berkeley 46B seems to be a good choice, but I want to keep the bowl-lathering option open and could stand to pay slightly more for a Colonel X2L or Commodore X2 (this being said, I haven't ruled out the Berkeley). There seems to be more love in general for the Colonel, but I don't see a great amount of difference between the two aside from the handle. Could it be said the Commodore blooms out more? This is not really a bonus for me since I often keep a beard so want to have better control during the face lather. Also, is one really denser than the other? I have read the Colonel is denser but I have also read the Commodore is denser (assuming we are still talking about the X2).

A big problem for me is having nowhere in Montreal (to the best of my knowledge) to see and handle any of these models first-hand, so I am going at this thing blind a wee bit, and the cost factor is non-negligible. Even deciding between the 1, 2 or 3 sizes isn't easy. I imagine the X2 would suit me, but there is no way of really 'knowing'. Judging by a ruler can only really go so far, and there is also variation between specimens (for the record, my hands are small-average in size). Anyhow, I'm essentially looking for a versatile 1st Simpson brush in best badger that will last me several years in the 'medium-sized affordable' department. Thoughts and insights are most appreciated.
 
I should probably mention that I'm in Canada, so anything that's not available on Amazon.ca is likely more trouble than it's worth unfortunately. This being said, I did find a Duke 2 for $110 CAD....
 
I am a big Simpsons fan. However, I face-lather 100% and tend to smaller, denser brushes. That said, of the ones mentioned, I would go for a Duke. My Duke 2 in best is one of my absolute favorites. I would prefer a Duke to the Colonel or Commodore.

If you want a more statuesque brush, then you should consider one of the 50 series, a Persian Jar or a Polo. My 57 is absolutely wonderful and would work very well for bowl lathering. Tough to go wrong with any of these options IMO.
 
+4 on getting a Duke. I've been using a Duke 2 for exclusively for the past 6 years, its a fantastic face latherer.
 
If you go with the Commodore get an X3. It is unfairly overlooked. I have some good badger brushes such as a Chubby 2 best, Thater 4125-1, and Shavemac D01 knot, but the Commodore X3 remains in the rotation.
 

garyg

B&B membership has its percs
The Duke 2 and Colonel are pretty much the same size knots - the two I have measure the same, about 22 mm x 47 mm loft ("stock" specs say the Colonel is a tad bigger, but +/- 1 mm isn't significant). Both are eight or nine years old, used in an increasing rotation, and have not shed beyond a couple loose hairs upon first receiving the brushes. I don't see a difference in density either. The handle on the Colonel is longer and may be preferred for bowl lathering, while the stubbier Duke works well building lather on the face. I would be happy with either if I had to cut back to a single brush. My hands are sized "Cadet-Medium/Large" ..
 
I've had 8 Simpsons, including the Berkeley, Colonel and Duke 2. The Berkeley was great at face-lathering. But great backbone came with some scritch, which is why it was eventually sold. The Colonel was better for bowl lathering with the longer handle. Not as much backbone as the Berkeley, but softer. My son-in-law, who bowl lathers, still uses my Colonel. The Duke 2 was the best all-around brush of the three. The only reason I sold my Duke 2 was because it was too close in size and knot to my Rover.
 
I should probably mention that I'm in Canada, so anything that's not available on Amazon.ca is likely more trouble than it's worth unfortunately. This being said, I did find a Duke 2 for $110 CAD....

Fendrihan has commodore X2 for $82 CAD, though I haven't used Simpson brushes (yet) that seems like a good deal. Seems that only handle is a bit longer and brush is close to Duke 2 (22 Vs. 21 mm according to specs on their web site)
 
If I only had one Simpson, ..... it would be the Colonel X2L. A great "all around" brush. I love my Special too !IMG_1736.JPG
 
Totally waffling now between the Berkeley 46 and Duke 2, sometimes between the Berkeley and the Special best (!). I know you can bowl lather with any of these if you want, and I may be a fan of smaller brushes, so I am leaning away from the Colonel & Commodore for now, although there is the question of handle comfort that I am not at liberty to evaluate.... They also seem to fan out quite a bit, and I tend to wear a beard for 8 months of the year, so something smaller/more focused may be the better way to go. I am also thinking long term and not wanting to go too 'middle of the road' and end up like some of you guys - with every size of every model (I'd like to limit my collection to 3 or 4 brushes I think)! Btw I have smallish hands, so size-wise I am hoping the '2' range will suit me and therefore I won't need to consider anything bigger (that and for the beard reason). This is what I'm considering now (this may well change tomorrow, much to my dismay!):

Duke 2: $110 (prices are CAD)
Berkeley 46: $68.50
X1: $66
Special Best: $54

I'm interested in the X1 but comparatively speaking know very little about it. The Special and Berkeley are so close in price that I am tempted to go the latter. But then if the Duke 2 really is the bee's knees, perhaps I would need nothing more!? At that price, however, it's a little harder to pull the trigger. First world problems people!
 
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I'm (currently) an exclusive Simpson brush user, and as a face latherer my favourite brush is the Berkeley; however I'm also a big fan of the Duke 3 and I own a couple of them.

I think the Duke 3 will give you the versatility of bowl and face lathering.
 
The Berkeley is a great all rounder. I enjoy it more than the Duke. Maybe it has an element of surprise because of its compact size.

+1 for the 50 series as well. Though I am not sure whether they fit your budget.


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I have the Special, in pure, BTW, and love the size.

You might look at an Irish vendor, Shaving i e. I just ordered some MWF from them.

Have fun.
 
I liked my Special in Best. It's probably the only brush, of a dozen or more sold/given away, that I wish I had kept. It didn't have as much backbone as the Berkeley, but it was softer with a slightly larger handle and slightly smaller knot. I think I got rid of it during my "backbone" phase, but I have since come to appreciate softer brushes with less backbone. No matter which Simpsons (Best) you chose, it should serve you well and get better with use and experience.
 
This has proved a challenging decision (I may also have a little too much 'free' time on my plate), but I'm pulling the trigger and entrusting my first foray into best badger with the widely commended Berkeley 46. Very excited! To boot, I'm told it fits perfectly in the small Simpsons travel tube, so guess what? I'm getting that too. ...And maybe throwing in a scuttle just to keep my sudsy new brush warm... thereby opening the door to the purchase of another brush like the X2L further down the road!... "Whoah Bessie!"

Sincere thanks all for weighing in.
 
This has proved a challenging decision (I may also have a little too much 'free' time on my plate), but I'm pulling the trigger and entrusting my first foray into best badger with the widely commended Berkeley 46. Very excited! To boot, I'm told it fits perfectly in the small Simpsons travel tube, so guess what? I'm getting that too. ...And maybe throwing in a scuttle just to keep my sudsy new brush warm... thereby opening the door to the purchase of another brush like the X2L further down the road!... "Whoah Bessie!"

Sincere thanks all for weighing in.

I am afraid that you will be a bit disappointed with the small travel tube, when you will find out that your new brush will not fit in, unless you smash the loft. The small travel tube fits the following brushes:
The case
Classic 1 and
Duke 1
if you can before the seller posting the parcel, reorder the large one.
Ps: gongrats for you new brush, you will enjoy it a lot.
 
Thanks for the tip takisg. I followed up this morning by calling the merchant (Phil at the Classic Edge), who has been very helpful, and he assured me the brush was a perfect fit inside the Simpsons travel tube. He actually did this while I was on the phone, and confirmed that the knot was in no way compressed by the cap when closed. So either what he is advertising as a small tube is actually the larger one, or the particular brush he's shipping me (which I am informed is magnificent!) is a shorter loft variant. At any rate, I could not argue with his reasoning, so I will have to wait and see, and will post back to let you know what I find.
 
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