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First brush and arthritis, advice please.

Hello! Been using a safety razor for about a year now and reading on B&B a little longer. I have technique and razor and blade pretty well sorted. I have been using Cremo for years and it works well enough.
If you put some on the fingers and massage it in well, (much like face lathering) it gives pretty good coverage and results.
I am ready to change some variables. I want better than "pretty good." I am ready start using a brush and proper shave soap.
As I am coming up on 50 before too long and have worked hard my whole life, my hands are beat up. I have arthritis, my thumbs are especially bad and carpal tunnel. I hope to finally have the carpal tunnel addressed in December.
A pinching type grip, like holding a pen is the painful. The smaller the worse.

I am not a collector of things. I prefer one fine thing and to use it well. I have no need for multiple brushes.
I plan to face lather.
I will only be looking at synthetic knots in the 22mm to 24mm range with a low-ish loft.
On my short-ish list now (all synthetic):

Simpson Eagle 2 (coming soon?)
Simpson Rover
Simpson M7

Shavemac #386 24mm knot with a 26mm or 28mm sized handle.

Shavemac Rubberset 400 24mm knot.

I have considered the PAA Switchback 400 with a real nice Gen5 knot from AP but, really not keen on a metal handle. Not out of the question though.

These brushes represent my tastes and reflect weeks of thought, research, YouTube and online forum reading (especially here).
I know there are other makers with similar. I have probably considered them. Some criteria have been; $100 ceiling, nothing made in China, no black knots (look like make-up brushes to me), no garish colors, not tiny.

For those of you with bad hands. Of those listed above or in similar esthetic, which can you recommend?
Advice welcome!
 

Ravenonrock

I shaved the pig
Just wanted to welcome you! I can’t weigh in on the brushes specifically, not familiar, but a comfortable ergonomic handle would be a priority. I prefer boar knots myself, although I do have a Simpson T3 which is comfortable enough. I broke my right hand and finger in an accident, it is stiff and sore sometimes, limiting my usage for certain tasks. I understand and live with arthritis also and know how painful it can be, I hope you can find some relief there. Hopefully you find some answers here and good luck on your brush search, seems like you have certainly done your research.
 
I have no experience of your issue but I would guess that a fatter handle that is comfortably shaped would be easier to hold and require much less effort to grip. One that I find remarkably easy to hold, with no strain at all to my hand, is this Maritime Brush Co. G5C synthetic brush that I got from The Razor Company (but Maritime Brush Co. also sells via their own website). This is a 26mm knot, so larger than you wanted, and the handle is quite large, but that’s what makes it so easy to hold. If you were interested I wonder if you could email Maritime and ask if they could make one with a smaller knot for you.

B76A7916-060B-42F3-9266-BF0C06A4A097.jpeg
 
Welcome to the forum Harif. I also suffer from a life of wrenching and have enjoyed some informative conversations with @Rudy Vey, a local brush artisan and savior.
This yellow (butterscotch) brush is his handle design which he took down the waist thinner for me. It’s an absolutely marvelous STF synthetic brush that is right around your $100 goal.
What changed my wrist/elbow/thumb pain is a longer and thinner handle that I grip differently. My wrist stays locked as I bowl whip a lather and paint my face. I hold the brush this way.
9001C593-313D-46B6-81EE-D49FDC8EF08B.jpeg

Now if I hold the brush like the picture below and bend my wrist while making a lather, I often have to stop and take a break during my session.
7F593FDB-2963-4697-B7B5-4E12CCFCCA89.jpeg

Best of luck sir, carpal tunnel and lateral epicondylitis just is the pits.
 
I too had extreme issues with carpal tunnel syndrome!! Before my surgeries, there were certain shapes that I had a hard time to hold safely and dropped them often. The following shapes, I found, were working for me very well then: PJ, Keyhole, AS3M, so in principle a longer type of brush with a narrower waist. Short and stout brushes, like a Chubby and such were the worst for me. A shorter brush shape that worked for me is a beehive shape, also a shape that has a narrow waist. I also found that slightly oversized brushes did a better job for me than the standard sizes. My surgeries were done some 10 years ago and I am still fine and have no problems holding things. My surgeon did the old fashioned open surgery, he said that with the laparoscopic surgeries he sees a 50% or more chance that the surgery has to be redone - open then.
Now I am only suffering from a very bad CMC joint in my left hand, but surgery would take me out of doing things I need to do for at least 4 months, probably well over 6 months.
The shape just mentioned before is also one that I was able to hold well without issues.
 
Mr. Shavington
That looks looks much like the M7 style I like quite a bit. A little fatter, a little better.

BanjoCowboyMartaTobes
Just looking at how you hold that makes my thumbs hurt! I usually tend towards Ivory or subdued Butterscotch but that is a beautiful material.

Rudy Vey
Hopefully I can get the carpal tunnel fixed. I hear you about dropping stuff. I drop everything! I have needed surgery for 20 years but raising kids on one income we never had the money for me to take the time off. Now my kids are grown and we are raising our grandson. We are just going to make it work.
The thumbs will only get worse though.
I have been thinking about getting ahold of you. Now knowing that you have a frame of reference in this regard. I should go ahead and do it. I will try and attach a photo of the type of grip I have to use for stuff like this. I think it will work for an M7 (Barber?) style OK? However a regular or oversized Eagle or Shavemac #386 or #173 or #87 might really be easier for me?
Basically wide, tall, round, flared at the bottom, and maybe a little width at the top to reduce lather creep. Make sense?

Now let's see about that photo...
 

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Mr. Shavington
That looks looks much like the M7 style I like quite a bit. A little fatter, a little better.
it’s probably bigger than the M7 too. It looks like a Declaration Grooming Jeffington shape but actually it is larger and fatter than that. I just measured the Maritime handle and it is 70mm tall and 33mm diameter at the narrowest point, 37mm diameter at the top and bottom. It’s a good brush too - the G5C knot is one of the best synthetics.

I’ve got a lot of brushes but, trying to intuit what you might feel more comfortable holding, this is the one that came immediately to mind because you don’t have to apply any pressure with your fingers or exert your tendons to hold it and it shouldn’t tire you or cause cramp. I’ve had cramp holding shorter, smaller diameter brushes too tightly before, but of course I can’t say what works with your condition.

Hope you find something you like, whatever you do. I guess Rudy can probably make anything you want and put a Mühle STF knot in it, which is excellent too - softer and has a bit less backbone and easier splay than the G5C (in my experience). The slightly softer Mühle knot might also feel better for you.
 
Mr. Shavington
I have been eyeing the G5C.

Fooling around holding different stuff to get and idea of the ergonomics for my grip I keep coming back to something in the style of a Simpson Rover or Shavemac #87. Makes more sense if you look at my pictures above.
 
Mr. Shavington
That looks looks much like the M7 style I like quite a bit. A little fatter, a little better.

BanjoCowboyMartaTobes
Just looking at how you hold that makes my thumbs hurt! I usually tend towards Ivory or subdued Butterscotch but that is a beautiful material.

Rudy Vey
Hopefully I can get the carpal tunnel fixed. I hear you about dropping stuff. I drop everything! I have needed surgery for 20 years but raising kids on one income we never had the money for me to take the time off. Now my kids are grown and we are raising our grandson. We are just going to make it work.
The thumbs will only get worse though.
I have been thinking about getting ahold of you. Now knowing that you have a frame of reference in this regard. I should go ahead and do it. I will try and attach a photo of the type of grip I have to use for stuff like this. I think it will work for an M7 (Barber?) style OK? However a regular or oversized Eagle or Shavemac #386 or #173 or #87 might really be easier for me?
Basically wide, tall, round, flared at the bottom, and maybe a little width at the top to reduce lather creep. Make sense?

Now let's see about that photo...
I now understand the shape you need, and I think either the 386 or the 87 will work for your issues quite nicely.
The M7 is quite similar to one of the shapes I do a lot, the old AS3M, just the tops a different. But the holding properties should be the same. The Rover style is similar to the two Shavemac style, just not the tapering both ways, but it would support your issues with hold also very good. If you want to discuss this further, you can shoot me a pm here.
 
Mr. Shavington
That looks looks much like the M7 style I like quite a bit. A little fatter, a little better.

BanjoCowboyMartaTobes
Just looking at how you hold that makes my thumbs hurt! I usually tend towards Ivory or subdued Butterscotch but that is a beautiful material.

Rudy Vey
Hopefully I can get the carpal tunnel fixed. I hear you about dropping stuff. I drop everything! I have needed surgery for 20 years but raising kids on one income we never had the money for me to take the time off. Now my kids are grown and we are raising our grandson. We are just going to make it work.
The thumbs will only get worse though.
I have been thinking about getting ahold of you. Now knowing that you have a frame of reference in this regard. I should go ahead and do it. I will try and attach a photo of the type of grip I have to use for stuff like this. I think it will work for an M7 (Barber?) style OK? However a regular or oversized Eagle or Shavemac #386 or #173 or #87 might really be easier for me?
Basically wide, tall, round, flared at the bottom, and maybe a little width at the top to reduce lather creep. Make sense?

Now let's see about that photo...

+1! The M7 would also be my recommendation rather than one of the shorter, ‘stout’ brushes.
 
I now understand the shape you need, and I think either the 386 or the 87 will work for your issues quite nicely.
The M7 is quite similar to one of the shapes I do a lot, the old AS3M, just the tops a different. But the holding properties should be the same. The Rover style is similar to the two Shavemac style, just not the tapering both ways, but it would support your issues with hold also very good. If you want to discuss this further, you can shoot me a pm here.
OK, I feel pretty stupid but, it has been years since I was active on a forum... how do I PM?
 
With your requirements, I would recommend you look at the Trafalgar T3 shaving brush made by Alexander Simpson. It is a 26mm knot which means it will have a slightly larger handle diameter as well as knot diameter. The wider handle should be easier to hold with your arthritic fingers. The larger knot diameter means it will take fewer swirls to load and lather your soap or cream. That should also be an advantage.

The brush is available in two smaller sizes. I have the T2 (24 mm), but due to the shape of the knot, I find it to be smaller than I like.

I have very sensitive skin. I normally bowl lather, but the Trafalgar synthetic fiber is soft enough that I can face lather. Due to the shape of the knot, it has decent backbone.

Although the black fiber "Boss" type knots are soft, they do not have much backbone and they still tend to feel a little "scrubby" even though there is no "scritch". That is why I prefer the Tragalgar.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
With your requirements, I would recommend you look at the Trafalgar T3 shaving brush made by Alexander Simpson. It is a 26mm knot which means it will have a slightly larger handle diameter as well as knot diameter. The wider handle should be easier to hold with your arthritic fingers. The larger knot diameter means it will take fewer swirls to load and lather your soap or cream. That should also be an advantage.

The brush is available in two smaller sizes. I have the T2 (24 mm), but due to the shape of the knot, I find it to be smaller than I like.

I have very sensitive skin. I normally bowl lather, but the Trafalgar synthetic fiber is soft enough that I can face lather. Due to the shape of the knot, it has decent backbone.

Although the black fiber "Boss" type knots are soft, they do not have much backbone and they still tend to feel a little "scrubby" even though there is no "scritch". That is why I prefer the Tragalgar.



Omego.EVO.brand-new.3-4-20.640.JPG


In the same vein, I'll mention the Omega Evo. The knot seems a good bit smaller than its actual size makes it sound like. It is a terrific knot. I have only this one synthetic. I am a 100% face latherer.

If doing it over I'd get a prettier handle, but that's only because I now know how great the knot is.


What tools work best fir your hands? Are those tools with long handles, fat handles, thin handles, or something different? Find a brush that has similar handle qualities.


This is great advice, but the knot must be a good one, and not all synthetics are even close to good. According to me, many aren't.

Here's a link to the advice given to me by knowledgable-on-synthetics gentlemen. Mostly I was interested in the knots and not the handles.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
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