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Hair Club for Badgers Rooney Finest

So, ballpark a year ago, a member was selling a T&H branded Rooney Finest (A roughly $500-1000 brush) on the BST for under $100. The catch? It had a pretty bad donut forming. Still, I had to buy it. The hair is a long gone legend... even with no center, the backbone these brushes have would still be worthwhile.

It arrived and was what I expected. Great density, but that gap in the center really just made it not a Rooney Finest. I was unwilling to let this legend of a brush end like this. My talents as a masterful brush surgeon were called into service. First a delicate process of binding together all the "bad" hairs. A syringe and gel CA was the tool. A short bit of work later and I had a literal donut of a Rooney Finest. The Center was hollow, all the way down to the shelf. Next, I had to pick my hair plugs. I chose the best substitute for the finest I knew of (in feel, not looks), a vintage Pure/Best European Badger. A stiff, slightly scritchy hair with the backbone of two band but the fine, golden tips of those beautiful yellow vintage Badger brushes from the high end makers. Now, I'd never hand-tied a shaving brush knot before, but I never let that stop me before, and in no time flat I turned a 20mm brush into an ~8mm plug. A bit of 2-part marine epoxy, and a mix of very delicate fitting and very firm pushing later, and I had a brush ready for a 1970's key party, fresh with its new plugs.

Now, I fully expected this to be a trial and failure experiment. I doubted this knot would hold up. It'd shed like crazy, or it'd break apart, or it'd just fall right out. So I didn't post about it. And I'd grab it maybe every other shave, it'd work well, get put away, and a few days later I'd grab it again. Time flies and I've got maybe 50 shaves on the puppy... and it hasn't shed a hair or shifted a micron. It's as sturdy as a new brush and sitting proud, feeling every bit the Rooney Finest reincarnation it is.

A couple days ago a package arrived. A cute little auction I spent $15 or 20 on. Had a razor hone and a couple razors that looked salvageable, though rusty. One being a Clauss. I'm a fan of Clauss, and it was rescaled in some fairly nice, hefty Steel scales. The razor itself had a good heft, was a nice size, and cleaned up quite nicely; going from rusty to shave ready in record time, despite some concerning pitting along the edge. I decided to break out a coticule that is so pretty it's literally a display piece in my office, like a work of natural art. As a finishing touch, I dug out a vintage shave bowl from my cabinet, packed with a pinch of Klar Kab that's probably half a decade or more in age... still smelling gently of rose.

When all was said and done, I wasn't sure what element of the shave deserved a post more, but I finally settled on the brush, figuring it deserves its moment to shine.


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