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Muhle STF Size Comparison

I have three different sized Muhle STF brushes, so I thought I would compare them.

The three are:

Muhle STF v2 Classic 19mm (48mm loft)
Muhle STF v2 Classic 23mm (56mm loft)
Rudy Vey with Muhle 25mm (56mm loft)




Here are the brushes after soaking and shaking out the water. Notice the difference in the appearance. The 19mm (bottom left) has been very well used and is not dense at all, and the fibers look kind of tangled and floppy. The 23mm (top) has large pointy clumps of fibers, while the 25mm (bottom right) has smaller pointy clumps. This looked strange, so I repeated the soaking and shaking and had the exact same result.



Next, I loaded up with Stirling One shaving soap. Can't recall the count, I think it was maybe a 15-20 second count. Same order of brushes as above.



Here you can see the three brushes loaded up. The 19mm again is less dense and tends to splay out, the 23mm is more compact, and the 25mm is a bit wider due to more hair in the same loft.



I worked all three brushes in a bowl, wetting the tips and working the lather until I got something decent. Here is a top shot of the brushes after scooping up all the lather.



And a front shot. Notice that the 25mm seemed to hold a lot more of the lather inside the knot where the other two held more lather on the outside.



I then worked the lather from each brush on my hand to show the lather quality and amount. Here is the 19mm.



And the 23mm. Notice how the lather is thinner on the hand and stays in the brush. I believe this is due to the tighter knot not releasing as easily.



The 25mm is definitely better in this regard and held a lot of lather.



Conclusions:

The Muhle STF knots are kind of hit or miss for me. They are for the most part extremely soft and resilient, making lather quickly. However, I have not found them to be very consistent. Some of the knots seem to bloom out more while others are very tight knots, which is not productive for lathering and not enjoyable. This particular 19mm has a great natural splay to the brush but is too small for more than one pass. The 23mm is similar to a 21mm that I had in the past, which is too tight of a knot and makes it too focused and difficult to splay while lathering. This 25mm is incredibly soft but I have the loft too dense to open the knot and make/release lather.

Even with the shortcomings (less than perfect face feel, lack of perceived backbone), I find the Plisson synthetic shaving brush to be overall easier to use and I believe the performance of that knot would not be as sensitive to the loft or natural bloom of the brush.
 
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Thanks for the comparison. I have both a 19mm (too small) and a 23mm Mühle (just right) and I'm curious what a 25mm would be like. Did Rudy set the same loft as a 25mm knot in a Mühle handle?
 
No, I asked him to set it around 55mm or so. I think stock they are about 60-62mm. That seemed too big to me, but now it might make sense.

Everyone I've read who has the 25mm Muhle says it's such a different knot than the 23mm, and I would agree. I really wish I could get that kind of density and performance in a little smaller knot with a loft of 55-58mm or so, which I hoped the 23mm would be, but it doesn't seem to happen.

Maybe if I smash the heck out of the knot to get it to splay and open up the performance will improve. It's just WAY too tight of a knot, like the bristles don't want to open at all. Kind of like putting a rubber band on a boar brush about 1/3 of the way up.
 
Jarick - Thanks for the review and pics!

I have the 23mm Muhle, and I enjoy it. I'm currently evaluating it against the Omega Hi-Brush "Barber Pole", and waiting on a Plisson to show up with the Acetate Burgundy handle. I'm in the 2015 yearly restraint, or I would try EJ XL since so many folks are praising it.
 
I definitely want to compare vs Omega as well but am also in yearly restraint mode. Maybe I'll try and work a trade down the road.
 
I definitely want to compare vs Omega as well but am also in yearly restraint mode. Maybe I'll try and work a trade down the road.
A gentle word of advice, make sure yours is one of their Hi-Brushes. I found a good price on an Omega Syntex and that brush is a dog and/or apparently very technique dependent. I started a thread on those and a member told me how to use it properly so after trying that my opinion might change somewhat. The Hi-Brush is pretty incredible for ~$20.
 
A gentle word of advice, make sure yours is one of their Hi-Brushes. I found a good price on an Omega Syntex and that brush is a dog and/or apparently very technique dependent. I started a thread on those and a member told me how to use it properly so after trying that my opinion might change somewhat. The Hi-Brush is pretty incredible for ~$20.
Are you talking about the Omega S synthetic that you had issues lathering?
 
You're correct. According to Connaught Shaving the Mühle 35 K 252 is quoted as having a loft of 62.
The 25mm brush has a 58mm loft as measured by owners.

No, I asked him to set it around 55mm or so. I think stock they are about 60-62mm. That seemed too big to me, but now it might make sense.

Everyone I've read who has the 25mm Muhle says it's such a different knot than the 23mm, and I would agree. I really wish I could get that kind of density and performance in a little smaller knot with a loft of 55-58mm or so, which I hoped the 23mm would be, but it doesn't seem to happen.

Maybe if I smash the heck out of the knot to get it to splay and open up the performance will improve. It's just WAY too tight of a knot, like the bristles don't want to open at all. Kind of like putting a rubber band on a boar brush about 1/3 of the way up.
You are having skewed results with your 25mm because you have the loft too low. You are not comparing all stock brushes which is why they seem inconsistent to you. Get a 25mm stock or set at a 60mm loft and the difference will be incredible. The 25mm brushes are so dense and soft that they can beat out most all high end brushes. Many have switched exclusively to the Edwin Jagger XL.
 
The Omega Hi is a good little brush. I enjoy using my EJ-STF more, but I will say that with the Omega I do get a slightly thicker lather, probably because of the size difference though. I like a small brush so I use the EJ in 19mm. By the way, I can pull of a two pass face lather with extra left and no reloading. I guess that's the YMMV thing? You're lather is not my lather.
 
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