What's new

New Zenith Manchurian 506A

My favorite boar brush is a Zenith, and I've been curious about their badger brushes, particularly the Manchurians, for some time. I pulled the trigger on a white handled 506A with a gold ring from Your Shaving. It was a bargain at $65 including shipping to the US (after using a 10% discount coupon). Shipping was considerably quicker than I expected, with the brush arriving within two weeks and while I was away traveling. Yesterday I unpacked it and gave it a quick test lather. It has a modest amount of badger funk but I didn't think it was enough to warrant any special treatment. For the most part, with animal hair brushes, I just use fragrant soaps for the first dozen or so uses. It masks most of the smell until that smell fades.

Zenith 1.jpg


Zenith 2.jpg


Today was the actual shave with the new brush. I soaked it for 5-10 minutes in warm water, shook it out well and began building lather using Shannon's Haymarket Vetiver soap. I noticed, as I had with the test lather, that it required me to add quite a bit of water in order to keep it from being too pasty. Perhaps it would do better with a less vigorous shake after the soak. Sometimes I bowl lather and sometimes I go directly to my face with the loaded brush. Today was a face lathering day. As expected, the Zenith Manchurian has quite a bit of backbone as well as a bit of scritch. In that respect it reminds me quite a bit of my old Simpsons Duke 2 Best Badger brush. Flow through was excellent and the ergonomics of the handle were perfect for me. I should also note that during the test lather and for today's shave, the brush did not lose a single hair.

For a while I had been favoring smaller brushes, but for whatever reason I am now in a bigger brush phase. The Zenith is comparable in size to my Yaqi Moka 26mm 2 band badger, but I find it slightly easier to control it on my face, perhaps because it is a bit stiffer. After only one shave, it's too soon to say where this brush fits in my "hierarchy" but it is already very near the top, and I expect it to only improve in my estimation as it breaks in.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Congratulations. Great brush.


Two.Zenith.Manchurians.1-5-19.640.JPG


I have two Zenith Manchurians.

The wooden handled brush came to me broken in, but it's still changed over time. Improved over time. The brush was a gift from a member who moved entirely to synthetics. To ask why would be looking a gift horse in the mouth.

The Manchurian with a copper handle was purchased new and has been through many stages so it's been a very interesting ride.

Both are excellent brushes in all respects.

For the record, both are now very soft. All the scritch has turned into delicious scrub.

You're in for a treat.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I guess you will end up liking it more and more :)

I rarely pick the Moka Express nowadays as it blooms SOOO big but the 506 stays compact and scrubby and is my main rotation.

View attachment 1459947

View attachment 1459948



That's interesting, because I have had exactly the opposite experience. After only 1 shave my Zenith Manchurian has bloomed considerably more than my Yaqi Moka Express has after many, many uses. I think it proves my belief that the variation in badger knots within a given brand and style is often greater than the variation between brands and styles. Here are current photos of the two:

brush comp 1.jpg


brush comp 2.jpg
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Also, if you look at my two Zenith Manchurians the smaller knotted olivewood handled Manchurian has a much more bloomed look than its slight larger knotted copper handled cousin.

Both are excellent, but they're not the same.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Mine has quite a glue bump that isn’t felt in usage but defines the characteristics of the knot. Naively I believed that this is intentional but seeing the pics here shows that is just a variation…
 
Congratulations. Great brush.


View attachment 1459958


I have two Zenith Manchurians.

The wooden handled brush came to me broken in, but it's still changed over time. Improved over time. The brush was a gift from a member who moved entirely to synthetics. To ask why would be looking a gift horse in the mouth.

The Manchurian with a copper handle was purchased new and has been through many stages so it's been a very interesting ride.

Both are excellent brushes in all respects.

For the record, both are now very soft. All the scritch has turned into delicious scrub.

You're in for a treat.

Happy shaves,

Jim
Jim has the shape/look of the knot in the copper handle changed much since this picture? It's interesting how much more compact it looks compared to the wood-handled knot (I didn't look up the models to see if there's a posted difference in loft).
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Jim has the shape/look of the knot in the copper handle changed much since this picture?

No, not much if any.

It's interesting how much more compact it looks compared to the wood-handled knot (I didn't look up the models to see if there's a posted difference in loft).

Indeed.

The smaller knot has a much larger between shaves bloom. During the shaves the copper's knot seems plenty large of course.

I like both brushes. They are similar in some ways but certainly not twins by any means.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom