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Review of Fendrihan's Pearwood Military Hairbrush

This post is mostly meant to provide a physical description of a particular brush. I've only been using it for a few weeks, and this type of brush is still too new for me to render a knowledgeable opinion.

I'd just like to say that thus far I'm very happy with my purchase. It's comfortable, well made, and does what I hoped it would do, namely flatten-out my "hay stack" without the use of any additional hair products. It's still a bit early to tell if perhaps a curved-faced, narrower, or handled boar brush would have been a better choice.

Hopefully this will help those still sitting on the fence.

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Ever since finding out about military boar hair brushes on this darn site, I wanted to try one. Not being 100% sure they were for me, I decided to go for a middle-of-the-road option; one that was well made but not quite as pretty as top-tier brands.

I decided to give the Fendrihan brush a try. They are made in Germany, offered in soft or hard boar bristles, and in tree(pun) varieties of wood: beech, pear and olive wood. They vary in price from $19-$24 USD ($20-$30 CAD).

Not being sure which bristle hardness to get, I looked at this Goody boar brush at Walmart:

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The bristles seemed too soft for my hair type, and could not cut through to my scalp. I assumed the Fendrihan soft bristles were of similar stiffness and decided to go with the hard bristle model in the pear wood. The bristles of the brush I received are definitely stiffer than the Walmart Goody, and they do easily reach my scalp. It is scritchy, but very comfortable to use.

The shape of the handle is also very comfortable in hand. It has a nicely domed top and finger grooves on both sides that makes for easy, solid grasping. The bristle base is flat. Complete measurements are listed at the end of this review.

The finish on this brush is a simple non-curing oil or a wax of some kind, there is no glossy varnish to speak of. As with any wax-on-raw-wood finish, water spots will remain if left untreated. I got a few water spots on mine, so I let it dry; then gave it a coat of wood paste wax (Johnson's) and it now looks as good as new.

Reading up on how to care for a wood-handled brush, one quickly learns that one should not immerse the wood in water and to just let the bristles soak in a shallow dish. So, I added a bit of detergent to some warm water and used a kitchen plate to make a 1/4" deep "tub". Soon after, I could see wet spots at the ends of the wooden handle in line with the bristle tufts. As careful as I was to keep water away from the wood, the bristle tufts had wicked water into the handle.

A cheap, or improper varnish will eventually crack or flake off when water is trapped behind it, whereas wax should allow the wood to dry more quickly. As much as I was initially bummed when I saw the brush had no varnish, now I'm thinking it might not be such a bad thing because, as mentioned before, it is easily fixable.

I finished cleaning the brush (lifted it from the plate keeping the bristles pointing down, gently brushed the bristles with an old tooth brush, rinsed in a few platefuls of clean water, set it bristle down on to a face cloth to dry), then I decided to give it a good whiff.

Being boar bristles, I expected the "barnyard bouquet" we are all familiar from our shaving brushes; instead, the thing smelled like mothballs. Reading up on the topic, it seems to be a common preservative used when shipping bristles to brush manufacturers.

I set aside the brush for two days to dry completely, then washed it a second time to see if I could get the smell out. After the second washing the smell was still there but much less noticeable.

It's worth mentioning that when dry, there is no detectable smell whatsoever, and one is not supposed to use these brushes wet or on wet hair. I have a feeling the smell will eventually leave in one or two more washings, but I'm not there yet.

And finally, just to leave no stone unturned in its physical description, the logo on the top is stamped-on and not burned-on. The brush also does not come in any sort of hard protective packaging material, just a clear plastic bag. So if you plan on gifting one, make provisions to find a suitable box.

measurements:
-2 9/16 " wide
-4 7/16" long
-3/4" thick ends
-1" thickness at center
-11/16" bristle length
-96 g​
 
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That's a discerning an overview as I've seen in a long time. Great job! Will you be posting a review on how it performs?
 
Thanks Bill.

This is still rather new to me, but I can say that I use it everyday and do not believe I could go back to being without a boar brush. I think of it like an iron for clothes as it straightens and flattens out my "puffy" hair, I then use a comb and a bit of water to place the hair exactly where I want it. As I said in the initial post, perhaps a narrower boar brush, or one with a domed bristle base might be the trick to forgo the use of the comb altogether---I just don't have the tools or experience yet to say for sure.

As to the condition of the brush itself, it still looks brand new. Since its purchase it has lost only two half-bristles, but that was while cleaning it. I have since purchased a tiny little brush cleaning rake to remove the hair from the brush. It's a tiny little thing that you hold between your fingertips and allows you gently go between the brushes' rows and lift out the accumulated hair. Don't be fooled by the picture below, it's only about 3" total length.
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