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Simpson’s different brushes and their distinctions

Ridpath

FIGHTER!
Contributor
For those of you that own multiple Simpsons, what are the differences between the models that Simpson makes (eg the Chubby v the Duke etc)?

From what I can tell, the difference is largely in handle design - some seem designed for head lathering, while some are easier to lather in a bowl with.

Ignoring handle design and differences in bristle types, would different brushes lather similarly then, or are there differences in the knot among different models as well?

I’ve been tempted to try a Chubby because of all the good comments I‘ve read here, and am wondering how different it is to the other Simpson brushes that I’ve used before. Any comments or insights would be appreciated.
 

emwolf

Contributor
I only have two, a Special with Pure and a Tulip with Super. I would say forget the Pure. It's better than standard Pure Badger brushes, but nothing worth buying unless you need to have a Simpson's in your den and you don't have much money to spend. The Super is a fantastic knot, not as dense as some of the more modern brushes (which suits me just fine) but definitely not a floppy brush.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
Chubby is significantly denser than the rest.
Eagle comes close in my experience. There may be a few other brushes in this realm of density, but none come to mind.
I think Duke would be next based on others reviews, but from my experience with dukes there is a pretty big drop off after Eagles and MOST of Simpsons higher end camp kind of falls in this range. A lot of people call the duke 3 the Chubby 1.5... which just isn't true in my experience, the Chubby is much denser. Maybe the two bands were closer... I've only tried three band Chubbies.

Then there are a handful that are "loosely" packed... for a simpson... which puts them about equal with most makers in my experience... think Rooney Super-level density. This is where most of the lower priced stuff like colonel, berkeley and Special fall.

I don't think anything in Simpson is below avg density. The low end of their density is most makers average. The only brushes that really stand out as exceptionally dense in my experience though were the Chubby's and Eagles. Everything else just has good density. This, and handle quality is really the biggest difference between simpsons and vulfix brushes... Vulfix as the "value" line as it were has cheaper (some injection molded vs turned) handles and significantly lower density pretty much across the lines.


There are differences in knots across models, but there are also differences within the model. Going to the superior shave (if they still list brushes individually) was always a good demonstration of this. Simpsons are hand tied and the workers make judgement calls on how much to peak the bulbs and if they want to adjust loft a bit this way or that based on the exact batch of hair they've got. This reflects itself in some pretty notable differences from one brush to another even in the same model, size, and grade hair.

What tends to be consistent within the same model/grade/size is density. I'm assuming because the hair is trimmed (at the base) to a certain length and weighed to dose the brush before forming... so every brush has ~the same amount of hair.
 
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Simpson brushes are generally priced by the amount and type of hair used, and also the complexity of manufacture of the handle. For example the Simpson Major travel brush is expensive for its size due to the cost of the handle. There are also special editions, normally only found on the Simpson web site. Most of the handle shapes have been in existence for a very long time and it seems doubtful that they were 'designed for head lathering' as they predate the recent growth in head shaving popularity I suggest. Nevertheless I suspect that models such as the Chubby 2 or 3 with an extremely dense knot and relative low loft would suit that purpose.

Some brushes appear very similar but generally longer handle brushes, such as the Persian Jar, suit bowl lathering and shorter ones, such as the Duke are more suited to face lathering. Some have a greater loft to knot ratio and so are more floppy, although no Simpson brush could really be described as floppy. In general the Best grade has more backbone than Super although Super tends to be softer. Best can be very variable so is a bit of a lottery but I prefer it to Super because of the greater backbone. Manchurian has even greater backbone in my experience with slight scritch and tends to splay and bloom very little when compared to a Super grade. For this reason a Super grade brush will feel and perform much larger than a Manchurian brush of the exact same model. I have not tried pure grade.

All models lather very similarly in my experience although very dense brushes tend to use a lot more soap or cream. Again the more dense models tend to be more expensive due to the increased weight of hair required and also to have more backbone in the overall knot. I find those with a greater loft are less well suited to face lathering, especially if you like to swirl the brush but again that is personal preference. The Chubby range is iconic but I found the Chubby 2/3 in Super to be far too large whereas the Chubby 1 Manchurian is one of my favourites although some find the handle too short. The Duke range, I found almost as dense with a slightly longer handle; the Duke 3, again in Manchurian is another of my personal favourites. Apologies for the wall of text! Good luck 👍
 
I have 8 of them: Chubby 1 Super, Chubby 1 Best, Chubby 1 Manchurian, Classic 1, Chubby 2 Best, Chubby 2 Super, Milk Churn, and Eagle 2

I have owned and sold a Tulip 2, a M7, a Polo 8, a Berkeley Best.

My favorites are the Classic 1, the Chubby 1 super, and the Eagle 2. They are incredibly good for face lathering. The Eagle is probably the best value brush in the Simpsons line up. The Classic feels like a baby girl next to the Chubby 1

The Chubby 2s I use mainly for lavish long shaves as they require a lot of soap and more effort, but build copious amount of lather as a result.

The Chubby 1 manchurian is a very pointy and stiff brush that feels smaller on the face, but it is probably the softest of them all. I find it better for painting stroke motions, but I use mostly circular motions to build the lather.

The Milk Churn is a nice looking brush, the least dense of them, and the handle is a bit too large for my tastes. Still a very good performer, though.

As you can see, I like Simpsons brushes a lot, and besides a Thater that I use occasionally they are the only brand I use. Let me try to find a pic with my line up to post here
 
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I currently own 3 Simpson’s all in best - Duke 1 & 3 plus Commodore X3, I have also owned and sold 2 other Simpson’s also in best.

Both Dukes are very dense, the Duke 3 of course is more dense and both great brushes, however I personally prefer the X3 which is not as dense.


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Rudy Vey

Contributor
Vendor
This is a compilation I did a few months ago, maybe useful. Bubble sizes refer to weight in grams. Red is Super, green is Best and blue is Pure badger


View attachment 1097090

Shave den - as you see Super badger splays much more than best
View attachment 1097091
I doubt weight is a quality parameter....the weight comes mostly from the handle, so a bigger handle brings more weight with it. Many years ago I learned from Shavemac that there is about 1000 hairs in a gram weight, a standard 24 mm knot has about 18-20k hairs in it.

I have some data from a selection of Shavemac two-band silvertips I have on hand:
Nominal diameter of knot​
Shape: Fan (mid-long loft)​
Shape: Bulb (shorter loft)​
27​
26.9​
-​
26​
23.3​
19.9​
24​
20.6​
-​
23​
19-20.4* avg 19.5​
15.2​
22​
15.9​
21​
13.6​
16​
-​
8.1​

Bigger knots have a bigger glue plug, bulbs are much shorter hairs on the outside compared to a fan - see the difference in the weight between the two examples I have for either shape.
* For the 23 mm I have five knots on hand, four with the same loft, weighing in from 18.8-19.6 g, and one with a long loft, 2.5 mm longer, and this one weighs in at 20.5, so about a good gram more.
The fans I have on hand are in the mid-longer loft range available from them, the bulbs are more to the short-mid range, so they can be set at about a ratio of 2.1:1

The weight were determined on a Gempro scale with a max possible weight of 100 g.

Here are some facts for Simpson brushes:

Polo 8, old Two-band Super (best hair they ever had...), weight 90.7 g, diameter 25 with 52 loft, bulb shape
Tulip 3 Manchurian, weight 77.5g, diameter 23.5, loft 51 more fan shape than bulb
M6 Manchurian, weight 59.4, diameter 21 with 47 mm loft and pronounced fan shape.
 
I doubt weight is a quality parameter....the weight comes mostly from the handle, so a bigger handle brings more weight with it. Many years ago I learned from Shavemac that there is about 1000 hairs in a gram weight, a standard 24 mm knot has about 18-20k hairs in it.

I have some data from a selection of Shavemac two-band silvertips I have on hand:
Nominal diameter of knot​
Shape: Fan (mid-long loft)​
Shape: Bulb (shorter loft)​
27​
26.9​
-​
26​
23.3​
19.9​
24​
20.6​
-​
23​
19-20.4* avg 19.5​
15.2​
22​
15.9​
21​
13.6​
16​
-​
8.1​

Bigger knots have a bigger glue plug, bulbs are much shorter hairs on the outside compared to a fan - see the difference in the weight between the two examples I have for either shape.
* For the 23 mm I have five knots on hand, four with the same loft, weighing in from 18.8-19.6 g, and one with a long loft, 2.5 mm longer, and this one weighs in at 20.5, so about a good gram more.
The fans I have on hand are in the mid-longer loft range available from them, the bulbs are more to the short-mid range, so they can be set at about a ratio of 2.1:1

The weight were determined on a Gempro scale with a max possible weight of 100 g.

Here are some facts for Simpson brushes:

Polo 8, old Two-band Super (best hair they ever had...), weight 90.7 g, diameter 25 with 52 loft, bulb shape
Tulip 3 Manchurian, weight 77.5g, diameter 23.5, loft 51 more fan shape than bulb
M6 Manchurian, weight 59.4, diameter 21 with 47 mm loft and pronounced fan shape.
Thanks for the post, but I haven't said anything about weight being a quality parameter. I doubt your "facts" about Simpsons brushes, since they are all hand made and dimensions will vary. The "best hair they ever had" is also very subjective.

My compilation is based on nominal specs provided by Simpsons, there is a clear correlation between knot size and price, as one would expect.
 

Ridpath

FIGHTER!
Contributor
Thanks for all the responses, quite interesting to hear about people’s experiences with the different brushers as well as the more quantitative side of things with the brushes. Looks like I’ll have to try to locate and try a Chubby in best badger then, since that’s probably what will best suit me.

I did briefly eye the Manchurian badger brushes they had on their website as well, and wasn’t sure what difference those brushes had when compared to a super/silvertip; sounds like it’s basically the best of both worlds from the best and super bristles - backbone without sacrificing softness.
 

Rudy Vey

Contributor
Vendor
Thanks for the post, but I haven't said anything about weight being a quality parameter. I doubt your "facts" about Simpsons brushes, since they are all hand made and dimensions will vary. The "best hair they ever had" is also very subjective.

My compilation is based on nominal specs provided by Simpsons, there is a clear correlation between knot size and price, as one would expect.
Don't doubt my facts, these are real brushes I own, and measured and weighed earlier for this post, so these are real facts.
I had the three band super and was not impressed, but this old two-band super is getting very close to the best hair there is right now, the Shavemac two-band silvertip. The Manchurian is different, it is stiffer. I like both these, the Best grade is too inconsistent, and i did not like it.
 
Thanks for all the responses, quite interesting to hear about people’s experiences with the different brushers as well as the more quantitative side of things with the brushes. Looks like I’ll have to try to locate and try a Chubby in best badger then, since that’s probably what will best suit me.

I did briefly eye the Manchurian badger brushes they had on their website as well, and wasn’t sure what difference those brushes had when compared to a super/silvertip; sounds like it’s basically the best of both worlds from the best and super bristles - backbone without sacrificing softness.
I have many Simpson models and Tulip 3 is closest to Chubby 2. It’s basically like a less dense Chubby, but still quite dense.

Personally, I think the M7 in Manchurian approaches perfection. Great with face lathering or bowl, is stiff enough for both but not too stiff. If I only owned one Simpson this would be it.

In order I would buy M7 Manchurian, Chubby 2 2 band, Duke 3 2 Band or Manchurian, chubby 2 super, tulip 3 super.

They Duke is basically like an M7 in a shorter handle, so I rate it lower than the Chubby, which is a unique luxury.

The Eagle in 2 band is awesome, I would replace the Duke above with it, but not always in stock. However, I think it is right now, and if you want a shorter handle to start than the m7 it’s a good choice.


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BigJ

Ambassador
I doubt weight is a quality parameter....the weight comes mostly from the handle, so a bigger handle brings more weight with it. Many years ago I learned from Shavemac that there is about 1000 hairs in a gram weight, a standard 24 mm knot has about 18-20k hairs in it.

I have some data from a selection of Shavemac two-band silvertips I have on hand:
Nominal diameter of knot​
Shape: Fan (mid-long loft)​
Shape: Bulb (shorter loft)​
27​
26.9​
-​
26​
23.3​
19.9​
24​
20.6​
-​
23​
19-20.4* avg 19.5​
15.2​
22​
15.9​
21​
13.6​
16​
-​
8.1​

Bigger knots have a bigger glue plug, bulbs are much shorter hairs on the outside compared to a fan - see the difference in the weight between the two examples I have for either shape.
* For the 23 mm I have five knots on hand, four with the same loft, weighing in from 18.8-19.6 g, and one with a long loft, 2.5 mm longer, and this one weighs in at 20.5, so about a good gram more.
The fans I have on hand are in the mid-longer loft range available from them, the bulbs are more to the short-mid range, so they can be set at about a ratio of 2.1:1

The weight were determined on a Gempro scale with a max possible weight of 100 g.

Here are some facts for Simpson brushes:

Polo 8, old Two-band Super (best hair they ever had...), weight 90.7 g, diameter 25 with 52 loft, bulb shape
Tulip 3 Manchurian, weight 77.5g, diameter 23.5, loft 51 more fan shape than bulb
M6 Manchurian, weight 59.4, diameter 21 with 47 mm loft and pronounced fan shape.
Great data! Thanks!! :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

Ridpath

FIGHTER!
Contributor
I’ve never used a synthetic brush before, I must admit. Didn’t even try badger until earlier this year!

I’m a bit traditional in my taste though, which is why I’m more interested in natural bristle than synthetic. Still, may end up trying a synthetic brush eventually. Who knows?
 
It is worth remembering that Simpson are known to somtimes play fast and loose with their knot sizes and also the loft, even aside from special commission brushes. I have read of brushes coming from the factory with a two or three mm larger knot and a couple of extra mm in the loft. It seems very unlikely that these would fall within 'factual' declared or measured weight parameters, especially after extended use. There must surely be some variance.
 
I’ve never used a synthetic brush before, I must admit. Didn’t even try badger until earlier this year!

I’m a bit traditional in my taste though, which is why I’m more interested in natural bristle than synthetic. Still, may end up trying a synthetic brush eventually. Who knows?
It is a bit of a journey to see what you like and don’t like. So, indeed, trying different bristle types and brands is all part of this trip of discovery. Enjoy the journey!
 
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It is worth remembering that Simpson are known to somtimes play fast and loose with their knot sizes and also the loft, even aside from special commission brushes. I have read of brushes coming from the factory with a two or three mm larger knot and a couple of extra mm in the loft. It seems very unlikely that these would fall within 'factual' declared or measured weight parameters, especially after extended use. There must surely be some variance.
I always find they tend to be at least the size listed, but sometimes a little bigger. More brush for the same money is better than less, and since it’s hand made and lots of badger hair aren’t perfectly uniform they are going to naturally vary.


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