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Small vs Larger Knots

Whilst my observation might seem pretty obvious (!) to those experienced with small knots, I thought I would share it. I recently visited Spain where I wanted to find a cheap horse-hair brush since I had never tried that before. I found a Vie-Long 12601 for around Euro 10 and have been experimenting with it. With a knot of 20mm, it is by far my smallest brush. But, it creates a really substantial lather not to mention an excellent on-face feel. Given that the rest of my brushes are 24mm to 28mm, this little Spaniard almost seemed better than some of the others I have. But, was that simply because it's smaller and I used more or less the same amount of cream I would use on a larger brush? I assume a larger brush requires more product? Perhaps I don't add enough for my larger brushes but this 'wee Spaniard' is a winner in my books!
 

naughtilus

Contributor
A bigger knot definitely needs more product and IME they underperform for face lathering duty compared to <24mm knots.
 
Agreed. Since I now prefer to face-lather, I find my smaller knots much more appealing.
It is definitely a matter of personal preference. I bowl lather as my face is too sensitive to face lather.

My smallest brush is a Vie Long PB14080 horse hair. I believe it has a 20mm knot and that is too small for me. It sits on the back of the shelf and is no longer included in my brush rotation. However, I do like its big brother, the Vie Long 123061 at 24 mm.

My two biggest brushes are a 28mm Maggard Super High Density two-band badger and a Omega 10098 28mm dia and 60mm loft. The Omega works just fine. I find the Maggard to be just a little too big, I wish I had purchased a 26mm knot instead.

If find 24-26 mm to be best for me. With fan-shaped knots, 24-25 mm work best. For bulb shaped knots, I prefer 26 mm. I like these larger brushes as l typically build enough lather for 4 passes. Even if I do not do a 4th pass, I relather one last time and leave the lather on my face while I clean the razor, bowl and brush. I use soaps with excellent moisturizing and conditioning, so this last lather helps soften my face.
 
Most of my favourites are in the 22-24mm category, with face lathering being my general go-to (with a beard).

I do have a Maggards 18mm on the way that I’m excited to try out, and was presently surprised with what the little bambino could produce from such a small brush (I’m on the hunt for the perfect travel brush); eventually, I’ll add the wee scot to that mix as well.

If you’re a fan of smaller brushes, I do recommend giving the bambino a go - it’s comedically small, but lathers far better than you’d think.
 

Rudy Vey

Contributor
Vendor
I have brushes from 18-30+ mm, but mostly grab the 24-26 mm size when I am home (but use a 19 mm Muehle synthetic STF on the road). It is the size I like the most and feel comfortable with. However, size is a personal thing, I have customers that like smallish brushes and others I cannot get knots big enough for.
 
Most of my favourites are in the 22-24mm category, with face lathering being my general go-to (with a beard).

I do have a Maggards 18mm on the way that I’m excited to try out, and was presently surprised with what the little bambino could produce from such a small brush (I’m on the hunt for the perfect travel brush); eventually, I’ll add the wee scot to that mix as well.

If you’re a fan of smaller brushes, I do recommend giving the bambino a go - it’s comedically small, but lathers far better than you’d think.

Since you are only shaving the small area around a beard, I am not surprised that you like a smaller brush. That is the same principle that is used with painting. If you are painting walls, you use a roller or 4" wide wall brush. If you are painting trim, you pick a smaller brush.
 
My travel brush is Simpsons Wee Scot (roughly 14 mm) which works surprisingly well! Most of my daily brushes are in the 20-24 mm range which is very comfortable for me (100% face lather hard soaps). :a29::a29:
 
I have 19, 20, and 23 that I rotate. I used the 19 today and it created a ton of lather from a good soap (SV). It blooms more than the 20 and releases more lather with adequate backbone. Sometimes, the 23 almost feels too big. If I bought another it would be 21 or 22 with the right mix of bloom and backbone. We are all different...
 
I had been enjoying 24 mm brushes, and then I bought two 27.5 mm Zenith brushes - a B15 and a M5. And now I am really enjoying the larger knots.
 
I have brushes from 18-30+ mm, but mostly grab the 24-26 mm size when I am home (but use a 19 mm Muehle synthetic STF on the road). It is the size I like the most and feel comfortable with. However, size is a personal thing, I have customers that like smallish brushes and others I cannot get knots big enough for.
Perfectly said... YMMV and preferences!
 
I face lather and for me a brush with a large knot is preferable. I have a Chubby 2 with I love and just took delivery of a synth that is the same size. I agree they eat more product (but I have a lot of soaps so no concern about that). The larger knots feel more luxurious to me. That being said, I may try a brush with a small knot one day.
 
I’ve got/had 14-28s. I face lather exclusively, and have been happy with most of them.

The Wee Scott is just too small for more than 1-2 shaves on the road. It got replaced by an Omega mixed midget. At 18mm and a better grip in hand I could easily daily it. Once it broke in.

My 21mm M&F L7 is brilliant. I’d love a 24-26 in it and came close to one recently.

24mm tends to be my sweet spot.

I’ve got a M&F/Sears Chubby 2 @ 28mm. Size is fine, but the density makes it stiffer than I’d prefer. I think you have to love chubbies for being chubbies, and I’m only about 85% there.
 
I like them all. I usually travel with a 16mm (I have about a half dozen), sometimes with a Wee Scot (14mm?), or sometimes with an 18 mm (Omega and others). At home I tend to use larger brushes, in the 26 mm to 30 mm range, but might use anything from 19 mm up to Sumo (38 mm). I must admit that Sumo doesn't get much action though, just as the Wee Scot. My favorite is probably my 30 mm X 69 mm Super Silvertip.

Enjoy what you have.
 
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