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So what are the different characteristics of high mountain white, Manchurian and silvertip knots?

South Dakota Guy

Contributor
So I recently discovered a B&B vendor's website, Elite Razor, and he has some beautiful and amazing brushes and handles. Pure eye candy! He also has some different knots that you can choose from, high mountain white, Manchurian, silvertip and finest badger knots as well as boar and synthetic knots. So the title says it all. I currently have a couple of silvertip brushes so I know what to expect but how do the two premium hairs stack up generally, the high mountain white and Manchurian to the silvertip. I realize there are variation between manufacturers and even brush to brush. Perhaps @Eskimo will chime in. Thanks in advance!

Elite Razor
 
Some of his brush stone handles are amazing! I have two - Malachite and Bloody Basin Jasper.
His knots are less to my liking - they are just not dense and not backbony enough for me.
 

South Dakota Guy

Contributor
They ARE heavy! At least in my opinion. Do you want me to weigh them?
I have the 24mm Manchurian two band and the 26mm Silvertip.
That would be great if you don’t mind! I love the Jade handle he currently has as well as the Wild Horse Jasper. Do you remember what you had the loft set for? I am wondering if I chose a larger knot and shorter loft if it might compensate for the lack of backbone that you experienced.
 
That would be great if you don’t mind! I love the Jade handle he currently has as well as the Wild Horse Jasper. Do you remember what you had the loft set for? I am wondering if I chose a larger knot and shorter loft if it might compensate for the lack of backbone that you experienced.
Weighed them. The Malachite is at 118.6 grams, and the Jasper is at 110.9 grams.
I don't remember exactly the loft now, but it seems to me like the 24mm Manchurian is close to 50, and the 26mm silvertip is 52 or so.
 
It is hard to provide a definitive answer because the definitions vary from one supplier to another and again from one knot to another of the same brand. I can speak in general terms.

Manchurian is a marketing name more than an actual name. It refers to the altitude that the badger is from. Some claim that it is actually a slightly different species. The thought pushed is that the animals from higher altitude grow a thicker, heavier coat of fur. It is also sometimes referred to as High Mountain. The term High Mountain usually refers to a 2 band version and is more like a Finest than anything else. Who knows for sure other than the Chinese who harvest the badger hair. It is possible that it is nothing more than how the hair is graded. High Mountain White is basically the Three band Silvertip equivalent.

The general thing is that the shaft of the hair of Manchurian or High Mountain is thicker than Finest. That provides even more backbone than Finest usually has. Face feel of both is very nice, approaching that of a premium Silvertip, but not quite.

I found the High Mountain White to be somewhere in shaving quality to be between Finest and Silvertip. It is better than Finest, but not really up to Silvertip probably from the larger diameter shat that makes it up. To me, it isn't worth the premium you need to pay for it.

In my own den of somewhere over fifty brushes I have a few High Mountain, several Finest, several Silvertip, and a single High Mountain White (as well as some Best, Boar, Horse, and Synthetic. I enjoy them all in some manner, but I enjoy Silvertip the most. YMMV.
 

South Dakota Guy

Contributor
It is hard to provide a definitive answer because the definitions vary from one supplier to another and again from one knot to another of the same brand. I can speak in general terms.

Manchurian is a marketing name more than an actual name. It refers to the altitude that the badger is from. Some claim that it is actually a slightly different species. The thought pushed is that the animals from higher altitude grow a thicker, heavier coat of fur. It is also sometimes referred to as High Mountain. The term High Mountain usually refers to a 2 band version and is more like a Finest than anything else. Who knows for sure other than the Chinese who harvest the badger hair. It is possible that it is nothing more than how the hair is graded. High Mountain White is basically the Three band Silvertip equivalent.

The general thing is that the shaft of the hair of Manchurian or High Mountain is thicker than Finest. That provides even more backbone than Finest usually has. Face feel of both is very nice, approaching that of a premium Silvertip, but not quite.

I found the High Mountain White to be somewhere in shaving quality to be between Finest and Silvertip. It is better than Finest, but not really up to Silvertip probably from the larger diameter shat that makes it up. To me, it isn't worth the premium you need to pay for it.

In my own den of somewhere over fifty brushes I have a few High Mountain, several Finest, several Silvertip, and a single High Mountain White (as well as some Best, Boar, Horse, and Synthetic. I enjoy them all in some manner, but I enjoy Silvertip the most. YMMV.
Thank you. From the research that I have done since starting this thread it seems that you are spot on.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
I don't know anything much about the brand you're asking about.

Manchurian knots in general may or may not be anything special but sometimes they certainly are.

I'm generally a fan of two band silvertips more than three band silvertips. Manchurians are certainly in the two band category. I only have about five brushes which are strictly speaking Manchurian, but all of 'em are nice two bands indeed.


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3-5-21.AS3M.RudyVey.Manchurian.26x50.640.JPG


I say that knowing two of my Manchurians ⬆ are new (from the BST) and I've not yet actually used them (except to palm lather which tells me something about them).

Are Manchurians natural or chemically created? I have no idea. Are their hairs thicker? Maybe but I've not measured them. Is the species different or the location where the animals are found? Again, no idea, not really.

Certainly there are good three band silvertip brushes. There are also some two band silvertip brushes I'm not a huge fan of. However, in general I prefer the feel of a two band to the feel of a three band.

Why? It's mostly about the knot's "presence," and the knot's scrub, and the knot's backbone. Generally, two bands and Manchurians have more of all three given the same loft and density, at least in my experience.

In my opinion, softness is overrated. No, I'm not saying softness is bad or any such silliness as that, but softness which neglects "presence" and scrub is not my cup of tea.

All that said, there are plenty of good brushes, and a few good brushes which seem to be good in spite of breaking all the "rules" meaning the brush may lack some qualities you consider generally essential and yet still be a brush you love.

One must therefore buy about 365 x 2 brushes in order to understand and know what needs to be known about brushes. It's perfectly fine to me if you sell all your unsuitable Manchurians and scrubby Shavemac two bands on the BST. After all, some gentlemen disagree with me and across the board prefer three band silvertips.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Way back in the late 1990s when Simpson was still based in Somerset and Plisson and Rooney still made premium brushes: Finest was Rooney’s top grade (still the ultimate IMO). High mountain white was Plisson‘s top grade. Simpson sold a very small number of brushes labeled as Manchurian (I have a chubby one stamped in lampblack). All these grades were knotted as 2 band (I.e. very long hairs). They were usually thick, stiff and had soft tips rumored to be bleached but certainly not “gel”!

These three names are now widely used by various vendors to denote premium grades but there is no standard as far as I know. “Finest” is unlikely to be anything close to Rooney from the 1990s. It may still be excellent and probably better than silver tip from the same vendor. Plisson still offers HMW sometimes but it’s a very different quality from 1990s grade. Simpson Manchurian is very good.

I understand how people like to puff up the virtues of unobtainable items from a bygone era. In this case I this it is justified. The old premium badger hair likely came from wild caught mature badgers that roamed colder regions and ate a mixed diet. Most hair now comes from farmed badgers. Much like salmon, there’s a difference between the two.
 
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