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Travel Brushes

Once or twice a year I get access to a lathe to do some turning projects. Last summer I took a first swing at making a travel brush that is designed to fit into a largish pill bottle (roughly 84mm x 44mm ID). That is the brush on the right. After taking it on a few trips I identified a few things that could be better.

So for this whack at the piñata, I changed a few design details and tried again. Final results shown below. The spalted magnolia is a regular handle that I did for warm-up. The rosewood (far left) validated the changes, but exposed some issues, while the cherry (2nd left actually had all the final details executed per the modified plan. So I loaded a Maggard 20mm synth into the handle and will take it for a spin tomorrow. Along the way several other pieces blew apart - tolerances were a little tight given that the goal was to fit an up to 32mm diameter soap stick inside a handle that itself fits within a 44mm diameter pill bottle. But a spalted magnolia separated so cleanly into 2 halves that I glued it back together and may try to finish it. Or maybe combine it with a cherry top whose bottom blew into about 4 pieces.



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I like to use synthetic brushes also when traveling. Those handles look very nice and noticed holes drilled in the sides for airing better is my take. I use these club house herb containers lately for storing brushes when travelling.
Repurpose things or ideas for shaving needs. - Copy.jpg

Have some great shaves!
 
Once or twice a year I get access to a lathe to do some turning projects. Last summer I took a first swing at making a travel brush that is designed to fit into a largish pill bottle (roughly 84mm x 44mm ID). That is the brush on the right. After taking it on a few trips I identified a few things that could be better.

So for this whack at the piñata, I changed a few design details and tried again. Final results shown below. The spalted magnolia is a regular handle that I did for warm-up. The rosewood (far left) validated the changes, but exposed some issues, while the cherry (2nd left actually had all the final details executed per the modified plan. So I loaded a Maggard 20mm synth into the handle and will take it for a spin tomorrow. Along the way several other pieces blew apart - tolerances were a little tight given that the goal was to fit an up to 32mm diameter soap stick inside a handle that itself fits within a 44mm diameter pill bottle. But a spalted magnolia separated so cleanly into 2 halves that I glued it back together and may try to finish it. Or maybe combine it with a cherry top whose bottom blew into about 4 pieces.



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What an interesting idea! Is the little nub on the cap meant to have the shaving stick pressed onto it? I like how you even drilled holes into the handle sides for draining/drying the soap. What did you use for a finish? Kudos on this design.
 
What an interesting idea! Is the little nub on the cap meant to have the shaving stick pressed onto it? I like how you even drilled holes into the handle sides for draining/drying the soap. What did you use for a finish? Kudos on this design.
Was thinking the same thing. The little compartment would be great to store a bit of a shave stick which would be enough for a short trip.

Cool design.
 
Insane bit of workmanship. I'm actually surprised any of them held together. Great design!
I’ve learned that not every wood works at these wall thicknesses. In particular I had two spalted magnolia pieces blow apart, one when almost finished. Two contributing factors to the wood blowing apart 1) Trying to grab the piece from the inside - better to have the chuck jaws outside rather than inside the piece 2) Stick to lower speeds. I was using a lathe without digital control so basically a 6-speed - most of my blow-outs came at the top speed. Still a bit of a learning process - combining design details and the process of how it is made.
 
Was thinking the same thing. The little compartment would be great to store a bit of a shave stick which would be enough for a short trip.

Cool design.
That’s exactly the idea. I only discovered shave sticks in the past year and I’m really impressed by how long they last. This brush can hold a 20mm (3/4”) chunk of stick and that is enough for at least a month of shaving. I’m currently using a LaToja stick (30mm diameter) but everything is sized for a 32mm stick, which would cover Arko.

I’m still playing around with optimal dimensions for the central spike, and on some versions I also have a ring-shaped ridge that is a few mm high as well.
 
I like to use synthetic brushes also when traveling. Those handles look very nice and noticed holes drilled in the sides for airing better is my take. I use these club house herb containers lately for storing brushes when travelling.
View attachment 1385815
Have some great shaves!
I like the idea of using a spice container. Saves the step of drilling air holes in the lid. What‘s the length and diameter of these containers?
 
What an interesting idea! Is the little nub on the cap meant to have the shaving stick pressed onto it? I like how you even drilled holes into the handle sides for draining/drying the soap. What did you use for a finish? Kudos on this design.
For finishing, after sanding I first used a substance that is a mix of wax and fine grit (there are several versions of this depending on which country you are in). You rub it in with the lathe running at low speed. Then I applied a few layers of cyanoacrylic glue (super glue) to make it waterproof. Followed by some brief sanding with micro mesh pads (so grit levels 3000-12000).
 
For finishing, after sanding I first used a substance that is a mix of wax and fine grit (there are several versions of this depending on which country you are in). You rub it in with the lathe running at low speed. Then I applied a few layers of cyanoacrylic glue (super glue) to make it waterproof. Followed by some brief sanding with micro mesh pads (so grit levels 3000-12000).
That sounds like an awesome finish sequence. No wonder it looks so nice. Finishing work is so satisfying, probably because it is so painstaking.
 
I like the idea of using a spice container. Saves the step of drilling air holes in the lid. What‘s the length and diameter of these containers?
They fit a 26mm synthetic brush nicely with a little spare room for height and are common brand at any super market.
Check your cubboard's because you more than likely have one.
 
That sounds like an awesome finish sequence. No wonder it looks so nice. Finishing work is so satisfying, probably because it is so painstaking.
It is painstaking. For wood I have some experience and I usually have an idea what the finished product will look like. In the past year I’ve started restoring straight razors and I’m still figuring out the grit levels to use both for removing corrosion and for getting a really nice finish.
 
I finally got all the knots installed, so below is my handiwork, mostly from late December. First a set of handles with new knots
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Left to right: walnut with 22mm Maggard synth, spalted magnolia with 20mm Maggard silvertip badger, Indian rosewood with 24mm Maggard synth, spalted magnolia (same blank) with 23mm TGN boar, and olivewood with 22mm Maggard boar. The boars were sent thru two soaking cycles prior to installation, they are both quite a bit puffier than when brand new.

And now a comparison of some of the travel brushes showing off my hits and misses
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Left to right:
Iteration #3: This was thought to have 2 errors, the base is too thin and the knot hole was drilled out too wide by accident (grabbed the wrong Forstner bit). In hindsight, the 24mm synth knot looks awesome (setting it 15mm deep helped keep it from sprawling out to the sides), and while the base looks really fragile, it has already survived multiple drops on the floor.

Iteration #4: This one was done using my very latest drawing. Everything actually went off as planned. I thickened the base where I could, and raised the neck (narrowest point). Only miscalculation is that this handle allows the knot to be set 14mm deep and that tightens up on the knot. So the 20mm knot looks too small compared to the handle. Next time, I definitely will aim for a 22mm or 24mm knot. I do like the depth setting - it makes the knot feel denser.

Iteration #2: The first one that I made based on fitting into the specific pill bottle that these are all designed for. The base fits over the main body, which is standard for a turned box lid, but leads to some issues structurally and in daily usage. This has a 20mm G5 synth set about 9mm deep (Just beyond the plug). Comparing to #4 you can see that the choice of knot and depth of knot have a big impact on the final look.

Iteration #1: My first attempt. This was actually designed for a different plastic container, that’s why it is noticeably taller. Another 20mm synth knot that is set about 12mm deep. Very embarrassing - I nailed the OD at the base but was 1mm too wide at the widest part just below the knot - so it doesn’t fit into the container!

The other big take-away - this design has multiple locations where wall thicknesses are under 3mm. That’s unavoidable given the requirement of fitting an up to 32mm OD soap stick inside a handle that itself fits inside a 43mm ID pill bottle. Not all wood is up to that (at least not when combined with my rudimentary turning skills). In particular the spalted magnolia can’t handle it but I even had some losses in cherry and walnut, which are normally considered some of the best turning woods available. While I generally prefer working with cheaper domestics, I may seek out some of the harder tropical woods next time.
 
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