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You Guessed It: Another Whats the Best Brush Thread (Vintage)

I’ve been flirting with the idea of getting my first vintage shaving brush. I am in the embryonic stages of building a wet shave kit that includes several types of razors and brushes. Of course I am curious about, but can’t afford a $150 new badger brush. So, I am sure I’m not the first person to think that maybe I could find something of similar quality at a lower price if I go used/vintage. Also, I guess the word Vintage is wide open to interpretation, but if there is a formal definition as it applies to shaving gear, then please let me know.

In keeping with the sticky atop this forum, here are my answers to the common questions asked there to give you some background.
  1. Harem of badgery beauties – in order of use frequency and preference:
    1. Semogue 1800 Boar – this is my current daily driver for sure. I like the knot size and the backbone on this. I am digging how its bristles are becoming suppler with use too.
    2. Fendrihan Synth (replaced an Omega Syntec that imo the bristles were too thick – I gave the Omega to my 14 year old nephew so he can learn how to shave without disposables – maybe the coarseness will help him with his pimples). Opinion still forming on the Fendrihan - this is new to me.
    3. Vie-Long 12601 Horse – kind of floppy compared to the Semogue. Maybe it’s me, but I find it produces inconsistent lathering results. Wanted a horse to see what it was like. Still wanting to love it more than I do, and I’m not giving up on this one
    4. Utopia Care “Pure“ Badger – this is a mass-market Amazon type badger with a wood handle that came with a chromed razor/brush stand. My first kit purchase, and honestly more for the stand than the brush. It was $10 – for both - just to give you an idea on the quality. I’ve deemed this my travel brush, because of its compact size, and also because I’m so cosmopolitan and jet set…LOL
  2. Your lathery leanings: Bowl All Day! Very rarely, if ever, face lather.
  3. What you want from your next brush:
    1. Vintage Badger Daily Driver. That said, I would love to know what brands/models are a best ‘intro to vintage brushes’ without needing restoration etc. Also, what brushes one should keep pristine and would be degraded by reknotting, vs those that one should expect to reknot. Furthermore, is it possible to see from a picture that a brush needs to be reknotted?
    2. I am guessing my “Utopia Care” ~$4.00 Pure brush isn’t a good representation of what a badger brush can be. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s really short loft, and the knot seems small to me, I suspect after a few more shaves, it will start to shed more than it already is now.
    3. All that said, IF the consensus is that I would be better off getting a new badger, then let me know that too. I am attracted to vintage, but that may not mean that it’s the best for me, especially since I want something I can use frequently and not just for Sunday Shaves.
    4. I want the suppleness that appears to be what my $4.00 badger brush is trying for, but with more loft and a bigger knot, and a bigger handle. But IF I bowl lather, and have a penchant for medium to hard soaps, IS the badger the best way to go? hmmm....
    5. I would like an economical foray into vintage badger. It doesn’t need to be perfect or collectible – in fact, underappreciated bargains are my camp.
    6. In a phrase; “a good introductory economical and durable ready-to-use vintage badger brush."
  4. Brush aesthetics:
    1. I’d like to avoid glitter, rhinestones, unicorn stickers, and gold. Everything else can be eligible.
    2. I have both wood and synthetic/plastic (resin?) handles in my new stock and like them both.
    3. I seem to prefer longer handles because of the clearance needed for bowl lathering.
  5. Budget.
    1. I haven’t spent more than $30 on a brush to date, and wouldn’t mind keeping it that way (for now).
    2. Again, this is more of a question about what I could expect to realistically pay for what meets the description in item 3. If I am being completely unrealistic, then let me know. I have no vintage experience aside from looking at posts in BST and Ebay auctions.
    3. As an aside, if there is a link or sticky somewhere here that talks about the properties of a vintage brush and various models that are different from the universal brush properties (knot/loft/handle etc) then finding those resources could be a huge help.
  6. Size matters: It seems I like medium to large handles and medium loft, but again, open to suggestions based upon the experience and wisdom of those who have been doing this far longer than I.
  7. Brushes that have already piqued your interest - we like pretty things…LOL The colored 'bakalite'? ones. But wood it good too.
  8. And I swear, once I find my perfect brush, I’ll purge my collection of all of the others, right after I stop buying soap samples I don’t need.
In proofreading this, it sounds more like a list of demands than I want it to. Please dont interpret it that way. I am following the format suggested in the sticky to provide as much information as possible so anyone interested in making suggestions or recommendations can do so based upon a well thought out request. I would prefer a dialog and not a 'gimme what I want' type of thread. I'll emphasize I am newer to wet-shaving, so any relevant guidance, not only about product, but my approach and thinking, is welcomed.

Anyway folks, I appreciate you sticking around for the long read, and look forward to your suggestions and recollections of your first pursuits of a (?) vintage shaving brush(es).

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I have quite a few brushes that many might call vintage but then many might say the same for me.

First, on older brushes they all used terms like "Pure Badger" or "Imported Badger" and I have never come across terms like High Mountain White or Manchurian or even "Silvertip". But even within the same maker, generally their more expensive brushes had the higher grade of hair and greater density.

In English makers Simpson, Rooney, Kent and Culmak were the bigger names with Vulfix the new kid on the block only showing up a little over a half century ago.

In US/Canadian badger brushes EverReady, MadeRite, Simms, Peerless and Erskine had many Pure Badger brushes that are the equal of ANYTHING being made today. BUT those same makers also made brushes meant to sell at a lower price point that are about like the generic brushes made today.

Finally, there are no "standards" when it comes to shaving brushes and the idea of listing things like loft or knot size are really a very modern aberration. It simply was not done in the past.

Here is a sample that may help. Here are five brushes, the first two relatively modern the third at least a quarter century old and the last two over a half century old. The first three are from Simpson and the last two from Peerless, the Lucite handle Peerless US plant and the silver handle band Peerless Canadian plant.

Best badger, Super Badger, Best badger, Pure badger, Pure badger:


There is only a very minor difference between the five brushes. The two Peerless though can likely be found for under $40.00 each.
What about getting a vintage handle and re-knotting it with something new?

A butterscotch Simpsons maybe?

Lots of Rubberset handles floating around in the wild just waiting to be rebuilt.

@jar_ and @Mick Thank you both for some excellent insight. It’s helpful as I begin to explore older brushes. There is a lot ‘in the wild’ as they say, and beginning to learn what I am looking at will be immensely helpful.

If you are looking online check for pictures of the knot from several angles including looking straight down on it. Lookfor and ask about cracks in the handles.

A really nice Simpson Keyhole:

But from the top:

In this case I was in contact with the seller and was already pretty sure a new knot was needed (based on broken hairs in first picture) and so had asked for pictures from the top. The pictures from the top confirmed that the center plug had already come out. We worked out a reasonable agreement and all went well. Here it is with a replacement knot selected to feel and function like the vintage Simpson knots.


The point is to learn as much as you can before making a purchase.
What about getting a vintage handle and re-knotting it with something new?

A butterscotch Simpsons maybe?

Lots of Rubberset handles floating around in the wild just waiting to be rebuilt.


+1! Great suggestion!
Thanks all.. some awesome advice

The "Ye Olde Handle with a new knot" seems to be the way to go. But I must learn Patience (can you hear Yoda?) LOL

Once I hone in on a maker/model I like, and actually get one, I'll poke around the Restore forum to learn about who does good restorations.
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