Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Exciting brush discovery

with 8 comments

In yesterday’s shave, I was commenting on how my H.L. Thäter brushes seemed very like the Rooney Heritage Victorian that Todd O recommended: soft tips, resilient bristles, and a shape that somehow makes the brush work better—presenting instead of hoarding the lather, a shape that facilitates working the lather up and into the beard. I also noticed, but didn’t especially note, that when I rinsed the brush the tips had that “tacky” feeling that the Victorian has, which on that brush I attributed to the hooked tips of those bristles.

Lo! The H.L. Thäter brushes when dried presented the same “porcupine” appearance as the Victorian:

Take a look at Los Tres Amigos in the photo: all porcupine, all hooked tips, all exceptionally good-feeling (and good-lathering) brushes. Todd O awakened me to these brush properties, and we got to wondering why this quality of brush—and hooked tips—are relatively rare. Could it be that many brush makers trim the hooked tips, either to make the brush look better in the case, or as part of final shaping of the brush? No idea, but it does seem clear at this point that (a) hooked tips are a good thing for brush feel (if not appearance, though taking the dry brush and brushing the palm of your hand will unhook the tips, leaving the brush looking perfectly fine); and (b) hooked tips are relatively rare.

If you’re seriously interested in brushes, you should definitely think about getting a Thäter brush. At the link, Bullgoose Shaving has a selection of Thäter brushes on sale. I don’t know whether this is a close-out, but I suggest picking one up soon.

I used one in today’s shave:

The soap in the bowl is Geo. F. Trumper Eucris, which I’ve used previously. The lather this morning wanted to die toward the end of the shave, though it lasted, and some have reported Eucris lather problems. I’ll give it another go. I didn’t notice any lather problems previously, but (as you can see in the brush report) some things sort of sneak up on me and it takes me a while to recognize them.

The ARC Weber with its original Astra Superior Platinum blade once again did a terrific job for me. I don’t know whether the Advanced Razor Coating is contributing, but certainly I’m getting some mighty fine shaves from this razor and blade.

Three smooth passes, and then a bit of l’Occitane’s Cade shea butter aftershave balm, which is a very good balm indeed—I’m right at the end of the tube, so I’ve ordered more. Great stuff for the balm-oriented, particularly (I imagine) when facing cold, dry, windy air.

Written by Leisureguy

31 March 2012 at 8:53 am

Posted in Shaving

8 Responses

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  1. They look like Megs. 🙂


    the wife

    31 March 2012 at 11:23 am

  2. They are beautiful and I am sure they feel great and lather great, but why so expensive?


    Robert Smith

    31 March 2012 at 2:09 pm

  3. Usually it’s a case of supply and demand: as I mention, hooked bristles seem to be uncommon, and assembling them into that perfect highly domed shape with no trimming allowed requires much skill (skill = training + much experience, and much experience requires much time, and since time is money, skill is expensive). They do indeed feel and lather exceptionally well: better than most brushes, but even a $10 boar brush can do a good job. Same with hunting rifles: a cheap 30-30 can bring down the same game that a *extremely* expensive hunting rifle with exceptional optics would, but one is inexpensive (for a reason) and the other is expensive (for a reason), and when you handle them, it’s pretty easy to tell the difference.



    31 March 2012 at 2:25 pm

  4. I just brought out my Frank’s Finest and paid attention to the tips phenomena you describe, and indeed when they are wet they seem to bunch together at the tips. I’ve been on a bit of a horse and boar kick, so I hadn’t thought much about it. I’m curious to know if it really is rare, or just something we don’t notice until it is pointed out. Do your Frank brushes exhibit porcupine behavior? Does your Wee Scot? The more you mention the Wee Scot the weaker my resistance to it becomes. I’ll cave eventually, when I need to order some Alt Innsbruck for the Summer.


    Dirty Texan

    31 March 2012 at 5:54 pm

  5. The Wee Scot definitely doesn’t have it, nor do any of my other Simpson brushes. The Omega silvertips don’t have it. A couple of Rooneys. I had encountered a brush before that had them, but along the way I sold/traded it and don’t now remember what it was. But it certainly has not been common in my experience. And it is something you notice—I initially noticed it unfavorably, but now I’m intrigued.

    Yes, the Wee Scot is a great brush.



    31 March 2012 at 6:08 pm

  6. Reblogged this on Preening the Snark.


    Conceptual Muse

    2 April 2012 at 1:58 pm

  7. Hi LeisureGuy,

    I enjoy your reviews very much. I have lately been obsessing over the effect of hooked tips myself since the arrival of my 2 band Chubby 2 and 2 band Duke 3. They simply have the softest tips I have ever felt, among any hair grade or brand, and they are 2 bands, go figure. I bought the Semogue SOC 2 band and I liked it, but once I received my Simpson 2 bands it was far gone into a dark corner of my den. After a close analysis, I could see that this luxurious feel that I was looking for in the SOC’s hair wasn’t there because, well, it doesn’t have hooked tips. As a kind of newbie (compared to you a complete NOOB), I thought that all two bands would have these hooked tips and it might be a characteristic of the hair, now I know it is not.
    I have then bought a Tulip 2 in 2 band to add to my collection because I am madly in love with this hair grade, and I’m trying to secure as many of these hooked tips beauties as I can. I visually have found some similarities with the M&F brushes that seem to have hooked tips (in their Blonde Badger 2 band hair grade), as I don’t own any of these brushes yet maybe you could confirm this. I have had people recommend Thater brushes when I mention the characteristics I’ve been looking for, but they’ve recommended their 2 band grade. I wasn’t aware that finest badger also came with these phenomena, and if it’s not too much to ask I would like to know which ones of your vast array of brushes display the hooked tips, as well as if you have found them in any Simpson 2 Bands like the ones I describe (I don’t know if you own any that were bought recently, but the one’s I’ve been buying all display it).





    12 April 2012 at 3:56 am

  8. My only current hooked-tip brushes are those that I’ve mentioned: the Rooney Heritage Victorian and the two Thäters. My Rooney Finest is not hooked, nor are any of my current Simpsons. I don’t know that the phenomenon is directly linked to the number of bands.



    12 April 2012 at 7:18 am

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