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Question about boar handles

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by Obelix, Monday November 13, 2017.

  1. Obelix

    Obelix

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    Warning: For those who want to avoid the wall of text, you can skip and go to the part in bold at the end.

    I was wondering if experienced users can shed some light into this. So far, i have tried only 4 Omega models. The Proraso brush (blond hair), the 11574 (sketched, unbleached hair), the 80266 (same, but bleached hair) and the Omega 81151 (24x60, bleached).

    I can already tell you that the brushes behave differently.
    - The Proraso although it is the brush that i have used much more than the rest, has broken in partially and has the most backbone, to an uncomfortable level. Bristles have split mostly 2 ways and not all of them. Denser than any of the rest, bristles are superstiff when dry.
    - The 11574 is much softer (still backbone, but not uncomfortable), has broken in much faster, feels better than the Proraso.
    - The 2 bleached Omegas, are the best. They have bloomed more, but without going wild like Semogues do. They remain "disciplined". The bristles are softer than any of the above and look identical between them. Bottom line, the 80266 and the 11574, should be identical on paper (same dimensions), but they are not. The bleached bristle is much softer, the brush blooms more, yet remains disciplined, but when wet, it opens up much more, becoming much softer, while retaining backbone (but less). In fact, when bowl lathering, the 80266 opens up like a boar. The bleached bristles have split even 4 ways almost everwhere. This goes for both the 80266 and the 81151. The bristles feel identical and much better than the rest of the Omegas.


    Unfortunately, the black ring on my Omegas seem to be cracking one after the other. I noticed the 11574, while almost dry, when pressing the hand around the knot, had water come out of the space where the black ring is broken, like between the ring and the plastic handle.

    A bit earlier today, i put my 1st Proraso brush (i have a spare one unused, so...it wasn't breaking in well anyway...Might as well serve for my curiocity to see if the brush will soften. A sacrifice of science) into a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 2 parts water) and will leave it overnight. While putting the brush into a glass of bleached solution, i noticed bubbles coming up. So most probably, the broken ring also allows water inside the handle and the bubbles were air coming out of the handle.

    It's a bit too late to back off the Omegas with plastic ring, since i 've bought like 8 spares, but i am definitely not buying anymore.

    I know Omega uses this sort of plastic cup, where the knot is positioned and then the cup is glued into the handle. I also read people say that once the ring has cracked, at some point, the knot will come off, it's only a matter of time.

    So the question is: Does anyone know how other brands position their knots? Do they use metallic cups instead of plastic or do they just glue directly the knot on the handle or what? Because i may seek a bleached brush from some other company, if the handle doesn't have such problems with air/water passing through.
     
  2. Obelix

    Obelix

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    Never mind. I found a semogue factory video and now i understand how a handle is made. For the record, Semogue uses metallic cups.
     
  3. I used to believe that too but it seems that they actually use ferrules. Metallic indeed.
     
    Obelix likes this.
  4. I wish Omega would also use metal rings. They cannot be that much more expensive than a plastic ring.

    --
    Pitralon forever - Real pens have a nib - If it doesn't tick, it's not a watch.
     
    Last edited: Tuesday November 14, 2017
    Obelix likes this.
  5. Obelix

    Obelix

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    The problem is, that i read a guy who had bought a small Omega with a transparent handle and he was saying in a review that after the "ring" was cracked, he could now see water inside the transparent part of the handle. So this led me to believe that underneath the plastic cup where the knot is, the handle is hollow and so if the cup has a crack, water will pass through and stagnate inside the handle.

    But, from some videos i found, including Semogues, it seems that the norm is that the cup sits on a flat surface of the handle, so a crack of the cup, wouldn't allow water to just fill the handle. Unless, Omega handles are different and are glued to the handle only along the periphery of the cup and not also on the bottom. Which could explain how that guy saw water inside the transparent part of the handle. At any case, i have only 1 Omega with metallic ring and a bunch of others with plastic. Next time i buy a boar, i will buy another brand, with metallic ring. Out of the 3 Omegas i 've used, 2 have cracked ring (the one broke in record time, something like 7 uses) and the 3rd has the ring about to crack in 2 places (i can see hairline cracks, just not 100% through yet).

    P.S: The Proraso brush that i bleached overnight and afterwards put in a bath of shampoo+hair conditioner, didn't get whiter or anything and the smell of bleach persists even after the shampoo bath. I have it out to dry now, but i am afraid that nothing changed as far as the knot goes. On the contrary, the chrome painted handle that had the paint chipped off in a few spots, not has large discouloured areas. So, while i can't be sure until it dries, it appears that the only effect that bleach bath did, was on the handle.
     
    Last edited: Tuesday November 14, 2017
  6. SmurfK

    SmurfK

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    I think that you are overreacting. There are probably more Simpsons that fall out of the handle than plastic Omegas. Yea, the ring will crack, and it might even rotate into the handle, but it will not fall. They are very sturdy brushes, definitely more sturdy than my Semogues. It's not just a ring, it's just the side of the cup that holds the knot. Unless the whole cup will crack, those cracks on the top ring won't influence in any way.

    Don't worry about it, there's nothing wrong with your brushes. Treat them for what they are, simple tools.
     
    Obelix likes this.
  7. Obelix

    Obelix

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    Thanks, apparently i wrote too much to the point i was unclear. Having the knot coming off wasn't my concern. I know you can put it back with epoxy. I was more concerned of having water getting into the hollow handle through a crack on the plastic cup. Anyway, all good (tossed the Proraso brush, i think it actually became even a little stiffer after bleaching).
     
  8. SmurfK

    SmurfK

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    I never noticed water getting into the handle, not that I would care about it. If it gets in, it probably comes out while I shake it, after I'm done shaving.

    All boar brushes need some breaking in period. If you want to speed it up, you can lather them up and leave them overnight like that. You will definitely get rid of the smell this way, but you'll also speed up the breaking in period. That does not mean that you'll have a fully broke in the brush by the next day. You will probably have to wait for about two weeks of daily uses instead of four.

    Using different shampoos or soaps and then rinsing them won't do the trick. You need the soap to sit on it for a while, so the boar odor will go away.

    I personally enjoy breaking in new brushes. It's like they come alive as I use them, it's interesting. I don't do the lather trick anymore, I will just use stronger soaps for the first uses.

    Now, bleached brushes. I don't know how are they doing it, but I don't think that you can do it at home. As far as I've seen, there's not only the color, but the hairs are getting thinner, without them splaying. If you want a bleached brush, just get one that's done that way by the factory. In all fairness, I don't see such huge differences. I tend to prefer a broken-in unbleached one over bleached. I feel that bleached ones don't break in as good over the time, but it might be just in my head.
     
    Obelix likes this.
  9. Obelix

    Obelix

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    Thank you. Yes, i know about the breaking in process. Simply my original Proraso never fully broke in despite being my most used brush.

    In the models i mentioned, there is CLEAR difference in softness between the bristles. The "white" bristles are much softer, with less backbone, but still retaining backbone more towards the knot. The "white" ones, started breaking in already after the 1st shave (hair split in 2, now they are split in 4 ways). The "blonde" bristle of the Proraso seems the most resistant to splitting.

    I suspect they might be using hydrogen peroxide for the bleaching. Anyway, now that i know, next time i buy, i will buy only Omegas with "white" bristle. I thought the 80266 and the others with the same shape handle would be the same (just different handle colour). They 're not. The 80266 is white, the others are "yellowish". White is much better. I refer to this:

    http://theshavingroom.co.uk/community/index.php?threads/chinese-knock-off.44728/page-2#post-676493

    I 've read people say that all Omegas have the same bristles, all the same grade. I say, "in your dreams". The "white" bristles are way better. The 2 white knots are the best of the bunch and equal to each other. The rest, are not.
     
  10. SmurfK

    SmurfK

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    Yea, the white ones are bleached. But I don't know the process. Most Omegas with a dark band are bleached as far as I know. I don't know what that process does to them and how is done though, why they are softer.
     

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