Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Don't Lose It, Reuse It - Part II (Shaving Brush Restorations)


Premium quality badger knots from Elite Razor

     After salvaging my old badger knot for flies and reknotting its handle, I realized I had enjoyed the process. The flies weren't much different from others I had tied before, but the brush restoration was new to me. It was interesting, fun, and it was a new skill to learn. Plus, I needed a little break from fly tying at that point. This project started when winter returned in late February, so I didn't miss much fishing.

     I went to antique stores and searched eBay for vintage shaving brushes in need of restoration. The first couple were sort of rough, but I caught on quickly and learned what to look for. I have done a lot of grinding and sanding the past couple of months. I would actually love to do more, but I only need so many brushes. I probably don't need as many as I currently own, but I have been enjoying the process and learning about the subtleties of brush making and restoration. Here are some pics of restorations completed this winter and early spring:


Rubberset 200-3 w/24mm mixed badger and boar knot
This scrubby, barber-style brush is a keeper...in my top three

Ever-Ready 100 w/22mm two band badger fan knot
Magnets are installed in the handle to hang dry w/o a stand

Century mini-brush w/16mm synthetic knot

Rubberset 153 w/22mm two band badger bulb knot
This one was made for my friend Frank,
who might as well have been shaving with a roadkill brush. 

Ever-Ready 650PB w/22mm Tuxedo synthetic knot

Ever-Ready 150 w/26mm Plissoft synthetic knot

Made Rite 303L (ivory) w/22mm Silvertip badger knot

Made Rite 303L (black) w/22mm two band badger fan knot
I didn't plan on buying this, but it was a good companion
to the ivory-colored brush above. 

Rubberset 754 w/20mm Tuxedo synthetic knot
This one fits in a large pill bottle and now lives in my carry-on bag.

Rubberset 203 w/24mm Manchurian White badger fan knot

Erskine 120 w/24mm High Mountain White badger knot
Along with my original restore and the Rubberset 200-3 above,
this one rounds out my top three. Pillowy soft! 

     Most of this work was leading up to restoring a coveted Rubberset 400. Sanding these old resin brushes is not too hard. Sanding and polishing aluminum is a lot more work, so I wanted to be sure my technique was sound before putting in 4-5 hours worth of work on this. In the end, it came out pretty good! I might remove the knot I installed and have a super premium knot installed by Declaration Grooming. Here is a progression of sanding...

Original, well used condition w/boar bristles

Before sanding - 400 grit wet sanding

600 - 1500 grit wet sanding

2000-3000 grit wet sanding and first polishing

5 hours later...with a mirror finish and a 24mm Manchurian White badger knot

    Like flies, I have way more brushes than I need, but I like variety. Want one? Let me know...I'm fishing again now that spring has sprung, but would gladly take a break for an excuse to work on some old brushes. Based on a recent comment from my wife, I won't be restoring any more for myself anytime soon! Thanks for indulging this slight departure. More fishing content coming soon...


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