In an earlier article here it was pointed out that nearly all the badger hair used in shaving brushes comes from China, where the animal is vermin. Also that labour in China is a lot cheaper than in the West. So, unsurprisingly, most badger hair knots (the name given to the bundle of hairs that make up the brush) come from China. They are often just glued onto handles (which are also made in China) in the West so that they can be labelled “Made in England”.
So when, on eBay, I saw “Finest Pure Badger Hair Shaving Brush Faux Ivory Handle” for $9.99 (£6.57), it was no problem to click the BUY button. On the 11th of July. Many people would be put off because it was too cheap, or because they are sending money to someone they don’t know in China. But the seller, iantang19821024, has 100% feedback after 74 transactions.
Today it arrived, just 12 days after placing the order. It is very nicely made, the equal of my other brushes. The badger hair is two band, light above dark, the knot is quite dense and the diameter at the base is the same or maybe a bit bigger than my other badger brushes. Testing for softness it is midway between a Trumper pure badger and a Trumper best badger, but these two brushes are both run in and the Frank Shaving brush isn’t.
So to shaving and the stern test of Nanny’s Silly Soap Company, lavender improved recipe soft shaving soap. The brush easily had enough backbone to deal with this and build up a fine lather. And as it built up that lather the brush bloomed right out quite impressively. There was enough in there for a two pass shave and it would probably have done a third pass if needed. During the shave it shed maybe two hairs, which is nothing for a new badger brush.
Obviously one shave is not much of a test so we will see how this develops.
Looking at the other items iantang19821024 has on eBay you can see that this brush is available with a number of different handles including faux ebony and a choice of woods, all at the same price. More interestingly he has a “Luxury Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush” for just $21.99 (£14.41) with the same choice of handles. This is sorely tempting.
And one final note, the brush came with a plastic stand very similar to the one that Trumper sells for £5.50. Take that into account and my new badger brush cost about £1!!!!!!!!!!!!!