Synthetic Knots at TGN - 2012

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by GDCarrington, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Good news for those who restore or build custom brushes. The Golden Nib has a new line of synthetic knots available. The available sizes are 20 mm, 22 mm, and 24 mm. These new knots are softer than the original TGN 23 mm knot (which is still available). These new knots are softer at the tip than the original 23 mm nylon knot but still provide plenty of backbone.

    The images below displays from left to right 24 mm, 22 mm, and 20 mm.


    I measured these knots and the following data was obtained.

    24 mm knot measured at 23.8 mm

    22 mm knot measured at 21.5 mm

    20 mm knot measured at 19.6 mm

    The 20 mm will work well for those who are restoring Ever Ready and Rubberset brushes that are around 20 mm without having to do a large amount of cutting to widen the hole to accommodate the original 23 mm synthetic.

    So if you are into restoring or custom making brushes and wanted a little more variety and softness in a synthetic, these knots may just be what you are looking for.
    fram773, ohpaos, macaronus and 5 others like this.
  2. alpla444

    alpla444 That's sweet!

    Cheers for that Gary, I still have a few brushes that Im going to restore, (Ive been meaning to do em for awhile now) 4 in total so I may give one a try in the new year, Ive kinda bookmarked Febuary as the best time (when the postal system has calmed down) to order the knots.
  3. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    I am restoring a brush now with the 20 mm knot. Hopefully, I will be able to use it on Sunday and report back.
    Queen of Blades likes this.
  4. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Here is the new knot at 24 mm (left) vs the old knot which was only available at 23 mm (right) for comparison purposes.​
    MoAllen and lradke like this.
  5. lradke

    lradke and doggone it, people like me

    That's a much nicer looking knot (IMO). I like the silvertip look. My wife has a Franks synthetic with the old knot. Its the softest thing I have ever if the new ones are softer, that's amazing! Question: how do you find the backbone? Does it seem fairly floppy? Or sous it stand up decent to pressure?
  6. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    The backbone is about the same since even though the fibers are slightly smaller as seen on the magnified visual, it is packed tighter with some more fibers. So just by putting the new 24 versus the old 23 out of any handle and dry, I say that the 24 has just a slight bit more flex. The backbone really can always be adjusted with loft placement in the handle.

    Without testing, I think the new is an improvement over the old one. Not a major improvement, but a minor improvement which is even better with the new look.
    macaronus likes this.
  7. Doryferon

    Doryferon Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much for the informations.
  8. MikekiM

    MikekiM Well-Known Member

    I am going to dig around for reviews, but in the interim, could someone share a summary of how a synth feels and responds compared to other brushes? I have a few old handles begging for new knots and I am considering synth, since I don't have any in my inventory..
  9. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    That depends upon the synthetic brush fibers, the size, and the shape.
    Synthetic brushes capture /retain water differently than naturals and those qualities allow them to dry much faster.

    The first generation knots were made of base Nylon which was developed in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
    These were / are white and are like lathering with a bundle of fishing line or a super boar that never gets soft.
    They are still available in cheap disposable travel brushes and in the Omega White Syntex Line.
    I do not recommend these unless your face needs a very good scrubbing.

    The second generation knots came out in the early 2000s.
    Taken from the cosmetic industry, these nylon brushes were flagged more at the tips to allow a softer feeling and some were dyed to approximate a more natural look.
    The early MenU, Body Shop, Parker synthetics used this fiber type. The were prone to doughnut holes when getting moist and were not strong performers but some people enjoyed them more as an alternative to naturals than on performance. These behaved more like a cross between horse and boar hair brushes.

    The third generation knots came out in the mid 2000s.
    Taken from the cosmetic industry, these nylon brushes were flagged more at the tips to allow a softer feeling and some were dyed to approximate a more natural look and feel. Closer to badger but not exactly like badger.
    The fibers tended to be thinner so that more hairs could be packed in a bundle for a denser brush. The performance of brushes using this version improved dramatically.
    The Jack Black, TGN, Omega Syntex, and a variety of other makers use this fiber to create high performing brushes.

    Here is a comparison between first and third generation synthetics.

    Frank Synthetic TSD ex.jpg
    A half step up from the third generation (Generation 3.5) came out when Muhle took the Generation 3 fibers and began to crimp and adjust the lengths of the fibers to create a brush that looks much more like natural hairs. This is what is known as the version 1 of the Silvertip Fibre.
    This is a much higher performing brush than brushes using Generation 3 fibers. This came out in the early 2010-2012 time frame.

    Here is an image of the Muhle Silvertip Fibre version 1.

    Muhle 35 K 252.jpg

    The fourth generation knots came out in the early 2010 - 2012 time frame as well.
    These fibers so far have been released in the H.I.S. brush and is rumored to be in the Version 2 of the Muhle Silvertip Fibre which is expected to come out soon. These fibers flagged even more at the ends to increase softness and to improve lather application. The fibers are also more flexible than what is found the third generation knots that can allow the fibers to be shorter yet retain excellent backbone and flexibility.

    For more information on this fiber refer to these articles.

    I will carry you to the tenth article in my series on Sharpologist (History of Synthetics) in which other experienced testers share their thoughts on synthetics.

    This is the last article in the series. To learn more about synthetics read the entire series on the (History of Synthetics) for detailed discussions on fibers and timelines. Where I had to use broad brush statements in this write up, there is more detailed information in those articles, including hyperlinks to historical items and patent records that provides in depth information that cannot be covered here.

    I hope this helps.
    Tdmsu, ohpaos, Suisse and 5 others like this.
  10. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    GD did a nice job briefly going over the differences in the various types of synthetics. The newest synthetics try to emulate badger brushes as much as possible. In many ways they surpass them.

    The latest generation of synthetics are softer than the best silvertip badger brushes out there. They also tend to have more backbone than badgers, and are more comparable to a boar brush in that regard. They dry faster, are resistant to mildew and require no break-in time.

    They do have downsides though. Badger and Boar brushes are pretty forgiving in how you apply your shaving cream. Synthetics, at least the ones I've tried, work best if they are used in a paintbrush type motion to apply the lather. They also don't retain heat as well, so if you are a fan of having a warm brush, you should at the very least consider purchasing a brush scuttle.
    MoAllen and GDCarrington like this.
  11. Doryferon

    Doryferon Well-Known Member

    I think that only my Vulfix Synthetic "beats" my Silvertips in softness because is tragically soft and inappropriate for lathering.

    These are material properties
    The Badger is softer,sweeter,prettier and more friendly.
  12. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Not always my friend. I think the one below is not interested in any of that. :rofl:

  13. MikekiM

    MikekiM Well-Known Member

    Awesome job!! I'll definitely read the links..good stuff.

    I have a few handles I need to reknot and I am considering a synth just for a change. I've read your posts on lowering the knot in the H.I.S. Right now that and the Muhle are (maybe) are the only source for the latest iteration of the synth, right? I would rather buy the knot than hack it out of a handle so a 22 or 24 from TGN seems in order..
    GDCarrington likes this.
  14. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Believe me that it is also a lot easier! Working the knot from scratch takes more skill and patience and also the results may or may not turn out like you want. It is that old risk reward thing. ;)
  15. Doryferon

    Doryferon Well-Known Member

    I think a serious shaver must have a Synthetic in his collection
    In some occasions really "saves" you
    The more (knots material) you test the more you know.
    GDCarrington likes this.
  16. Codfish

    Codfish Member

    Mühle refers to its new Silvertip Fibre simply as "refined fibre". I have had an opportunity to test the new refined fibers in a matching set of new brushes. Visually, the differences between their STF and refined STF knots are hard to detect. There is a subtle shortening of loft heights, and I personally feel that there has been a slight flattening to the traditional Mühle bulb shape.

    While the changes with the refined fibers are difficult to detect visually, they are instantly apparent to the touch. This is Mühle's finest STF to date, offering luxurious density, softness and backbone--with less of the springiness often associated with synthetic fibers. This makes splaying the fibers easier, and more badger-like. This line of brushes feels different, to be sure. Even when dry, there is a velvet-like quality of the brushes against the skin.

    I am informed that the refined fiber is thinner. One source has reported that it is approximately 10% thinner than the previous fiber. The thinner fibers allow more to be packed into a given knot size, with direct improvement in brush density. Other improvements in packing and flagging contribute to brush backbone, water- and heat-retention.

    In terms of performance, I think that Mühle's refined fibre knots have reached what I would argue is landmark status--I feel that they are as good or better than natural-hair brushes on every dimension of performance. I was testing a new silvertip badger brush from another manufacturer this morning, when I interrupted the test to reach for my 23mm Mühle refined fibre brush to complete the shave. The STF brush, in my opinion, does have softer tips, better backbone and superior lather flow characteristics when compared to good quality natural silvertip badger brushes. In addition, they have lost none of the advantages offered by synthetic brushes in ease of cleaning, rich and explosive lather making and economical use of soaps/creams.

  17. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Thanks Jim, that is excellent news.
  18. KLF

    KLF Doctorin

    What is Mühle STF , if I may ask ?
  19. Codfish

    Codfish Member

    SilverTip Fibre.
    KLF likes this.
  20. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Do these fibers look familiar to any one?

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