Simpson Brush Owners: Why?

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by HolyRollah, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Over the past few years, I read about, owned or sampled a fairly broad variety of shaving accouterments. Some of these items have required minimal financial investment to try (Williams soap on sale!), while others have required a larger cash outlay.

    One item I have never had the pleasure of owning our trying is one of those British-made shaving brushes made by the Simpsons company. I see them all the time on shaving forums, often for sale ($$$), and to some, they appear to be the 'Holy Grail' of brushes.

    I own a number of badger & boar brushes (12-14), none of which are Simpsons, and the most expensive of the lot was about $40. They all have their strengths and weak points, but overall, they do the job.

    My questions are for Simpson owners:

    • What makes the Simpson so desirable?
    • What models/series would you recommend for one to get the 'Simpson' experience?
    • Are they worth it (to you)?
    • Would one notice a distinct difference from other quality badger brushes available?
    • Has using there Simpson 'spoiled' you from using brushes from other manufacturers?

    I may one day get my hands on one. The Simpson brush nearly made it to my "2014 Must-Try" list, (it came in 4th on a list of 3 items)

    I look forward to reading your responses.


  2. shmuel

    shmuel Member

    My experience is mainly with another brand of English hand made brush - a Rooney silvertip. However, I also have a Simpson wee scot which I use mostly for travel. It looks like a toy but performs amazingly. I am fortunate to live a short drive from a "brick and mortar store"( Maggard Razors) which stocks many if not all of the Simpson line. The denseness of the hair is amazing. My next brush will probably be a Commodore in best for a little more backbone than my Rooney. I don't think you will regret the cost of one of their brushes, or a Rooney for that matter. One caveat - Simpson was acquired by Vulvix, another English brush company and I have read anecdotal stories of shedding with the newer Simpsons, although this has not occurred with mine.
    Tdmsu and HolyRollah like this.
  3. CJames

    CJames Well-Known Member

    Kevin...I have only 1 Simpsons in "best", so I may not be the (best) person to answer. What I can say is that there is a distinct difference in the softness, density, and performance of this hand tied knot as compared to other "best" grades I have tried. I have come to find that the qualities I like most in a brush are 1) density, 2) backbone, 3) softness of tips. I enjoy an extremely dense brush with lots of backbone and very soft tips. I have tried quite a few knots - Rooney Heritage Finest, M&F Blonde, most of WSP's offerings, many of TGN's offerings and my favorite to date is the WSP Manchurian. The Rooney and M&F may have been closer if they were denser. They were a Stubby 3 and Style 1 respectively, granted not their densest available. Simpsons 2-band or Manchurian is on my list for 2014, but as they are quite pricey it may not happen...
    HolyRollah likes this.
  4. Neolithium

    Neolithium I am Canadian, eh

    -Simpson has a long history with the shaving community, and seems to be the flagship brand for badger brushes.
    -Simpson Duke 3 for the pinnacle of Face/Bowl lathering. Colonel for more inexpensive solution.
    -For the most part, yes. I've fallen in love with well broken in boars right now but I ALWAYS find myself missing my Simpson brushes.
    -Yes. Simpson Best seems to be a grade on par or even above most other manufacturers Silvertip hair. What they source is outstanding in every respect. Their quality is also backed by excellent customer service, from simple exchanges all the way up to a full re-knotting of a brush.
    -I think it has to be honest. This could be expensive for me if I go on another badger tangent lol.
    JRod22 and HolyRollah like this.
  5. fram773

    fram773 Well-Known Member

    Id be interested if the lower-end sub-$100 Simpsons brushes are a good buy compared to something like an Edwin Jagger brush.
  6. Neolithium

    Neolithium I am Canadian, eh

    Having had both Simpson & EJ Brushes, Simpson wins hands down. Badger for badger that is, not bringing EJ synthetic into the mix.
    JRod22 and fram773 like this.
  7. Lutebro

    Lutebro Well-Known Member

    I have one and only have used the one so I'll answer to my best.

    • What makes the Simpson so desirable? The name carries a lot of weight with quality. The knots are very consistent and tight and the handles are pieces of work.
    • What models/series would you recommend for one to get the 'Simpson' experience? I really like my Duke in Best but it all depends on what kind of handle fits your hand and what size loft you want.
    • Are they worth it (to you)? Retail is a bit high but you can sometimes find them on the BST for a lot cheaper like I did but you do definitely get wha tyou pay for.
    • Would one notice a distinct difference from other quality badger brushes available? I don't know about distinct. You definately notice it when jumping up from a cheap boar.
    • Has using there Simpson 'spoiled' you from using brushes from other manufacturers? Not really, I love my other brushes too but feel spoiled when I use my simpson :)
    JRod22 and HolyRollah like this.
  8. Hanzo

    Hanzo Well-Known Member

    Perhaps seek a loaner from someone on the forum. I believe loaners whether brushes or razors are pretty common, though kept quiet .A good friend on the board loaned me a Simpson Chubby in Super, my first Simpson experience. Quality overall was super and the densest brush I have ever seen. But it was not my cup of tea, not the brush face feel I find comfortable. Glad I got to try one as it ended my curiosity about high end Simpsons.
    JRod22, Tdmsu and HolyRollah like this.
  9. JRod22

    JRod22 Well-Known Member

    I was fascinated by Simpsons for a long time. You always see them popping up on the forums and they seem to have a cult like following. I finally save up for a while and bought myself a Jubilee when I graduated my 6 year Bachelor/Masters program. This was the cheapest Simpson Brush I could purchase with Manchurian and the dimensions were preferable to my taste in brushes. I have to say, like everyone above me the quality will blow you away. The knot is dense and will not shed hair every use like lower quality badger I have. The handles are pieces of art (but so are the majority of my brush handles). I get a fantastic lather out of it every time. It has soft tips and good backbone. Was everything I was hoping for. Now, could I live without it? Sure. But, my personality lead me to purchasing it and I would buy it again in a heart beat. Great purchase and I would recommend one.

    After buying and enjoying the Jubilee, I bought a cheap Simpson Berkeley 46 in best. Also a great performer. I'd agree that Simpsons best is softer and has more backbone than other companies Silvertip grade.

    My experience with Rooney was poor. Their silvertip knot was ridiculously soft but they knot was set with a loft that was too high IMO and the brush was floppy. So I had to reknot an already expensive brush. Happy with what I ended up with but would not buy another Rooney. Simpson seems to make their brushes with short lofts and provide more backbone for their brushes which I really prefer in a badger brush.

    My recommendation would be to try out one of their cheaper models in the $50-70 dollar range or get someone to lend you theirs to try.
    FacialCarnage likes this.
  10. Metro

    Metro Well-Known Member

    +1 on JRod's recommendation. Out of all 3 brushes I own :)angry017: and all badger hair), my Simpson Bekerley Best Badger is the only on that doesn't shed hair and makes great lathers every time. I could keep only that one and be very happy. I wouldn't say however that it is as soft as other brand's Silvertip necessarily, but better backbone and perfect amount of scritch for me.
    JRod22 likes this.
  11. Shaver X

    Shaver X Well-Known Member

    1) They work well for a lot of guys
    2) ... and therefore represent a good value for the money
    3) Buzz marketing

    2) and 3) are linked to some extent.

    Perhaps the best way to answer this would be to examine the brushes yourself in a brick-and-mortar store. I'm not sure where in Norcal you are, but if it is in the San Francisco Bay Area these retailers might be worth investigating:

    Williams Cutlery & Gifts
    14824 Camden Ave.
    San Jose, CA 95124
    (408) 558-9411

    and the now unrelated:

    Williams Cutlery Co.
    645 Laurel St
    San Carlos, CA 94070
    (650) 322-5589

    The last time I was in North Beach, I went by a cutlery store that had Merkur safety razors, and might be worth checking out. I think it was this place:

    Columbus Cutlery
    358 Columbus Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94133
    (415) 362-1342

    Of the three, I would say Williams Cutlery & Gifts is the best bet. They were selling vintage wetshaving gear when it was still brand spanking new. Calling beforehand to see what brushes they stock would be wise, as their inventory and the brands they carry sometimes change. Reading about brushes on a forum is all well and good, but my experience was that seeing them firsthand makes a big difference. I wound up getting a brush almost never mentioned on the forums, and am glad I did.
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  12. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Okay, it appears I'll be getting my first Simpson best badger brush in a few days.

    Granted, it's the smallest (& least expensive) brush they make, but the reviews for it are all overwhelmingly positive.
    So I look forward to giving this lil' guy a try! :)

    Metro and JRod22 like this.
  13. Neolithium

    Neolithium I am Canadian, eh

    The wee scot looks like a toy at first however that little brush whips up an amazing lather!
  14. CJames

    CJames Well-Known Member

    Kevin...I picked up a second Simpson's, this time a Chubby 1 in 2-band. It is an amazing little brush. At 23mm it is the smallest brush in my den, but it is definitely not small on the performance scale. I'm not sure how much smaller the knot is on the wee scot, but I love this little brush. It can precision lather almost anywhere - even on the upper lip!
  15. Neolithium

    Neolithium I am Canadian, eh


    Well here's a Wee Scot next to a Duke 3. Should be a decent size comparison :)
  16. CJames

    CJames Well-Known Member

    Oh...Gasp! Makes the Duke 3 or Chubby 1 look like a monster then!!! Would be interesting seeing it next to the other brush I just picked up.

  17. CJames

    CJames Well-Known Member

    Wow...14mm. Can't even imagine what the might look like in the hand. Eager to hear back on performance when she arrives Kevin.
    HolyRollah likes this.
  18. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    I'll take some shots of it in hand, as well as next to my other brush behemoths...;)
  19. Neolithium

    Neolithium I am Canadian, eh

    Oh that's an evil picture. I want a two band so bad but they don't make them in Duke 3, hopefully Mark emails me tomorrow and I can use some tax money for it; my new Muhle travel tube should fit a Duke 3 with room to spare.
  20. timotep

    timotep New Member

    This is actually a nice thread to see what the hooplah is all does seem like the Simpson is worth it.

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