Where there is a will there is a way - Synthetic Redux (Picture Heavy)

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by GDCarrington, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Many of you have expressed interest in the Frank Synthetic Shave brush covered in the review below.


    Many have expressed that you wished to obtain one or another one, which yours truly is one of the second group. Unfortunately for many weeks the brushes have been out of stock and I have been providing a status report with the vendor as to when a new supply would come in. As of this posting, the vendor is still out of stock.

    I enjoy this brush so much that I wanted a second copy but with supply issues, getting one is difficult at the moment at the extremely wonderful price point that Frank brushes offered. Naturally, I decided to search the web to see if there were any suitable substitutes. After some searching, not only did I find a suitable substitute, I believed I found the exact brush. I mean the exact same one, with one minor issue. I found the knot, and only the knot. OH, KNOTS!

    Well the knot can be placed in a handle. So I go and order the knot. After receiving it, I realized this would work out well with the correct handle. I have many donor handles but the problem is that it must be able to accept the size of the knot. Again, OH, KNOTS!

    Let's discuss the knot. It is made of nylon and its appears to be ground down, or maybe even burnt, at the tips to make the ends soft. It is 23.5mm at the knot itself and the loft is 60mm high. Measured against the Frank Synthetic it is exactly the same in every respect. These images provide a view from the side and the top for perspective. I propped up the knot to get it within a reasonable equality with the Frank Synthetic.



    After measurement and inspection, I chose the only handle that I had available that was large enough to modify to fit the knot. It was a lowly Burma Shave brush, which I have two or three around. The other handles could not be "widened" to accept a knot 3 to 5 mm wider due to potential damage. The Burma Shave brush was cheap enough so that if I messed up, I would not be out much. So the project begins with the donor brush.

    I cut off the hairs of the Burma Shave brush. The stiff cheap boar hairs handled cutting like a 5 year old child who hates barbers and scissors and does not want a burr haircut. After about six or seven minutes with some old scissors, because you don't use the good scissors on items like this or they will become bad scissors, the hair was cut away. Now to the old knot base. Since I do not have the luxury of a shop or a lathe, I used my trusty drill and small bit for pilot holes and the larger bit for getting down to business. Again, the knot was more than what I expected. I drilled with the small bit to make pilot holes for what seemed to be 15 minutes. That base was rock hard. The large bit was then used to drill out a large opening for another 15 minutes of circling and removing and to my surprise the base fell into the hollow handle part way. It seemed to have enough clearance for the knot. The hole was still 20mm and so more was needed. I got out the Dremel tool and the rubber sanding wheel and placed a sanding circle on it. Again, I slowly ground down the brush to try to keep an even circle until it reduced in height. By doing so, the shape of the handle allowed for the hole to become 23.5mm and with a little final sanding the handle was made ready.

    Now it was time to go get some clear soft form glue to fill in a large section of the handle at the top and the base of the knot. I used a product called E6000 because it sets up clear, completely waterproof and can be easily removed during the first 5 minutes to clean up any excess around the handle. It takes 24 to 72 hours to harden and it leaves a solid ring around the brush handle and knot to keep the water out. After curing the finished product is ready to be viewed and compared to the original Burma Shave Brush and to the Frank Synthetic Brush.

    On the next post you will see the finished brush.
    tuco99 likes this.
  2. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Here is the finished brush.


    Here is a comparison to a Burma Shave brush.


    Here is a comparison to the Frank Synthetic.


    Yes, the finished project looks like an old Ever ready with a bigger brush. It feels just like the Frank Synthetic. Now more than likely after completing this, the supplier of Frank Shaving Brushes will state that the brushes are back in stock. If so, excellent, however, I have my custom Synthetic today.

    One more thing, in order to prevent and issue of stock and availability, I ordered 2 more knots in case I ever want to have a better custom made in the future. For right now, I am content with my Custom Synthetic that should last me for years to come.
  3. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    Nice post Mang. I have two synthetic re-knots from TGN, one re-knotted for me and one I did myself and both are excellent brushes.
  4. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    The knot is a TGN knot which means that TGN is receiving it, either directly or indirectly, from the same base supplier (Chinese company) that manufacturers the Frank Shaving line.
  5. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    I hope to use this brush tomorrow since I am changing rotations.
  6. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Well, I used this brush today and it performed exactly the same as the Frank Synthetic.
    It is now a wonderful and inexpensive brush.
    I could get spoiled to this! ;)
  7. Mechguy

    Mechguy Well-Known Member

    That is a great post, thanks for sharing that information.
  8. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Update: This little Burma Synthetic Custom is still doing an excellent job both with soaps and creams!
    Bird Lives likes this.
  9. Bird Lives

    Bird Lives Future Root Beer King of Turkey

    Great article...If it works as good...and I personally think yours is better looking...I really like your donor handle...I think the GD Custom is my pick...:)
    GDCarrington likes this.
  10. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    I have had a synthetic knot from TGN in a brush that has been in rotation for well over a year. It is a great knot!
    GDCarrington likes this.
  11. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Thanks for the affirming words of approval!
  12. newb

    newb Resident Newb

    I've often wondered if most of the Chinese knots come from Li Ming's factory. My understanding is that Star doesn't sell truly Frank's brand, but they buy directly from Li Ming (the same supplier Ian uses)
  13. tuco99

    tuco99 Well-Known Member

    This thread deserves too be reborn:) ,excellent work GDCarrington. inspiration for my brush. IMG_0075 (Medium).JPG
  14. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Excellent work. Love the green!
    Omelmad likes this.

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