Win Some and Lose Some - Restoration Story

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by GDCarrington, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Well, I have been working on restoring a few brushes. As noted in the following thread:

    Someone on another forum ask me to see if I could show the steps using a bamboo steamer to keep the brush away from the heat source. I had two brushes that were ready so I decided to try this method again.

    First to the two brushes. One was an Ever Ready 500 which the handle was in good shape but the knot needed a replacement.


    The second was the Parker Synthetic that did not make the grade as discussed in the following thread:


    Now at this point I took the bamboo steamer and a small Corning-ware plate that can withstand heat and brought a pan of water to boiling and then reduced the heat to a medium simmer to allow the steam to continue to work.

    I placed the steamer rack on the pot and placed the small plate with the brushes on it in the center. That avoids the brush hairs from getting hung up in the rack.




    I let the steam do its work for 15 minutes and checked to see if everything was going as expected. It was going fine and the brushes were in good shape. I allowed both brushes to continue until the 30 minutes was up.

    I opened up the steamer to find two different results.
    The acrylic Parker brush handle went exactly to plan as you see below.


    The Ever Ready was another story. The plastic could not hold up to the last 15 minutes of heat and even when I tried to remove the knot it would not budge. I appeared that the air inside the handle had expanded with no where to escape. So here is the result.


    The bottom is bowed up and the center is bulged do to expansion and the outer layer has small bubbles.

    Even if I had removed it at 15 minutes like the earlier Rubberset, the knot would have remained in the handle and the swelling more than likely still would have taken place over the next few minutes to a lesser degree.

    Lessons learned:

    This method works very well for modern Acrylic brush handles.

    This method can be modified somewhat to work for Rubberset handles but the amount of steam time must be limited to less than 15 minutes. I would say 12 at the most since the hairs are removed by pulling strands with a pair of pliers. However, you run a risk if the materials are aged and cracked or other issues so proceed with care.

    This method is questionable at best for the older plastic handles due to aging, low temperature tolerances on plastics, and construction techniques that allow expansion to occur inside the handle.

    Every brush restoration method has certain risks and rewards and I was rewarded well on one and poorly on another. I have a couple of other Ever Ready brushes to restore, and I will do them the old fashion manual way when the time comes.
  2. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    The steam method has worked well for me with solid handles. I got weird results with a VDH handles as well. Using steam and hot temps just may not be a good idea with hollow handles.
    GDCarrington likes this.
  3. IAmTheJody

    IAmTheJody Gillette-i Master

    Hate you lost that brush but we learn from our experiences, and from others experiences. Thanks for the heads up and for the sacrifice. :eatdrink047:
    ObiDon and GDCarrington like this.
  4. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    I suddenly want dim sum. :cool:
    ObiDon, KLF, Zilla and 1 other person like this.
  5. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Suddenly??? Yeah, right!
  6. Slipperyjoe

    Slipperyjoe Rusty Metal Tetanus

    Before we digress into our afternoon meal..thanks Mr. C for the great info. The steamer does seem to be the preferred choice over brute force for my Wilky and maybe, when the time is right, I shall make the endeavor!..
  7. Slipperyjoe

    Slipperyjoe Rusty Metal Tetanus

    Edit addition: Oh..and Mr. Gem..:happy102:
  8. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    A member of another forum stated that there was a plaster inside an Ever Ready similar to this and he thinks that this along with water from the steam is what expanded inside the handle. I will have to do an examination later of it to see if that is what caused it to expand.
  9. Slipperyjoe

    Slipperyjoe Rusty Metal Tetanus

    Is it possible that older brushes in general tend to have construction that could present a problem with this technique and that the steamer could probably be used on most if not all of the newer brush handles?..
  10. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    I think all the vintage plastic ones will have an issue due to plastic composition, plaster or items that can get wet and expand, cracks, etc. I got away with it on the Rubberset, but I did not go beyond 15 minutes and I really should have stopped at around 12 minutes. The least amount of time on the Rubbersets the better. The modern acrylic brushes usually can handle this temperature with no problem. The only one that I know an incident with was when a user approached the cleared brush with a small wood chisel to remove some of the remaining glue and broke the handle. That really had nothing to do with the process itself.
  11. Slipperyjoe

    Slipperyjoe Rusty Metal Tetanus

    Ya I thought so..they did plastic quite differently back then...
  12. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    This one was not Bakelite or it would have cracked and / or shattered. It is a low grade plastic that was not mean to be temperature fluxed like it was.

    I picked a bad day to start fluxing plastic!
    Slipperyjoe likes this.
  13. Slipperyjoe

    Slipperyjoe Rusty Metal Tetanus

    I think we've all had plastic fluxing days like that..:bounce017:
  14. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Well, it is not a total loss. I already have the knot in the Parker handle and it is curing out quite nicely. That is for another thread later down the road.
  15. Zilla

    Zilla Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the article! Perfect timing, I am looking to restore a Ever-Ready brush myself.
  16. awake2shave

    awake2shave Crazy Sharp Melon Baller

    :sick002: little guy at least you gave some one joyus shaves in your day.
    GDCarrington likes this.
  17. Mark1966

    Mark1966 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for letting us share from your experiences!
  18. tomnat

    tomnat accepting applications

    Thanks for the info, Gary. Sorry you lost one handle in the process, though.
  19. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

  20. Darkbulb

    Darkbulb Cookie Hoarder

    Thanks, I'm gonna try this on my metal handled travel brush today to see if I can get the knot to come out that way.
    GDCarrington likes this.

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