Custom Elk Antler Shaving Brush with TGN Silvertip 22mm Knot

Posted by the dood on Saturday, March 30th, 2013

I’ve been really getting into building my own shaving brushes recently. I’ve purchased shaving brushes from companies like Art of Shaving, Edwin Jagger, Muhle, Simpsons, Shavemac, and Thater, but eventually, I just wanted to be able to have more unique handles that you don’t see everyday without paying a huge premium. TGN (The Golden Nib) sells high quality hsaving brush knots for very affordable prices, and I use them to set into brush handles that I have made myself or have commissioned others to make for me. Keep your eye out for an article on TGN Shaving Knot reviews and a comparison of their different types of knots and how they perform.

Specs:
Knot Size: 22mm
Loft: 53mm
Handle Height: 50mm
Handle Diameter: 32mm
Glue Bump: 5mm

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This is the original chunk of elk antler that I picked up, originally made for Knife handles, but I decided to cut it in half and make two shaving brush handles out of it. This is the first one, and I used the larger antler base, which I put through its paces before getting it to look like the brush below.

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First I sealed the bottom of the brush, which I leave raw on this handle, using CA Glue and eventually just saturated with Polyurethane finish until the base was totally sealed. I didn’t want too much texture from the antler bark on the finished handle since I like my brushes to have a smooth, comfortable feel in the hand when I’m whipping up lather. I left some of the deeper bark because I still wanted it to have some character. I rough sanded it down with 60 grit sandpaper and a combination of my dremel and bench sander to get it where I wanted it.

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Finally I sanded the whole thing down using incremental grits of sandpaper down to a superfine 600 Grit. Then I used a forstner bit and dremel to clean out the marrow on the top to create a cavity to mount the knot. After that, I gave the whole handle including the knot cavity around 10 coats of Polyurethane to seal it and give it a nice smooth finish.

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The knot I ended up mounting in this handle was a TGN 22mm Silvertip. I am a little bit disappointed with this knot because it is the floppiest shaving brush that I have ever owned or handled. The TGN silvertip is so floppy that its hard to build lather. Sure, its super duper soft and feels nice, but its quite hard to use because of its floppiness. I probably won’t ever buy a basic silvertip from TGN again, but their Silvertip Grade A and Super Silvertip are fantastic.

Overall I really love the look and feel of the handle and the knot looks right for the style. While the performance of the TGN silvertip leaves something to be desired, I enjoy the feel of the handle in my hand and how it looks in my bathroom next to my other brushes.

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