#1
Curiosity got the best of me this weekend. Idea   I've been increasingly interested in how these white tip/gel knots that some of us appreciate are made.  In any reading I've done it seems that there is bleaching involved, sterilizing in some form and on and on from there.  My experiment was done on a Fanchurian V3.  Let me start by saying this was a great knot to begin with and needed absolutely no intervention on my part.  This was simply a curiosity and a "why not!" kind of experiment.  I know what you are thinking, what idiot would mess with a great knot like that?! ... my only answer is...this idiot.   

I'd recently purchased two Fanchurian V3's and they were pretty much identical, soft white tips, good backbone...both very nice knots.  Neither had gel characteristics. With this test I was looking to see if I could create more of a gel presence through my own intervention.  In short, I think I might have found something.  Where there was little hooking before there was more pronounced hooking and possible split ends after.  I did not have time to take pictures but will do so in a follow up to this when I get some time this week.  The process was simple.  I boiled a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide 20/1 ratio. Then I tied two strings to the base of the knot and held suspended over the water with only the white tips submerged for two minutes.  I then removed and rinsed with cool tap water.  I put it to my cheek once cool but still wet and noticed a softer feel from just prior to the procedure.  After allowing the knot to dry overnight and a fluff up I noticed the more pronounced hooking/fuzzy tip look of a more gel prone brush.  I did not have time to re-wet it this morning but will do so this week and take pics.  Curious as to whether or not I damaged the glue from steam rising into the knot, I pulled on hairs throughout to see if the glue had been compromised and it appears not to have been.  There is also a slightly lighter/creamier whiter look to the knot tips when compared to the non tested sibling V3, I'm sure this was the hydrogen peroxide.  More to come but thought you all might be interested in this experiment.  I will follow up with more soon.

Matsilainen, Deus Vult, ANG69 and 1 others like this post
#2
This is a interesting experiment and I look forward to hearing more about this and seeing some pictures.
Happy shaves
Smurf

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#3
I'm short on time today guys but I wanted to follow through on what I said I'd do.  

This week got away from me...  but I needed a little distraction this morning so this post should do fine!

In short the initial experiment did not work out as well as I had thought.  In fact there was more wishful thinking than anything.  There may have been slight improvement in softness post boiling but not as I'd have hoped.  

So I tried a new experiment last night and will try again a few more times...but I think I've done it.  Gel tips/split ends/more hooking.  At this point I'm not going to share the process as it will take more experimentation and time.  IMO It turned out well enough that to be honest, almost leads me down the path of starting a small side business if I can perfect it.  Below are some pics.  It was about a 15 minuted process from the brush to go from what you see before to what you see after.  In these pics, as was said before in my previous post, the knots are identical twins (V3 Fanchurians) one is untreated and both had about a dozen lathers in before this experiment.  

The process did have an effect of what I feel straightened the hair a bit, which does not detract from the knot at all but it was an interesting side effect I had no idea would be coming.   

The last photo shows both knots, one untreated and the other treated, both have had a 5 min soak in warm water and then were squeezed and shaken out then photographed.  In previous latherings both knots would have looked exactly the same, I know becuase I had been in the process of breaking these knots in, hence the twelve previous latherings.   

The second to last image is a side view which shows how the hairs straightened and narrowed the bloom up a bit.  

The first pic is a view of the dry/fluffed knot on the tested knot pre-treatement 

The second is a dry view of the tested knot dry/fluffed post-treatment.  If you look carefully you can see one hair shaft split into three split ends in the middle left'ish hand side of the photo.  Pretty cool imo. Happy2   

I'll follow up again soon but curious what you all think![Image: GjZVgck.jpg][Image: xNH5gRl.jpg][Image: hKHsEQf.jpg]     [Image: VqFXuKO.jpg]

Marcos, smurfups77, WildShaver and 1 others like this post
#4
That is very interesting and it definitely clumps up more. My concern would be how the knot holds up long term. This is a fun one to watch. Good luck.
Happy shaves
SMURF
#5
I also wonder if you're taking a knot that the tips would have hooked on given time and just made this happen more quickly vs. causing a knot to develop hooked tips where it wouldn't have done so on it's own.

So the question is, can you make any knot develop hooked tips? Maybe try this with a knot that you've had for years with no signs of the tips hooking.
David
#6
I find any badger brushes that I’ve got are lather hogs. I got them from 20$-300$ they all seam to hog lather
#7

Merchant
MD Eastern Shore
(This post was last modified: 08-20-2019, 12:59 AM by ESBrushmaker.)
A few thoughts, if I may.  Over the years, we've evaluated and purchased several thousand knots, exclusive of the Morris & Forndran's that have passed thorough our shop.  In the process, we've had serious conversations with quite a few knot makers both in Europe and China--and maybe learned a thing or two along the way.

First of all, as most of us know by now, there are no objective/quantifiable standards when it comes to knots.  Regarding the two main thoughts expressed above, (a) gel tips and (b) lather hogging.  Let's take them in order:

(a) Hooked/Gel tips.  Again, no objective standard.  Concerning 2-band knots, most knots and loose hair come from China with bleached tips.  That's done simply because that's what the market wants; so being smart marketers, that's what the Chinese do.  (Nobody's ever successfully accused them of being stupid.)  How much bleaching is anyone's guess; but generally, the more bleaching, the softer/more curly/hooked/"gel" the tips.  (At the same time, no two badgers (except identical twins/litters if there are any) are alike; so hair will vary from one critter to the next.)  The main thing is:  one batch of hair might be left in the bleach longer than the next (bleach concentrations might also vary...); so, bottom line, the experiment at the top of this thread makes some sense.  How will extra bleaching affect long-term brush life is--again--anybody's guess.  But logically, weaker tips suggest that the knot MIGHT not last as long as those with less-treated/bleached tips, all else being equal.  But frankly, I doubt that many of us will use one brush long enough to wear it out.

(b)  Lather hogging.  Boy, this is good question!  The thing is:  the market (typically) wants dense knots.  That's fine.  We could go into hair shaft diameters and other variables; but to to keep things simple:  the denser the knot often equates to more hair packed into (approximately) the same amount of space.  All else being equal, that leaves less room for lather to flow--ergo:  less flow = more lather retained in the knot.  There's no way around it.  (Synthetics, boar, horse, et al. are another conversation which I won't go into.)

Anyway, I hope some of this helps.

Matsilainen, andrewjs18, LOOT and 5 others like this post
Brad
#8
Spot on, Brad! Thanks for you input and expertise!

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