Mike’s Makers: Crafting the perfect shaving brush

shaving almost everyone does it at some
point but not everyone is content with the canned foam and cartridge razors
that you just throw away no some like a little bit more luxury like me I like to
use a safety razor but also I need a good shaving brush to whip up the
perfect lather I’m Mike price and this is Mike’s Makers my name is Matt
Darrington I live in Idaho Falls Idaho and I make shaving brushes it all
started I attended a university that required that you be clean-shaven so I
had to shave every single day and I was just having all sorts of problems my
skin was drying out I was getting razor burn and and just it wasn’t a pleasant
experience my dad said well there’s other ways to shave let’s look into
those let’s see if that if that helps you and he gave me a safety razor and a
blade and we tried a soap and it was significantly better I thought oh this
is kind of cool I wonder wonder what this next soap is like so I tried
another soap and then oh maybe I like this brush better or let’s try another
blade and so what what happened what happened was kind of a transformation
from something that was a chore that I kind of dreaded every morning into kind
of a study or an experiment something that was fun and really kind of
developed into a hobby that’s how I got into wet shaving so what we as a wet
shaver what we like to do is take a shaving brush apply a soap or a cream
whip that into a lather and then apply that to your face and then shave with a
blade just as essential as the brush is to shaving so is soap okay so today
we’ll use we’ll use this one this is a hard soap so it just looks like a tub of soap
it’s about like have a bar of yeah just maybe a little bit softer than
like a bar of soap like in a shower but essentially what you do is you’ll wet
your brush this is a synthetic knot that I’ve got wet here and
then you’ll just take that to the puck and you’re just gonna do this will make
a little mess this is usually over the sink but we’re in the shop today so we’ll make a little bit of a mess
but that’s alright so this is called loading the brush and yeah you can see
we’re making a little bit of a mess today but that’s all right there that’s
about enough okay so now we’ve we’ve made our mess so I’ll go ahead and set
that down and then I’m just gonna do a palm lather this is kind of where the
magic happens you can see oh yeah it starts to whip up into a shaving cream And it sure smells nice it does doesn’t it brushes are a critical part of this
shave you need some way to make a lather so you’ll you’ll use those brushes to
create a lather whether it’s with a hard soap or a soft cream you need a soap to
match or a brush rather to match the soap and that’s what I do this is what
we’re gonna turn today this is one of the blanks that I made you’ve got some
rocks rocks and yeah this is they’re stacked rocks I call them my Zen
series those are the most popular ones that I sell but we need to
find the center because if I’m gonna put this on there and it’s not centered
right yeah it could actually be dangerous uh-huh so I use this simple
tool here and then I just kind of scratch on the top of it essentially
find center okay so I kind of make a pizza right and there’s center so now
what I’m going to do I’m gonna drill this out I have to know what size of knot
I’m gonna use I happen to know I’m gonna use a 24 millimeter knot which requires a
1 inch drill bit so I’m gonna go ahead and just start it here about like that okay you’ll see these
cool noodles that happen alright so now we’re gonna go right over to the lathe
so I’ve got that front part we know that centered I’ve made a center mark on my
mold so I know that the bottom is centered as well okay lock everything in
place and so what kind of tools do you use to shape it high speed steel is what
I prefer there’s a lot of guys that use carbide tools and this is this is called
a skew this is what most of my work is going to be done with the skew is a
challenging tool because it can catch but it also gives you a lot of freedom
on how to shape it okay I like steel because I can sharpen it oh
you can’t sharpen carbide tools you just replace them so I’d
rather just use steel because I’m I happen to be handy with a grinder okay
alright so we’ll go ahead and we’ll start a test spin looks like it’s
spinning true and then now gets the noisy part so okay here we go I’m just taking out some of the
irregularities in the top so you’re just basically smoothing it
out yep and you can tell it’s smooth when you can rest your tool and it
doesn’t chatter it chatters a little bit now so I still got a little ways to go my favorite thing is taking raw materials things that would just look
like junk to other people you know it’s it’s a jug of one chemical and some
rocks maybe some sticks and combining them and making something that people
really enjoy something that in the morning you look forward to using or you
look forward to having maybe even on display in your bathroom maybe it’s on
you know the back of the the counter there’s something to look at every day
it’s kind of functional art and that’s that’s the way I view it this one’s
called a gouge this is what I used to make curved cuts there there’s something extremely
gratifying about and I think most craftsmen would would tell you this
finding something and saying I bet I can do that better and then actually going
out and doing it and if you learn a new skill you hone the skill you’re always
learning it’s constantly learning you’re never done learning the skill so it’s
always it’s it’s about the chase you’re always looking for something more and
you’re never gonna quite get there and it’s that to me is is the most appealing
part of being a craftsman there we have it so we have the rough cut now
we’re gonna get to sanding and we’re gonna start with what I call the the
sanding paper sanding paper ladder so you start at 80 grit or at least I do I’m
gonna work my way all the way to twelve thousand grit so really I want this
thing to be polished like glass by the time we’re done here all right we are almost done last thing
we need to do is a quick polish and then we’ll simply cut that off the end and are you
using a specific kind of polish just a plastic polish
you’d see it in the automotive industry something that maybe you would polish
your headlights with uh-huh and then I use these just a shop rag to apply it
a shop rag slash an old sock I actually like to use cotton because it
rips so if it does get caught in here oh it doesn’t take me into the lathe it
just tears apart oh well that’s that’s good a little bit of a strategy behind
it so let’s finish this one up and there you have it
oh wow and look at that and this is where you’ll stick the yeah let’s grab a knot
I’ll show you what that would look like so this would be here we’ll grab
we’ll grab this one so then we were just simply two things to finish it up I’d
sand the bottom down to get that all glassy as well mm-hmm and then just to
simply apoxy the knot in oh wow and then it’s done and then it’s done well
Matt thank you very much absolutely appreciate you letting me come and see
what you do sure and how can people get a hold of you the
best way to get a hold of me right now is on social media teton shaves Facebook
Instagram also I have partnered up with a soap maker Murphy and McNeil if you go
to their website that’s where most of my brushes are sold ok thank you so much
absolutely thanks man

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