Bob and I are, well, let’s just say that we are not spring chickens any more. It seems that learning new tasks is just a bit more challenging than it once was. Enter the handles for our new badger-hair shave brushes.
In building our soap business, we started to consider adding items to our inventory that would compliment our soap. One idea that came to mind a year ago was shaving brushes. You see we produce a wonderful shaving soap in a puck form, and at the Charlottesville City Market, we sell some hand-thrown ceramic shaving mugs to use with the shaving soap, but up until now, we did not have a source for really nice shaving brushes with handles.
Finding the Materials
Bob found a source for lovely badger hair brushes that feel really wonderful on your face (or so I am told since I, Kathy, have never experienced the facial shave), but we needed a source for handles. Where oh where could our new handles come from?
Bob is an amazing shopper. He can find a used anything for an amazing price. He set his mind to finding a lathe, and that he did. A 1950’s Craftsman lathe. It is a thing of beauty, a machine built for many, many years of service. The stand is made of cast iron and requires 2 men to move it, and the motor runs as if it was made yesterday. The leather belt that turns the machine is in amazing shape. This lathe was clearly well-cared-for; 50 years later, the paint is in excellent condition, and it works like a charm.
Making the Handles
We cut some dogwood into pieces about a year ago with this process in mind so they were nice and dry, and ready for turning, so a couple of weeks ago, we turned on the lathe and got to work. Our son Derek has had some limited experience with a lathe, and I had a very small amount of experience just a “few” years ago when I (yes, I Kathy) took a shop class in high school (no comments from the peanut gallery on how long ago that must have been). We put a piece of wood on the lathe and turned away. It has been sort of fun to look at the shapes and finishes that we like, and we are quite pleased with the results that we have been able to produce so far.
Today, our friend Ricky, who has had some experience turning items on a lathe, came over to help us with some ideas. He showed us an amazing product called Shellawax that when paired with some really fine grit sandpaper and a bit of elbow grease puts a really nice finish on the shaving brush handles. Take a look at this handle turned today, soon to be paired up with a silvertip badger hair brush.
How about that? Old dogs really can learn new tricks.