Hand Made Luxury Shaving accessories by Rodney Neep



Stages in the making of a shaving brush

No mass production. Each brush is individually hand crafted. Every one of them is different.

The amber highlights in the onyx are a perfect match with the amber resin centre section

The finished mega brush alongside a normal sized shaving brush.


This one was a challenge! A big challenge. The customer wanted a huge handled shaving brush made in three segments of Onyx and Amber resin.

The basic dimensions specified were:

  • Handle height about 110mm
  • Handle max diameter 50mm
  • Brush knot: 30mm Extra Dense Silvertip Badger

That is a very, very big brush!

We chatted back and forth by email for a while, and settled on a handle with a 50mm diameter ball shape of onyx at the top, a centre narrower section of amber resin that had a detail similar to a chess pawn shape on one of my other brushes, and a large dumpy heavy base section.

A 50mm diameter ball shape at the top will have a height of about 37mm, (the top of the ball is cut flat where the knot fits, and the bottom of the ball sits in a "cup"), and therefore I decided to make three equal segments of 37mm, adding up to a total of 111mm.

The first challenge is that I need to join the segments of the three resins, and to do that I need dead square shoulders on the resin pieces in order to get a perfect joint. However, although my wood turning lathe has a four jaw chuck to hold the large resin diameter, the engineering lathe doesn't. I therefore have to turn a shoulder on the resin so that it will fit into the chuck of the engineering lathe.


Now the large resin can fit in the chuck of the engineering lathe, and I have turned a dead square face on the end of the resin

Next I bore a 20mm hole to 10mm deep.

That hole will accept a tenon on the end of the amber resin

The same is done with the two Onyx resin segments. One which will be the top of the handle, and the other the base.

Next, the amber resin is mounted in the chuck of the engineering lathe, and the end faced square.


and a tenon turned on the end 10mm deep and a smidgin under 20mm diameter.

A "smidgin" is a quaint old imperial measurement, which basically means a tiny amount. :-)

You can see here how the tenon in the amber resin will fit into the hole in the onyx resin. The faces are dead flat, so they will form a perfect joint. The tenon adds a little extra strength and surface area when it is to be glued.
Next the amber resin is marked off at 37mm long, plus another 10mm for the tenon. A black sharpie is used to create a black background, and it is scratched through on the exact right measurement.
The amber resin mounted in the engineering lathe
And the tenon turned on the other end, with dead flat shoulders to match the onyx
and now we have the bthree segments ready for glueing. It is very important that the ends are dead square to give a precision joint.
Dry fitted together
The spare stubs are no longer needed, so they are cut off
and the end faced, back on the large four jaw chuck of the wood turning lathe. This segment will become the top of the handle.
The hole is bored 30mm diameter to take the brush knot.

The knot can be temporarily fitted at this stage to check the "loft" of the knot. The depth of the hole governs how much of the badger hair protrudes above the handle.

The stub is removed from the other onyx piece that will form the base of the handle
We are now ready to glue the three pieces together.
Thick viscosity CA glue is spread onto all the joint faces (including the hole and the tenon), and then the assembly is pressed together using the tailstock of the lathe to apply pressure.
The assembly is left for the glue to cure.


Next stage is to drill a small hole down the centre
and then a screw thread is cut in that hole
That threaded hole will fit onto my special brush handle turning screw chuck

We are all mounted up on the screw chuck, the base of the handle is supported by a revolving centre in the tailstock.

We are finally ready to start turning the brush handle

The base section of the brush is roughed to shape using a spindle gouge, and the ball head of the brush is also roughly turned to shape. Note the black line which is half way along that segment, and which is the high spot of maximum diameter of the ball. The ball is all turned by eye using only hand tools.
Final shaping of the ball is done using sandpaper. It is almost to final shape here.

A collar has been turned into the amber resin at the base of the ball, and the centre and base sections are nearing final shape.

Some finer sanding

It is at this stage that the shape begins to develop on its own.... just going with the flow of the curves that feels right.

The base section needs some added detailing


The finished brush.


1/8" half round beading turned at the junction between the amber and the onyx, and a 1/8" half round beading turned into the fat part of the base section.

Final sanding down to 2,000 grit wet & dry

The bottom is faced smooth.

Then comes the ultra fine sanding with micro mesh pads. Various grades down to an ultra smooth 12,000 grit.

Followed by polishing compound applied with a safety cloth with the lathe running fast.


And the colours spring to life with a high gloss.

All done and ready to glue in the large 30mm Extra Silvertip badger hair knot.





Copyright 2012 Rodney Neep All Rights Reserved