Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Frugal Shaver: A Clothes-Hanger Brush Holder

For some time now, I've been using a Tweezerman brush to make and apply lather. During periods of regular use, I have stored this badger-bristled, wood-handled brush upside down to dry under a medicine cabinet. The method that I used to hang the brush upside down is adhesive-backed hook-and-loop (a.k.a. Velcro) pads. The medicine cabinet is not recessed into the wall, so it has an accessible bottom to which a hook pad is stuck. The corresponding loop pad was stuck to the handle bottom on the Tweezerman brush.
The middle brush, the Tweezerman badger, is easily hung to dry
under my medicine cabinet using Velcro-type pads. The Van Der
Hagen boar, at right, is a bit too heavy for the sticky adhesive of
the hook-and-loop pads. The Omega Syntex at left gets a brush
stand to avoid the unsteady stance on the countertop, when a loop
pad is stuck to the bottom of the brush handle.

This hook-and-loop method of hanging my shaving brushes to dry worked fairly well. But there were a few drawbacks. One, the loop pad on the bottom of the shaving brush made the brush stand unsteadily on the counter top when set down -- especially when it was heavy with water and lather. A second problem to this hook-and-loop method was when a heavier brush is used.

For example, my Van Der Hagen brush is the largest of my three and by far the heaviest. Its smooth plastic handle bottom accepted the adhesive-backed loop pad well. However, the bottom is so smooth that, every few days, the sticky adhesive of the loop pad tended to slowly release its grip on the handle bottom, when the heavy brush was hung under the cabinet to dry. Dealing with that problem is currently avoided because this VDH brush is, for the time being, in my shaving shoe box in my closet.

So with its arrival of my latest brush acquisition, the Omega Syntex, some questions were raised in my mind: was I 1) going to let it dry while sitting on the counter with bristles pointed up, and if not, 2) how was I going to suspend it upside down?

My improvised brush stand began looking something like this
but not in a condition quite this good.
For simplicity during travel shaves, I will probably just shake the water out of the Syntex and leave it, bristles up, on the counter to dry. At home during daily use, being conservative, I want to ensure that any moisture has every opportunity to run down, away from the adhesive in the base of the bristle knot. So I decided to skip the hook-and-loop method, and quickly improvise a brush stand.

I took a metal-wire clothes hanger that had a kinked bottom cardboard pants rod; it was fairly useless as a hanger. After throwing away the hopelessly-kinked pants rod, I took a pair of needle-nosed pliers and started to fabricate an improvised brush stand.

The end result was functional, as shown below:
The finished brush stand.

I wanted to maintain the sense of from where this brush holder came, so I chose to keep the original top hook of the clothes hanger to some degree. I merely broadened the shape of the hook to add to the stability of the base rather than obliterating its shape completely. After all, if you're going to make a brush stand from a clothes hanger, you might as well celebrate its thrifty origins, eh?

Here's another view of the finished brush stand without the brush in place:

Notice that not only the original top hook
of the hanger has been preserved to a
degree, but also the kinked ends that held
the card-board pants rod.

I also tried my improvised hanger with my other brushes, the Tweezerman badger and the Van Der Hagen boar. To my pleasant surprise, the holder fit the handles of each nicely without any adjustment, meaning that, to dry them with bristles pointing down, I didn't have to suspend them from the underside of the cabinet any more using the hook-&-loop method. The upper, semi-circular loop that holds the brush handle flexes enough to allow each brush to be snapped in place securely. This meant that I could then remove the loop pad from the bottom of the Tweezerman so it will sit more steadily on the counter when set down with bristles pointed up.

The good news about this wire brush stand is that this took less than ten minutes to fabricate. It was also as inexpensive as you can get.

However, some may view the base as a tangled mess. I prefer to think of it as art (any port in a storm ;-). It is, at least, perfectly functional. The biggest shock has been that my wife didn't complain about having it out on the bathroom counter -- in fact, she kind of laughed about it.

Um, I'm taking that to be laughing in a good way....

Happy shaving!

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