I freely admit to being enthralled by (obsessed with?) wet shaving and fine craft. I typically spend 6 - 7 hours, 6 days a week at the lathe creating pepper mills and salt & pepper sets, and of course wet shaving accoutrements for art show, gallery and online sale.
Lathe work, for those unfamiliar with the process, creates a veritable hurricane of shavings, not mention huge clouds of sawdust! So by end of day, I'm very much in need of a shower. This "work schedule," if you can call it that, makes it logical for me to shave at the end, rather than at the beginning, of the day. Thus, the few minutes spent each day creating rich warm lather and drawing the razor is a time to relax and unwind. A time to get my head back into family life.
For many years, I've admired the magnificent handmade English, French and German shave brushes, but the prices were just beyond my budget.
Being a professional woodturner, it didn't take long to realize that the best shave brush handles are, for the most part, fairly basic turnings. I don't mean that in a depreciating sense because elegance most often arises from simplicity.
But it did start me thinking. So it wasn't long before the idea behind Brad Sears Shave Works came to fruition. The goal was simple: to create a first quality shaving brush at a more affordable price.
I readily admit that there are a slew of artisan brush makers out there creating a wide variety of shave brushes and other shaving accoutrements. These folks range from hobbyists, looking to simply cover their costs of materials, to serious professionals. Most use simple manual wood or metal lathes while some utilize computer-controlled machines capable of creating hundreds of identical brush handles in a fraction of the time needed to do similar work by hand.
I welcome them all. Ours is a thrilling time to be in business. The competition is fierce! By forcing makers (artisans and commercial manufacturers alike) to do better and better work and to seek out the best available materials, competition becomes a win-win for both the consumer (who gets a better product) and the maker (who must constantly improve his (or her) skills.)
The best artisans spend countless hours developing and refining their own styles, creating what's called their unique "voice." (Voice, simply stated, is the singular characteristic that enables the knowledgeable observer to instantly recognize an artisan's work by its form or shape alone--even before finding the artist's signature!)
This approach, to which I subscribe, harkens back to a less hectic time when pieces, in distinctive designs, were hand-crafted one at a time using hand-held calipers to establish basic dimensions, then finished "by eye." By employing this time-tested technique, each piece that emerges from my studio workshop is ever so slightly different from every other. These minute differences between brushes and razor handles assure the owner that his (or hers!) is unique in all the world--even if that "uniqueness" can only be measured in hundredths of an inch!
This method requires a highly developed eye and carefully honed fine motor skills developed after years of concerted effort, and matched with a burning desire to make the next piece even better than the last!
But none of that is possible without the artisan's adherence to the old-fashioned notion that each piece that leaves the studio represents a bond of trust with its new owner--a promise that that piece is both beautiful and will function flawlessly for years to come.
If this philosophy resonates with you, I invite you to review my work shown both on this website and its companion site (TurningArts.com.)
If you have any questions--or would like to commission a special piece--you may reach me through the "Contact" page of this website as well as by phone at +(570) 807-8100.
And if you find my work to your liking, it will be my privilege to be of service.