ISAAC NEWTON – BEAR WITH US HERE – ONCE SAID: “ONLY MY APPLICATION BRINGS ME SUCCESS”. QUALITY TOOLS ARE AS ESSENTIAL TO SHOE SNOBBERY AS THEY ARE TO ANY ARTISANAL ENDEAVOUR: AND SO, NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE SHOE SNOB TAKES THEM VERY SERIOUSLY INDEED.
Forget synthetic bristles – they don’t handle well, and lack the requisite texture, stiffness and compliance for the various tasks at hand. Rather, specific types of animal hair are conducive to specific tasks: horse bristles, notably from the mane and tail, for medium-to-hard all-rounder brushes; goat or yak hair is softer and more delicate. This helps produce a more consistent look, hence ideal for finishing.
The highly coveted Boot Black Finishing Brush is arguably the best finishing brush in the world. But please don’t just take my word for it, read to find out why...
Originating from a village in Japan called Kumano-Town where brush-making has been a tradition for over 200 years since the Edo period. This is the home of the famous “Kumano make-up brush” using a Japanese traditional technique now trademarked as "Kumano-fude”.
Premium finishing brushes are generally made up of either 100% goat hair or a combination of goat hair and synthetic fibres. The Boot Black finishing brush is made with a blend of goat hair and horsehair. Very thin and soft downy goat hair is carefully selected. For the horsehair, only the hairs at the tip of the tail are chosen as these are thin but also quite firm.
Boot Black finishing brush is constructed in the same fashion as the Kumano makeup brush. It takes about 30 different processes to produce a single brush. 90% of the work is done meticulously by hand by highly skilled craftsmen and women.
This all begins with the most important procedure in brush making and that is “hair selection and processing"
Carefully selected hairs, of the highest quality, is sent to the workshop from a specialist overseas supplier. Raw hair contains excess oil and fat, so needs to be washed first. After washing, the hair is straightened in similar fashion as hair irons.