Fordite came onto our radar in July-August 2014 when Cody found some examples while doing research aimed at identifying materials we could possibly use to make novel brush handles. But we didn’t turn up any sources of Fordite at the time; Ebonite captured our attention; and then Lee Sabini proposed the collaboration that set our course and dictated focus over most of the next year. Since then, we’ve mainly concentrated on 1) creating our website, 2) designing and making handles using resins and Ebonite, 3) sourcing the highest quality knots available, and 4) producing enough brushes to catch and keep up with demand. We never, however, abandoned our objective to pursue innovative use of other materials, and Fordite continued to crop up in conversation from time to time.
A couple months ago, we were approached out of the blue by David Guzman, a customer, friend, and Paladin Shaving Round Table member, who had obtained some Fordite and wanted to know if we’d be interested in evaluating its suitability for use in making brush handles. We said yes and turned the first prototype while Cody was home with us for the holidays. That trial was a success. Cody has since done a test engraving, which worked well.
More testing needs to be done. The piece we used machined nicely, but the smell was very, very powerful in a not good way. We need to figure out how to manage that. I think I’d prefer to work with Fordite outdoors.
I should caution against anyone getting excited about scoring a Fordite-handled brush anytime soon. We still don’t know whether it will prove out to be well-suited for that purpose. It’s scarce. I’d expect any brush with a Fordite handle to be priced at a level only a few would willingly pay. And for my part, assuming I have one, I don’t think I’d want to turn very many Fordite handles. I spent the summer of 1967 working in a body shop. I just don’t like the smell of automotive paint. (One of my jobs was to spray the inside of old grain-truck cabs.) Nonetheless, it’s pretty damn cool stuff. And we’re pleased and proud to have had this opportunity to make what I’d guess with high confidence is the first Fordite shaving-brush handle. We like being first. Thanks, David!
Note that the first photo below is of the handle just as it came off the lathe.