Paladin Micarta Brush Collection
Introducing Paladin Shaving® brushes with CrazyFiber handles
In October we released our first brushes with handles turned from Juma®, a high-grade, thermoplastic resin produced in Germany and made available in North America by Atlas Billiard Supplies. We have a customer to thank for prodding us to trial Juma. And now we have Natasha Savelyev of Atlas to thank for suggesting that we check out CrazyFiber, which is an innovative, micarta-like composite of fine fabric and resin developed and produced in small batches by Sergey Kotov, a Russian knife-maker. Crazy Fiber is made with pharmaceutical-grade epoxy that is very well suited for use in crafting handles for heirloom-quality shaving brushes.
Although “Micarta” has been maintained as a registered brand name since 1934, it is now commonly used with general reference to composites of linen, canvas, paper, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or other fabric in a thermosetting plastic. Micarta was developed by George Westinghouse at least as early as 1910 using phenolic resins invented by Leo Baekeland. It is noteworthy in this context that Baekland was the inventor of Bakelite, the first plastic made from synthetic components. Catalin, another thermosetting polymer related to Bakelite, was developed and trademarked in 1927, the year in which the patent on Bakelite expired. Both Bakelite and Catalin were once used to make shaving brush handles. We have examples of each in our collection of vintage brushes, and research primarily focused on catalin (with an interest in possibly finding a source of it) led us to Ebonite when we were just starting out in 2014. We were the first to offer shaving brushes made with handles turned from Ebonite (well over two years before Shavemac made that claim). We’re very pleased now to be the first (to the best of our knowledge) to offer brushes made with handles turned from Crazy Fiber. Paladin Shaving represents tradition on the cutting edge. And so, we believe, does Sergey Kotov’s Crazy Fiber. We’re grateful to Sergey and to Atlas for giving us the opportunity to work with Crazy Fiber.
The reason we didn’t experiment with micarta before Atlas presented the opportunity is that we had not previously come across any of it in a diameter or thickness of at least 40 mm. Atlas, however, had some 40 mm pieces of rod in stock. We bought one nine-inch piece, made a handle out of it, and then ordered one piece of each of the 30 other variants Atlas had on hand. The brushes presently offered here all have handles turned from material included in that order. We can only make three to four handles from a nine-inch piece. We bought out all of Atlas’ existing stock of 40 mm Crazy Fiber. We hope to get more, but don’t know for sure if or when that might happen. And assuming we do get more, it almost certainly won’t include all 31 of the variants we’re starting out with.
Some related links:
- Unique Materials & Supplies | Atlas Billiard Supplies (cuestik.com)
- COPYRIGHT COMPOSITE MATERIALS | Micarta | CrazyFiber
- MockingBird | Copyright knife workshop (mockingbirdknives.com)
- Westinghouse Micarta — Kimberlin Co. (erickimberlin.com)