If you have ever wondered about the process that your Renwick & Sons brushes go through before they reach your hands and your horse’s coat, then our blog might interest you (especially if you are like us and love the details!)
Knock On Wood
If we really want to start our brushes journey of correctly, all Renwick & Sons brushes begin some one-hundred years ago, with the planting of a beech tree. All of the wood used in our brush backs is sustainable FSC European Beech, which reaches maturity at 30 years of age but is only felled once the tree has reached a majestic century!
When felled the beech logs are placed in great stacks for six months to season in the open air – much like you would do with your own firewood. After this period they are transported a short distance to be processed into timber; here the logs are rough sawn into boards before being moved to the site of production. Of these rough boards, we only accept wood from the heart of the tree. This is done to assure the spectacular colour you see in your finished brushes, as the outer rings of a tree do not hold the same aesthetic quality.
As each tool goes through a slightly different process, we’re going to focus on our Body Brush – the keystone of every equestrians grooming routine. The first process that these boards go through is to be cut into smaller sections which better reflect the size of the brushes they will ultimately become.
Only Perfect Will Do
As the wood is handled and passed between operators during these steps, any which is deemed to be too knotty, showing signs of cracks and splits, or generally not of high enough quality it is put aside. The simple reason for this being that if these pieces of wood were carved into the final shape, they would split due to the imperfections.
With these smaller boards now through quality control, a rough outline of the final Body Brush shape is carved out by a computer programmed milling machine before being precision kiln dried at 80°c for four weeks. The reason for this prolonged period in the kiln is to assure the moisture content is somewhere between 8% and 10% which helps prevent the beech from cracking when the final complex curves are cut and allows us to deliver our grooming tools worldwide.
Combining Tradition With Technology
Once out of the kiln these rough brush backs are then precision cut on a multi-axis router. The path which this router will take through the wood is computer programmed before cutting, meaning that the robotic-cutter is given the path of greatest efficiency and precision and a total cutting time of around thirty-six minutes. The delicate range of movement afforded by using these robotic milling machines ensures that the Renwick & Sons brushes have smooth contours and seamless curves which allow your hand to fit so ergonomically and comfortably.
Every piece then goes through a formal quality control check again, and if any piece is judged by the woodworker to be cracked or incorrectly cut, then it will not be worked any further and is marked for recycling.
The Body Brush, now in its final shape, is sanded by hand to produce a finish which brings out the beautiful wood grain and is smooth to touch.
After this, we then apply a coat of linseed oil to the wood and leave it for around a week to dry. Once the oil is dry, a second sanding is carried out which brings the wood surface to a silky smooth finish before a final application of linseed oil. Once they have been quality checked by our team, the brushes are then proudly laser engraved with the Renwick & Sons name.
All In The Detail
Our craftsmen carefully hammer brass inserts with a soft mallet into each side of the wood, so that our buttery soft quality leather straps can be screwed into the Body Brush upon purchase. This stage also offers our team yet another quality control opportunity to see whether the brush can move forward or needs to be reworked in any way.
Cutting Edge Bristle Technology
The next stage involves incorporating our bristles; Holes are drilled where each bristle tuft will sit and then securely stapled into place using stainless steel staples. Clamped into the machine, the body brush block is first drilled, and then moves to a second station where three different types of our unique MonotecⓇ bristles are seamlessly stapled into the correct row, before being transferred to the third and final station where the bristles are trimmed to the correct length. The level of precision, speed, and sophistication of this machine which we create Renwick & Sons brushes on is unmatched; no other machine eclipses it in its area and it enables us to create the finest equine brushware on the market.
Tailoring Your Kit
Upon purchase, each Renwick & Sons collection is packed together, with each brush hand selected to complement the grain and colour of each other. Time is spent matching and re-matching and rematching brushes to assure the most aesthetically pleasing combination.
Our leather straps are handmade off-site, by a small independent British company using leather from British tanneries. These straps in the customers’ colour of choice are carefully affixed to the body brush with a brass screw after any requested embossing has been completed.
Once all nine tools and the Renwick & Sons book are placed in their aluminium briefcase, they are then packed with faux straw for protection during delivery. The kit is packed in a designer white presentation box, with a hand tied ribbon around it, and a personal thank-you letter or greeting card with a personalised message is placed under the ribbon. This presentation box is in-turn placed into an outer protective box for shipping and then ready to leave our doors to be delivered to the recipient.
From tree to your kit, every step of the way, Renwick & Sons assure you the ultimate in quality and perfection.
Discover more about why our brushes offer the ultimate in performance and durability by reading our blog SYNTHETIC V NATURAL BRISTLES.Back to Journal