Getting an english umbrella, can't decide between Brigg and James Smith

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by The Silverfox, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. The Silverfox

    The Silverfox Senior member

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    Title says it all really...

    Planning on getting a traditional long solid stick umbrella, and trying to decide which maker to go for.

    Obviously i don't expect to go wrong with either, but seeing as how I have a choice, I'd like to make it an informed one rather than a cointoss.

    I've read in some old threads that someone mentioned that Briggs had better finishing, while James Smith were a bit more robust. Can anyone confirm this if true?

    If so, how much is the difference in finishing, and big is the difference in robustness?


    And lastly, can anyone tell me what James Smith's are priced at? Read a few places that they're priced lower than briggs, but how much lower. Probably won't be the deciding factor, but if all else is equal I'm sure I could think of a few things I could buy with the savings.

    And of course if anyone have any other thoughts that might be of interested, besides what I mentioned, I'd love to hear it.

    Thanks a lot.
     


  2. tazmaniac

    tazmaniac Senior member

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    Do you live in London? If not, the Brigg might be easier to get a hold of. James Smith does ship, but I remember asking them about it and the shipping quote was pretty high. Also, have a look at Fox, I think they are very nice as well (though my only experience with them is a ladies' stick umbrella I bought for my mother). I have a Brigg, and I like it very much, though I think they are a little overrated finishing-wise.
     


  3. BlackShoes

    BlackShoes Senior member

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    I recently looked at both and found the Brigg more to my liking.

    Assuming we are talking about 1 piece solid stick construction (as opposed to a fit up), the Brigg really is more elegant. Mainly because the shaft narrows (tapers) immediately above the handle, allowing you a tighter roll and a more refined appearance when open. It has a few other little touches that make it stand out as well, the lower end of the spokes are all fed onto a ring, which is then covered by a ruffled cotton cover for example.

    As far as robustness goes, they both use the same frame (unless you go for a James Smith 10 rib) as far I know, which is obviously the most vulnerable part. The stick will be fine for weight bearing, tapered or no.

    They both had minor finishing blemishes where the brass parts had been sawn off the sprue.

    If you can, get to the shops, Brigg has a smaller selection, but there is considerable variety even within models (I have a maple umbrella, though in the shop, one of the maple umbrellas was plain, and the other was a beautiful tiger striped variety, both priced the same). James smith has dizzying array of umbrellas, much much more than they display on the website, or even the shop floor. James smith is better if you want something unusual, Brigg's selection consists mainly of wooden crook handled examples, whilst James Smith caters to all tastes (though the more fanciful handles are often fit up).
     


  4. entrero

    entrero Senior member

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    I have a James Smith and I too faced the same dilemma. JS might seem cheaper but the final price will be the same as Brigg if you add a collar.

    Shipping is @50GBP for JS while Briggs is somewhat cheaper, the reason why so expensive are the "unusual" package dimensions. Keep in mind your wood choice which makes a world of difference. My maple is heavy while a chestnut feels like bamboo.

    I chose JS because of it's underdog appeal, doesn't need any royal warrant or whatsoever.
     


  5. The Silverfox

    The Silverfox Senior member

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    I live in london, and actually live just 3 minutes walk from Fox. Been there before and as I recall they didn't have any umbrellas appropriate for my height. I'm about 1.95m so need a long one.
     


  6. BlackShoes

    BlackShoes Senior member

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    If you ask nicely, James Smith can make one to length for you, could be an option if there is nothing there of the right height.
     


  7. The Silverfox

    The Silverfox Senior member

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    Ok, took a stroll today and stopped by the JS and Brigg, ended up with a beautiful chestnut from brigg. Will post some pics in a few hours.
     


  8. TCN

    TCN Senior member

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    Good choice. I have both, and you're right, you can't go wrong with either, but I prefer my Brigg. Although I enjoyed purchasing the JS more.
     


  9. ThinkDerm

    ThinkDerm Senior member

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  10. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Good choice. I have both, and you're right, you can't go wrong with either, but I prefer my Brigg. Although I enjoyed purchasing the JS more.

    The atmosphere and service at JS has won me over completely. Charm galore, that place.
     


  11. The Silverfox

    The Silverfox Senior member

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    Sorry about the delay, here are the pics.

    The picture quality is bad, as it's taken on camera on my cellphone, but you get the idea.

    I think I'm going to take it back though, as there are some scratches in the metal on the tip of it, as you can see in pictures 9 and 10. I took the display model, rather than one from the back-room, so I guess it's probably from friction against the display case or something.

    Otherwise very happy with it, I've got big hands so the thick chestnut handle seems good for me. Just going to trade it in for one without the scratches.
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  12. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I wouldn't worry about the scratches--in fact, I don't even notice them. The metal tip is meant to get dinged up.
     


  13. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    Are these style umbrella's any better in function than a cheaper style plastic/metal umbrella? Obviously I know they're made better but are they any better at holding off the rain, standing up in a wind, etc.?
     


  14. entrero

    entrero Senior member

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    @Silverfox, the ferrules (as they called it) are always "scratched". The nail that holds it in place is sawed off in the end which leaves a mark. @Rambo, a 5K troll [​IMG]
     


  15. BlackShoes

    BlackShoes Senior member

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    About those scratches, you wont find an umbrella without them. As I said in my first post, they are marks left when the brass components are separated from their casting sprue, I believe they cast several of them in a single pour, take the whole collection and create a patina on it by some form of dipping procedure, and then separate the components, leaving a raw mark where it was previously attached to the sprue.

    As the umbrella ages, the marks will fade to the colour of the rest of the brass.
     


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