the trickery of early safety razors..

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
Post Reply
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

the trickery of early safety razors..

Post by D.Irving79 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:29 am

ive been interested in early safety razors for some time now. it started with c. 1920 gillettes, then i discovered a razor by the name of GEM and it was all downhill from there...

recently though, ive become extremely interested in the OLD old safety razors; those "lather catcher" style razors that look like a question mark when you lay them on their side. the intricate artwork, the FULL blade exposure, and nothing can beat the sound of what i can only describe as the echo of the scraping of the whiskers off due to the less solid design of these early instruments of grooming.

ive acquired around 10 of these razors to date and all of them are in my rotation, being used with single edge blades. originally, some of these razors were used with what are called "wedge blades", basically smaller sections of a straight that would, of course, have to be honed and stropped to mantain their edge. these wedge blades however were the same size as early and modern single edge blades....


which leads to the crux of this topic...

here is a picture of an early ever ready razor in the "lather catcher" style i referred to (pic c/o pauldog)

Image

these were manufactured around 1905 and as late as 1910, and early on took the wedge blade i described, but later on after the entrance of the single edge blade (which at first ALSO had to be re-sharpened), was used with that instead.

moving along...

this is a picture of a late 1800s GEM cutlery razor i purchased off of ebay not long ago:

Image

it rests next to an early 1920s ever ready rear loading model (which also takes SE blades). note how the heads appear to be similar in size. i mean, why not, a razor (the 1905 ever ready) was modeled after ones before it, and the 1905 ever ready was able to take SE blades, right?



WRONG



it appears safety razors PRE-1900 could only in fact TAKE WEDGE BLADES. i tried to insert a SE blade into the GEM and it slid right out.... so i tried it in the 1888 kampfe bros. star i just got as well.....slid right out.

i then took the actual wedge blade that came with the 1888 kampfe to do a measurement test: the wedge blade is BARELY, and i mean BARELY bigger than the single edge blade. also, be advised, the runner guards on the sides of the head to guide in the blade are angled much sharper than on later models, which also leads me to believe that as time went on, the size of the wedge blade gradually decreased.


so there you have it. i now have to learn how to sharpen this damn wedge blade so i can use these razors. son of a b.

User avatar
xChris
Posts: 445
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:16 am

Re: the trickery of early safety razors..

Post by xChris » Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:27 pm

D.Irving79 wrote:i now have to learn how to sharpen this damn wedge blade so i can use these razors. son of a b.
Hmm... So now you're closer to a traditional straight razor than a Feather AC or a Dovo shavette! :lol:
Chris

User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Post by D.Irving79 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:37 pm

this is about as close to shaving with a straight as its gonna get :D


i do use a durham duplex demonstrator from time to time to shave with, which is a semi straight.

User avatar
xChris
Posts: 445
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:16 am

Post by xChris » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:14 pm

Good luck with the sharpening of the wedge blade. I suspect that you'll be perusing the various posts on honing/stropping. You do plan on stropping it, right? :P

However, I'm not taking responsibility if you're mind starts wandering/wondering about how a traditional straight compares to your lovely GEM. :twisted:
Chris

User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Post by D.Irving79 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:24 pm

dug out the sharpening stone i bough when i tried a straight like 11 years ago and im gonna use the back of my valet strop for now. a GEM i have from the late 1800s has a stropping handle i can use w/ a wedge blade.

User avatar
Pauldog
Never Shave a Husky
Posts: 6245
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:39 pm

Post by Pauldog » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:46 pm

And then there's the mildly abrasive strop paste, which people used with success on the Rolls razor. Chris Moss suggested making some from hematite powder in vaseline:
http://www.shavemyface.com/forum/viewto ... &&start=22

This is pretty close to the "official" Rolls strop paste.

spinyeel
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:17 am
Location: australia

Post by spinyeel » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:09 am

Very nice.How do you get under the shnoz with one of those bad boy's? :lol: :lol:

User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Post by D.Irving79 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:06 am

lots of practice. but it is possible.

Post Reply