Anyone Shaving With A Gem?

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
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Craig_From_Cincy
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Anyone Shaving With A Gem?

Post by Craig_From_Cincy »

I was wondering if is using a Gem in their regular shave rotation, and if so, what blades are you using and what kind of results are you getting?
Cheers,

Craig
CMur12
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Post by CMur12 »

Craig, I haven't used a GEM for awhile, as I like a really mild razor and even the milder Heavy Flattop/G-bar and Featherweight are a little aggressive for me.

When I used it, I strongly favored the Treet blades, which are carbon steel and are very noticeably sharper than any of the stainless GEM blades. (Note that Treet, PAL, and GEM blades are all made by ASR.) With a very light touch, the Treet blade will mow right through my whiskers unimpeded. I air-dry and hand-strop the blade to keep it from rusting. The blade deteriorates fairly rapidly and I can get three shaves from it. By the third shave, I get some tugging, but I still get a smooth shave.

Most SE users prefer the PTFE-coated stainless GEM blades. They are smoother and they last longer. (I get about 5 shaves from one of these.) Because they aren't as sharp as the Treets, I have to apply a little pressure to get the same cut, and this results in added irritation for me.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!
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celar36
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Post by celar36 »

Hi,

I use in rotation few ER/GEM only and the blade I favour is GEM SS. Love it

What razor do you use?
Jack
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Post by brothers »

In the past I've used many of these, currently have one each of the open comb and the straight bar Micromatics, but haven't cared for the quality of the shaves in the past. Right now, I'm having a very satisfying "go" with the Gem Junior Bar lather catcher, and have just finished off the second Gem PTFE stainless in as many weeks of using this razor exclusively. I've got a few of the Treets (black plastic box) and having read Murray's post above, I've already loaded up a fresh Treet for this evening's shave. I'll see how well it goes. They're available in both green and black boxes on Amazon. I see that Dorco's website has an abundance of Single Edge blades (Pace brand) for sale also.
Gary

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Post by rsp1202 »

CMur12 wrote:. . . I haven't used a GEM for awhile, as I like a really mild razor and even the milder Heavy Flattop/G-bar and Featherweight are a little aggressive for me. . .
It's been a long while since I used a G-Bar and some other SE I now can't recall (don't remember the blades, either), and it shaved irritatingly close so had to give it up. Looks like there are more choices amongst SE blades than injectors, so maybe I should start looking into that again. What is considered a "mild" SE?
Ron
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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad »

Ron, the mildest SE razor I know of is the Jr Bar that Brothers is using. But they aren't plentiful. The 3 most plentiful next mildest SE razors I know of are the Featherweight, G Bar, and the Pushbutton. They all share the same head, so I've been told; I know the first 2 do, I've never held a Pushbutton.

Craig, I much more than regularly shave with a SE razor, a lot of the time with a GEM. My preference for blades are the Ted Pella type GEM SS ptfe coated triple facet blades (stock # 121-3). But EMS also has them listed as their extra sharp blades or some such. Connaught also has them and they (so I've heard) sell them for a better price than any of the other sellers. Even with shipping from the UK they're still less expensive. A typical observation from users of these blades is that they get better after 3-4 shaves on them. I get an average of 14 shaves from one. Don't be shy about trying that. They don't get nasty and bite as they get older, they just stop cutting efficiently and it takes more effort to get a great shave. Once I detect that I can the blade.

Edit: I just realized that I pretty much use DE for (at most) 1/3 of my shaves and SE for 2/3 or more. I load a DE blade and a SE blade at the same time. Then I use both until they get retired. I use the DE for 7 days and the SE for at least 14 days most times, most times longer sometimes not.
Last edited by ShadowsDad on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Brian

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HoosierTrooper
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Post by HoosierTrooper »

I use some type of Gem, Ever-Ready or Star SE razor the majority of the time. My favorite blades are the carbon steel Gem Blue Star, Treet and CVS blades made by ASR. I do occasionally use the stainless Gem blades made by ASR.
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Post by Pauldog »

I use a few Gem razors on an irregular basis. A very long time ago, I bought a bunch of stainless Gem blades on clearance at a couple of stores, so I generally use them, with good results. They come in a dark gray plastic dispenser.
Last edited by Pauldog on Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by brothers »

ShadowsDad wrote:. . . the mildest SE razor I know of is the Jr Bar that Brothers is using. . . But they aren't plentiful.
This observation is both puzzling and kind of embarrassing to me, because I have been enjoying what I call "aggressive" razors up in the range of the Cobra Classic, the Barbasol floating head, the Above the Tie H head, and the Progress dialed pretty far up the scale. Over the past several years I've crawled and climbed slowly and surely through a ton of double edge razors, foreign and domestic, new and old, and discarded all but the above named "aggressive" razors.

Then up pops this magnificent and distinctly different Gem Junior Bar lather catcher! I call it aggressive because I can feel the edge of the blade on the skin, and because it requires close attention to detail to avoid nicks and cuts as it continues to provide close and smooth shaves comparable to my aggressive razors. It is what it is, I suppose, mild or aggressive, whatever it might be, it's great! Up to now, the most overly harsh aggressive razors I've used are the Open Comb Gem Micromatic and the Muhle R41 beast. Just too harsh and angry for my purposes.
Gary

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Post by SRD »

The Gem is part of my regular rotation
Dave
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Post by brothers »

I used a new Treet blade tonight in the Gem Junior Bar and it felt smoother than the Gem. Afterward, though, the shave wasn't as close as the Gem. Could be operator error? I see Murray gets only about 3 shaves with the Treet. I won't be expecting more than that from this blade. Still under investigation. :D
Gary

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Post by SharpSpine »

I use SEs exclusively. For my Gems & EverReadys I prefer the SS blades that are PTFE coated. I got 200 from Ted Pella. I've heard though that it's cheaper to get them from Connaught. I've tried the carbon blades but they start rusting during my first shave due to my extremely hard water.
> Brian < Shave On & God Bless!!

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CMur12
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Post by CMur12 »

Gary, I'm surprised that your shave with a Treet blade wasn't as close as with a GEM stainless. I wonder if you were "being careful" because the blade was a new experience to you.

Either way, it won't be as sharp for your next shave as it was for this one. Why don't you use this blade one more time to get used to it, then try a new one again to see how it goes with a fresh blade. After that, you may want to see how many shaves you can squeeze out of a blade. The third shave for me is pushing it a bit. I get noticeable tugging, but the resulting shave is still good.

I have wondered if one might be able to effectively extend the life of these carbon steel blades with a paddle strop. It might be necessary to secure the blade in something like a scraper handle to make more positive contact between the edge and the strop. I haven't been willing to risk the expense of a strop to find out, but if this worked, it would make SE shaving a whole lot more attractive to me. I really don't like the idea of using a blade for a short time and just throwing it away.

- Murray
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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad »

brothers wrote:
ShadowsDad wrote:. . . the mildest SE razor I know of is the Jr Bar that Brothers is using. . . But they aren't plentiful.
This observation is both puzzling and kind of embarrassing to me, because I have been enjoying what I call "aggressive" razors up in the range of the Cobra Classic, the Barbasol floating head, the Above the Tie H head, and the Progress dialed pretty far up the scale. Over the past several years I've crawled and climbed slowly and surely through a ton of double edge razors, foreign and domestic, new and old, and discarded all but the above named "aggressive" razors.

Then up pops this magnificent and distinctly different Gem Junior Bar lather catcher! I call it aggressive because I can feel the edge of the blade on the skin, and because it requires close attention to detail to avoid nicks and cuts as it continues to provide close and smooth shaves comparable to my aggressive razors. It is what it is, I suppose, mild or aggressive, whatever it might be, it's great! Up to now, the most overly harsh aggressive razors I've used are the Open Comb Gem Micromatic and the Muhle R41 beast. Just too harsh and angry for my purposes.
That's why so many models were made over the years. YMMV.

On another forum, the very same Jr Bar I found too mild is working great in another gents hands. That's life and that's why I PIFed it out. I loved the looks of the razor for sure and wanted one for quite some time, but it just wasn't to be for me.

Gary, trust me, the consternation you feel over this I also feel but on the other end of the scale. I can't understand why more folks don't love the OCMM, R41, etc. . It's not that I don't feel the blade; I do. I just don't mind the feel of it. That's just the way things are. It's no big deal. We're all different. If we weren't all different there would only be a handful of razors made. Wouldn't that be boring!

I don't think many folks would consider the R41 to be less than very aggressive and there is only one person I know of who can't feel the blade with it. That would be my buddy. I loaned him my spare and he told me that it is aggressive but he couldn't feel the blade. Different folks.
Brian

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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square
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Craig_From_Cincy
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Post by Craig_From_Cincy »

Thanks for the replies gents. I posted this question as I have a few nice Gems in my collection and I'm considering trying my hand at shaving with them again:

Image

I tried shaving with a Gem a few years back and didn't get good results. In all fairness to Gems, I was very new to wetshaving at that point and need to try my hand at shaving with them again.
Cheers,

Craig
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Post by brothers »

Brian, I'm just considering myself fortunate because my oldest daughter gave me the Gem Jr Bar and I of course just had to try it at least once, otherwise I'd have just missed out on something very special. All of the above is, as you say, viva la difference! One man's "10" is another man's ball and chain!!! :lol:

Craig, nice collection, for sure!
Gary

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Post by themba »

I see that Dorco's website has an abundance of Single Edge blades (Pace brand) for sale also.
From what I have heard, the Dorco SE blades are rubbish, so beware.

This observation is both puzzling and kind of embarrassing to me, because I have been enjoying what I call "aggressive" razors up in the range of the Cobra Classic, the Barbasol floating head, the Above the Tie H head, and the Progress dialed pretty far up the scale. Over the past several years I've crawled and climbed slowly and surely through a ton of double edge razors, foreign and domestic, new and old, and discarded all but the above named "aggressive" razors.

Then up pops this magnificent and distinctly different Gem Junior Bar lather catcher! I call it aggressive because I can feel the edge of the blade on the skin, and because it requires close attention to detail to avoid nicks and cuts as it continues to provide close and smooth shaves comparable to my aggressive razors. It is what it is, I suppose, mild or aggressive, whatever it might be, it's great! Up to now, the most overly harsh aggressive razors I've used are the Open Comb Gem Micromatic and the Muhle R41 beast. Just too harsh and angry for my purposes.
Apart from the whole everyone is different thing, the big things with SE razors are the blade angle, pressure, and making sure the shaving surface is flat.

When I shave with SE razors, I make sure the guard bar is on the skin, doing it's job of stretching the skin, as well as helping to prevent cuts/nicks. With a blade like a GEM SE blade the guard bar becomes very important. There is a reason why they use these blades as paint scrapers. I also make sure the shaving surface is flat. Most SE users will shave with the razor head slightly lifted to give the "best angle" for shaving.

SE razors do not handle uneven shaving surfaces well, and like straight razors, they tend to nick, cut, or cause irritation when the skin is not flat. Also, anything like moles, bumps, that disrupt the flat skin surface could be cut or nicked.

Craig, that is a nice collection of SE razors. Bet you did not know that some of the Wilkinson sword Empire razors can take a modified SE blade that has both rear edges cut off, resulting in an adjustable SE razor.

For the time being, I would suggest the razors on the top shelf, in particular, the one in the middle, the GEM Micromatic Flying Wing. It's a good place to start.
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Post by rsp1202 »

themba wrote:. . . There is a reason why they use these blades as paint scrapers. . .

. . . SE razors do not handle uneven shaving surfaces well . . . they tend to nick, cut, or cause irritation when the skin is not flat. . . .
Thanks. Now I remember why I gave them up. :lol: You're right, everyone is different.
Ron
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Post by brothers »

Themba, that makes a lot of sense to me. Now I should try to rethink how I'm using the razor, given the techncal advice you've provided.
Gary

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Post by themba »

themba wrote:
. . . There is a reason why they use these blades as paint scrapers. . .

. . . SE razors do not handle uneven shaving surfaces well . . . they tend to nick, cut, or cause irritation when the skin is not flat. . . .
Thanks. Now I remember why I gave them up. Laughing You're right, everyone is different.
:lol: :lol:
My point was to emphasize that even though they are safety razors, they can be more like straight razors in some regards, as opposed to being like modern safety razors. That should not be enough to scare you away. :lol: There are plenty of straight razor users here. The second quote can apply to DE razors as well. It's just that with SE razors it can be more pronounced due to the type of blade being used.

Remember, the first "safety razors" were straight razors with guards on them. The first hoe type safety razors were SE razors that used a wedge blade. The wedge blade was basically a piece of a straight razor blade as seen in the image below:

Image
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