A tale of two Tuckaways

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by Cornishman, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Simon: I love your avatar! I even have a Wallace & Gromit shave kit.

    Anyway, the flat part on the top of the baseplate of my New Improved Tuckaway measures about 13mm compared to 15mm on my English NI Richwood.
    I think Cornishman's observation is one of the most interesting things I've read about on this forum for months. I can't wait to compare my two NI heads to see which one I like better.
  2. $ta6.jpg
  3. I only own two New Improved razors: a US Tuckaway (13mm) and a UK Richwood (15mm). Loaded with brand new Polsilver SI blades, I shaved with the 13 on the left and the 15 on the right.
    Drumroll ...
    Dead heat, if I'm being honest. I will switch sides tomorrow to complete the test.
  4. George, I have only two NI heads to check, so my data may not be that useful. Anyway, I found the same variation in caps between the 15 and the 13 as you did, but the differences were only a few hundredths of millimeters, which is negligible. As for the baseplates, the 13's baseplate was .3 mms longer than the 15's. Was that close to what you found?

    My obsession with this discovery just won't die. Today, I have done literally minutes worth of research trying to determine when the 13mm baseplate was introduced. After looking at a few pictures on Mr. Razor, my best guess is: 1927 or 1928. Porter's 15 is from early 1927. My 13 has no serial number, so it was made between 10/1927 and 8/1928. The "C" serial numbers came after the no-serial-number interregnum. So, the change happened either during the B range (after 795000 B) or during the interregnum.
    We don't know when Cornishman's or George's or my English 15s were made, nor do we know if the English ever made a 13, so I would like to see some New Improved heads with serial numbers in the B series after 795000.
    Anyone have a NI head in that range?
  5. Doc,

    I used a Hornady micrometer which is graduated in inches, but I have converted to mm as follows:

    English Big Fellow: Cap - 40.13mm x 19.66; Baseplate - 39.29 x 24.97
    US Tuckaway : Cap - 39.83mm x 19.23; Baseplate - 39.93 x 24.99

    I found this thread - Highest New Improved serial numbers from Gillette's non-US plants, started by Porter about 12 months ago:


    There were some higher number British NIs which may indicate if the Brits switched their sizing as well.

    Cheers, George
  6. FWIW, here are my numbers:
    English Richwood: Cap 39.86mm x 19.36; baseplate 39.72mm x 24.90
    US Tuckaway '28: Cap 39.84mm x 19.35; baseplate 39.99mm x 25.00

    George, do you have a preference as to which head shaves better?

    By a very small margin, after completing my second day of testing, I have joined Cornishman in the 15mm camp. Both are equally smooth, but the 15mm head is a tiny bit more effective. Fortunately for me, that type of NI head is far more common than the 13mm.
  7. Doc,

    I started the comparison this morning. I intend to test both with an assortment of blades so I'll post a result in about a week.

    Cheers, George
  8. Great! I hope others will join in and post their thoughts.
  9. Polarbeard

    Polarbeard Contributor

    Thank you for a very interesting thread Cornishman,
    I´m a user and not really a collector with one exception; the Tuck Away. Therefore I find this thread very interesting. Unfortunately I have no new technical knowledge to contribute with, just my passion for this beautiful razor.
  10. Thanks for sharing. Very well done.
  11. I finally got around to measuring my Made in USA Tuckaway baseplate and it appears to be the same dimension as your Made in England head. My Tuckaway dates from 1922 (SN: 100812 B)
  12. Please post a pic - I would love to see the kit!
  13. Thx Dr A. Very nice set. I'm a big fan of Wallace and Grommit and grew up not far from where Nick Parks (the W & G creator) grew up, but I live in the US now.
  14. I have completed my comparison.

    The Contenders:

    $BF1.jpg $Tuckaway2.jpg

    In Battle Dress: I am treating this as a comparison of heads so have used a SABI T1 handle on the Tuckaway.


    The Techniques: WTG and XTG: Gillette Slide; ATG: Blade buffing, J-Hooking problem areas.

    Round 1: Polsilver blade, T&H 1805 shave cream, 1 shim.
    Tuckaway a little smoother but Big Fellow slightly closer and longer lasting. Very close points decision for Big Fellow.

    Round 2: Gillette 7 O’Clock Yellow blade, Mitchells Wool Fat shave soap, no shims.
    Big points decision to Big Fellow for smoothness, closeness and long lasting. This was my first use of MWF. Wow.

    Round 3: Red Personna blade, DR Harris Arlington shave cream, no shims.
    Big surprise here. Big Fellow smooth very close and long lasting. Tuckaway close but rough producing multiple nicks and weepers and significant irritation.

    Decision: It is my practice to use a shim in razors that were designed for Old Type blades, but in this case the practice produced inferior shaves compared to no shim. For rounds 2 and 3, I was very impressed with the Big Fellow for both, and very impressed with the MWF soap. The Tuckaway just didn’t suit the Red Personna blade. I would award the competition to the English Big Fellow.

    I really like the Big Fellow and think that had Gillette made his Single Ring the size of the Big Fellow it would have had an even greater market appeal.

    That’s all folks.

    Cheers, George
  15. Fantastic in-depth write-up. I know you already stated this information, but your Big Fellow is English-made and has a 15mm wide flat area on the top of the baseplate. And your late-model US-made Tuckaway has a 13mm flat area.
    Anyone with both head styles can do this test. Both the 15 and the 13 were made in the US. So far, we have only seen 15s made in England.
    For the record, the 15mm baseplate is winning three votes to zero.
    Anyone else want to take the New Improved 15/13 challenge ?
  16. Thanks Doc. Hopefully we may get some more comparisons and votes.

    Cheers, George
  17. I just noticed this morning that the standard New Improved that I have in my user stable is one of the 13mm variety -- I don't remember the exact serial off the top of my head, but it was a 9xxxxC number, so either one of the very last ones made in 1928 or the first in 1929.

    Looking at it now I can't believe I never noticed the difference. I can't imagine that it hasn't contributed to my overall opinion of the New Improved head. Now I'm going to have to pull out a 15mm example and give them a good head-to-head, literally. :laugh:
  18. My guess is that all of the "C" serial numbers were 13mm models. Not sure about the very high numbered "B" series.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts after you compare the 13mm to the 15mm ...
  19. Very interesting thread!
    Do you know if there is a New Standard, Bostonian or Big Fellow set with this same late baseplate?

Share This Page