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Blade support/rigidity, my take on vintage Gillettes

Having assembling an admittedly modest selection of pre-1950 safety razors, and using them exclusively, my 3-piece Gillettes have settled out into two distinct camps: one for razors that consistently give me “WOW!!” shaves and put a smile on my face; and the other that are capable of great shaves, but more often lead to frustrating shaves and much cursing.

If I come at the question of why, objectively, say by pretending to be a zoologist and laying all the specimens out on the table, it seems pretty clear what the common variable is. (At least to me; I’d love some feedback).

Razors I am in love with, every time:
-Old Type (either thin or thick cap)
-New SHORT comb
-Post-war (‘46-50) fat handle Tech

Razors that underwhelm me:
-New Deluxe (I don’t have a New Imp.)
-New LONG comb
-Pre/Early-war (‘38-45) fat handle Tech

Both groups have Techs; both groups have NEWs; both groups have an ‘outlier’ (OT vs ND); both groups are a mix of more aggressive to more mild.

But there is ONE common trait, as far as I can see:

All the razors that work magic on my face have the “full blade support” that many on B&B praise. They have a curved base plate that matches the top cap, thus supporting the blade more fully, and closer to the edge.

All the razors that have migrated to the bottom of my list have Gillette’s “fulcrum shoulder”, where the blade is pinched, but with a lot of “overhang”.
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So while I don’t feel I am experienced enough, or sensitive enough, to discuss things like “chatter” or “flex”, there is clearly something to the notion of blade rigidity for me: whether due to my whiskers, their growth pattern, or my shaving style.

I do find that the bulk of work my razors do - my “money pass”, if you will - is ATG. Starting with a WTG pass does nothing for me. In fact, I’ve about given up on WTG, and switched to a N-S Gillette Slide pass, followed by ATG and then cleanup/buffing. Perhaps my reliance on ATG shaving makes a difference in which type of razor head design works better?
Whatever the reason, I can get a 2-pass BBS with an Old Type (buffing can lead to some neck irritation). I can get a 2+ pass BBS with a Short Comb, and only get a raw neck if I get sloppy. I can get a 3-pass BBS with absolutely ZERO tenderness with the postwar Tech.

On the other hand, the New Deluxe is just ok for me, a bit harsh. The New Long Comb is great… but nothing compared to the Short Comb.

And as much as I tried to love the “prewar”, triangle slot Tech, I’ve only managed a couple stellar shaves with it - unlike the postwar fat handle, which does a great job every time.
My final experiment: I used my postwar fat handle Tech with a new Astra SS on 48 hrs. growth. 3 passes, a little cleanup… A/S splash resulted in absolutely zero sting, and no redness. I spent the rest of the evening feeling my cheeks and neck (as you do), and d**n, that was as comfy a shave as I’ve ever had. Not as close as my desert island New SC, mind you. But close enough and even more comfy.

Then, my next shave (also on 48 hrs. growth) was with my much maligned, frustrating, prewar fat handle Tech. This d**n razor is so frustrating, I’ve checked it for damage repeatedly, and almost thrown it out a few times. I used the same blade, same soap, same brush, same prep. Again, the shave was ‘ok’, but after 3 passes I had to saddle up the Superspeed to finish the job the Tech could not, and as a result of all the buffing over & over the same ground, I’ve got a few tender spots.

I had similar (though less dramatic) results when I was comparing the New LC vs. SC. The LC performs well; but I’ll never use it if there’s an SC available.
Interesting post, I’m hoping there is significant feedback from the Vintage Gillette gurus, as I’m intrigued and wonder what the consensus is.

I get great shaves from my pre-war tech and don’t think I feel any blade chatter but I’ve never tried a post-war/straight slot Tech to compare the two side by side.

Maybe that can be a stocking stuffer so I can share my experience between those two Techs.
*NOTE: Let me be clear that none of these razors are bad. They’re all good razors. If I could only have 1 razor to use, I could live with any of the six.

It’s just that a clear divide (to me) has arisen between 3 ‘good’, vs. 3 ‘great’ razors (for ME, ymmv), and I think I’ve identified why.
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Today, I had an excellent shave with a prewar tech. It was the last shave for the blade, and when I disassembled it to remove the blade, it had stuck flush with the top cap. The wax dots facing the cap side made it seem almost glued on.

I thought that it was an issue I would not repeat next blade, but maybe I'll stick to dots cap-side for the extra blade support.

I'm not sure if that will change your situation. I have only used this prewar tech a handful of times and it is my only vintage razor. You ate obviously more experienced with vintage razors!
So many razors, so many faces, so many experiences. At least glad to read that there are vintage Gillettes working for you and it may indeed have to do with the clamping of the blade in connection to the coarseness of your beard.

For example I find my NEW Improved to be a mild razor with excellent shaving qualities getting me to BBS almost every time without much hassle or problems.

switched to a N-S Gillette Slide pass
I am with you on this one and it may be that it works so well for you because of your beard map (the direction your beard hair grows) the Slide (and Gillette Slant too) helps to guillotine through the whiskers giving a more comfortable shave. At least it does for me.
All the razors that work magic on my face have the “full blade support” that many on B&B praise.
See above - better clamping means more blade rigidity which in turn usually means more effective cutting of the hairs.

I do not have an old type, but its resemblance to a Fatip for example leads me to believe that it holds the blade securely in place. Together with blade exposure this could result in a very effective shave.

As for the Tech, I have one - a Flat Bottom and it is as effective as My NEWs or other open combs. You might want to try and pair it with either a sharper blade (to avoid irritation) or a milder blade (to avoid nicking).

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