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Do vintage razors wear out with regular use

I just put a new modern handle on a English Gem 1912 that someone had frankenrazored via installing a aluminum handle with modern 5mm thread stud on it, glued in place even. They had re-tapped the razor body to the modern thread too. Destroyed as a collector item but nice with the modern SS handle I put on it. The head was in the 99% condition range except for the modified threading.

Due to their propensity for handle cracking I see a good number of old 3 piece Gillette razors out there that need or have received replacement handles. They seem to come from numerous donor sources. If not cracked severely already I would not expect continued crack migration on the average old Gillette 3 piece razor handle.
 
The bigger question is whether you want razors to collect or to use. Yes, I know many of us do both, but I suspect a NOS Gillette Fatboy in an unopened package is going to be worth more than one that's used daily. Sure, you can scratch the plating or expose it to a corrosive substance or drop it, but if you buy them to enjoy them, that's the risk. That's not the same as wearing out - these things are usually plated brass and that's going to be here a while - and the blade is taking the brunt of the most damage your beard can dish out. If these razors didn't last, Gillette wouldn't have re-invented them every few years from their introduction all the way to the present.
 
Even if you wear off all of the plating (which you won't) it doesn't affect how it shaves.

As someone else has said, one of your distant descendants may have to replate a razor they inherit.

Personally, I'm not worried about plating. I have a 58 year old fatboy with lots of plating loss and I sometimes think about plating it. Otherwise, it's in perfect shape. Shaves like a dream.

There's a motorcycle plating guy in my town. He offered to replate a razor in nickle or chrome for $25.00.

As long as there are motorcycles on the road there will be guys doing plating of parts in every city and town and any of them can replate a razor.

As long as people use silver plated table ware there will be electro-platers who will plate a razor in silver and even gold if you want.
 
As someone else has said, one of your distant descendants may have to replate a razor they inherit.

Personally, I'm not worried about plating. I have a 58 year old fatboy with lots of plating loss and I sometimes think about plating it. Otherwise, it's in perfect shape. Shaves like a dream.

There's a motorcycle plating guy in my town. He offered to replate a razor in nickle or chrome for $25.00.

As long as there are motorcycles on the road there will be guys doing plating of parts in every city and town and any of them can replate a razor.

As long as people use silver plated table ware there will be electro-platers who will plate a razor in silver and even gold if you want.

A silver tech would be very cool. There's something about a silver plated razor which attracts me even more than one in gold plate.
 
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Why are you using a toothbrush? Out of all the things you're doing, that is the one that has the chance to degrade your finish, if done after every shave.
I thought the very same thing. Just use a soft cloth. If your razor develops some soap residue after a few weeks, then use a very soft bristle toothbrush once, and go back to using a soft cloth after each use. Don't scratch the plating!
 
I'm also an advocate of cleaning my razors after each use. I only use Dawn and a tooth brush about once a month, but I always do a very good hot rinse and wipe down (and dry) with a soft towel after each use. I also use a can of compressed air each time too. I spray down the tube from the top blade tray to expel water, then do the inside of the TTO knob and also spray other moving parts - such as the door hinges. For my three piece razors I wipe and blow out water from the handle and other contained areas. I know it's anal but I retired and have time to fritter away. Besides I plan on passing along my vintage collection (25) to my son and grandson(s) so I and want to keep them in top condition.
 
These fine razors deserve the honor of regular use and care as described above. To sit in a case on a shelf and then be tossed in the trash after you're gone would be a terrible fate for such a wonderful vintage razor.

USE THEM and enjoy :)
 
Thank you all for giving detailed helpful replies. Hopefully, I will also be able to pass the razors I own to my son provided I don't drop them.
 
Regarding the OP's comments about care after use, spot-on. Cleaning these old razors with a clean old soft bristled nylon toothbrush and a mild dish detergent (w/o bleach) followed by a light blot-dry will do them a lot of good. If a razor is in a mint condition and a user follows a well-disciplined regimen of upkeep, they will be in they ground before their razor falls apart.

Here is where these old mechanical razors fall victim to wear, mechanical failure, and decay:

-Dropping the razor on the floor or tapping it on the sink.
-Using harsh chemicals or tools to clean the razor. *an old soft bristled toothbrush will not scratch plating*
-Completely submersing the razor in water or using it in the shower and leaving it wet.
-Not taking the proper care of already exposed bare base metal.

In the simplest of terms, if the razor is uniformly covered in plating, it will last for a very long time with proper care.

Accidentally dropping a razor or tapping it on the sink to "shake" whiskers out while shaving can cause damage to plating, bend parts, and cause all sorts of problems. Let's take the lovely British Aristocrats as an example - say a NO. 15. This is a combed model and I am sure that we have all seen a lot of these with bent corner teeth, right? Bent corner teeth cause mechanical friction and wear to that beautiful plating. Plating is only a few microns thick so metal-on-metal will not last as long as it should and we see a lot of these models (and others) with friction marks, bare brass, and heavy oxidation. Similarly, we all see a lot of the Sheratons, Senators, and NEWs with bent corner teeth (and it usually always seems to be all four corner teeth). I have come to realize that this uniformity in the bent corner teeth on these combed models is not a result of accidental drops to the floor but a tendency of past users to tap their razors on the sink while shaving - makes a little sense, doesn't it? Anyways, that's a little off topic but it all ties into damage correlating with wear.

If you have a razor with nice plating but it doesn't work right or has some friction, chances are you have some bent parts somewhere and that means plating wear, fast. Brass and copper will not rust but it does oxidze and become covered with verdigris. This can pit and etch brass so it is best to address it sooner rather than later.
 
I like the Captain's theory of why all 4 corner teeth may be bent. Brilliant!

I never completely bought into the notion that it was from dropping on the floor.
 
I have a Gillette New Improved that has most of it's plating worn off the handle. The knurling feels smoother in that area as well. The threads of the top cap stud are thinner / worn a bit as well. It must have been used a lot, maybe someone's daily shaver for a few decades. That being said it still has a lot of life left in it. A replate will make it look new and the threads can be built up again. Most vintage razors (unless they are made of Zamak) will outlive you and your children.
 
You won't wear them out unless they get damaged by accident, ie drop them etc.
Of course the chrome plating will wear out some day, but the metal wont. A replating will fix that. But with careful use the plating will last for decades...
So, it's all depends on how you take care of them.
 
Thank you Cap and Priedy! No one listens to me... Cap, you have seen all of my Super Speeds at your shop and know they are excellent examples and well-maintained. God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
 
So no worries with regular use. I have already started using it from today after reading all the encouraging replies and getting good results. I do not know about the internal mechanism of the Gillette SA but it seems that there is some spring mechanism or tensioner thing that may get rest after some time, if not properly cleaned as it may be of some metal other than brass.
Anyhow, it will still be usable if the adjuster mechanism fails.
 
Question for @Captain Murphy or anyone else who may know: With the adjustables and their spring loaded "last quarter turn" knob, if storing or not using the razor for an extended period of time, should the knob be left in the rested position so as not to keep pressure on the spring? Or is it OK to go ahead and leave it in the locked down position?

Just curious - I know that sometimes, certain types of springs can lose their strength if kept under tension for a long time.
 
Even though the chance of wearing them out is quite slim, it doesn't hurt to have a backup of your favourite (s) just "in case".
 
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