First shave with a GEM pushbutton...

Discussion in 'Single Edged Razors' started by Texican65, Jul 29, 2019.

    Hi gents,

    Recently purchased a '60's GEM pushbutton single edge razor. I was pretty excited after reading several great reviews about it, but when it was all said and done...I was pretty let down. I've been wetshaving my entire adult working life...not much compared to some of you...but 20 years.

    I lathered up using Arko like always, Ted Pella personna PTFE coated blades, and read a GEM manual for how to use these things, very little pressure, and keeping the angled head against my face...felt like it was dragging and pulling right off the git go, and I had to lather up several times to go over certain areas which I usually dont have to. I have very course hair.

    I got a very close and smooth shave, but afterwards my skin felt very uncomfortable, very razor burnt. It may have been me, but as of now...wasnt the great shaving experience I was hoping for. Still a cool razor though and would work for me in a pinch.

    Dow IMG_8673.JPG IMG_8674.JPG
  1. It takes some practice to get it right with Gem razors, because they really are different from everything else. If you keep at it, that will probably bring better results. I generally end up just shaving by sound and blade feel with these rather than worrying about my precise angle.

    That aside, the Pushbutton is not the most efficient of the Gem razors. But it will cut.
  2. emwolf

    emwolf Contributor

    I like the pushbutton better than most of the later model Gem's. I have fallen completely, however, for the lather catcher model. Best Gem I've ever used.
  3. Not knowing any better, I started out shaving with my Gems flat against the face. Found if pulled it slightly away from the face, I got better shave. It's a new type of razor for you and will take some time to get used to. Hope you keep at it.
  4. How many days growth?
  5. I shave once a week, my skin is sensitive and gets irritated otherwise...but I do have very thick and course facial hair.

    I had probably 5 days growth this go around.
  6. Do you have a razor that can handle your 5 day growth?
  7. Yessir. The common Mach 3, which I’m tired of buying cartridges for.

    A Schick injector...smoothest shave I’ve ever had.

    A 1920’s Gillette Old Type...another amazing shaver.

    Several old straights...the list goes on and on.

    This GEM is the first I’ve used and had the razor burn experience that I described, and the poor performance. could have been operator error.

  8. I agree with your appraisal of a Schick Injector.
  9. That tells me that the pushbutton might not be the optimal Gem razor for your situation. If you ever stumble across a Micromatic Open Comb (very common and cheap; a sawbuck is usually plenty enough to take ownership of one) give it a chance and see if it does the right things for you.
  10. I had a similar experience recently with a GEM bullet tip. Posted about it if you want to look, and I am an experienced GEM shaver. It took a bit of adjusting the angle and such and now it gives me equally good shaves as my other favorite GEMs.

    Often the first use of a blade is a bit rough. A palm strop preshave was recommended to me in the thread I mentioned. And that did help.

    I have a pushbutton and love it.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Brother Tex

    " . . . angled head against my face." Not sure what that means, but it may contain the problem. SE razors generally need the head FLAT against the face, or at least less than 2 degrees angle from the flat against the face.

    Also the Gem pushbutton is a mild shaver, and you possibly need 4 passes instead of the traditional 3 pass shave.

    Does your after shave contain alcohol? I advise against that when one had sensitive skin.
  12. "Angled head against my face"...."flat" against my face is what I meant to convey. Ya, not sure what it was....just wasn't a good shave, rough on my face and tore my skin up.

    Been using the Weck Sextoblade now....and WHOA! What a razor!

  13. Tex,

    I would try a new blade, or a different brand of blade or brand of soap/creme, plus maybe an extra good prep.

    An occasional bad blade from the factory is not unknown.
  14. FWIW, The "flat against your face" thing doesn't work for me. I always need the blade to be a at some kind of angle. I'm a steep shaver. I've had really great results with Micromatic open and closed combs and my Sabre. The Coated stainless blade is the only Gem blade that works for me.
  15. Yeah, second Brother Steve on sometimes getting a bad blade. As an aging head-shaver I have the famous three strikes: coarse hair, sparse in spots, and sensitive skin. I like something aggressive enough to mow off a stiff stubble every two or three days, but yet not so mild that I go over and over spots trying to smooth them out.

    Mostly the Gem razors do that for me. I have old ones and new ones; they're all good shavers. Technique is important and varies slightly depending on which razor you're holding. I also find that a razor with some mass and momentum shaves me smoother than a light razor that can bounce or jitter when cutting through hair that may not be all in a thick growth.

    I notice the vintage Gems can tend to leave me with a little burn in the back. Again technique can minimize that, plus I started using Nivea aftershave balm for sensitive skin. Although I prefer unscented creams, it's not obnoxious and it sure works for me.

  16. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    GEM PTFE blades are sharp. They cut better for me than any DE blade has and that requires much more care and a finely honed technique.

    I've not used a GEM push button but my MMOC will peel skin if I'm not careful, especially with a fresh blade. It takes me four shaves for a PTFE to settle down and wear in, from there on its ultra smooth and I start steepening my angle.

    Using either my Bullet Tip or MMOC I find with a fresh PTFE the best way for me to use one is to start at the very back of the cap and push that into my skin until the blade just engages the stubble.


    For the first 4 shaves I never feel the blade. I only start feeling it after my angle gets steeper as the blade wears. Dont try to feel the blade on your skin, listen to hear it cutting. Only after the blade has started to wear and I use a steeper angle do I start to feel the blade. By shave 7 I feel nothing but blade and its very smooth by then.

    If you want an incredibly smooth and efficient razor, try an MMOC. Multi day growth doesnt pose a problem for me and thats with a single buffing pass directly ATG.

    I've since begun starting fresh PTFE's in my Bullet Tip for the first 4 shaves and then move them to my MMOC for the next 6. Those two razors compliment each other so well they should have been sold in sets.

    GEM razors can take time to learn. The first time I used my MMOC I didnt like it either and put it away for months. Once I decided to take the time and really learn it well, nothing else compares. It took me a few months to become really adept with it, but the effort was sure worth it.
  17. Great info...thanks guys! I won't give up on this old GEM yet!


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