First shave with Bullet Tip/Flying Wing..not so good

Discussion in 'Single Edged Razors' started by Shantytownbrown, Jul 6, 2019.

    Hoping I just got a bad blade in my pack (GEM PFTE), but I weepered myself pretty horrible yesterday, to the point I won't be shaving my face today, quite a bloodletting that I wasn't aware of till I was done. I trashed the blade right away, will try again down the road.

    I did find the balance of the razor to be a bit off, wishing for a longer handle for better control; This was not the experience I expected given the awesome shaves I have gotten from my other GEMS esp G-bar and featherweight and push-button. Pretty sure I have the blade angle thing for GEMs down pat, is there something else I should know about the bullet-tip?
  1. I have 2 bullet-tips and one shaves great and the other feels like the blade gap is too big and doesn't shave well. Could just be that particular razor. I'd try again with a new blade when you can.
  2. shave/brush

    shave/brush Contributor

    I just did my first shave with a GEM Micromatic Bullet Tip and it was great. Some GEM blades can be bad. I used one the other day that had the coating on it and it was really bad. It felt like it had nicks in the blade. I find you have to strop the blade no matter what type of GEM blade it is. Try another blade and strop it first.
  3. Sounds good. Appreciate the advice.

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  4. I have never used a bullet tip, but I think the blade is held the same as a MMOC. Is it at all possible the blades stops have been damaged or that you blade was not behind the stops?
  5. A few thoughts that may or may not help. I find the first shave with a GEM SS PTFE to be harsh -- so much so that I can end up with measles-like case of bleeders, a nick (or two) and some stellar irritation, if I'm not VERY careful. The second shave is better, the 3rd through 10'ish shaves are great. I still like the blade, but I treat the first shave with kit-gloves. Here are some ideas I've accumulated for getting the 1st shave of that particular blade to be nicer/smoother:
    1. Always use a mild (or at least mild-to-you) razor that you know well for the first shave of that blade. In my case, it's the GEM Featherweight. Something about that razor helps me tame that blade without it flaming my face.
    2. Cork it. You drag the sharp end of the blade through a cork. I guess it helps....honestly, I've corked Feathers and this blade and I'm not sure I noticed a huge difference. I think it's better, but I wouldn't swear to it.
    3. Palm strop or strop on denim. I don't do this....nothing against the practice, it's just not something I've tried. People do swear that it works, so maybe I should set aside my skepticism and give it a try.
    4. Treat it like a straight razor. I don't shave with a straight, but if I did, I probably wouldn't apply enough pressure to even cut the hair. Basically, what I'm getting at is going uber-cautious with technique: shaving with almost negative pressure and monitoring the angle like your life depends on it. First shave I did with an MMOC, I was so nervous I was going to bleed out during the shave that I approached it really cautiously and was rewarded with an awesome shave.
    So I tend to do number 1 or number 4. But I suspect the culprit was the blade. I will say that I find the Micromatics (Open Comb, Clog-Pruf, and Bullet Tip) all seem to respond to a more shallow angle than my other GEMs for me. I'm almost totally on the cap, with only a slight tilt down on the handle for cutting. And like so many, I go by sound, not feel. And I am no-pressure guy -- I honestly believe I might be applying negative pressure. I'd rather have to do an extra pass or a heavy touch-up than have to deal with a rugged shave from too much pressure.

    That's my 2-cents (sorry, despite popular demand, I don't give change back :1eye:). I hope you find something helpful and please keep us posted on the next shave.
  6. Thanks. I have experienced the same “first shave issues” w a GEM blade in the past. Just not this degree. I will try the various techniques as suggested. Besides gives me an excuse to open a bottle of wine tonight to get a cork!! I am sure I rushed it a bit yesterday. I am optimistic.

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  7. There are at least 3 distinct shaving variants for the Micromatic Flying Wing Bullet Tip. You have the first variant with the guiding eye then the second variant without the guiding eye which they adjusted the head on. Then around 1949 they changed the head geometry again on. The only sure fire way to find a third variant shaver is get one with the plastic tip which was made in 1950 well after that change.
  8. The guiding eye is stamped intro he top plate, right? I have one without, but with the bump to hold the blade secure. I assume this is the second variant that you speak of?

    In what was was the head adjusted?

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  9. I dont find any noticeable shaving difference beteween MMBT with guiding eye and MMBT without it. Both of them are mild, smooth razors
  10. Yes the guiding eye versions have a giant dot stamped in the top of the cap.

    Dates are approximate here
    They made the guiding eye in 1947.
    Between 48 and 49 they made all metal versions without the guiding eye. They also changed the head geometry once and possibly twice for these version.
    In 1950 the last variant was produced and that is the one with the plastic bullet tip tto knob also without a guiding eye.

    I've owned and used 3 Bullet Tips now. 2 were mild though different types of mild, those 2 were the guiding eye and the plastic bullet tip. I had one aggressive one without the guiding eye that was an all metal gold plated one. I don't know if it was aggressive due to design, not knowing how to use an SE correctly or due to the fact it had a dent in the cap. I never did use it enough to determine which of the 3 reasons was why it was an aggressive razor compared to the other Bullet tips.
  11. Here is something else you can try with the MicroMatic family of razors. That is instead of using the GEM blade, use an injector blade. I've been doing it for the last week, works great, the fun of a shaving with a GEM razor with the best part of injector razors, which is the blade.
  12. It could be the second or third. My understanding they changed the head geometry when they removed the guiding eye in 1948, in 1949 they changed the geometry of the razor head again.

    Here is an ad from 1949 stating just that.

    The plastic tip version came out in 1950 so that one for sure should be the same head geometry as this all metal version produced in 1949.
  13. I palm strop my Gem blades prior to the first use.
    The guiding eye was meant to be touching your face..... That will tell you everything you need to know about the angle required to get a smooth shave from these razors.
    Mine is very mild and quite smooth. Make sure the blade is secured.
  14. Day 2-new blade, improved prep-Proraso Green Pre-shave, followed by Proraso Green from the tub. Admittedly I did not make a great lather. It was thinner than usual but I went forth anyway. Palm strop. 48h growth

    I took my time and found the balance point of the razor and paid attention to keep the top plate against my face. Needed a 2-pass WTG didn’t do it, ATG as per my usual 2-pass technique again being careful.

    Result: much less weeping, only two small ones that didn’t appear until post rinse. But the neck was still irritated. Still better than 2 days ago. Post shave Lucky Tiger was insta-soothe! Followed up with Nivea Sensitive-Cooling. No residual irritation the rest of the day.

    I am going to blame the thin lather this time. Round three later this week.

    Stay tuned if you wish.

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  15. On SE in general and MMOC in particular, it is the only type of blade to really cut or skin me bad. I had a scab for a few days after. I chalk it up to being too easygoing with the shave and treating it like a DE. It is a more intense shave than a DE and I have to look after angle and pressure all the more with it.

    Next step up would be a straight.
  16. Day 3

    Much better lather. Much better shave. Only one weeper and that was my own fault. Neck less irritated.

    Looks like we have a keeper.

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  17. Day 4. First back to back shave. Excellent results today. No nicks or weepers. Brief refreshing sting from the Speick splash post shave. Made my day!

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  18. :a14::a14::a14::a14::a14:
  19. I’m glad to hear of the improved shaves with the flying wing.

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