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Gem G-Bar: Trouble getting a shave

Notice I did not say trouble getting a close shave. Or trouble getting a comfortable shave. I got no shave.

Backing up a little. I tried a Gem once before. A micromatic. It was ok, but I nicked myself a lot. Now, a month later, and with generally much improved technique, I wanted to try a Gem again. I decided to try the G-Bar, since our local Gem fanatic :)wink: ) suggests that it shaves at least as well as any other, and is more gentle.

It was gentle all right. Problem was, on two day stubble, after one pass I still had 1 day worth of stubble. After two passes I still had almost 1 day worth of stubble. Yes I am holding this thing with the large flat surface flat. This is kind of frustrating, as so many people love these so much - I just cannot figure out what I was doing wrong. Maybe I will try a micromatic tomorrow, or a push-button.

The other thing is that I find these things rather unwieldy. The large flat surface may be idiot proof for getting the right angle in theory. But that theory only works on parts of my fact that are not difficult anyway (cheeks). I cannot figure out how to navigate this thing around my chin neatly yet. And under the nose? People complain about the Vision being too big!? This thing barely fits with enough room to do N-S on my BOTTOM lip. Hopefully with so more practice, some of these issues will iron out.

At any rate, after two passes, I got a phone call which was my que that I needed to be outside my apartment in 5 mintutes or less. Dressed, preferably. So I grabbed my #66, which had a feather in it, and did my fastest non-cartridge pass ever. Less than 30 seconds for a full face N-S pass. Without cutting myself. Since I luckily had a feather loaded, this left me with a presentable, if not totally smooth, shave. With just the weeest bit of razor burn right at the bottom of the neck.....

Yeah, there was this guy who kept talking up this razor, but I don't remember who....

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. I am trying to decide whether to use the G-Bar again tonight, or a micromatic. Perhaps lifting up slightly will help, and actually I think the safety bar will take the blade off my face if I lift far enough to cause burn.

I usually hesitate to go against the grain until I have a pretty smooth face, because I find all blades, even feathers tend to catch and skip on my hairs in certain places if there is any real stubble, causing pretty bad irritation. Perhaps though, the combination of very flat angle and stiff blade in this razor would allow a smooth ATG pass with a lot more stubble. I may have to try that.

As for the problem areas, I may be able to get away with a center to side pass on my upper lip. It is more difficult, because the hair there is extreme tough, and it seems to take a fair amount of force to make a razor go through it any direction other than down on a first pass. It isn't very sensitive, though, so I can get away with a lot. I really would like to get this to work, because I hear such good things about these razors from you and Dominic, among others, and also because the blades really are great. I am finding right now that an injector is easier to navigate about my face, though.
I'm also playing with the GEM-style razor - I'm trying out an open-comb micromatic and its been trial by fire. I find the razor alternately too tame (when held with the head flat) and too aggresive (when wheld with the head at a slight angle).

When I do manage to get it right, I get a very close shave, but this thing is way harder to figure out than an injector (got great shaves right off the bat) and its very awkward in tight spots (under nose, chin, etc.) due to the size of the head. I found that the razor worked better with the JM Fraser cream - (very slippery stuff and good moisturizing properties) than it did with the QED soaps. I'm going to finish out the week with this and then try the Ever-Ready I just got, which uses the same type of blades, but the angle is very different and it has a closed comb, which may make a difference.

I've heard good things about these razors generally, but they do seem tricky to figure out and can cause quite a but of burn and several nicks if you're not careful.
Thanks for the tip about the Ever-Ready - I'd heard that you lift them a bit.

As for the against the grain, I definitely find it easier with the GEM and injector. With a good blade, I can go against the grain after the first pass, but generally do an across the grain first to avoid irritation.

I do think that with practice, the GEM-style razors will give me shaves at least as good as my DE and in less time, which is a factor during the week.
So, I tried again last night. I was going to go with the G-bar again, but early in my first pass I realized that the handle did not feel right in my hand. Yep, I'd accidentally picked up the Micro. So I went ahead with that.

I was surprised comparing the heads. They look so much the same at first, because the cap is shaped exactly the same. But there is a huge different in the business edge. The blade on the G-Bar actually sticks out almost twice as far. But the safety bar also preceeds the edge by about twice as much. Interesting. I've never seen another razor with the safety bar leading the blade by so much.

Anyway, back to the micromatic. I did find it much easier to cut hair with this. With the heel just barely lifted, it mowed down like anything. I probably got the best one-pass shave I've ever gotten. Close, anyway. But then I kept going for a full four-pass. This led to some irritation. Not like when I irritated myself from a DE, though, which usually results from a rough ATG cut. This was much much smoother ATG, without that vibration, skipping, and digging. But I ended up cutting a little too close in places. Not a perfectly smooth shave, but pretty darn close. And with really just 3+ passes, because 4 just wasn't going to happen.

I think I can get a pretty darn good shave with one of these, with a little more practice on keeping it gentle. I still find it a little awkward to use though.

The real upshot though, it that I realized I really need to work on stretching, and take it much more seriously. Not sure how to get the necessary grip on my slippery skin. I heard the suggestion somewhere of using a washcloth. Maybe I will try that.
Your point on the size of the head of the GEM and Superspeeds being similar is correct however, the GEM hed is held against the face while that of the SS isn't.

Also, I'm not a huge fan of the SS for the same reason - they shave fine, but I'll take my Merkur classic and slant over any SS (fixed or adjustable).
I just tried the G-bar. The first shave wasn't all that close (3 passes: with, across, against), but the second shave was very nice indeed (4 passes: with, diagonal, other diagonal, against). I used shaving soap, no glycerine. Unlike the GEM micromatic, the G-bar gave me no nicks at all. But then, I'm more experienced than when I last shaved with Micromatic, so maybe I'll give that another go. The little slanted knob at the end of the handle turned out to be JUST RIGHT for the against the grain pass. I used Ted Pella blades. And I did blog about it, with photos of the razor (but you know what it looks like :smile: )

I have not gone back to it. Or the Micromatic either, for that matter. Shortly after that last post, I got heavily involved in moving, and was just doing Superspeed/merkur shaves for efficiency. Then I got on a Futur kick (I actually really like the razor, but it has a quality issue that really bothers me).

I am currently trying to learn the Artist Club, never having tried a straight before. Given that it is going to be a busy week, and being slightly inspired by Michaels post, I think I may make it a Gem week. I will start with the G-Bar and see what I can do with it and the Teds for a few shaves. Expect a report on the first go tomorrow.

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