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How Does One Shave With A GEM/Ever Ready 1912 SE Razor? Tips On Technique From Colleagues Needed.

Well gents, it came yesterday and it is a thing of beauty. It is in fantastic shape, all plating present and mechanically perfect. Blade retention hooks perfectly aligned. The apparent blemish on the handle at top where it screws into the head is in fact a reflection of me taking the photo. Plating is perfect.
IMG_20220402_214736586.jpg


It is actually more delicate looking than I thought it would be. The head is somewhat large, but smaller than I imagined. The head angle rather reminds me of a BIC Orange, which I used for decades.

I have been dry shaving with it (blades in transit) just practicing strokes and angle. The only issue seems to be moustache area. I figure my usual XTG second pass there will be a 45 degree angle.

I'm very much looking forward to using it, and will give a full report here of my first shave, which hopefully may amuse colleagues.
 
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thombrogan

Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
@APBinNCA ,

My alternate instructions are nigh-identical to the ones shared by @EclipseRedRing and @Jim99

Why was I the only one singled out for psychosexual peculiarities and virtually tasked with your execution? Hard pass on that, btw.

@Alum Ladd ,

Wishing you the most comfortable shaves enjoyable from your new-to-you item of tonsorial heritage. To everyone else’s advice, I’ll add this GEM (nyuk), from @rabidus
 
Well gents, it came yesterday and it is a thing of beauty. It is in fantastic shape, all plating present and mechanically perfect. Blade retention hooks perfectly aligned. The apparent blemish on the handle at top where it screws into the head is in fact a reflection of me taking the photo. Plating is perfect.
View attachment 1434092

It is actually more delicate looking than I thought it would be. The head is somewhat large, but smaller than I imagined. The head angle rather reminds me of a BIC Orange, which I used for decades.

I have been dry shaving with it (blades in transit) just practicing strokes and angle. The only issue seems to be moustache area. I figure my usual XTG second pass there will be a 45 degree angle.

I'm very much looking forward to using it, and will give a full report here of my first shave, which hopefully may amuse colleagues.
Definitely an outstanding specimen, it hardly looks used. Since you’re venturing into the world of vintage ASR branded razors a small lesson in terminology is needed. ASR referred to the upper assembly as the frame, not the “head”. A minor infraction, and since it’s a first time offense it’s not enough to require you to turn over your ER to B&B. This time.
 
@APBinNCA ,

My alternate instructions are nigh-identical to the ones shared by @EclipseRedRing and @Jim99

Why was I the only one singled out for psychosexual peculiarities and virtually tasked with your execution? Hard pass on that, btw.

@Alum Ladd ,

Wishing you the most comfortable shaves enjoyable from your new-to-you item of tonsorial heritage. To everyone else’s advice, I’ll add this GEM (nyuk), from @rabidus
My deepest apology to you Thom. I abruptly ended our back and forth posts when I realised we weren't both in on the joke I was making. It was a reference to Hannibal Lector. You did open a can of worms referring to a human as a carrot to be peeled. After further review, I should have understood what you were getting at had I not being eager to clown around. The combination of your incessant friendliness in combination with the above mentioned carrot peeling led me ask if you were a sociopath, hence the Hannibal Lector references. Then the comments got worse... let's say I will try not to make jokes like this from now on. 😬

My apologies to Alum Ladd for a brief derail as this was better aired publicly for anybody reading that was confused what was going on.
 

thombrogan

Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
It’s all good, I just felt singled out for being one of three suggesting an alternative to placing the cap directly against one’s skin.
 
I finally ended up getting the blades today after being over a week late in ordering them.

IMG_20220413_181303036.jpg

I ordered an initial box of 10. I was a little surprised how they were packed.

IMG_20220413_181309171.jpg

I was expecting something like a lidded plastic box maybe with a label, but instead I got a more anonymous but sophisticated box.
IMG_20220413_181348219.jpg
They are fully enclosed in a very sturdy plastic box, completely sealed. The user appears to slide them out one at a time. There is a bank for exhausted blades at the bottom. There is a quite substantial leaf spring which feeds the blades to the loading position.

Interesting. My only slight disappointment was that the individual blades do not come with a cardboard sleeve, which would have been a good way to keep the blades between shaves.

Very interesting looking blades. This is a completely different system to DE technology. It will be great to try an older competing technology, which is I believe predates the Gillette 1903 system by over 20 years.

I shall post my first shave Friday. I want there to be some decent growth to try my first SE shave on!
 
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thombrogan

Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
Removing the cardboard sleeve without destroying it is a very time consuming feat. I just wash and dry the razor and blade, load the blade back and find a way to reduce the risk of fingers or worse discovering the edge.

Looking forward to the report, Simon!
 
The sound of "buttering toast" ... the perfect explanation.
And very true. I started with the MMTO, and while I was a bit nervous it was great as a shaver.
Nice for shaving your head, a bit tricky under the nose area.
 
Greetings Colleagues!

Over the past month I have been gathering equipment, reaping the knowledge and experience of B&B colleagues, generously and freely given, in widening my horizons in shaving. I thought it was about time I branched out somewhat from my DE experience and comfort zone, to explore the world of vintage SE shaving. It has a fascinating history, long pre-dating King C Gillette's DE system, and can be traced back to the mid 1870's and the genesis of the first 'safety razor'. Anyway, I got interested in the designs, brand names, and the whole heritage of vintage SE shaving.

Which led me to start asking questions. Two quite detailed threads, one concerning what I should start with, and the second, how I should use it.

Consensus pointed me to the 1912 GEM/Ever-Ready model as an ideal starter SE razor. I duly obtained one online, an almost perfect cased example of English make. They are absurdly reasonable, and an excellent entre to SE vintage shaves.

I also obtained a mass of invaluable information and advice on how to use it, from some of the most knowledgeable SE experts in the world. Luckily, they are almost exclusively here, which helps.

Which finally led me to be standing in front of a bathroom mirror, with trepidation in my heart, lather on my face, and a strangely unfamiliar looking razor in my hand.

The Setup.
IMG_20220414_212639540.jpg


As you can see, it was very basic. I used TABAC shaving soap, my some-kind-of-mammal-hair Ever-Ready clone brush, and some Old Spice to celebrate, if there was anything to celebrate, post shave.

I was concerned about loading the razor. It is all very different to DE shaving, more akin to SR territory, and you first encounter that feeling of intimidation handling the blade. They are thick, large and burly. They have GEM boldly stamped on the spine, but they are basically very well-refined paint scrapers. This is not a Feather, this is a brute with unknown cutting and performance, and it's going to be scraping my face.

I opened the frame door, and it responded with a satisfying click. I put the blade in slightly askew, and it seemed to jam. Damn. No, wait, the little side tabs help to position it. I slid the blade edge corners into the tiny frame hooks and clicked the action shut. I inspected the blade. It all looked perfect, straight and even, but woo, there was a lot of blade exposed.

So I lathered up, hiding behind the supposedly miraculous cushioning powers of TABAC (I know, Arko! is usually my default choice for sticky situations, but this was first to hand)

I chose to just act natural and do my usual 3 passer on a 2.5 day growth. I heated the frame in the basin and laid the flat face of it under my left sideburn. I remembered what I had been told. Keep it flat to your skin, then raise the angle slightly. Begin stroke. When you hear toast being buttered you are shaving. Except a factor now came into play which I had not anticipated.

In the bathroom there is a nasty whirry electric fan vent. It's always bugged me but you can't turn it off. It has never been a factor when I DE shave, but suddenly, I realised the critical importance of audio feedback with this razor, it was telling me the exact angle, and I couldn't hear it.

I was shaving deaf.

I commenced to shave regardless. The first WTG passes down the sides of my face was slicing off growth. I kind of slalomed down my jawline and chin area. The main issue on pass 1 was the moustache area. There was no way I could fit the frame there without tilting it at a 45 degree angle, and that would have meant retired hurt. So I used a diagonal downward stroke which seemed to work. I was becoming aware of a certain solid or rigid quality to the strokes and the way the blade was behaving. It is very hard to describe. I rinsed. There was a long way to go, but the razor had taken down a good 80%, and no damage.

2nd XTG pass felt fairly familiar. I was able to maintain the correct angle throughout, or in any event more reduction was taking place. Keeping the face of the frame to my skin provided a good reference here. The angle was maybe 5-7 degrees north of that to get cutting. The angle sort of invited me to shave slightly steep. I resisted that, thinking I would experiment on the 3rd pass.
Again this strange slaloming action to deal with the angles of my jawline and neck. Rinsed. It was feeling almost BB on the flat surfaces of my face, more work needed in others. No damage.

I chose an ATG 3rd pass. Lathered up and commenced some rather ambitious and perhaps too long upward strokes. My strokes are too long, it is a technique issue. It was actually doing a fantastic job, but I was more cautious around my chin area. Excellent. Final stretch was my troublesome moustache upper lip area. During the 3rd pass I had again noticed this rigidity thing, with the blade and the feel of the shave. I cannot sensibly describe it. I then went for the moustache area, ATG, being slightly cocky with the angle. Did a great job, but that is when the weepers began.

I thought I would quit when I was ahead, warm and cold rinsed, and patted off. Old Spice, for the first time ever shaving, gave me a 'Home Alone' sensation. Quite a brisk burn. 5 weepers, all on moustache area except 1 on chin and 1 on the side of the mouth.

Now, 3.5 hours later, the shave can be described as DFS+. I felt strangely deflated immediately after it. I think it's because I always expect to get perfection when I first try something. This result was far better than my first DE shave, which seems a long time ago. I have a lot of practice to still do, and things I will do differently next time out with this very elegant and well-balanced machine (a much thinner, watery lather being one) but I do know, where I got the angle right, buttering toast or not, it has given me the best shave so far. The blade seems to cut the whiskers much deeper.

I would thoroughly recommend anyone thinking about it, to try vintage SE shaving now!

Thanks to all, for your invaluable help and advice.
 
You perfectly captured my trepidation when I obtained my Bullet Tip...

:popc:


Have you considered ear plugs, counter intuitively? I think you will feel your toast being buttered through your skull.
The trick is, once you have the angles figured out, keep trying to use less pressure. And shorter strokes. Advanced technique would be the scooping stroke, but you really have to have your control dialled in. Weepers are probably too much angle or too many passes over the same spot.
 
Just a quick update.

After 26-27 hours, stubble -regrowth is much less than 'normal' for this period of time. This is perhaps the closest shave I have had. The blade seemed to cut the stubble much deeper.

The frame and thickness of the blade seemed to prevent any blade chatter, or flexing? I have recently become aware of these things, dimly.

I need to adjust my technique in terms of direction of passes, and especially with regard to the angle in curved and difficult facial areas.

I shall be using the 1912 exclusively for the next 10 days or so. I really want to get practice in and master this excellent shaving system.
 
I finally ended up getting the blades today after being over a week late in ordering them.

IMG_20220413_181303036.jpg

I ordered an initial box of 10. I was a little surprised how they were packed.

IMG_20220413_181309171.jpg

I was expecting something like a lidded plastic box maybe with a label, but instead I got a more anonymous but sophisticated box.
IMG_20220413_181348219.jpg
They are fully enclosed in a very sturdy plastic box, completely sealed. The user appears to slide them out one at a time. There is a bank for exhausted blades at the bottom. There is a quite substantial leaf spring which feeds the blades to the loading position.

Interesting. My only slight disappointment was that the individual blades do not come with a cardboard sleeve, which would have been a good way to keep the blades between shaves.

Very interesting looking blades. This is a completely different system to DE technology. It will be great to try an older competing technology, which is I believe predates the Gillette 1903 system by over 20 years.

I shall post my first shave Friday. I want there to be some decent growth to try my first SE shave on!
When you feel comfortable with your razor you should be able to get 8-12 shaves per blade, I usually average and toss after 10 uses which is common for myself. Enjoy!
 
Well colleagues, just a final shaving report.

The second shave with the 1912 was an outstanding success. I would say the best shave experience since starting on the more traditional wet shaving path last year.

I was somewhat disappointed with the first shave, but it was exclusively my technique, and a natural over-emphasis to reach a 'perfection' which is an unfortunate factor in my going about things, and the inevitable subsequent reality check, which generates an irrational despondency.

The second shave was radically different. I thoroughly re-visited my technique and modified some basic habits which I had been using since I began DE shaving.

I treated it as a straight razor shave. I paid much more attention to lather and brush work (working on a 3.5 day growth) and extensively utilised skin stretching during the shave. I also shortened my strokes and doubled the shave time, from an average 15 minutes DE to 30 minutes with the 1912.

I found these factors, coupled with the blade properties of the Ever Ready/GEM (thickness, rigidity, frame design of razor) gave results exceeding my most optimistic hopes. I achieved a glass-like smoothness, with no nicks or any blood loss. I can only describe the results as being what I would imagine to be a SR barber shop shave. I also found the flat large frame of the 1912 to be perfect in picking up otherwise previously difficult jawline and neck areas. The angle of attack of the frame is perfect when used parallel to the skin, with about a 5 degree cutting angle utilised..

I will use this enhanced technique, especially skin stretching, shorter strokes and better brush and lather work in DE shaves going forward to ascertain if there is a matching improvement.

At this point however, I can only report that the SE ASRC 1912 shaving system is the best wet shave I have encountered, and has given me remarkable results. After nearly 10 hours my face is still glassy. Not the slightest stubble re-emergence. The only minor drawback appears to be shaving immediately under the nostrils. I will create an angle based workaround for that.

I will be exploring other ASRC products as a result of this. I suspect GEM style SE shaving is more efficient than the DE system. This is my initial and tentative conclusion based on a single shaving experience.

Again Gentleman, thank you for your guidance and advice.
 
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Thanks for the update! I was going say earlier that, based on the blade angle and rigidity, you were basically shaving with a straight on a stick. You will find that some of your improved technique will be superfluous when you switch back to DE, Nasty Otto being the exception. I find, it's more about improving your strategy rather than specific technique that carries over if that makes sense. Be careful skin stretching with the DE as it isn't as parallel to your face, you give the blade more of a clear path to your skin with too much stretching. The safety bar pushing just ahead does it's job well with the faster speed of DE shaving. What you are learning, unfortunately, may set you down a path you hadn't intended to travel. Once you realise that you can remove hair without disturbing your skin at all, it's hard to get motivated to do anything else. Unless you are in a hurry, which is what I use the injector for. Looking forward to Nasty Otto, cheers.

Edit to add that there is no shame in getting one of those cheapie shavettes to work on the areas where the head doesn't fit. ;)
 
Well colleagues, just a final shaving report.

The second shave with the 1912 was an outstanding success. I would say the best shave experience since starting on the more traditional wet shaving path last year.

I was somewhat disappointed with the first shave, but it was exclusively my technique, and a natural over-emphasis to reach a 'perfection' which is a factor in my going about things, and the inevitable subsequent reality check.

The second shave was radically different. I thoroughly re-visited my technique and modified some basic habits which I had been using since I began DE shaving.

I treated it as a straight razor shave. I paid much more attention to lather and brush work (working on a 3.5 day growth) and extensively utilised skin stretching during the shave. I also shortened my strokes and doubled the shave time, from an average 15 minutes DE to 30 minutes with the 1912.

I found these factors, coupled with the blade properties of the Ever Ready/GEM (thickness, rigidity, frame design of razor) gave outstanding results. I achieved a glass-like smoothness, with no nicks or any blood loss. I can only desribe the results as being what I would imagine to be a SR barber shop shave. I also found the flat large frame of the 1912 to be perfect in picking up otherwise previously difficult jawline and neck areas. The angle of attack of the frame is perfect when used parallel to the skin, with about a 5 degree cutting angle utilised..

I will use this enhanced technique, especially skin stretching, shorter strokes and better brush and lather work in DE shaves going forward to ascertain if there is a matching improvement.

At this point however, I can only report that the SE ASRC 1912 shaving system is the best wet shave I have encountered, and has given me remarkable results. After nearly 10 hours my face is still glassy. Not the slightest stubble re-emergence. The only minor drawback appears to be shaving immediately under the nostrils. I will create an angle based workaround for that.

I will be exploring other ASRC products as a result of this. I suspect GEM style SE shaving is more efficient than the DE system. This is my initial and tentative conclusion based on a single shaving experience.

Again Gentleman, thank you for your guidance and advice.
From what I read you are dialing that 1912 in nicely, Bravo. I think by treating it more like a straight razor concept you figured it out for technique. The first lather catchers they designed with wedge blades that look very similar to a cut out of a straight razor.
(old archived photo)Star(Kampfee Brothers, Brooklyn NY) wedge blade looks like a straight .
Star bar 1.4.jpg

Have some great shaves!
 
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