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new to SE, please help

I just started learning about single edges and really want to try one. I don't know enough though to make a good purchase. Can someone with a good understanding of them explain the different brands and the main ones that most people use, as well as give me a good recommendation. Another thing, where can I get blades for these things? Thanks guys.
Hey, I'm still relatively new to SE razors myself. I can give you a little info though.

I have experience with the 1912 razor. Models were made by GEM, Ever Ready, and Star. All are pretty comparable. There are slight differences between the GEM 1912, the Damaskene, and the GEM Junior but I really am not qualified to say what they are.

I found the GEM 1912 to be an amazing shaver. I use the Gem Persona stainless blades available at walgreens. There are less blade choices for SE than DE. There is a good sticky post in this subforum about blades. It has some links if you prefers to purchase online.

You want to avoid single edge paint scraper blades. They look the same but do not shave the same.

Other razors that people like are the Gem Micromatic amd Clogproof, the G-Bar, amd the Ever Ready Steeamline. There are others though. There are older lather catchers and some other SE razors like the rolls or the valet. But they sometimes require proprietary blades or use older wedge style blades that require stopping.

Then there are injector razors. I have never used one so I can't give much advice.

The good thing is that SE razors aren't as popular as DE razors so unless you are looking for a Streamline or a Mint condition or NOS razor you can usually get one fairly cheap on eBay or the B/S/T. Ii is easy to find nice 1912's in the $10-15 range.

I am sure someone with more knowledge will chime in with more help!
Last time I checked, stainless Gem blades are available at Walgreens, carbon steel blades (they rust and require added care) are available at CVS.

+1-Make sure to get them from the shaving section as there are trade blades that are the same size and shape.

I would think in your area you should be able to pick an ASR- American Safety Razor-they made Gem, Ever-Ready and Star, up at a local antique mall for ~$10 w/o a case, more with a decent case. I passed on two 1912s $15 for both last week, as the condition was not very good on one of them. Make sure to check that the tabs to hold the blade are in place and the mechanism has a good spring action. Otherwise, it is hard to go wrong. The OCMM- open comb micromatic- might be a bit aggressive to start, but the other models all deliver nice shaves.
I'd encourage you to watch this Youtube video by one of our members: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUG2B_-D0d4 In it, he teaches you how to shave with a single-edge razor. He is gearing it specifically to teaching people to use the Micromatic open-comb razor without so many nicks and cuts, but if you use his method, you'll be able to use just about any single-edge razor. The 1912 is a good one to start with, also one of the newer GEMS like the GEM Contour may even be milder for beginners, and cheap on eBay. Give it a little time to learn and you'll love the noise they make as they shave you :thumbup1: Buy the GEM Personna blades from Walgreens in the shaving section
While the 1912 is definitely one of my favorites, an SE that I'd recommend as a starter is the Feather Weight. It's one of the mildest of SE razors, it's plentiful, and it's cheap. Once you're ready to move on to a more aggressive razor - maybe something like the Micromatic - you can PIF the FW without any feeling of loss.
As far as blades are concerned...everyone is going to mention stainless steel blades. I will telll you these rake the hell out of my face and the carbon blades cut much smoother without burning and bleeding.
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