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Palm stropping a GEM style blade.

Hi all, not new to SE razors just giving them all another go after discovering palm stropping. I was reading up on all the different GEM style blade on here and seen some post on palm/hand stropping. I'm using GEM SS coated(Ted Pellas)blades and for me initially they are extremely harsh/rough. Takes a couple shaves to be ok. This seems to be a consensus. I'm not willing to get two bad shave s just to get great ones after. So I specifically want to know the technique. One YouTube video from Hendrix showed very light to no pressure and another older video showed heavy pressure. Which is best? Hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance.
 
Hi all, not new to SE razors just giving them all another go after discovering palm stropping. I was reading up on all the different GEM style blade on here and seen some post on palm/hand stropping. I'm using GEM SS coated(Ted Pellas)blades and for me initially they are extremely harsh/rough. Takes a couple shaves to be ok. This seems to be a consensus. I'm not willing to get two bad shave s just to get great ones after. So I specifically want to know the technique. One YouTube video from Hendrix showed very light to no pressure and another older video showed heavy pressure. Which is best? Hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance.
I usually just face strop by flipping the blade, I just use the top of the spine of the blade as reference (Gem stamped is side#1) & (Stainless stamped side #2) and usually just alternate sides. Palm stropping a few strokes on each side will not hurt anything and could correct curved edge irregularities, I do it once in while, to smooth out a blade (shaving weight pressure should work).
I usually get easily 10 face shaves with my Gem PTFE blade for my medium type beard!( I do have a mustache)
razor edge (2).jpg
Have some great shaves!
 
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Honestly I have never had much difference with stropping. I do find using a less aggressive single edge razor for a new blade makes a difference. Then after a few shaves I move to something more aggressive as it gets duller.
That is a good way of breaking in a very sharp blade like a Gem SS PTFE blade on 1st & 2nd use and I like to use that method with my large collection of ASR razors. Not sure what @Duffarmy is using for a razor but I generally like to use a Gem Featherweight or a Gem G bar for the 1st couple of shaves and then start using more the mid range Gem razors.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Final Gem review Jan21-2019 (2).jpg
Sometimes I add these instructions because a lot of used razors don't have any
Gem instruction manual (2).jpg Gem procedure (2).jpg

Have some great shaves!
 
@Ron R those pictures are an awesome visual! I actually have one each of the razors you show (minus the bullet tip and push button), as well as some others not shown. For some reason most of the razors I find in the wild are GEM style. I just never got along with the blade initially so I moved on to DE's and my GEMS have been in a drawer every since. Actually one of my first "safety" razors was a G bar. It belonged to my papaw and I found it and a flair tip SS at his house after he had passed. So I'll do the palm strop and pay extra attention to my angle per the pictures you posted. Really seems I'm missing out on all these good razors. Thank you again!
 
Some people cork new blades to soften them up. This must means running the cutting edge through a wine cork a few times each direction to remove and burs and soften the first shave.
 
Honestly I have never had much difference with stropping. I do find using a less aggressive single edge razor for a new blade makes a difference. Then after a few shaves I move to something more aggressive as it gets duller.

I do that. I have a Blackland Sabre with both L1 and L2 plates. I also, like @Ron R strop by shaving. :)

After knocking off a shave on each side of the blade at L1, I will either continue at L1 for a couple more shaves, or shift the blade to another Gem style razor. My Jr. Bar lathercatcher likes a broken-in blade, as does my MMOC for other reasons. The last couple of shaves in the blade come out pretty well at L2, even if I've been using the blade in something else for the first few shaves.

As a head shaver who can kill off most blades in 6 shaves, I always look forward to #3 and #4, which are the best and closest shaves in the blade.

O.H.
 
Some people cork new blades to soften them up. This must means running the cutting edge through a wine cork a few times each direction to remove and burs and soften the first shave.
I was going to ask about this. Do stropping and corking both do the same thing or would I potentially do both for a new blade? I just had my second shave on a new blade and, while it was better than the first shave, it still wasn’t comfortable. I agree with the OP that unless I can figure out how to eliminate the first few bad shaves I’m not likely to use a GEM. Or maybe I should try uncoated blades?
 
Update. Using same type blade GEM SS coated in a GEM G bar razor. I palm stroped each side 6 times with very light shaving pressure that was recommended. No luck, still extremely harsh. Will try same shave using GEM blue carbons next that I found at local drug store and see how that goes. Additionally I'm intrigued by the blade corking mentioned above and can't wait to hear about it.
 
I was going to ask about this. Do stropping and corking both do the same thing or would I potentially do both for a new blade? I just had my second shave on a new blade and, while it was better than the first shave, it still wasn’t comfortable. I agree with the OP that unless I can figure out how to eliminate the first few bad shaves I’m not likely to use a GEM. Or maybe I should try uncoated blades?
Uncoated blades were dull and painful to shave with, in my case. Although I've a relatively course beard.

I'd think that stropping and corking are a bit different in their effect. When you stop a straight razor, you're doing so on the same plane it was honed on due to the spine being a built in angle guide. This is not the case with GEM PTFE blades as they are triple facetted. I'd just experiment with both until you find a solution. Breaking the blade in with a mild razor for a couple of shaves also works. I use my featherweight.
 
Uncoated blades were dull and painful to shave with, in my case. Although I've a relatively course beard.

I'd think that stropping and corking are a bit different in their effect. When you stop a straight razor, you're doing so on the same plane it was honed on due to the spine being a built in angle guide. This is not the case with GEM PTFE blades as they are triple facetted. I'd just experiment with both until you find a solution. Breaking the blade in with a mild razor for a couple of shaves also works. I use my featherweight.
The Featherweight is all I have at the moment and it's proving to be too harsh. It's probably 25% blade and 75% poor technique I suspect. The first time was a catastrophe and the second was not a great shave but not terrible. Since I'm two shaves, this blade should be fine so I'll try a third and see what happens.
 
The Featherweight is all I have at the moment and it's proving to be too harsh. It's probably 25% blade and 75% poor technique I suspect. The first time was a catastrophe and the second was not a great shave but not terrible. Since I'm two shaves, this blade should be fine so I'll try a third and see what happens.
Are you using a good wet lather, a shallow angle and shaving after a hot shower?
 
I always palm strop my GEM blades right before the first shave. I think it makes the first shave a lot smoother.
Newbies to GEM razors, make sure you are using the razor at a very shallow angle. If you use it like a DE it will not be comfortable.
 
Are you using a good wet lather, a shallow angle and shaving after a hot shower?
Thanks for the suggestions. My lather is probably not as wet as it should be I’m guessing. It’s slick but perhaps not wet. I believe I’m using the appropriate angle although it’s possible that it’s too steep. I rarely shower and shave at the same time so no. I don’t take hot showers anyway so I’m guessing it’s not as important as it might otherwise be. I usually wash my face with warm water when shaving and don’t have issues with other razors.
 
Thanks for the suggestions. My lather is probably not as wet as it should be I’m guessing. It’s slick but perhaps not wet. I believe I’m using the appropriate angle although it’s possible that it’s too steep. I rarely shower and shave at the same time so no. I don’t take hot showers anyway so I’m guessing it’s not as important as it might otherwise be. I usually wash my face with warm water when shaving and don’t have issues with other razors.

I started making wetter lathers when I started using shavettes and now do it as a matter of course. I find that for me, Gem blades are quite touchy for the first two shaves, so the mildest possible razor may be a good idea. A 1912 Gem is good, or if you can lay hands on an ATT G1 (unfortunately no longer made). I can drop a fresh blade in my MMOC but it really requires a light touch.

O.H.
 
I palm strop PTFE coated GEMs, but I don't think it would have any positive effect on a fresh blade.

Here's a technique that I used for close to a year to avoid the first-two-shaves-are-too-rough syndrome. It works best with two razors:

Shave with a GEM PTFE blade, putting up with the less-than-comfortable first two shaves. When' you've put in roughly half the number of shaves you normally get with the coated GEM blades, take a fresh blade and load it into razor #2. I used two Pushbutton models, but any two Gem-style razors will do. Except the Contour II, they suck - but I digress.

From this point, the fresh-blade razor will be razor you perform your first and maybe second pass with. The razor you started with becomes your finish and touch-up razor. Keep this going until your first blade finally gives out, at which point you load a fresh blade and this razor will become your first pass razor and the other one shifts to finish-and-touch-up duty. I was averaging a new blade every 3 weeks or so using this technique until I got bored with the whole thing and went back to a wider razor rotation.

I palm stropped the blades before each shave; I think it helps clean the crud out of the little micro-teeth that blades develop, but I doubt that much teeth-straightening occurs with the stainless steel blade.

My palm stropping technique involves putting just enough moisture on the heel of my hand to cause a dragging feeling when I draw the blade across my palm, almost as if some suction is being created. I do this with the Personna Pathology carbon blades I use with my Durham Dorset and it definitely extends the blade's life, but with a stainless blade I'm not so sure.
 
My Gem PTFE protocol
Very light, single pull corking before shave 1.
When finished shaving, after drying rear of blade: forearm strop lightly, hair side or smooth side, 5 to 10 laps after shaving, to dry the blade edge.

I usually am swapping a blade among various ASR razors. If I was not blade swapping, I would probably leave the PTFE blade in the razor, give it a hot water rinse and a shake, and skip the drying/stropping.

With carbon blades, I always remove, towel dry blade rear, strop dry edge.

Before shave two or subsequent, if loading a blade, I usually remember to forearm strop 4-6 laps.

Does it make a difference? Corking does. Stropping to dry does. Pre-shave stropping? No idea.
 
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