What's new

Review: Gillette English Flat Bottom New

A second run with the Gillette Flat Bottom New. Again used a Personna which felt ok, but I am not sure if it has the same longevity I get from my other blades. Jury is out - this was the second time in a row I had some weepers from this blade.

Now the story behind this one is that after all the talks I had with Kim (@Phoenixkh), David (@never-stop-learning), Richard (@RenoRichard) and Cal (@Cal) about the Flat Bottom Tech I was pleased with my find.

Then I read a post from Brad (@BradWorld) who said that after a EFBT you should try the NFB - same smoothness and more effectiveness. That’s when my RAD kicked in and I went on the look out for a New Flat Bottom. They are easily found by the way, but I had no idea on how to look at them from a buying standpoint and what would be fair pricing (at least one of the bids I did got rejected for being too low while I thought it was pretty high). So I let it be for a while when my conversation with @Happy Jack gave me necessary information and intel for a more focused search. Jack also put things into perspective for me. So far so good. And all items up for sale where way above those perspectives!

Then one evening I decided to search on brass handles (off topic from the New) and this time I wound up going through all the pages of my search - and as if it was meant to be on one of the final pages (I cannot remember the exact number but 350-360 something) I saw a lot with a Rolls razor (never heard of before) and a Gillette brass razor (as it was advertised). I clicked on it and the pictures where more focused on the Rolls but it appeared to be a flat bottom in a funky state. It looked like the plating was gone or that it needed a cleaning for sure.

I asked the seller if more pictures would be possible and she kindly did. And that’s when I saw the baseplate which I had seen before on Mr Razors’ excellent website. The asking price was a steal and I placed my bit. It was open for almost 5 days and Saturday last week the bidding ended and I won as sole bidder!!

After buying the lot the seller contacted me and said she found another Rolls razor which looked scrappy to her and she said she would include it for spare parts. Very kind. Although I must admit it was to do about the Gillette not the Rolls (but the ad was stated the other way around).

This Saturday the package arrived and the New was indeed in need for care and attention. I think I have spend an hour or so with soap, lemon juice, tooth brush and other cleaning stuff to see what I could make of it. Especially the lemon juice helped in removing pains and other gunk. It turned out pretty well actually and I think it is in a decent shape given its age:

ECCCB81F-D03B-4DFE-9D96-CF2ED06CE361.jpeg


Those horizontal slots are there on purpose in this baseplate and the cap has matching posts - this clamps the blade into position even more and these are the same horizontal slots we are on the DE blades, but up to now I had never seen actual usage.

8B946C67-7D2B-4709-9B70-5B07D64B237F.jpeg


The brown Bakelite case she came in is in mint condition as far as I can tell.

After doing some research I found out that the Rollses I have are both the Rolls Viscount and the Rolls Imperial. There was also an extra blade in a Bakelite container. I gave the casings a light polish, but I still need to look closer - saw some rusty spots here and there on the interior although in both cases the hones and straps are in solid condition. Not sure if I will (ever) shave with them.

The shave this morning with the Gillette was pleasant and smooth. Extremely nimble because of the light weight handle. There is definitely blade feel, but not comfortably so - it just made me aware and paying attention to the shave more. It shaves smoother than my Piccolo’s (which is saying a lot for me) and was also more effective it seemed in my trouble areas. I think for me it is on par with the R41 but smoother during the shave (perhaps because of the long comb teeth). It is less intuitive than the Tech, so I can understand Gillette’s move away from open comb in that sense. I cannot say if this New shaves anything like a regular New, but at risk of enabling everyone: give it a try, you will definitely not be disappointed. Very happy with this addition.

Here comes the dangerous statement: I think I am done with acquisitions. I have an OC and SB version of all the razors I now have (which is why I let a RFB go, because I don’t want to be spending time on finding a Tech Hybrid) and all varieties I had my eyes on. So I think my RAD has had its peak and can be put to bay now.

A big thank you to all who helped me in this acquisition journey - this newbie will now concentrate on improving technique and hopefully be able to pass that experience on to yet newerbies.

I will however keep feeding my other ADs as warranted: blades, brushes and soaps! Speaking of brushes here’s today’s setup with my new De Vergulde Hand synthetic badger (I think it is badger they aimed at, but the packaging didn’t say):

001CBAEF-0377-4243-9148-A086B476504C.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Haha, just saying, my Flatboy brass head looks already older and vintage than this one. You cleaned the razor up nicely, looking fresh & shiny.
Looking forward to read what you think about the shave with it in your journal & congratulations.
 
Haha, just saying, my Flatboy brass head looks already older and vintage than this one. You cleaned the razor up nicely, looking fresh & shiny.
Looking forward to read what you think about the shave with it in your journal & congratulations.
Thanks!

And +1 there Iridian. My Flatboy keeps aging by the minute. I think patina is just a term to keep people at bay, but it is not necessarily my most favourite process.

Guido
 

lasta

Blade Biter
Hi Guido,

A great catch! The baseplate looks very unique.

I've recently finished my New journey as well, the flat bottom stands out as the most blade feel of the lot, but not enough to pull away from the pack completely. Excellent shaver!

Good thing about the English produce is all the flat surfaces makes it very easy to restore. Some sanding/polishing, and if you are inclined, a silver dip can bring it back to glory.
20220128_171437.jpg20220128_173518.jpg
 
Wow! Excellent job there @lasta! Silver dipping looks next level to me! Looks like we have the same handle? What type of blade do you use? I have Personna at the moment and will try KCG or Gillette 365 soon. And I tend to get great shaves from Dorco Titans. Not yet keen to try it out with a Tiger, but who knows - they work really well in my Fatips and this being an open comb with super clamp might do the trick too.

Best,

Guido
 
Glad you found such a great razor @Guido75. That baseplate is indeed a rare one. I have a dozen flat bottoms from a lot of different sets and I dont have one like that! I find Personna blades very rough in vintage razors. Try a Perma-Sharp in the gold box. Or a Polsilver/Wizamet. Astra SP is a great middle of the road smooth blade in those. Enjoy!
 
Glad you found such a great razor @Guido75. That baseplate is indeed a rare one. I have a dozen flat bottoms from a lot of different sets and I dont have one like that! I find Personna blades very rough in vintage razors. Try a Perma-Sharp in the gold box. Or a Polsilver/Wizamet. Astra SP is a great middle of the road smooth blade in those. Enjoy!
Thanks Brad! I do consider myself lucky in finding this one!

And I will try different blades as of tomorrow. I have Tiger’s which are by the former Astra manufacturer.

Cheers,

Guido
 

lasta

Blade Biter
Wow! Excellent job there @lasta! Silver dipping looks next level to me! Looks like we have the same handle? What type of blade do you use? I have Personna at the moment and will try KCG or Gillette 365 soon. And I tend to get great shaves from Dorco Titans. Not yet keen to try it out with a Tiger, but who knows - they work really well in my Fatips and this being an open comb with super clamp might do the trick too.

Best,

Guido
Hi Guido,

I have raw-hide for skin and not very sensitive, so not the best judge of blades. Most work, but Russian made Gillettes always seem to pull away from the pack in terms of perceived sharpness/smoothness. My can't go wrong blades are GSB and Nacet. Though I've been collecting and trying a lot of vintage blades recently, another rabbit hole haha. Nothing from days past stands out as impressive, but I do enjoy reading up on history and might make a framed display with different varieties for the living room wall.

Another fetish of mine is buying old brass razors in less than ideal conditions and restoring them. I get almost as much pleasure in seeing them shine as I do in shaving with them.

You did a phenomenal job on that handle! If you want to spit shine the head, a rub with Barkeeper's Friend will get rid of the black spot in the grooves in seconds. Although BKF tends to leave a matte finish on brass, I'd go ahead and rub some metal polish afterwards. In fact BKF is a great start for cleaning old razors, that and metal polish + 30-40 minutes of elbow grease can definitely get that flat bottom of yours to good as new!

I bought some silver dip from a local jeweller because I saw them do magic to brass hair pins, one dip and copper/brass turns into silver in seconds. Look up electroless silver plating, I'm sure it can be found online for not much money.
 
Hi Guido,

I have raw-hide for skin and not very sensitive, so not the best judge of blades. Most work, but Russian made Gillettes always seem to pull away from the pack in terms of perceived sharpness/smoothness. My can't go wrong blades are GSB and Nacet. Though I've been collecting and trying a lot of vintage blades recently, another rabbit hole haha. Nothing from days past stands out as impressive, but I do enjoy reading up on history and might make a framed display with different varieties for the living room wall.

Another fetish of mine is buying old brass razors in less than ideal conditions and restoring them. I get almost as much pleasure in seeing them shine as I do in shaving with them.

You did a phenomenal job on that handle! If you want to spit shine the head, a rub with Barkeeper's Friend will get rid of the black spot in the grooves in seconds. Although BKF tends to leave a matte finish on brass, I'd go ahead and rub some metal polish afterwards. In fact BKF is a great start for cleaning old razors, that and metal polish + 30-40 minutes of elbow grease can definitely get that flat bottom of yours to good as new!

I bought some silver dip from a local jeweller because I saw them do magic to brass hair pins, one dip and copper/brass turns into silver in seconds. Look up electroless silver plating, I'm sure it can be found online for not much money.
Thanks again @lasta! It was definitely some elbow grease to get it this good. And an experimental use of lemon juice with could as easily gone south but I rinsed thoroughly. And then buffing to the max with a microfibre cloth.

I like the shiny vintage brass look so a number of my razors is all brass. And making sure all is in top shape is a side sport as well. I have two Rolls razors which I have no real intention of using, but I like to see if I can somehow restore them to former glory - although there is some rusty spots so will see how much is salvageable.

Thanks for the blade recommendations. Nacet are on my list but I have not come around to actually buying them. From what I read they might resemble KCG blades a lot.

Thanks again and your personal refurbishment looks stunning. Care to share some other ‘projects’?

Best,

Guido
 
I have 4 DEs in my regular rotation. A Canadian pre war tech, raised flat bottom new, flat bottom new and a fatboy. I have used a pretty wide range of vintage razors and some of the big hitters of the modern crews. I return back to those 4.

These 4 plus the L and M type injectors cover all the bases for me.

The flat bottom new is an excellent choice.
 
I have 4 DEs in my regular rotation. A Canadian pre war tech, raised flat bottom new, flat bottom new and a fatboy. I have used a pretty wide range of vintage razors and some of the big hitters of the modern crews. I return back to those 4.

These 4 plus the L and M type injectors cover all the bases for me.

The flat bottom new is an excellent choice.
Thanks @FloppyJoe - if I were to start all over again I may as well go only for the two flat bottoms I have and be perfectly fine with that.

Cheers,

Guido
 
Fellow proud owner of an English Flat Bottom New here. I love this razor, I find it to be a razor that consistently provides me with smooth & easy bbs shaves. All of us here on B&B know that a good shave with favourite razor never fails to make you feel good. Well mine always makes me feel extra special as it was new old stock when I got it!

20211221_143407.jpg


I would definitely recommend that those of you who love vintage Gillettes and don't have one, should add a Flat Bottom New your list of must buy razors.

The only downside for me so far is that instead of satisfying my RAD, I now have a strong and growing need to own a Flat Bottom Tech, where before, Tech-wise, I was happy with my 50s Ball Handle...and my every attempt to aquire one always results in me being outbid at the last minute.
 
Fellow proud owner of an English Flat Bottom New here. I love this razor, I find it to be a razor that consistently provides me with smooth & easy bbs shaves. All of us here on B&B know that a good shave with favourite razor never fails to make you feel good. Well mine always makes me feel extra special as it was new old stock when I got it!

View attachment 1513055

I would definitely recommend that those of you who love vintage Gillettes and don't have one, should add a Flat Bottom New your list of must buy razors.

The only downside for me so far is that instead of satisfying my RAD, I now have a strong and growing need to own a Flat Bottom Tech, where before, Tech-wise, I was happy with my 50s Ball Handle...and my every attempt to aquire one always results in me being outbid at the last minute.
Are those the matching blades @Heavy_Metal_Hound? I believe it’s a rhetorical question but just want to check. From your picture I gather you have the exact same one? At least the box matches mine exactly.

I get the RAD part, after my Tech it sort of vintage ignited in me. I could but every razor I set out there. And with the discipline I have for this hobby that is a dangerous zone to be in. Luckily she (my better half :001_wub:) knows that too!

Cheers,

Guido
 

lasta

Blade Biter
Thanks again @lasta! It was definitely some elbow grease to get it this good. And an experimental use of lemon juice with could as easily gone south but I rinsed thoroughly. And then buffing to the max with a microfibre cloth.

I like the shiny vintage brass look so a number of my razors is all brass. And making sure all is in top shape is a side sport as well. I have two Rolls razors which I have no real intention of using, but I like to see if I can somehow restore them to former glory - although there is some rusty spots so will see how much is salvageable.

Thanks for the blade recommendations. Nacet are on my list but I have not come around to actually buying them. From what I read they might resemble KCG blades a lot.

Thanks again and your personal refurbishment looks stunning. Care to share some other ‘projects’?

Best,

Guido
Sure, this was how I spent Sunday evening haha.
Screenshot_20220828-214350.jpgidlefish-msg-1661694307072.png.jpg20220828_214204.jpg20220828_215846.jpg
 

lasta

Blade Biter
Fellow proud owner of an English Flat Bottom New here. I love this razor, I find it to be a razor that consistently provides me with smooth & easy bbs shaves. All of us here on B&B know that a good shave with favourite razor never fails to make you feel good. Well mine always makes me feel extra special as it was new old stock when I got it!

View attachment 1513055

I would definitely recommend that those of you who love vintage Gillettes and don't have one, should add a Flat Bottom New your list of must buy razors.

The only downside for me so far is that instead of satisfying my RAD, I now have a strong and growing need to own a Flat Bottom Tech, where before, Tech-wise, I was happy with my 50s Ball Handle...and my every attempt to aquire one always results in me being outbid at the last minute.
Here we are two kids talking about how to get scuff marks off our second hand Converse...while this guy does the moonwalk in fresh Jordans!
 
Are those the matching blades @Heavy_Metal_Hound? I believe it’s a rhetorical question but just want to check. From your picture I gather you have the exact same one? At least the box matches mine exactly.
The blades are NOS Gillette Blue Blades that came with the box & razor. I assume that they are contemporary with the razor, but the only way to know for certain is to open one of the blades. Which I haven't done yet.
 
A second run with the Gillette Flat Bottom New. Again used a Personna which felt ok, but I am not sure if it has the same longevity I get from my other blades. Jury is out - this was the second time in a row I had some weepers from this blade.

Now the story behind this one is that after all the talks I had with Kim (@Phoenixkh), David (@never-stop-learning), Richard (@RenoRichard) and Cal (@Cal) about the Flat Bottom Tech I was pleased with my find.

Then I read a post from Brad (@BradWorld) who said that after a EFBT you should try the NFB - same smoothness and more effectiveness. That’s when my RAD kicked in and I went on the look out for a New Flat Bottom. They are easily found by the way, but I had no idea on how to look at them from a buying standpoint and what would be fair pricing (at least one of the bids I did got rejected for being too low while I thought it was pretty high). So I let it be for a while when my conversation with @Happy Jack gave me necessary information and intel for a more focused search. Jack also put things into perspective for me. So far so good. And all items up for sale where way above those perspectives!

Then one evening I decided to search on brass handles (off topic from the New) and this time I wound up going through all the pages of my search - and as if it was meant to be on one of the final pages (I cannot remember the exact number but 350-360 something) I saw a lot with a Rolls razor (never heard of before) and a Gillette brass razor (as it was advertised). I clicked on it and the pictures where more focused on the Rolls but it appeared to be a flat bottom in a funky state. It looked like the plating was gone or that it needed a cleaning for sure.

I asked the seller if more pictures would be possible and she kindly did. And that’s when I saw the baseplate which I had seen before on Mr Razors’ excellent website. The asking price was a steal and I placed my bit. It was open for almost 5 days and Saturday last week the bidding ended and I won as sole bidder!!

After buying the lot the seller contacted me and said she found another Rolls razor which looked scrappy to her and she said she would include it for spare parts. Very kind. Although I must admit it was to do about the Gillette not the Rolls (but the ad was stated the other way around).

This Saturday the package arrived and the New was indeed in need for care and attention. I think I have spend an hour or so with soap, lemon juice, tooth brush and other cleaning stuff to see what I could make of it. Especially the lemon juice helped in removing pains and other gunk. It turned out pretty well actually and I think it is in a decent shape given its age:

View attachment 1512609

Those horizontal slots are there on purpose in this baseplate and the cap has matching posts - this clamps the blade into position even more and these are the same horizontal slots we are on the DE blades, but up to now I had never seen actual usage.

View attachment 1512611

The brown Bakelite case she came in is in mint condition as far as I can tell.

After doing some research I found out that the Rollses I have are both the Rolls Viscount and the Rolls Imperial. There was also an extra blade in a Bakelite container. I gave the casings a light polish, but I still need to look closer - saw some rusty spots here and there on the interior although in both cases the hones and straps are in solid condition. Not sure if I will (ever) shave with them.

The shave this morning with the Gillette was pleasant and smooth. Extremely nimble because of the light weight handle. There is definitely blade feel, but not comfortably so - it just made me aware and paying attention to the shave more. It shaves smoother than my Piccolo’s (which is saying a lot for me) and was also more effective it seemed in my trouble areas. I think for me it is on par with the R41 but smoother during the shave (perhaps because of the long comb teeth). It is less intuitive than the Tech, so I can understand Gillette’s move away from open comb in that sense. I cannot say if this New shaves anything like a regular New, but at risk of enabling everyone: give it a try, you will definitely not be disappointed. Very happy with this addition.

Here comes the dangerous statement: I think I am done with acquisitions. I have an OC and SB version of all the razors I now have (which is why I let a RFB go, because I don’t want to be spending time on finding a Tech Hybrid) and all varieties I had my eyes on. So I think my RAD has had its peak and can be put to bay now.

A big thank you to all who helped me in this acquisition journey - this newbie will now concentrate on improving technique and hopefully be able to pass that experience on to yet newerbies.

I will however keep feeding my other ADs as warranted: blades, brushes and soaps! Speaking of brushes here’s today’s setup with my new De Vergulde Hand synthetic badger (I think it is badger they aimed at, but the packaging didn’t say):

View attachment 1512613
Is there a place where it's written Gillette on the base plate or the cap. It doesn't seem to be a Gillette at all. But nice razor though.
 
Top Bottom