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Shims - do you use them, and what are your experiences ?

I have used them before but no longer see the need for a shim. image.jpg

Here is one that came as part of a vintage, beat up razor I acquired years ago. The razor was manufactured with a shim as an adjustable.
 
I have a $6 Chinese head with open comb on one side and a closed comb on the other side. I also have a Merkur 23C. I shim both so they are more efficient. I use thin plastic from different types of file folders. Since I have made a couple of razors I use more often because I tweaked each to shave just as I want without shims.
 
I also have a cheap Chinese head that I use a shim on. It’s more aggressive than I like. I put a shim on the bottom to strengthen the blade and reduce its vibration. It's more tailorable now, but it doesn't get much use.

When I use a different razor, I like to put a shim in the empty wrapper of my current blade. I know it doesn't need it but it helps me keep the wrapper nice. I like to keep track of the number of shaves I have on a blade. I do this by putting a dot on the empty wraper each time I use it.
 
I recently used one on my Rockwell 6S and I'm a believer!

I already loved the 6S but with the shim, I was able to drop down from R6 to R5, retain the efficiency and gain smoothness. It's a win-win for me!!
 
I shave daily, I've been using shims for years (I cut off the blade edge off, it takes a few seconds, I have 4-5 shims lying around, haven't cut one in years). A shim has only one purpose and that is to give more blade exposure, it does not change the shaving smoothness of a razor just creates a drop more blade. I have a Wolf 86 which was not efficient enough for me, so I put in a shim which brought the Wolf to a 96, by doing that it became a dream razor for me. I use a shim in my Gillette Old Types ball end and I change out the handles for a Stork aristocrat I get great shaves with this set up. I use a shim in my BBS1 and PAA SS Ascension (using a shim in the Ascension was a bit of a challenge at first). I do not use a shim in my WW1 J series Old type ball end or CG L3 DC, these are perfect for me without a shim.

If I had CG L1 and wanted a level 2 I would use a shim any razor that I like but was not getting the shave I wanted I would try a shim to see if it improve the shaving performance for me. There is no one size fits all in razors not even in adjustable's. If I was using the Feather AS D2 and loved it but wanted it to be more efficient with a drop more blade feel, yet did not wanted to start experimenting by buying razors. I would try a shim and get the next level of efficiency and still keep the smoothness of the shave so, this way I can make a informed decision, do I want to keep this razor or not and I have a better understanding on what I'm looking for, wanting in the shave from a razor.

Experimenting with a shim is a cheap, good and quick way to better understand a razors shaving characteristics and its capabilities and is also a cheap way in becoming a better shaver. Just my opinion.
 
I shave daily, I've been using shims for years (I cut off the blade edge off, it takes a few seconds, I have 4-5 shims lying around, haven't cut one in years). A shim has only one purpose and that is to give more blade exposure, it does not change the shaving smoothness of a razor just creates a drop more blade. I have a Wolf 86 which was not efficient enough for me, so I put in a shim which brought the Wolf to a 96, by doing that it became a dream razor for me. I use a shim in my Gillette Old Types ball end and I change out the handles for a Stork aristocrat I get great shaves with this set up. I use a shim in my BBS1 and PAA SS Ascension (using a shim in the Ascension was a bit of a challenge at first). I do not use a shim in my WW1 J series Old type ball end or CG L3 DC, these are perfect for me without a shim.

If I had CG L1 and wanted a level 2 I would use a shim any razor that I like but was not getting the shave I wanted I would try a shim to see if it improve the shaving performance for me. There is no one size fits all in razors not even in adjustable's. If I was using the Feather AS D2 and loved it but wanted it to be more efficient with a drop more blade feel, yet did not wanted to start experimenting by buying razors. I would try a shim and get the next level of efficiency and still keep the smoothness of the shave so, this way I can make a informed decision, do I want to keep this razor or not and I have a better understanding on what I'm looking for, wanting in the shave from a razor.

Experimenting with a shim is a cheap, good and quick way to better understand a razors shaving characteristics and its capabilities and is also a cheap way in becoming a better shaver. Just my opinion.
....and also blades 'dull' whilst in use and shims can help you tweak a couple more decent shaves from the same blade.
 
I use shims once in a while. Usually in my Gillette New OC or Tech to make them a little more aggressive. I use 2 blades with the edge cut off. I recently used 4 cut blades in my Merkur 34c to see if it would help get a better shave from it. When I first started this venture the 34c was my first razor and got wonderful shaves with the blade it came with. I found a Tech, a SS and then a Slim and the latter became my main razor. I have tried to use the 34c on a number of occasions, even with Merkur blades and I just don't care to shave with it because it is just not smooth. So I tried the shims the other day, it helped but not to the point I care to keep using it so it goes back on the shelf.
 
One of the first razors I ever picked up was a Merkur 34c. Unfortunately it was just too mild for my skin/hair combo, no matter the blade being used. Normally on my 3 piece razors I keep a 1mm teflon washer between the base and handle, but I was feeling curious last night and after loading a new Gillette Silver Blue blade, I placed a washer under it and assembled it back together. Onto the shave... Woah. Nice aggressive/audible close shave and straight BBS after 3 careful passes. Made my MJ90A, Red Tip and V3A look like mild razors and definitely felt feedback from the alum block afterwards. Great shave though, would definitely do it again, but maybe im just a sucker for crazy ideas? lol. Seriously - try it sometime if you really want to see what an unleashed/supercharged Merkur 34c can do. Insane!
 
I tried a shim this morning! With a 24-hour beard, I popped a new Rapira Swedish Supersteel blade and a shim I made yesterday into my 1930s Gillette NEW Short Comb. The NEW SC is always smooth and efficient, but I wanted to see what the effect would be. One pass WTG on cheeks and lower lip, two (WTG and ATG) on throat, and I was done. The blade felt a little coarser than any previous shave I can recall with this razor. However, I had no irritation, and my shave ended up as more than socially acceptable.

To really tell, I need to try it with my usual beard length of 48 hours.
 
That is a lot of blade gap. I personally wouldn't use a washer for a spacer because I want the blade pinched as close to the cutting edge as possible. Last thing I want is the blade vibrating while shaving. I tried the Ming Shi Merkur Futur clone and I didn't care for the way the snap on cap held the blade. Using a washer for a spacer to me would make it feel the same. For shims I just cut the edge off a used blade, about 1/8" or so. I used 4 in the 34c the last time I used it a couple weeks ago and it did pretty good.
 
I have shimmed many razors when testing how they work and to see if there is a sweet spot. The reason to shim is create blade gap usually so the blade has greater exposure or blade feel. Another way to create greater blade exposure is just use a wider blade. I have been using the Double edge KAI SS blade which is .009 thousands of a inch wider than a standard blade so you get a extra .0045 thousands per side and that is a lot of extra blade feel. The Kai SS blade takes the fuss out of shims and leaves the razor as designed and give a great shave. The Kai blade is sharp and smooth with excellent longevity and very comfortable blade. At the moment I have (12)shaves on this blade(testing Longevity) and still has some life left in it. So if a person gets 8 shaves out of the blade it is worth having a few tucks for those mild razors that need a little more efficiency. The Kai blades are a little pricey but worth it IMO.
Here is some more in formation on Shimming, this fellow knows his stuff IMO.
Have some great shaves!Stay and Think safe in these times!
 
That is a lot of blade gap. I personally wouldn't use a washer for a spacer because I want the blade pinched as close to the cutting edge as possible. Last thing I want is the blade vibrating while shaving. I tried the Ming Shi Merkur Futur clone and I didn't care for the way the snap on cap held the blade. Using a washer for a spacer to me would make it feel the same. For shims I just cut the edge off a used blade, about 1/8" or so. I used 4 in the 34c the last time I used it a couple weeks ago and it did pretty good.
Bear in mind, I tried this same technique out with several razors and some just do not fit correctly. In particular, any of the razors with plates that are curved will turn out wonky. in short, you can use slimmed down razor blades devoid of any edges and stack them for those. This worked marvelously on my 2 piece Merkur but the blade gap was significant between the bar and the blade. there was no wiggle whatsoever from the blade as the razor is completely shut as normal.
 
Second shave in a row with the Gillette NEW this week; on Tuesday I used it without the shim. Today, trying to keep variables to a minimum (same razor, same La Toja soap, same brush), I tried it with the shim on the left side of my face and throat, then without the shim on the right side.

I noticed a bit more blade feel (especially on my lower lip!) with the shim, but no real difference in the result. So I left it out of the razor and made my usual second pass on cheeks and throat, and third on throat, as usual. Near BBS, no irritation.

I'm not sure this is really a technique that would pay off for me. I may try it again with my postwar Tech, a milder razor -- but then I usually load that one with a Feather and get a great shave.
 
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