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Tale of Two Single Ring Fixes

About a year and a half ago, I purchased my first Gillette Single Ring made in 1908 with nice patina and no broken or bent teeth. On first use, the barrel wouldn't thread and lock down with a blade in place unless the top cap was firmly held down to the base plate (compressing the blade), and then it would only catch by a quarter or half turn. Looking closer, I could see that the threads were worn down and rounded--no doubt because brass is soft, and also from years of someone cranking the barrel down tightly to compress the old three hole blades. I don't use it very often, but I do want to use it, so I've added a few turns of teflon tape to the threads of the top cap, and you can feel the barrel catch and tighten down well before it compresses the blade. I'm sure the teflon tape won't last forever and eventually need to be redone, but for limited use, it works just fine and it's reversible.

A few months later I found a 1910 Single Ring in a shop that looked like someone scrubbed the patina off with a scotch brite pad or sandpaper because it was very scratched up (which is unfortunate because even after that, there's minimal plate loss). I thought it was a knock off Gillette because something just seemed off about it: no patent stamp and I mistook the faint "B" in the barrel serial number as a "D." But it was in otherwise good condition and unlike my 1908, it tightened down quite a few turns before the top cap and baseplate met. Comparing the 1908 to the 1910, it still seemed odd, but it took an odd turn when I swapped the 1910 top cap to the 1908 expecting the 1908 to lock down securely and be "fixed." To my bewilderment, the results were the same: the 1910 locked down easily and the 1908 wouldn't catch til the last quarter turn, and swapping the barrels gave the same result. Closer inspection of the baseplates held the key: the 1908 was in "stock condition," but the 1910 had been modified. A previous owner of the 1910 had cut/filed/ground about 1/8 or 3/16 of an inch off of the bottom of the handle (removing the patent stamp) to increase the travel/depth of the barrel. The shortened handle allows the barrel to engage those threads near the top of the top cap that haven't been worn down from use/abuse over the years. Oddly enough, you don't really notice the length difference until you stand them up side to side. It's a very crude, but effective fix for worn threads, but I think I'll stick to the teflon tape.
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Single Rings 1.jpg
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