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VB Emperor Adjustable - Turn That Frown Upside Down

I have been commenting on the VB Emperor Adjustables for some time now. Basically, I love these razors. They are affordable, solidly built beauties that provide a very efficient, smooth shave. The shape of the whole head is just about a copy of the Slims and Super Adjustables. I have both the Emperor Meiji and Augustus, short and long handled versions. I would put the shave experience as matching my Slims but my Super 84 wins out, but continues to do so against all challengers to be fair.

After the initial batches of the Augustus and Meiji, people started to notice blade frown and blade waviness due to burrs in the corners of interior of the silo doors, specifically in the corners where the blade is clamped down (Second factory mold/See pics 1 and 2 of Kingfisher’s razor). VB has indicated on Amazon that this is still within specs. Since my razors are from the first mold, I have no idea how the frown affects the shave compared to my razors as I don’t have this “frown”. I’ve seen some new mold razors that do not appear to have any frown, to a slight frown to downright unhappy depending on the size of the burrs.

I had suggested to others using a tool, maybe a Dremmel to remove the burrs, but after being asked by a member here, Kingfisher to remove his burrs, I realized that I could not be more wrong. Using a Dremmel to do this would be like using a frying pan to swat flies, just would cause damage. After giving it a lot of thought, I realized the doors should come off. I took a trip to my local Lowe’s and picked up a brand name 3M Medium sanding sponge block (Black/Just a few bucks). The block turned out great to get those perfect right angles during burr removal.

I have used pins to remove the doors off my Gillette TTOs in the past with the exception of a very challenged Super 109 junker I had gotten on the cheap for spare parts. There is no room underneath the baseplate of the VB to use pins so I took the doors off in the same fashion as the Super 109. You don’t need any tools. Simply open the TTO, place your thumb under one of the end tabs (Prevents bending of the tab) and place your index finger in the area where the pin is located on the opposing end of the silo door (See pic 3). Press down with your index finger just enough for the pin to clear the hole. Once one side is free, the other side is easily removed by angling the door on the way out. Both my Gillette and Kingfisher’s VB silo doors sprung back after removal and did not need to be bent back in any way.

After the doors are off, it is easy to see the culprit. My guess is that as the brass sheets were being stamped for the silo doors, the cuts weren’t quite clean enough leaving what I describe more as extra brass rather than a sharp burr (See pic 4)

Next, using the block, press the edge into the interior corner of the silo door. What I did was just move the door itself in one direction along the block, I do not recommend sanding back and forth (See pic 5). I forgot to count the strokes, but it didn’t take long to remove the “burr”, probably under 10 strokes. I am a perfectionist and even though the burr was removed, I went a step further to get those right angles on the doors. I just used the foam side of the block on one end of the door to apply pressure to the corners where the edge of the sandpaper is located (See pics 6 and 7). This worked perfectly. Overall I was feeling great about the end result (See pic 8) compared to (pic 9) with the burr. There was some brassing here and there inside but nothing that would be noticed with the doors back on. Thinking about it now, you could probably tape everything up to prevent this, but after patina is set in, you probably won’t see it at all. I also angled the door in a way during sanding where the lacquered top was completely untouched on the doors.

I try to be detailed in my instructions, but don’t equate the length of these instructions to difficulty. This is really easy to do and doesn’t take any expertise. I got it done right on my first go, but took my time. The second door corners were done in minutes. The main thing to remember here is to inspect the area after each stroke to see how things look. Once that brass is gone, it’s gone, take your time.

I inserted one of my KCG blades for inspection after putting the doors back on and everything looks perfect (See pics 10 through 12) I’m now on the lookout for batch 2 razors to buy at a discount. I hope this helps anyone with a mold 2. Again, I never shaved with one of the second mold razors so I don’t know if this changes the shave, but honestly most people would agree it looks 100% better.
 

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Pics 11 and 12, plus a pic 13 of the product I used.
 

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Fantastic. Outstanding explanations and pics. Thank you so much for taking this on. I am excited to see how different the shave will be now that the razor is no longer so sad, lol.
 
Fantastic. Outstanding explanations and pics. Thank you so much for taking this on. I am excited to see how different the shave will be now that the razor is no longer so sad, lol.

Sorry it took me a few weeks to get to it. If I had realized how fast it would take to get done, I would have finished it on the day it arrived. I just wanted to put some time aside to take things at a gingerly pace when I got to it.

I didn’t try throwing my SA doors on it to see if they fit since this worked out so well. I might follow up with putting those spare SA doors I have on one of my VBs to see how things match up.
 
Is it difficult to remove the doors of the SA, or is it a similar process?

The only Gillette doors I removed this way were on the SA junker. I got your VB doors off the same exact way. After the junker, I found not using tools was the best approach so I probably would have taken your doors off this way regardless of whether the space under the baseplate was tight.

It is important to keep your thumb under the end tab(s) to avoid bending. Too much bending and you might have to solder the thing back on. I’d risk bending a silo door that can be bent back any day over messing around with broken end tabs.

You press down on the silo door pin area with a little force but it isn’t too hard to get it free from the pin. If you have trouble, you could put tape on a flat head screwdriver and press that on the silo door pin area to free it. Just make sure again that you keep your thumb on the opposing end tab to prevent it from bending.
 
Pics 11 and 12, plus a pic 13 of the product I used.
Awesome workmanship and documentation!

Rare to find a combination of a great fix-it guy and documentation skills in IT world :D

Surprisingly the VB claims on Amazon
that the blade bowing is by design due to the end burrs which you also mention and not a defect in response to many complaints and returns.

I always found that blade bowing design claim to be within specs to be highly suspect.
 
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Awesome workmanship and documentation!

Rare to find a combination of a great fix-it guy and documentation skills in IT world :D

Surprisingly the VB claims on Amazon
that the blade bowing is by design due to the end burrs which you also mention and not a defect in response to many complaints and returns.

I always found that blade bowing design claim to be within specs to be highly suspect.

I can’t imagine seeing that again. I feel that if it were by design, it would have been cleaner and uniform.

I also think the razor is already very efficient and smooth, so I don’t see why a mod like this would have been done.

Like I mentioned before, unless anyone has sanded off the burrs, I have no idea how it would affect the shave. I do know that his Emperor looks exactly like my razors now with regard to the blade. In the very least, it should now shave just like my VB Emperors from the first batch. Kingfisher will let us know.
 
Well, I thought it was time to update this thread, now that I have had the razor back for a while and have been able to use it for several shaves.

Before I sent it to Tony, it had a really pronounced frown, as you could see in the pictures. I could shave with it, but it was quite uncomfortable; a lot of blade feel and kind of a scraping sensation at all settings. Interestingly enough, it seemed like it was actually milder at more aggressive settings; maybe the extra gap minimized the effect of the frown?

Anyway, since I got it back it shaves much better. There is still a tiny bit of “wavy blade” on the scalloped side, but not a lot, and the frown is completely gone. The razor is a tank. It still has a fair bit of blade feel; much more than any of my vintage Gillettes. Maybe about the same as the Blackland Blackbird (it has been a while since I tried the blackbird, so I can’t say for sure; probably the Blackbird had more blade feel than this razor).

The blade feel is not uncomfortable and the scraping sensation is gone. It shaves well at every setting, even lowered down to 1 it still cuts well, and works for touch-up or buffing.

This is never going to be my favorite razor. It’s too heavy and has a bit more blade feel than I prefer, but at least for now it is solidly in the rotation. In fact, I just used it last night, which reminded me that I had not update this thread.

I want to thank Tony again for fixing the razor for me.

Anybody out there who wants to try an adjustable.....if you don’t mind a heavy razor and you like a bit of blade feel, this razor might be just the ticket. It’s certainly a good-looking razor, too, and it seems well built.
 
Well, I thought it was time to update this thread, now that I have had the razor back for a while and have been able to use it for several shaves.

Before I sent it to Tony, it had a really pronounced frown, as you could see in the pictures. I could shave with it, but it was quite uncomfortable; a lot of blade feel and kind of a scraping sensation at all settings. Interestingly enough, it seemed like it was actually milder at more aggressive settings; maybe the extra gap minimized the effect of the frown?

Anyway, since I got it back it shaves much better. There is still a tiny bit of “wavy blade” on the scalloped side, but not a lot, and the frown is completely gone. The razor is a tank. It still has a fair bit of blade feel; much more than any of my vintage Gillettes. Maybe about the same as the Blackland Blackbird (it has been a while since I tried the blackbird, so I can’t say for sure; probably the Blackbird had more blade feel than this razor).

The blade feel is not uncomfortable and the scraping sensation is gone. It shaves well at every setting, even lowered down to 1 it still cuts well, and works for touch-up or buffing.

This is never going to be my favorite razor. It’s too heavy and has a bit more blade feel than I prefer, but at least for now it is solidly in the rotation. In fact, I just used it last night, which reminded me that I had not update this thread.

I want to thank Tony again for fixing the razor for me.

Anybody out there who wants to try an adjustable.....if you don’t mind a heavy razor and you like a bit of blade feel, this razor might be just the ticket. It’s certainly a good-looking razor, too, and it seems well built.

Glad I could help. It turned out to be easier than I expected.

I owned this after owning some razors with plenty of exposure so I never noticed blade feel before. I was probably used to it. I use Kai blades also now and then so that affects my perception as well I think.

I take mine to setting 8 WTG and XTG (If needed/Depending on blade choice) and drop it down to 3 ATG.

I figured getting rid of the frown would smooth it up a bit for you. It really resembled mine when it was done.

They designed it to hold a myriad of blades, including some difficult vintage designs. The T Bar is shorter by a tad. Basically, if you center the blade on the T Bar without differences in the end tab lengths, you won’t have any waviness.
 
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