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Vintage Super Speed $5.00 find with pre and post-cleanup photos

Hello all,

Well, I'm afraid I have been bitten by the bug. Now that I am retired and have the time to learn about and enjoy wet shaving, I began a few weeks ago with my grandfather's 1957 Gillette Super Speed.

Earlier today, my wife and I were looking around some antique shops not too far from us and I found this vintage Gillette for just $5.00. From doing online research on this site and looking at some of the reference links provided, I believe that it is a 1948-1950 Super Speed. The razor weighs 55 gms and the handle is about 3" long. It has no date code and the center bar is notched. It appears that the end caps were missing, leaving solder on both sides of the razor.

When I got it home, I took a few photos and then proceeded to clean it up. Here are the before photos:

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Here was the cleaning process I followed as recommended by many others here, with a tweak or two.

First, I soaked the razor in hot water with Dawn dishwashing soap for about thirty minutes. I used an old toothbrush to do a first cleaning pass to remove any loose residue.

The next step was to see about removing that solder from the ends of the razor so the missing endcaps wouldn't detract from the appearance. I researched how to remove solder and read that another poster had some success using a brass bristle brush on a dremel. It wasn't clear from the posts that discuss missing end caps whether the end caps are soldered to the brass and then the razor is plated or if the razor is plated before the end caps are soldered on. I was concerned that removing the solder might reveal that the area underneath had not been plated, but I figured for a $5.00 investment, I'd risk it. So I used my dremel with brass brush and at a low speed and very carefully removed the solder. I was pleased to see that the area had been nickel plated and I was able to successfully remove the solder (there may be one tiny spot of solder I missed) without damaging the plating.

I followed that by a spray-down with Scrubbing Bubbles and another thirty minute soak in that solution. Once that was done, I used the old toothbrush to do another scrubbing.

I then used Bar Keeper's Friend (based upon some posts here) and a soft damp cloth to do some additional cleaning/polishing.

Finally, I used Meguir's ScratchX (a very gentle polish with micro-abrasives designed to remove scratches and other imperfections in automobile clear coat finishes) to do a final polish. The results are pictured below:

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For those "in the know", are there any structural or mechanical reasons that the missing end caps should be replaced? I certainly could epoxy a pair on but spending the money on a donor razor (or $15.00 for the replicas at Razor Emporium) just doesn't seem to make sense to me considering the value of the razor. Comments and feedback are welcome!

Thanks to all that have contributed to this forum in the many varied threads, I have learned a great deal just in the short time I've been here!
 
If you decide you want the end caps, Razor Emporium makes replacements.

Edit: never mind, you already knew that.
 

KeenDogg

Slays On Fleek - For Rizz
Looks nice. I'd be careful with the bkf. You look like you came out on top though. The endcaps provide a little stability to the razor overall, but as Dan said above, it will shave just fine. Enjoy!
 
I think the predecessor to the Super Speed, the Ranger, didn't have end caps. I couldn't say whether there were any other structural differences that would make a SS need end caps more.

However I do have a Schick Krona with missing end caps, and I don't see how it is in any way compromised because of that. Considering that, and that in my opinion the build quality of the Krona is inferior to that of my SS to begin with, I don't see why end caps are needed.

Even if it was a structural issue, it seems you could just strengthen it with a dab of epoxy without the end cap. But I don't think it's necessary, so please don't take it as a recommendation as I'm not at all sure it would be good advice.
 
Thanks all for the input! I'll give it some shaves and see how it compares to my grandfather's 1957 Super Speed. It sounds as though I probably don't need to be concerned about the end caps.

Now the only worry I have is how much time I'll spend scouring antique stores and thrift shops for old, neglected razors at bargain prices to bring back to life (and what I'll do with them once acquired and refurbished)!
 
Looks nice. I'd be careful with the bkf. You look like you came out on top though. The endcaps provide a little stability to the razor overall, but as Dan said above, it will shave just fine. Enjoy!
Thanks. On the bkf, are there concerns about using it on nickel plating? I know from reading other threads that you should not use it on anything gold plated...
 
If plating is thinned, its pretty easy to buff right through, and if you do regular cleanings with bkf, yes, it will remove nickel, time and effort dependent.

I like Barbicide as an after shave dunk, as it leaves no residue I've ever found. Some people have ultrasonic cleaners.

Beautiful clean & renew!
 

Hannah's Dad

I Can See Better Than Bigfoot.
Thanks all for the input! I'll give it some shaves and see how it compares to my grandfather's 1957 Super Speed. It sounds as though I probably don't need to be concerned about the end caps.

Now the only worry I have is how much time I'll spend scouring antique stores and thrift shops for old, neglected razors at bargain prices to bring back to life (and what I'll do with them once acquired and refurbished)!
THAT, my friend, is the really fun part of the journey. When you walk thru the door of an antique shop and the clerk says ‘no new razors since last week!’, then maybe you’ve jumped the shark. But until then, enjoy the hunt!
 
Congratulations! It looks fantastic! You were wise to do your homework, looks like you found a great recipe for the refurb.
 

JWCowboy

Probably not Al Bundy
Outstanding job, and I agree with the other posters not to worry about the end caps. You have a beautiful razor that will work great. Few things more satisfying that finding one for $5 and cleaning it up like that.

Stay on this forum a while and the next thing you know you'll be doing brush restorations as well ;)
 
One of my favorite razors! I may use mine today. I was lucky and found a pretty clean one, but you may have motivated me to take it to the next level. Well done!!
 
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