Old-Type is difficult to shave with but the best post-shave BBS experience.

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Tim Spencer, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member


    Today I used my antique Old-Type Shave Kit.


    Razor - Antique Gillette 1907 Old-Type (fully restored and re-plated in gold by Razor Emporium)
    Blade - Gillette 7 O'Clock Black "Superior Platinum"
    Shave Brush - Everyman Jack Synthetic
    Shave Soap - Mama Bear's Obsession for Him
    Preshave Oil - Lather & Wood's "Unscented"
    Aftershave - Calvin Klein's Obsession For Men
    Post Shave Balm - Retseliney Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum
    Deodorant - Calvin Klein's Obsession For Men
    Fragrance - Calvin Klein's Obsession For Men EDT

    My face is extraordinarily smooth post-shave and I think this is the smoothest shave I've ever done. The Old-Type is still the greatest shaver I own, but a very technique-oriented razor that requires patience. I'm still trying to find the best blade to put with this. I can't find a perfect one. I get neck irritation with every 2nd pass I go for with this razor. The results are a beyond-smooth-skin feel but I always get some redness and irritation for about an hour at least and in the worst cases, a razor burn that lasts a day or two along with red spots that take a week or more to fade. My skin is fussy.

    I have managed to get virtually perfect irritation-free 2 pass shaves from my least aggressive razors (Edwin Jagger "Kelvin" and Merkur "1904"). So, I know it can be done with the right angles and careful adjustment for easing blade contact. It's just really, really tough for me to get it right with aggressive razors.

    Today's shave I attempted to apply techniques used for shaving with straight razors. Trying to get the best, least skin-damaging angle. I used-preshave oil as it genuinely does help reduce friction and irritation, especially with the glycerine-based soap Mama Bear uses. I wanted to ensure the best results. I took a full 20 minutes at least shaving 2-passes with a progressive "barber-style" technique. I STILL got a couple of weepers on my neck at the same sensitive spot that I always have trouble. To be fair, even my least aggressive razors could potentially give me a weeper with my side-grain stroke near my Adam's apple. That spot is real touchy but it CAN to done with a proper angle and low-aggressiveness razor without causing redness or a weeper. But the Old-Type is one seriously technique-demanding razor.

    I will keep trying different blades and practicing the straight-razor barber technique as it delivered the very best shave I've ever had today despite the weeper, because of the BBS closeness of the post-shave feel. It's just astounding how good my skin feels after this shave with this technique and patient shave.

    I was going to write this in the SOTD, but thought this required a properly focused discussion. I was wondering how others use the Old-Type. What blade is best. What techniques they use.
  2. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    I felt the same way when I first started using Old Types. They would give me some irritation on my neck below the chin. Now I won't tell you how to use it, just in time you'll find out what works. Done properly, they can give some of the closest and best shaves.
    Herm2502 likes this.
  3. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    Possibly try the.. .Kai, I think? They're closer to the original blade thickness that the razor was designed for. (.006", rather than .004") That'll reduce blade flex.
    Primotenore and Tim Spencer like this.
  4. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    This is a potentially beneficial recommendation. Although I'm trying to find that elusive "universal" razor blade that does best in all razors, I could concede a very specific blade for the two ancient Old-Types I own. It's weird how Gillette blades haven't been the best performers in this ancient Gillette razor. LOL
  5. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    I have and use my Old Type no different than I use all the rest of my DEs. I just have to really focus on using an extra light touch.

    As for blades, I've settled on two that work well, for me, no matter what DE I put them in - Astra SP and Exchange Select, a blade sold in the BX/PX on base, made in Israel.
    Jorvaljr likes this.
  6. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    I think part of it is that the 3 piece razors designed after the 30's were oriented towards the 'Blue Blade', which was thinner. up to the 20's, they were all oriented on the three hole razor blades, which _are_ a lot stiffer. The ones today are even more flexible than the blue blades - possibly an artifact of the stainless steel.
  7. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Or a shim? I shim my '21 Big Fellow and it simply shaves better. As has been mentioned, the razor blades were a lot thicker back then.
  8. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    I shim my single ring as well, gives a fine shave.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
    Primotenore likes this.
  9. Tim Spencer

    Tim Spencer Well-Known Member

    Explain this 'shim' thing you speak of. Include links of places to buy.
    jimjo1031 likes this.
  10. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    Maybe this can help......
  11. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    Quick and dirty, for those who don't want to watch movies.

    Take an old razor blade. Use a set of kitchen shears (or just heavy scissors) and cut off the sharpened bits. You now have a shim.

    edit - note that shimming will take the thickness from .004 to .008, bypassing the original .006.
  12. Stu929

    Stu929 Well-Known Member

    Do you put said shim above of below the new blade?
    jimjo1031 likes this.
  13. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    I think people put them wherever they feel like it :) I've never shimmed, but those I've read, describing their shimming, it seems like they normally put the blade on the head, then the shim, then the base plate, then screw the handle in place. This replicates the older, more rigid blades.

    I believe I PO'd someone on B&B when he was advocating shimming as way to solve a problem for someone else (who should then ALWAYS shim), and I pointed out that it was fine to work out the angle you liked - but then you should find a razor that feels like that without shimming.
  14. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Make sure you place the shim UNDER the real blade.
    IMG_1804.jpg IMG_1802.jpg IMG_1801.jpg IMG_1800.jpg
    Jim99 likes this.
  15. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    The shim goes under the blade to give the razor a larger gap for a more aggressive shave. And some people will use something else instead of a blade for a shim to increase the gap, as the video explains.
    Jim99 likes this.
  16. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

  17. Stu929

    Stu929 Well-Known Member

    I still haven't tried my old yet. I did use my Tuckaway and it resulted in a respectable shave but I did take my time much more than normal.

    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
  18. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    What are you waiting for? Use it!

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
    Herm2502 likes this.
  19. jtspartan

    jtspartan Well-Known Member

    I did a 30 Day focus with an Old Type a few months ago. Ran Astra SP, Voskhod, Polsilver, Lord Platinum, Sharp Star, Derby and Merkur (only for one day to prove to myself my technique could handle it, I hate those things) through it. If I had to pick one or two blades, which I think is what you are asking, it would be Polsilver and SharpStar. The other Russians and the Lords were also fine. Had tons of irritation the first several days. Didn't have any the last few weeks. Pershaps that is the biggest advise here- use it for 30 Days and see where it takes you.
    RetLEO-07 and jimjo1031 like this.
  20. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    Like someone said i use the same blades in which ever razor. Once technique improves the blade choice is not that big a deal. Assuming sharp blades and good razors.

    Get'er done. It's just shaving. Technique trumps tools. You got that!

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