The Shake Sharp Razor

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by PLANofMAN, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Shake Sharp Razor. Picture one shows the razor with blade installed. Notice the extreme edge exposure. It is about double that of a fatboy set on 9. Picture two shows the blade installed. Picture three is the same as picture two, but without the blade. Picture 4 shows the opening directions. You push down on the cap, slide it up (shown) and flip it open. There is a spring in the handle that presses the hone up against the cap, locking it in place. Picture 4 shows the razor from the front.
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    I just received a G.E. Jones Shake Sharp Razor in the mail earlier this week. G.E. Jones made three versions of this razor. A gold plated, a chrome plated, and one with a gold plated head and a plastic or Bakelite handle. These razors were produced in 1944 or 1945 and were made at least until the early 1950's. I have the chrome plated one and am expecting a minty gold plated one with the box to come in later this week or early next week. They are not pretty razors, or fancy razors. They were built to do a job in the most efficient manner possible. It appears that there were two different versions of this razor. The earliest had a gold plated head and a bakelite handle. The top of the head was removable and just clipped on. later models were made entirely of metal and were either gold or chrome plated. The heads on the later models did not have removable tops, instead they used a slide lock and hinge arrangement. The hone was also redesigned on the later models.

    At first glace, these razors resemble GEM single edge razors, but there the resemblance ends. Can you imagine a self sharpening razor that looked like a single edge, used double edge blades, and shaved like a...well, I really can't compare it to anything, it's one smooth shaver though. I'll be honest, I haven't tried the sharpening feature, nor do I really care if I do. I got a one pass near BBS shave from this thing. I love the way this thing shaves.

    The design is incredible. It was designed by a person with the mind of an engineer. The actual construction materials appear to be a combination of cast zinc and stamped brass, and possibly steel. This would give the shake sharp razor a competitive cost advantage over Gillette in my opinion. Why didn't this razor succeed, why did it languish into obscurity? After all, the marketing claims for this razor include "makes all other razors obsolete!" I believe it was a case of marketing and design. G.E. Jones continued to produce the same two models of razor for nearly ten years, with only one apparent change in design, early in the life of the razor company and they failed to target the right audience. They targeted the older generation, those who had lived through the Great Depression and were thus frugal minded. Gillette had provided razors to the young men of America during WWI and WWII. Those generations continued to use the razors they had learned to shave with and Gillette and Schick continued to produce new and improved models. Schick and Gillette also embraced the idea of "sell the blades, not the razor." G.E. Jones promised a lifetime of use from their razor and once everybody who wanted one had one...the market dried up. Without repeat customers, they were doomed to oblivion, as indeed turned out to be the case.

    Back to the razor itself. This is a single edge razor that happens to only use Gillette type double edge blades. Only one edge was exposed at any given time and the razor had to be opened and the blade flipped to expose the other edge. The blade has some serious edge exposure, about double that of any Gillette razor, but because of the way the head is designed, it is in fact a mild shaver. I have read that it shaves like a cross between a DE and an injector, and I've also read that it shaves like a cross between a DE and an SE. Some people have called it aggressive. To me the most aggressive razors I've shaved with are the Schick Types B & C, and a Hoffritz Slant razor. This razor falls right in the middle ground between a Gillette flare tip and a red tip as far as feel, but cuts closer than a red tip. It is really hard to describe the way it shaves, especially since it is something as subjective as, well, describing how a razor shaves.

    The late, great "Cooncat Bob" had this to say about the shake sharp razor:

    "I have one with a black bakelite handle.
    It shaves more like an injector then a DE.
    Out of all the self sharpening razor designs, it's the most practical and best handling."

    "Out of all the self sharpening/honing razor the only one that is practical is the "ShakeSharpRazor" It take regular DE blades and shaves like a Gem or Injector."


    Bob's original "What the heck is this" post from 2006:

    I picked up a "Shake Sharp" Razor several weeks ago and I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about their history? It takes a regular double edge blade, though only one edge is exposed and there's a pivoting steel hone attached to the guard and when you shake it the hone sharpens the underside of the blade. I'm wondering if it was designed to take double edge blades or if it orginally had a special blade that is no longer made like the Valet Auto Strop or Christy razors? The angle of attack is similar to a Gem and It has nice balance and give a good shave, I don't know how well the hone works. Thanks, Bob.

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    The following pictures were taken from Rocketman's post in The Original Safety forum.

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    For more threads and information about the Shake Sharp view these threads.
    http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/201074-Shake-Sharp-razor
    http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/101927-Shake-Sharp-Razor
    For the patent documents, view these:
    The first patent
    The second patent
    The third patent
    For an old advertisement: Popular Science, November 1952
    Another one: Milwaukee Journal, February 15, 1946

    U.S. Patent No. 2337595, 28 Dec 1943, filed 7 Jan 1943., James C. Friel, Beverly, Massachusetts. Also by same inventor: No. 2359028, 26 Sept 1944.

    Shake-Sharp Razor, Inc., Shavety First Corp., 271 Fifth Ave., New York 16, N.Y. Tradmark first used for safety razors 5 Oct 1945 by Shake-Sharp Razor, Inc., Long Island City, New York.

    If you have any questions, feel free to post, I'll answer as best I can.:) Here's some more pictures from posts later on in this thread.

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    The razor on the left is a second generation Shake Sharp, the one on the right is a first generation Shake Sharp. Notice the edge exposure is much more pronounced on the first generation razors.
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    Edit: Additional Reviews and Links
    Rocketman's Shake Sharp Razor porn

    Samjax's Shave Nook Shake Sharp Review (This review does a really nice job of comparing the shake sharp with a variety of other razors, even if he does misspell my name.)
    One thing I would like to add, as Samjax appears confused by the way the blade acts in this razor. The curvature of the top piece stiffens the blade to a remarkable degree, and when you factor in that half of the bottom plate is spring loaded, it should be no surprise that this razor displays a remarkable degree of both flexibility and stiffness that one usually finds only on a straight edge razor.

    Gordo's Review of the Shake Sharp on his blog
    Gordo's Observations on using stainless blades in a Shake Sharp razor

    I posted this later in the thread, but I feel that it should be up here in the original post as well.
     
  2. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot Staff Member

    Moderator
    I'm sooo sold! Where did you find it? :drool:
     
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  3. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    One I got from eBay, the other I got from Richards Razors. They sell for $20-40 without cases and $40-60 with cases. I'll admit I overpaid for the one with a case. I should have offered less than what I paid. On the other hand, when you factor in the enjoyment I'm getting out of the one I have, I would have paid more.
    http://1954gillettez-2.blogspot.com/2012/07/1945-shake-sharp-razor-mint-wcase-and.html
    I don't know how long this link will work, Richard seems to be taking the different links down. That guy advertises everywhere. They seem to sell at very decent prices considering how rare they seem to be. I would put them up there with Eclipse red rings and Darwin deluxe's on the hard to find scale. The quality of materials used is not in the same league as those two razors which probably explains the value difference. A few people on B&B have them, so if you post a WTB over there, you might find some takers.

    When the other one comes in, Mike, I'll send you the chrome one to try for a month. I know, I'm a tease, but I would like to get someone else's opinion of this razor. PM me your address and I'll mail it out to you.:)
     
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  4. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot Staff Member

    Moderator
    Wow, thanx man! PM sent!

    You rock!
    grudance.gif
     
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  5. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Added pictures! You can see how far the blade edge is exposed, but, because it is both curved to stiffen the blade and set at such a shallow angle and designed with a very narrow blade gap, it ends up being both a smooth and close shaver and a very mild shaver. I also added some more info about the other shake sharp model.
     
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  6. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    Great, now there's something else I want to try.
     
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  7. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    Ryan Foster could sell a monkey its own tail. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Azarius

    Azarius Must have had his WHEATies

    I have been wanting a Shake Sharp for a while, I lost a bid on a minty, cased one by 50 cents, although who knows what the winners maximum bd really was.

    Very anxious to hear your shsving impressions, as everyone I know that has one loves them. I wold give it a week or two of solid testing to really get a feel for it.
     
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  9. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    A Japanese macaque just read that and is now sobbing quietly to itself.

    Way to go, Smott.
     
  10. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    Hey, don't look at me, little monkey, look at PLANofMAN. Maybe you can get a refund!
     
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  11. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! I AM A HUMAN BEING WHO HAPPENS TO HAVE A LOT OF BACK HAIR, OKAY?!?!?

    man, has this thread degenerated or what
     
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  12. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    If I promise to let you all try the Shake Sharp razor, will you guys stop monkeying around?
     
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  13. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    [freezes in stride...slowly backtracks and sits quietly on the chair, looking up from the floor]

    So tell us honestly, Ryan, is this the real deal? Is this thing really that good?!
     
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  14. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    These are the voyages of the Shake Sharp razor...
    ...It's continuing mission, to explore strange new faces, to seek out new creams and blades, to boldly go where no razor has gone before!
    [Pounds on lectern with on hand, while raising the other towards the sky]
    I have used many razors, Gems, Ever-Readys, Micromatics, Injectors, Merkurs, Gillette DE's from a 80 year span of razor design and none of them have been as good a shaver as this razor. It has a heavy head and a fairly light handle, so even though it is lighter than a fatboy, the balance is similar. It is a very well balanced razor. Finding the right angle is simple, just press the head of the razor against your face, the correct angle for shaving is built in. It is easy to clean. The only negative is the initial loading of the blade is slightly awkward because...It's slightly complicated. The fact that you can only use one side at a time would certainly encourage use of blades like the Astra (and by that, I mean blades that are numbered on each edge.) This razor is perfect for someone who has a tough beard and sensitive skin, prefers a mildly aggressive razor and can shave with a flare tip or a red tip or anywhere in between. I had to use my fatboy this afternoon because I forgot the shake sharp at work in the photo booth, and I was disappointed. I have never been disappointed because I had to use my fatboy before.:( I'm sure that once the novelty wears off, I won't mind using other razors again, but I really like the way this razor shaves. I've never shaved with later model injectors, which is what this is reputed to shave like. I'm okay with that. Why? because there are fewer models of injector blades than I have fingers, and a whole world of DE blades to explore.

    Speaking of blades, Phil (AwakeToShave) sent me some "vintage" blades to try. Those came in the mail today. He neglected to mention that those included Super Iridiums, Polsilvers, Mediprep, and a handful of actual vintage blades. Thanks, Phil. You Da Man! You should be getting your razor soon...I hope you like it.

    What I've decided to do is send this shake sharp off to Mike at the end of the month. He will use it for two weeks, and then send it to the next person on my list. Who will then use it for two weeks...etc. It will be a good two months before person number two gets to use it though. Mike lives in the Netherlands.
     
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  15. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Here's another picture. When the blade is in place and the cover locked down, the hone can't pop up above the blade tray like it is doing in the picture. It is an accurate representation of how far the hone travels. Before you start thinking, "That's crazy far!", please remember that the center of the blade rests on the two projections at the edge of the blade tray. The hone itself forms almost half of the blade tray:
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  16. Bird Lives

    Bird Lives Future Root Beer King of Turkey

    Well I never.....This sure seems to be the Bee's Knees.....Are you a little curious to try the sharpening mechanism ?
    It certainly wouldn't be a deal breaker, as cheap as DE blades are...but alot of cats do daily hand stropping...and if this did the samething with a few shakes...That would simply be too cool for school...lol
     
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  17. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    I have used it. It seemed to really do nothing. please bear in mind that the hone is supposed to be impregnated with diamond dust. That dust has long since worn off, and I have been using stainless blades, which would also make a difference. Part of the problem is that I really don't trust a "sharpener" that only sharpens one side. I may test it seriously after I get through reviewing the Stanford 5 Second Sharpener, but other miraculous properties aside, at this time I am content to use it as just a razor.
     
  18. Rob72

    Rob72 Member

    Nice review! I enjoy mine, but I'm not a fan of zinc. The diamond should still be viable, but may require cleaning, if (as is likely) it is clogged with shave residue and steel dust. Bon Ami, Borax, or toothpaste mixed with baking soda on an old toothbrush and some light scrubbing should make it serviceable. As noted by Ryan, carbon blades are better suited to sharpening than SS, and, as with a straight, you would want to sharpen both sides of the blade, not just the one facing the sharpener.
     
  19. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    That is really good to know, I figured it had some sort of coating that had worn off.:D Which model do you have? And would you be willing to share your impressions of the way it shaves?
     
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  20. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    [Has been sitting quietly, pondering all that's been said with furrowed brow. Now rises from his seat, both hands leaning on his cane, tiredly, head shaking slowly, suddenly seeming very old]

    I don't know, gentlemen. We've heard these promises before. In our youths, we've all been there - the victims of the hype, whatever it was for at the moment. Ancient single edge...the injector...the adjustable...rhodium plating...the various strange razors of unknown, foreign pedigree. And the ProGlide. [spits] Remember when the ProGlide came in here, all sleek and silky smooth, seducing us with its blue light and toylike design and useless buzzy-buzz-buzz? And at a "free" trial offer, yet! But $20 a pop for refill cartridges if we liked it?! A seducing TROLLOP, that's what it was! Trollop, I say! Yet we still heard its siren song and just HAD to be like the cool shaving kids and try "the new thing." [shakes head ruefully] Ever the illusory promise of The Shave of the Ubermenschen. [absently touches shaving nicks]

    You'd think we'd have learned by now. Yet through it all, we've acquiesced. We've followed blindly, like sheep. We've given our time and our money. We've alienated those closest to us in our fanatical zeal for ever more and ever better razor clutter. [pounds chest regretfully, muffles a sob] I, as much as anyone and it...it has cost me, gentlemen. It has cost me greatly. I have four crates of Voshkod blades in two closets. My wife left me over them and I don't even LIKE Voshkod's now!

    [Raises streaming eyes to ceiling, as if suddenly catching a glimmer of light in a darkened room]

    And yet [points accusing yet envious finger at Ryan]...if this razor can do all that he says, it truly will change EVERYTHING. My Don Juan blades, made as young and alive again as if it were 1935! All 764 of them! I...I am a weak old man. I must try it. I simply must. Nay, gentlemen...WE must.

    [turns slowly back to his seat, then...]

    Does it come in blue?

    [sits down again, heavily, weeping softly with shame and eagerness, mostly eagerness]
     

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