SE / GEM Shaving Tips & Tricks

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by richgem, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    I recently put some of this together for a newbie SE shaver and thought it might be useful to others in expanded form. So, in no particular order are my tips and tricks for successful SE shaving. As always, YMMV.

    1. prep cannot be over emphasized, especially on your neck. I find a pre-shave oil treatment or very thorough hot towel and lather prep absolutely necessary. Or, when I don't have time, I use an undercoat of brushless SC followed on top by my regular lather. RazoRock brushless is particularly good (lubricating) for this purpose. SE shaving can be more aggressive than DE and your throat is particularly easy to irritate. At the very least, you will want to use your slickest soap/cream.

    2. Don't even attempt against the grain on your neck (just go with the grain and maybe across) until you get everything keyed in right.

    3. The shaving angle is different than DE. With SE, the "hood"/razor cap needs to be almost flat against your face with maybe a slight angling down (toward / into your face) of the cutting edge.

    3a. As with DE shaving, no pressure! Let the weight of the razor do the work.

    4. Be sure the blade is seated correctly... there should be two small tabs on the leading edge of the razor; the blade needs to be under these. Some razor models will also have a slight nub in the center of the base plate which will line up automatically with a corresponding hole in the blade. If your razor does not have both tabs on the leading edge, do not shave with that razor. The blade will move too much and you will hurt yourself. Possibly, badly.

    5. Be sure to use SE blades designed for shaving. Very similar blades can be gotten at the hardware store; DO NOT use them. They are for utility knives and not for shaving. Your face will pay the price!

    6. You may wish to experiment with some slight skin stretching (a la' straight razor shaving) to get your face even smoother once you get your technique down.

    7. Audio feedback with SE is like nothing else. This is a good thing. Be prepared to hear your whiskers being cut. The scraping sound you will (most likely) hear means you're doing it right.

    8. Take it slowly; rinse your razor frequently; enjoy!

    Added 2/13/14:

    9. Don't attempt ATG under you nose. It just won't work without injury. Instead, do XTG passes right to left and left to right.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  2. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
  3. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

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  4. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    You're looking for this smilie. :smiley respect:

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  5. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    Found it. ;)
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  6. swarden43

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

    Great job, Rich! Definately sticky-worthy :happy088:
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  7. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    Thanks, Steve!
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  8. NoobShaver

    NoobShaver BGDAAA

    what about hand stropping? is that too ymmv to mention? the only time I hand stropped was when I used SE blades, and it substantially improved the quality of the shave and the number of shaves I could get from a blade.
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  9. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    I have no experience with stopping any blades other than carbon DEs, so it never occurred to me to include. From what I've read tho, it's ymmv with modern blades.
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  10. NoobShaver

    NoobShaver BGDAAA

    many SE blades are carbon- the percentage is higher than with DE blades. Rusting carbon SE blades are what got me started with hand stropping. That's why I think it might be worth a mention.
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  11. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    Ah, true, I'd forgotten that since I use the Pella SE blades. Go ahead and add a post here about hand stropping, if you want.
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  12. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Yeah, breaking rule #5 has ended many a wetshaver's journey, and driven them back into the arms of Gillette and Schick.
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  13. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    Yep, sticky worthy! Great post, Richard!

    BTW, I hand strop after each shave. At least it doesn't seem to do any harm.

    When I don't forget, I take a look at the blade before taking it out of the razor. On the thick side of the blade it says on on side 'GEM' and on the other side 'stainless' (mine do at least ;)) . After hand stropping, I put the blade back with the other side facing up. I kid myself into thinking it leads to even wear on both sides of the edge. :D
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  14. feeltheburn

    feeltheburn Well-Known Member

    I just received a Gem Junior as part of a small lot from ebay. Maybe I'll work up the nerve to try it here pretty soon. Lots of people have good things to say about the SE so why not, right? Is the Junior a good first SE to try?
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  15. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    You'll be fine. A Junior is as good a place as any to start. Just remember to go slowly as you're using a totally different razor than a DE.
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  16. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    So true. I was sent box cutters with a Gem 1912 i got on eBay. I about took off my face. Always go with the Gem/Personna SS PTFE coated blades. I get mine at Walgreens.
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  17. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    I'd forgotten that I'd posted that.:D
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  18. latherdude

    latherdude New Member

    Some day I'll brave the SE gauntlet again. I guess I was just intimidated by the amout of audio feedback and poor results I achieved due to inexperience in the field. I'll come back to this thread when that time comes!
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  19. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    It definitely takes some practice, but probably only a bit more then when you first tried a DE. The audio feedback does sound like you're doing something wrong, but in this case, it's a good sound.
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  20. 178-bplatoon

    178-bplatoon Well-Known Member

    While there aren't near as many SE's as DE's! Changing SE razors can still make a considerable difference in your shave. I started with the venerable 1912 Gem and found it ok. I've also used the Gem 1914, Feather Weight,G bar and Gem PushButton Contour, but my BEST shave was with the EverReady 1924. So don't give up on SE's........:)
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
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