Shimming... What does it accomplish?

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Ryan B, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Ryan B

    Ryan B Knight of the Soapocracy

    I am trying to figure out what shimming accomplishes.

    I know it's supposed to make your razor more aggressive, but how? Does it make the razor shave smoother? Does it make it more effective?

    Are there other ways to do it other than cutting the edges off of an old DE blade? How many shims do you put in?
     
  2. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Shimming increases the gap of a fixed razor head to allow greater blade exposure.

    If done properly, in general terms, it will increase the aggressiveness of a razor.

    If done improperly, it can cause you to have an less than stellar experience if the cutting blade is not fully secure.

    The more cut off blades used the greater the gap becomes.

    How many is up to you and a level of safety that can be maintained depending upon the razor and blade combination.
     
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  3. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Moderator
    That's my understanding of the shimming process.
    I considered it for my more 'mild' Merkur 38c. But part of me likes the idea of having at least ONE mild shaver in the bunch, so I have not attempted it yet.
     
    Ryan B likes this.
  4. Ryan B

    Ryan B Knight of the Soapocracy

    I don't mean to sound like a Johnny Raincloud, but I don't see the point in shimming. If someone wants a more aggressive razor, why not just buy one? Or get an adjustable and then dial in the level of aggressiveness you want? It just seems like too much work. Maybe I'm just lazy, IDK :p.

    I love my Slim Adj. It's like 9 razors in one and is one of my most reliable shavers.
     
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  5. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Years ago razors as a part of income was far greater than it is even today. So a person who needed a little more "umph" from their razor, would use this method since they had old blades available but not enough money to buy different razors. Yes, it is a cheap way to adjust the razor. So with razors such as the OLD OC (most prevalent razor before 1950 in terms of volumes produced) it created a gap in a razor where no gap existed. After World War II, Gillette began to experiment with shimming mechanisms, which when they were fully developed, were built into the venerated razors such as the FatBoy, Slim and Super Adjustable series.
     
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  6. Ryan B

    Ryan B Knight of the Soapocracy

    That is something I never considered. Times were tough then.

    To everyone reading this thread: I am not bashing anyone who chooses to go through the steps of shimming. I personally find it to be too much work. YMMV. If it makes your shave better, then by all means carry on.
     
    GDCarrington likes this.
  7. Slipperyjoe

    Slipperyjoe Rusty Metal Tetanus

    Gee..I'm learning learning a lot today..:eek:
     
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  8. David G

    David G Member

    Interesting concept. So does the opposite hold true? Could I 'reverse shim' to make my razor a bit more mild?
     
  9. BamaT

    BamaT Well-Known Member

    What's the best way to remove the edges from the shim? Grinding? Tin snips? Dremel?
     
  10. David G

    David G Member

    A metal shear that doesn't put a lip on the edges would be best. Any lip on an edge would create an uneven shim which could cause the blade to bite. You could use snips as long as you made sure the edge was uniform (could use a dremel to touch up the new edge).
     
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  11. tuxxdk

    tuxxdk International Penguin of Mystery

    Were I to buy an adjustable, it would set me back at least $80, vintage or not. That's a lot of dough to spill for the sake of experimenting to find out if I need more aggressiveness or not. Shimming is done for free.

    Would I be needing a more aggressive shave on a daily basis I'd get another razor. But for the once in a while times... I'm not so sure.
     
  12. swarden43

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

    No. At least not that I'm aware of. Once the blade is put in the razor, it has to be tightened down to hold it securely. There is no way to make a blade thinner, thus making it milder.

    By the way, some folks have been known to loosen their razor just a bit to make it more aggressive, but I see this as playing the game dangerously. Each to their own.
     
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  13. cswann1

    cswann1 Member


    It occurred to me that it may be possible by removing some of the metal from the two "fulcrums" that run parallel to the blades edges on the comb part of the razor. This would reduce the gap between the comb and the blades edge but also alter the angle of the blades edge relative to the rest of the razor. I'm not sure exactly how it would all play out. Obviously if the razor had a chrome finish this would be a horrible thing to do.
     
  14. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    ... and more that likely would cause alignment issues unless you can machine it down exactly the same value at all points.

    Best to leave the structure of razors alone.
     
  15. BamaT

    BamaT Well-Known Member

    I'm interested in perhaps making my NDC Superspeed and Flair Tip Superspeed a little more aggressive. But it seems to me that a TTO might not be the best razor for shimming, as the doors would have to close down properly on the blade and shim(s). If a shim is so thin as not to impede proper closing, would that still be an effective shim for increasing blade exposure?
     
  16. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Basically the Flair Tip and the Slim have close to, if not, the same head curvature. A correctly functioning Slim has the built in shimming mechanism. If you have a Slim then you have this answer at your disposal.
     
    Ryan B likes this.
  17. BamaT

    BamaT Well-Known Member

    I do have a Slim that I enjoy very much, and is usually set on 6. I just wanted to get more use out of the other razors.
     
  18. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    I rarely use the Super Speed series razors that I have because of the Slim.
     
  19. Ryan B

    Ryan B Knight of the Soapocracy

    My Slim is the razor that I keep coming back to. I start out at 6 for the first pass and then go down to 3 for the second pass. It even beat out the Weber PH.
     
  20. youngunn

    youngunn Where's my TSD aftershave balm???

    I know of at least two slim adjustables that are only about $25 at my local antique store. I would never pay $50++ for a razor... Unless its something very special. You wanting an adjustable?
     

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