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Better than new

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I’m a bit of a razor snob. Actually, I’m probably a bit of an everything snob.
I prefer vintage razors to new ones, but only if they’re in mint condition. I’m still a little grossed out by the thought of sharing decades of DNA with the previous owner(s), so when I buy a razor, I aim for the best. In fact, with the exception of the Injector E in my bathroom, every one of my 12 (yikes!) razors looks just as new as my Merkur Slant.
That’s why I’m sure I overpay for old razors, and it’s also why I’ve overlooked perfectly good, weathered razors. In fact, I already knew about Razor Emporium before they approached us to advertise on Sharpologist. I knew a little about the process of replating. I simply didn’t have any gross old razors to try it with.But Mantic came to my rescue when Razor Emporium offered me the chance to review their “Revamp” service, which was unconnected to the small sponsorship package they purchased. Like every vendor who sends us free stuff, we promise honest editorial consideration.
Turns out Razor Emporium didn’t have much to worry about.
Mantic mailed me the grimiest razor I’ve ever seen. He didn’t know what it was, beyond “Old Gillette.” Turns out it was a 1930s vintage Gillette Short Comb NEW razor. There’s no amount of scrubbing that I would ever do to touch this razor to my face.
So, right after the new year, I put it in a box and mailed it to Razor Emporium’s Phoenix office. I told them to pick whatever finish they thought looked best, and in 60 days, the razor arrived back at my office.
Wow. Just wow.
Unless you were looking for defects, this specimen appeared brand new. Shinier, I’m sure, than when it rolled off the production line. If I looked as close as I could without a magnifying glass, I could see just the tiniest amount of brown when the handle met the bottom piece of the razor head. There also was maybe a two millimeter line on the top of the head. The new plating is just eight micro-inches thicker than the original. It came completely sanitized and shave-ready.
But this is splitting hairs, pardon the pun. The razor was now beyond mint condition. Gleaming in rhodium, this 80-year-old tool looked stunning. It simply sparkled. With care, it will now last another 80 years.

How did it shave? Great, of course. Even with the open comb, it felt mild to me, like my Edwin Jagger DE89. The only odd thing I noticed was that after being out of town for a week, the Feather blade inside it had rusted, leaving rust on the razor, too. I’ve never seen that before, but the rust wiped off easily.
A lot went into this, of course. Razor Emporium didn’t just clean and replate the razor, they also bent it back into shape where needed. They can work with almost all completely metal razors, so that excludes razors with bakelite, black or colored tips.
Granted, the wait time was long. Two months is a long time for anything, and Razor Emporium told me they had just switched replating shops, so new orders will be completed more quickly. And it’s not cheap – this process would have cost $79, although silver and nickel are only $55. But cheap and value aren’t always the same thing.
Is it worth it? Depends, but probably. If you just stumbled across your grandfather’s razor, or you want to go vintage but are a bit of a germaphobe – and you have a little patience … absolutely.
I’ve now seen it first-hand. Razor Emporium will make your grungy old razor look better than new.
Related Posts:
2 Vintage DE’s For The Beginner

Andy Tarnoff

Andy Tarnoff

10 thoughts on “Better than new”

  1. I would like to know if someone can replate a Gillette adjustable razor,I believe it’s called a “Black Beauty”??? Doe’s anybody do this kind of work??? My Dad(God Rest his Soul),he had one just like this one,so I bought a used one and I would like to have it looking like new. Thank-you.

  2. Badgered and Banned isa what it should be called. “Good Morning”: banned. “I was just wondering if…”: banned. “I have ginger hair”: banned.
    Seriously, subscribe to a forum that isn’t straight-out anal; be gentlemanly and polite and meet wonderful people from all around the world with wonderful stories to share, oh, and interesting information about shaving 🙂 I prefer The Shave Nook.
    As for replating, check out Dave Glynn (a great, friendly guy) working out of the UK. Site:

    1. Just got two razors back from dave – black chrome super slim and a fat boy, and lemme tell you, they look better than my brand-new merkur.

      1. Hey, Chase – any chance you would be willing to send me a picture of your re-plated super slim? I am considering a similar restoration request but I would like to see the results for a final push.
        [email protected]

    2. Stumbled across this comment and couldn’t believe Dave’s name came up. Literally a few days ago, I had my treasured 1962 Gillette Slim returned from him after being plated with shiny chrome, and the TTO knob finished in black chrome. The whole thing looks superb. He said it would take 3 weeks, and to the day, that;s how long it was. Friendly communication throughout, coupled with his quality of work, make him a real asset to the world of shaving restoration! I’d use again in a heartbeat, indeed, the ‘fatboy’ I’m now searching for could well end up with him…

  3. My email just flagged my 1960’s Gillette Adjustable is coming back from the REVAMP. It was my father’s and my daughter found it when we cleaned out my mother’s house in February. I’ll reserve judgement until I open the mailer but needless to say I can’t wait. USPS do your thing!

  4. Isn’t razor emporium banned on a forum for difference result on the razor they been replanting ? sometimes bad sometimes good.

    1. I don’t know, but being banned on B&B means nothing really. If nothing else, it’s an honour being banned over there.

  5. They do offer a great service. I had a Gillette Fatboy replated in Rhodium by them, and though it was a very long delay (they were also trying to switch plating houses at the time, and had problems with the new firm so they had to go back to the old one… they owned up to the snafu though, and did the revamp for free), it was an excellent upgrade. I’d use them again if the occasion arose (as it is, after a mild case of RAD, I am generally not actively seeking new razors). Probably the reason I didn’t get more of these done in the past was that many of the vintage razors that this works best on aren’t the greatest shavers out there (for instance, doing it for a Gillette Super Speed or Tech will give a brilliant looking razor but it may not be your favorite to shave with), or aren’t so different from other items in your shave den to warrant the extra expense. Nonetheless, their work is excellent and if you have a vintage razor that you want to make good as new, I would highly recommend it (and go for the rhodium if you can afford it).

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