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Wet Shaving Talk For 8 May 2024

  • Joe 
Sharpologist Wet Shaving Podcast Network
Sharpologist Wet Shaving Podcast Network
Wet Shaving Talk For 8 May 2024

You’re listening to Wet Shaving Talk powered by where we’re dedicated to preserving the art and skill of classic shaving. I’m your host Joe Borrelli and today is May 8th,2024.


Today on the Show:

May Is Single Edge Razor Month !!

How it Started: The First SE Razor Lather Catcher 

Shovel Heads. How you can use them

Not All Blades are Created Equal.  How to Choose the Right Blades 

Gillette Double Ring ebay NOS 

May Is Dedication to Single Edge Safety Razors 


The First SE Razor Star Shaving Kampfe Bros

The Kampfe Bros, are credited with the first removable blade safety razor. As barbers, they were dedicated to creating an easier way to shave that was safer. In 1875 they patented a safety razor with a fixed blade, but continued to innovate.  In 1880 they introduced the Star Razor as seen in the image. 

These razors had a hollow ground blade which required honing/stropping.  By 1890 they introduced a handle where the blade could be removed and stropped like a straight razor. 

Today there are several groups that use these razors, and even a vendor that created an adapter to use regular SE blades:

______________________________________________________________________________Shovel Head Razors  

Nicknamed for the shape of the head looking like a shovel, these SE razors are abundant, cheap and great shavers. 

Innovated from the original lather catcher design, these razors were in production for over 50 years. GEM, Star Shaving, Everready were the three major brands and 

______________________________________________________________________________Not All Blades are Created Equal.  How to Choose the Right Blades 

When choosing blades for these razors, please buy from a reputable vendor.  Although they look like the same razors you would see at Home Depot, they are not. Using inferior blades can create a horrible experience.  


Gillette Double Ring ebay NOS

A beautiful piece from a well- known collector. 


Our show is powered by, “What Your Father Didn’t Teach You about Shaving” 

Special Thanks to:

Mark aka Mantic 59

Most of All……….YOU!!!!

Don’t forget to check out my blog site  for the tips and interesting wet shaving stories!

Please feel free to contact me at [email protected]  

Subscribe to my You Tube Chanel for videos regarding some interesting wet shaving content.

Are you interested in sponsoring an episode? Contact Me!!!

If you’re a vendor and would like to be featured on the show please contact me!!

Next Show: 5/20/24

Until then… Shave Straight and Shave Safe!! 

Please check out my book: “The Modern Guide to Straight Razor Shaving”

Transcript (Machine-Generated)

You’re listening to Wet Shaving Talk, powered by Sharpologist dot com, where we’re dedicated to preserving the art and skill of classic shaving. I’m your host, Joe Borrelli. And today is May 8th, 2024. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the podcast, as I must, uh, apologize for being a few days late. Here I am late. Uh, usually the show comes out on Monday. Today is Wednesday, but I gotta be honest, it was a long week last week. A lot of stuff going on, especially when you’re selling, uh, I guess liquor and all that good stuff every holidays. A reason to drink, which gives us. Well, great. It helps me with with business. Right. It helps me, uh, make a living. But it also takes a lot of, uh, time out of your day.

So just to give you an insider here in the United States for you guys listening abroad, we had a few few holidays we had on Saturday. We had the Kentucky Derby, which is a bourbon holiday. The mint julep is a drink. So if you are in the area of a liquor store, a lot of people were selling bourbon that day. Uh, that was on the fourth, which you also have. May the 4th be with you as well, which is like Star Wars Day, which I don’t know if it’s a really a drinking holiday, but it is considered a holiday to a lot, a lot of people who are actually, uh, watching movies. Uh, I guess they had first run movies for Star Wars at movie theaters that day as well. On on Sunday was Cinco de Mayo, which is, uh, Mexican Independence Day, which was a great tequila day. So when you’re selling liquor, that’s a very busy day as well. Also, that Sunday was Orthodox Easter for Orthodox Christians. So that was another day to, um, see some business, a little spike in business as well.

And then I had my son’s fifth birthday on on just Tuesday. Believe it or not, he is five years old. For you guys who’ve been listening for a few years, I remember announcing that he was coming to this world and taking a little time off when he was born, but I can’t believe he’s already five. It’s been a real you know, they do tell you this, everyone. It goes by fast and to enjoy every moment, even though at the time it may not feel like it, it is 100% true. It does go by fast, so enjoy every moment you have with your little, with your family, friends and everything above. When you’re ever out somewhere on vacation or anything like that, just enjoy everything because it does go by quickly.

But on a lighter note, May is single edge razor month. Guys, as I mentioned on the previous cast, this entire month and one show into June will be dedicated to single edge razor. Single edge razors are those that have one side for the blade, not like a double edged razor or a straight razor. Even though technically straight razors are single edge, we’re going to be talking about single edge safety razors all month. So how did it start? We’ll get into that. First we’ll talk about how it started. The first SX razor or aka the lather catchers, what collectors call it. We’ll then get into the next generation of. A single edge. Safety razors, which are the shovel. Head razors which are a little bit different design and they take disposable blades.

We’ll talk about them how not all blades on these razors are created equal. How to choose the right blade. Making sure you don’t make the same mistake that I made, or several others have made by purchasing the wrong blades, even though they look the same a little bit off of single edge razors. But I did want to mention it was a Gillette double ring. He had an eBay sale. It was. It was new old stock. Definitely look like a brand new version of it. Probably one of 1 or 2 in the world that are like that are sold by a well-known collector on eBay. So I have a few pictures about it, and I’ll talk a little bit about that sale. And of course we’ll we’ll finish off with talking more about what’s going on, what’s in store for Single Edge Razor Month. So without further ado, guys, let’s get on with the show.

So the first S eraser. So the first we call a single edge razor safety razors. We like to call them s e razors mainly because they have one cutting edge. So it’s easy to see why we call it that. And the collector’s world. Right. So when you look at the actual history of this razor, it can be traced back to the Kampf brothers out of Brooklyn, New York, where they started producing this razor as an alternative to straight razors. Now, the cramp brothers, who are credited with the first removable safety razor blade, uh, razor itself, where the actual blade came out of the fixture because a safety razor was technically in kind of.

I guess it was invented prior with Pierre, who made that back in the 1700s, which is another whole thing. We don’t want to get too much into that, which was a straight razor with a guard on it. Uh, these guys invented something else because they said they wanted an easier ways to shave that was safer and quicker and would be, um, something that they can do on their own as well without having to go to the barbershop. Even though they were barbers, they were dedicated to creating an easier way. And and in 1875, they patented a safety razor with a fixed blade, but continued to innovate. By the 1880s, they introduced the star razor. As you can see in the image, which is a has a removable, uh, hollow ground blade. So the razor actually required strapping and honing. So if you think that Gillette invented the first safety razor, well, unfortunately you’re wrong. He missed it by about 22 years or 21 years or so. Uh, these guys are definitely invented at first.

And Gillette made this razor, made his razor with disposable blades because he didn’t like the star razor, the Camp Brothers razor because of having the hone and strop. He thought that that was the reason that it was just inconvenient and still the same thing. So he created the disposable blade razor, which was, uh, which actually was innovated the world. I mean, that’s the most replicated design out there. So these razors came out and they had to be strapped and honed and used, but they were really a very high quality metal, uh, wood handles, as you can see, the wood handle and, uh, in the picture.

And then by 1890, they introduced a handle where it was all metal design. It was a metal a little bit, a little bit sleeker and had a handle that you can take off that would fit into the actual razor itself. So it could be strapped around that time they invented a strapping machine as well, or, uh, innovative strapping machine that could use on the blades. So if you were really doing well, you can buy a razor like this and, and have something really nice instead of a straight razor. Now, I believe the the price of this was 3 to $5 when it first came out, which back in that time was probably equivalent to about 150 to $200 now. So not for everybody. Not everybody had one, but those who did enjoyed it probably, uh, really thought they were cool having it.

Now, I don’t have the original version of the 1880 version with the wooden handle. There is actually one on eBay right now if you want to take a look. It’s been there for years. It’s very priced. It’s priced high at around $900. So if you’re really, you know, looking for something innovative, you know, something a piece of wet shaving history. That’s it right there. If this is something that you want to use. But I do have an 1890 model, which is the newer model with the metal construction and the stoppable blade and everything like that. Now these razors are shaved very well. If you do have your hands, get your hands on it and they’re in there probably around, I think, give or take about 20 or 30 years where a star shaving or the camp brothers, they they designed it differently. A couple other competitors came out as well.

And they came around and, and got more of a, you know, they got seven day sets with seven blades like you would see with straight razors. I companies like Wilkinson Sword came out with one a little bit later on. Uh, which stuff was similar. Kind of, um, designs. So this was the main this is the OG, uh, to say the least. This is the first one and one of my personal favorites. I do on one of these razors. I do find it fun to shave with, and I find that it is definitely a different experience than using anything else I’ve ever used. Now, they call it a lather catcher, because if you look in the design of the head, it has like an area to where the lather will just fill up in there and kind of be stored in the middle of the head of the razor. Uh, that’s for the convenience aspect. With the design. It is fun because when you shave, you do not have to rinse the razor off at all.

You can do the whole pass on your face, and you fill it up and not have to worry about it, so you don’t have to stop, although I like to do that as well. And, uh, if you’re into honing and dropping blades, the blade and everything like that can be honed and strapped. You can use the attachment that comes with it. Hopefully yours has it. If not, you can buy one on on eBay. I’m sure they’re there and they’re, you know, easy to use and find. And then the strapping machine is also really cool if you get a chance to use it or see one in action, I think you can just Google it and you’ll see it on, on eBay, on excuse me on YouTube and a couple how they use that as well. But also with the handle you can just drop it like a straight razor blade. You don’t need the machine, but the machine is pretty cool.

So these razors also, um, they’re a little bit obsolete because a lot of the razors, you can find it. And a lot of people don’t know how to hone the blade or have to send the blade out. But there is an alternative. I actually was able to come up with an idea way back in the day when I started, what, shaving with, uh, taking off two spines off a regular single edged blade and then taping them together and they would fit. But even better than that, there’s a company called Frugal Shave, where he 3D prints little inserts that can fit a regular C blade. So you can use disposable blades in this thing. And I just ordered one last week. It does take him some time. So he’s backed up.

So it’s going to be about a month before I get it. I’ve never tried one before, but it’s about $9 for two of them and I will. I will definitely do a review and let everybody know how they work on mine, because I really want to start using it. I love the history of it. I love the scripting on the back. If you ever get a chance to look at the back of one of these things, there’s a bunch of writing on it. It just looks really, really 1800s, 1900s to wear just so much information. And it’s just such a cool piece.

Now, these razors were around for about 30 or 40 years and they started to, you know, phase them out for a different design, which we’ll talk about in a few minutes, uh, called the Shovel Head Witch or aka Shovel Head. That’s what I call it. But it’s really just a C razor. But yeah, guys, if you get your chance on, uh, if you get your hands on one of these camp for others original star shavings, razors, I think you should. You’d be really impressed with the quality and the build on it. Uh, a few things to note. Be very careful with the tabs on the top. They can break once they break. That’s it. I don’t even think Razor Emporium can fix it. I know, or companies like them. I don’t know of anybody that does repairs.

So be careful with with, uh, messing around with it. Don’t try to do anything with it like that. If it is a well-made piece. I’ve used mine for several years. Never had a problem with it. A great part is they’re great. They’re affordable. You know, you can get one of these for anywhere, you know, from under 100 bucks if you’re really lucky with with the case. And if not, you can get one that’s probably a little bit more. That’s in better shape. Uh, several groups use this. So if you Google, you can go on Facebook.

There’s some, uh, shovel head, um, excuse me, some leather catcher groups as well. And with the, with the vendors and stuff, there’s some replacement parts. He also does have same vendor does replacement handles for the original wooden ones as well. So, uh, there’s how are we going to kick off single edge razor month with the OG, the original single edge razor with the with the removable blade and how you can use it today. Yes, they are still relevant and they still shave very well. So if you have one, use it. If not, leave it on a nice display case and you at least you have a great conversation piece. So moving along to the shovel head. Razer, this is the next, I guess, design from the single edge Razer that I know of, or I’ve seen, or that’s known by a sweat shavers.

And this is where they take they took that that concept of the original lather catcher and they kind of put it together, made it a little smaller and sleeker. And and that’s when they started using disposable blades in them. This is about uh, this was in style for roughly 40, 50, 60 years. Uh, this razor is made until, I believe, the 80s, where they made the Jem junior, which was turned into plastic and stuff, and then they no longer made it after that. Uh, the the company was, uh, American shaving, uh, star shaving and stuff.

A lot of them sold and and went to, uh, different companies. So I know the American Safety Razor company owned it for a long time. I know Gillette bought them out. Uh, Gillette did not really go into competition with these razors, other than, I think a few designs. They tried with it, but they kind of just decided, hey, you know, we’re not going to do this kind of style. And, uh, we’ll keep with our double edge. Uh, so these razors have been nicknamed for the shape of the head looking like a shovel.

And they’re very abundant, and they’re cheap. If you want to get one, you can get one for under $50. No problem. In good shape. If there’s some brass thing on the head, who cares? It’s a great razor. You can use it. They’re also kind of adjustable. And, uh, if you have like, uh, if the guard or, or something becomes loose, you can kind of adjust them, but I wouldn’t be too careful. I have broken one of them and that’s it. You know, once you break it, that’s it. It’s not like they’re making new ones. So that’s one lesson in the world.

But there are a lot of them out there and they are very affordable. They take the standard single edged disposable blades, which they kind of look like a box cutter blade, but they’re not. We’ll talk more about that in the next, next one. So, um, uh, that is one of the things. And they shave very, very mild and they shave very close. So you have to be very careful when you shave because they do shave very nicely, but they feel I guess they’re not as forgiving because that rigid blade does feel a lot solid and gets very close and can give you a little bit of razor burn if you’re not. Not too, you know, careful. Uh, they’re great for head shaving. I’ll be honest. I’ve had I’ve shaved my head with one before for months and months on end, I enjoyed it, I thought it was really good. I think if you want, you get to learn the angles on it. It’s great. It’s good for lining a beard. It’s good for, uh, really anything like that because it’s got that very rigid blade and it’s very straight. You just got to learn the angle on it, and it’s designed so you use it with that slant that you use it.

With an eye on the right angle that the blades are designed to cut. So, I mean, it’s really hard if you just rest the blade, the the top cap on your face and shave, you’re going to get a good shave. You don’t have to really dig in or anything like that or use any pressure. Uh, just making sure you use the right blades is really the most important part. They’re very easy to operate. You can just just flip up and put the blade in that played blade rest nicely in there and then that’s it. You’re in. So what is a good pros and cons with this razor is the pros are they’re abundant. There are a lot of them out there. They’re built very well quality. They were around for about 50 years.

You have three major companies that have them gem, Star Shaving and Eveready. So if you see those brands you can get them. I highly recommend that they’re good. They were built, most of them built in the United States, some of them in England, but there are good quality metal that last a long time. Uh, cons are they do, uh, get out of shape. So you have to be very careful when you purchase one that it is straight, that the blade guard is straight, and that the top cap, a piece of metal for the spring is is nice and and firm.

Otherwise it’s going to slide and it’s not going to be good. You’re going to have to shim it. Uh, other con is there’s just a blade, the blade selection so limited. There’s not it’s not like a double edged safety razor where you have hundreds of blades you can pick. It seems like hundreds of blades companies and make them only about 4 or 5 companies really make a good single edged blade that will fit this razor. And the ones that you can find are abundant. You can still find them in like Walgreens and stuff. Some certain supermarkets have them, you can still find them pretty readily, and you can buy them, of course, on Amazon and online as well.

Well, that gets us into the next segment, guys. I did want to kind of run into this is how not all blades are created equal when it comes to single edge razors and how to choose the right blade. The right blade is very important because these blades have the same appearance, same style, same look as a box cutter blade that you can get at the hardware store now. Why? Well, hey, Joe, these blades look very, very common. I mean, I can use these. I can go to Home Depot right now and get them. No, no, no, no, these blades are not created equal. The ones that you can get at the hardware store or Home Depot, Lowe’s or whatever are made for cutting other stuff like carpet, right, wood, maybe scraping paint. The blades that are if you put them in your box cutter and your your single edge razor, it will fit perfectly, but you will shave your face and you’ll get very bad irritation. And if not, cut yourself. Don’t use a dull blade there.

Blades are not designed to be used for whiskers, which are a lot require a sharper edge than paint right then scraping paint. So when you’re buying these blades, it’s very important that you look and you see the sign that says used for shaving and what I mean, what I would recommend with that is that you purchase from a reputable wet shaving dealer. Meaning it may not be just going online and buying them on Amazon unless you know the seller name like the actual shop, or that it says it’s used for shaving, it might mean you have to go through a third party, you know, app, or you might have to go through a regular, you know, artisan you can go through like Magritte’s has them. I would trust anything sold by magnets. West Coast, shaving off like Phoenix artisan accoutrements, those kind of places. I would trust any of those places because they have the right ones. They’re ideal for shaving. There’s only a handful of blades made that are good. The gem blades are great. I use them even at the grocery store. If you go to the grocery store and you see in the shaving section those blades, they’re fine. They’re going to work very good.

I recommend getting carbon steel blades and not getting anything that’s coated or anything that has, um, stainless steel in it. Why? Because I’ve had bad experiences with them. I can’t recommend them. I don’t find them good, even though they say they are for shaving. For some reason, when they’re not carbon steel, I get a terrible shave and I don’t. I do not like the way they work, so I cannot recommend them. So it’s very important to take your time when choosing the right blade. If you’re in doubt, you can even send me an email and I’ll see you and I’ll see where you’re getting them from and see if they’re good enough for shaving. But don’t. Please, please, please. And I’m going to emphasize on this again, please do not purchase anything at the, the at the um, hardware store for these. You will be very disappointed.

Moving along to the Gillette double ring that I saw on eBay. This. This was sold by Glenn Conti. He’s a very well known collector. He’s done a lot of work. He’s done a lot of writing for wet shaving. He has a huge collection. And this this was actually one of his pieces that was sold, uh, went for $960, which was a little bit lower than I thought it would, but this is almost a complete set. This is a complete set with original blades. And, uh, comes with the warranty card and the Gillette booklet, which is the Gillette way, which is very hard to find. That booklet, if you have one, I highly recommend keeping it in a safe spot so it doesn’t get damaged for the next generation, because there are over 100 years old now.

These double ring razors are the original Gillette ring. Gillette the excuse me, safety razors. This is a patent pending. So this is a 1904 model or very early 1905 or possibly 1903. Uh, the razors came out in 1903. There’s about 50 sets in those in those litho tins which attend just went on online for I think. Oh, well, over $1,000 just about a year or two ago when one of those original tins, they didn’t really survive. They were not made very high quality metal. And then they moved on to these leather and wood boxes. Now I have two double rings myself. I have one, uh, similar to this, a case model from 1904 with patent pending. And then I have one. It’s a 1905 model that has a serial number.

They shave very well. If you get one, I would just recommend using brand new blades. Uh, brand new blades do fit. No problem. And they’re a little bit, you know, they’re a little. I’d say they’re a little harsh. I can say a little very aggressive. Right. But they shave very well and they do a great for touchups and stuff. So, uh, Gillette double ring. This is just a very great example of one that I just want to share with you guys. I thought it was great case set with everything in it with the booklets and the warranty card. Amazing.

So great to see that these are still around and still we can see them. And actually, congratulations to the person who bought one because you have a piece of wet shaving history, uh, coming to you right now. All right everyone. So that kind of concludes the podcast for this week. I’m glad that, uh, you guys came in to listen, uh, and gave me a little bit of an extra couple of days here to get going. I apologize, I hate being late on the podcast, I really do. I like being on time, but I just I really, literally that weekend with all those holidays going on and with, um, you know, my son’s birthday, I just had no time. I had literally no time at all to do anything. I was waking up 4 a.m. in the morning, going to bed around 12 or around 11:00 at night for the for about 3 or 4 days. You know, sometimes we put a lot of work in and, and just, uh, working with your family and stuff and getting ready and cleaning for birthday parties and all that stuff. Uh, it’s great. So a few things I also want to mention, guys, it is summertime, so, uh, it’s going to be a little slower for me at work, so I should have some more content coming out. I’ll be working on some articles and stuff as well. If you have any ideas or anything you want to see featured on the podcast, uh, let me know because I’m open to some new ideas.

Uh, next month I wanted to do a double edged safety razor month to talk a little bit about that. I like dedicating months to certain things, and if you have any other products or stuff that you have questions on, always feel free to email me at joette Chevy News at All right. So our show is powered by Sharpologist dot com. What your father didn’t teach you about shaving. Special thanks to you guys, listeners and Mark aka Mantic59 for everything that he does for the wet shaving community. Don’t forget check out my blog site, shave straight and and always feel free to contact me at joette Chevy news at Our next show will be on the 20th of May and until then shave straight and shave safe. Bye bye now.

Joe Borrelli

Joe Borrelli

Joe Borrelli is a long-time wet shaving enthusiast and collector. He hosts the Wet Shaving News/Talk Podcast , runs his own self-funded website and operates a YouTube channel to help inform the community of new information involving the wet shaving world. Joe holds a BBA from Florida Atlantic University, and currently works for the nation’s largest wine/spirits/beer retailer. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Linda & son Anthony, reading, writing, outdoor activities and collecting wet shaving apparel. Joe has also written several dozen articles for online publications such as Sharpologist and How to Grow a Mustache. Find out more about Joe here.View Author posts

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