In my last video and blog I mentioned that the Maggard MR8 razor handle did not adequately fit on the RazoRock Jaws razor head and that I thought shimming the blade would allow me to use this fantastic razor handle with one of my favorite razor heads. Shimming does work.
Shimming a razor blade is a tried and true practice that many shavers have done to increase the blade gap and thus the aggressiveness of a razor's shaving characteristics. Shimming is a simple process of cutting the two edges of a DE (double edge) razor blade off to create a type of thin "washer" that can snug up the fit of the razor blade or increase the blade gap of a razor blade in a razor head. This is usually done in three piece types of razors because the mechanism allows for the added room. This is possible in some TTO (twist to open razors) but there could be a lack of space available to do this and still have the butterfly doors close correctly. One shim may be possible but I doubt any more than that in most situations. I have heard of people putting 2-3 shims (essentially stacking the equivalent of 3-4 blades in a razor head to increase the blade gap and thus the aggressiveness of a razor.
Many vintage razor users shim their milder razors like Gillette Tech razors to obtain a more efficiently aggressive shave. This technique can be done not only on vintage razors but also modern razors. Of course there is always the risk of messing up the blade alignment when shimming a blade in a particular razor so care must be taken to make sure the blade alignment is correct and does not shift during use.
Recently I have been discussing with Scott Pavkovich of PAV Brush Works a new custom shaving brush I want created. I had always wanted to use the 24mm faux badger (two band dyed) boar knot I had seen at The Golden Nib. Well, unfortunately it appears that they no longer carry this knot. They do have an Omega knot in the black cup but once this cup is removed the knot is only about 22mm. I want something bigger. The reason I want my custom brush to have a boar knot is that I want to use it with harder shaving soaps and the stiffer boar fibers dig into hard soaps easier and thus makes loading the brush quicker and more efficient. We've been looking around for a supplier of a larger two band boar knot without success. What to do, what to do?
Without an acceptable boar knot alternative there are other knot options with stiffer fibers but they aren't boar fibers they are badger. So many times when people think about a badger shaving brush their mind automatically jumps to the "silvertip" category. Silvertip badger knots in all their particular varieties are fantastic shaving tools but often they are too soft and lack the backbone adequate to really dig into the harder shaving soaps. But there are many more options of badger fibers to choose from
One of my first badger hair brushes was a Frank Shaving 28mm Pure Badger Brush. I love this brush. It has a little scritch (scratchiness) but is still plenty soft and has very good backbone. It tears up all kinds of soaps. I have also always wanted a black badger shaving brush, which reportedly has a bit more scritch and backbone. So absent a boar knot to use I may very well got with a black badger knot or some other flavor or combination. There are even badger/boar hair mixed knots out there, but usually they are already in a handle and not available as a knot alone.
I have of course thought about getting a brush with the type of boar knot I want and then extracting it to use in my custom brush. This too is also an option and I may very well do that to get the custom brush I desire.
Of course there is a corresponding video and I will post it below.
Good Shaves, Be Happy, Be Safe
PS: Many have asked what I use to cut the razor blades to make a shim. I use nail trimming scissors...small, durable and very sharp. If you try and use scissors that are dull or too big you won't be successful in doing much except bend the blade.