The 'Fergiebilly' Shim

Halifax, Republic of Yorkshire
Billy, you know him as 'Fergiebilly', has made some precise measurements of modern GEM/Personna blades versus the old GEM, Ever Ready and Star blades from around the 1910s and found that the old blades, Damaskeenes, Cru-Steel and the like, had a thicker spine and so, the dynamics of the razor were actually quite different to the shaves we experience today with modern GEM/Personna blades.

To remedy, he found that half of a modern GEM/Personna spine slipped underneath was just right.

Here's how ...

First, de-spine an old blade by squeezing at each end of the spine and wiggling it free:



Now, using flat blade screw drivers and a good hard edge, like a metal ruler, open up the spine ...



... close it up and repeat a few times until it snaps:


Take your razor, say a 1912, and load in the half spine and the blade on top:




Voila! Shimmed!

You can do the same with, say a GEM Junior Bar, loading in the blade and then slipping the shim under:




Voila! Shimmed!

... that's how :D

Naturally, once you've removed a spine from a GEM you can easily slip it onto the back of a FEATHER blade if that's something you'd want to do ...
I few people have asked for photographic instructions on how do this ......:s

Bearing in mind that the Modern GEM Spine is approx. half the thickness of an Older spine......

Paul was kind enough to take the time to create these detailed instructions and what a wonderful job he's done.....:icon_razz:

Many thanks to Paul.
Thanks for the walk through!
It helped a bunch, will deffo give it a go at some point.
Its also made me realse I 'neeeed' one of those Gem bars.
Just a wee footnote......

With the Modification, you will find that the shaving angle of these older razors is closer to the face as per the manufactures instructions and that the comb is leading and smoothing and stretching the skin whilst offering protection from the blade exposure.....The razor becomes markedly more aggressive cutter on the whiskers whilst being more smoother and efficient shaver even with a new blade......


Your shaving angle needs to be spot on with the Modification.....If its not you will experience some blade chatter due to the fact that modern blades are not as rigid as the older stropping blades as you now have the correct gap which is wider between the blade and comb......

This can happen anyway when your shaving angle is off course with modern SE blades in older razors even without the Modification....... In my experience this never happens with more modern SEs..........:icon_razz:

Hi Paul,
Billy identified a newly acquired GEM Jnr as a G Bar. He recommended shimming the blade.

Thanks to your photo instructions , it was easy. Razor loaded,and ready to go on Weds.
Mike B
I've been experimenting with the shim a few days now in a Clog Pruf and a G bar. This morning I used the Clog Pruf minus the shim the shave was very good still but I definitely think it's closer and smoother with the shim. Shimmed two passes does it... Incredibly smooth!
Thanks Paul ☺
H Dave,

That's great you are finding an improvement with the Modification.....You are a away ahead of me regarding the Clog Proof.......:icon_razz:
The GEM Heavy Flat Top also known as the GEM G Bar, OCMM, Clog Proof and the Bullet Tip were all designed to take a standard Modern GEM Blade......
If you have found that the Clog Proof shaves well for you with a modified blade that's great, but I haven't tried it....:s

I would be careful about trying that in a Heavy Flat Top and a Bullet Tip as they were designed to close down on a Modern Blade ......I don't know if there is enough clearance without potentially damaging the spring......:huh:

Great to hear folks experimenting.......:icon_razz:

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