03-20-2013, 03:30 PM
#1
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A few days ago I got an excellent condition 110 year old Gem Junior Bar. The original handle is pencil thin and hollow, very lightweight (less than 20g). The handle has a stud, nonstandard size, that screws up into a threaded hole in the head. This means only that head will ever be used on that handle. This is a serious problem and I decided to change it.

Simply stated, the old razor head now has a standard size stainless steel stud that will accept any currently available razor handle. After the modification, the old pencil thin and ultra lightweight handle will never work on this head again, but all of the other threaded interchangeable handles now available to us can now be used with this very excellently designed and built shaving head. If I so desire, I can have handles custom made just for this beautiful piece of shaving history, and they'll all be interchangeable, not only with this head, but with any other standard head.

Here's how I did it. First I got a stainless steel button cap 5mm x 0.8 x 10mm long bolt at the hardware store for less than a dollar. Then I very carefully placed the old head in a plastic clamp so it wouldn't move around, then I very carefully drilled out the hole in the bottom of the head with a 5/16 bit. Next I threaded the hole with a 5mm x 0.8 tap, taking great care to use minimal force and minimal removal of metal. Now the hole is threaded to accept the bolt.

Then I used the bench grinder to gently grind about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch off the end of the bolt, to shorten it and make it approximately the length of all of the studs we see every day in our Gillette, Muhle, etc. razor heads. I tested the interaction of the bolt and the hole in the head to make sure the two parts would go together as necessary. Then from the inside of the cavity below the blade in the head, I inserted the bolt and made sure it was engaging accurately.

At this stage, I also test fitted several individual handles onto the stud to make sure they'd accept the stud, and allow themselves to be tightened onto the Gem Junior Bar razor head. Once that was confirmed, I used the proper size Allen wrench to loosen the bolt a bit until there was about 1/16 of space before the bottom of the cap touched the surface of the head.

Then I mixed up some clear plastic epoxy. Using a toothpick I carefully and sparingly inserted the freshly mixed epoxy around the underside of the bolt head. Following that, I used the Allen wrench to firmly tighten the bolt, and left it to set for 24 hours. At that point the project was finished!

Here are before and after photos of this simple project.

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 03-20-2013, 03:52 PM
#2
  • Hanzo
  • Senior Member
  • Oakland, California
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Clever fix , well thought out.Smile

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 03-20-2013, 06:02 PM
#3
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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You can also just use a 1/2 inch piece of threaded rod and retap the head to fit. As you screw on the handle to the head it will tighten and lock in place approx 1/4 inch in head and 1/4 inch in handle...worked for me.

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 03-20-2013, 06:13 PM
#4
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Harvey, do you use the same tap?

FWIW, I've searched for any possible way to find or make threaded stock in the oddball thread used on the old LCs and while we can identify it, other than a custom turning job (maybe) I struck out everywhere I turned. The threaded stock isn't made in any form, and neither are dies to make my own thread.

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 03-20-2013, 06:32 PM
#5
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(03-20-2013, 06:02 PM)Harvey Wrote: You can also just use a 1/2 inch piece of threaded rod and retap the head to fit. As you screw on the handle to the head it will tighten and lock in place approx 1/4 inch in head and 1/4 inch in handle...worked for me.

Harvey, this is virtually the same thing I've done, with the exception that you don't have to keep track of the little 1/2 inch piece of threaded stock, and you don't have to go to the pain to keep it 1/4 in the head and the other 1/4 in the handle. I've just used the bolt in place of the stock, and permanently made it a part of the head.

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 03-20-2013, 07:12 PM
#6
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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(03-20-2013, 06:13 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Harvey, do you use the same tap?

FWIW, I've searched for any possible way to find or make threaded stock in the oddball thread used on the old LCs and while we can identify it, other than a custom turning job (maybe) I struck out everywhere I turned. The threaded stock isn't made in any form, and neither are dies to make my own thread.

As long as the threaded rod fits the handle you like(usually M5x8)you can tap the head. The older Gillette handles are slightly smaller. The metal is soft so no real force is necessary. Any decent hardware should have these taps and the threaded rod. Cut it with a hacksaw and you are set.OR buy the bolt and cut off the head.

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 03-20-2013, 08:30 PM
#7
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This is a great fix and a great way to enjoy modern handles with a great shaver. Thanks for sharing!

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 03-21-2013, 02:48 AM
#8
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Once on a time I asked the late Bob Smith of Bob's Razor Works what was wrong the older handles wouldn't easily screw onto the heads with newer studs. He answered back to say it was a metric thread going onto an SAE hole, and he told me to go get the 5mm x 0.80 tap and tap out the holes in the handles. The difference is very small, and it works every time. If you've got handles that haven't been modified in this way, the tap is the way to fix it. I've had to tap out a few handles, and it takes all of about 2 minutes or less.

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 03-21-2013, 08:25 AM
#9
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Gary

Nicely done and thank you for documenting the process you worked through Thumbsup

Take care, Mike

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 03-21-2013, 10:37 AM
#10
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Cool guys! Thanks!

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 05-11-2013, 02:14 PM
#11
  • savagejoerude
  • If you ain't a LOSER, you ain't livin'!!
  • New Orleans USA
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NOW I'm on the hunt for another J-Bar just for this mod. Thanks Gary. I'm getting a tap and some 5m x 8 screws this week... My current J-Bar shaves great (my favorite razor) and I would never mod it except a re-plate down the road. I may look for a 1912 and see what happens...

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 05-12-2013, 07:50 AM
#12
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Fantastic! Brilliant! Bravo! Clap

(now how in the world did I miss this when it was posted back in March?)

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