Adjustable razors

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by falconhal, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    Same as @gorgo2, I have a number of Gillette adjustables and have gone through my phase with them. They are great razors that I still rotate in on occasion, but overall my daily go-to's are mostly modern 3 piece.

    Among the Adjustable 195 (aka Fatboy), the Slim and the Super Adjustable, I get the best shaves from the Fatboy and the Super Adjustable. Somewhere around the middle of the adjustment range is where I start with a new blade, but I often want to go higher for increased efficiency, but in doing so lose a bit of smoothness.

    But to a diehard DE enthusiast, they are iconic and worthy additions to the shave cabinet.

  2. david of central florida

    david of central florida Rhubarb Rubber

    Ive said several times. If i had found the progress first, i would not have a collection of safety razors. I wouldn't have needed to look any further.
    I also like the futur, not as well as the progess.
    The shave from the variant is also nice.
    I have and use several gillette adjustables. Although the shave doesn't last as long as the progress.
    If you have hand issues, my oldest and maybe the original adjustable is the Berkeley custom shaver. It gives a wonderful shave and maybe ideal as a travel razor.
    I like my rockwell, but i rarely use any but the 6 plate, so i really don't feel like it's an adjustable.
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  3. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster


    At one point, I was going to say most adjustables are good and have folks that like them.

    Kinda looks like everyone else confirms it.

    Let us know what you get
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  4. falconhal

    falconhal Active Member

    I won't be getting it till June at the earliest. I do know that a Futur is not in my future because I am not a big fan of the top cap that needs peeled off to replace the blade. If money was not an issue, I would love to get a made-to-order vintage Gillette from razoremporium. Can't justify the cost. So I think I'm torn between the Variant and the Progress. Thanks for all the help, everyone!
    Edison Carter likes this.
  5. John Beeman

    John Beeman Little chicken in hot water

    I think I’ve figured this out for you.

    Since this will be your “1st adjustable” ; my recommendation is to get the Merkur Progress for your birthday and then get the Parker Variant (as your 2nd adjustable) for Christmas.
  6. mantic

    mantic U TOOB

    OK, I have some experience with adjustable razors. ;)

    An $80 budget gives you a wide choice. First, I'll be the heretic in this thread and say I have not had good luck with vintage Gillette adjustables. I had a Fat Boy that was OK but just didn't perform as I'd like (YMMV with vintage razors of course).

    Best overall? Parker Variant. Very much like the Merkur Progress without the little nagging problems it has. The Vikings Blade Emperor and Meiji adjustables are surprisingly good. Want to try an adjustable "on the cheap?" Weishi Nostalgic adjustable or the Qshave Futur clone.
  7. timabababaluka

    timabababaluka No exceptions. Except.....


    I bought a couple for my boys over the last 2 Christmases--pretty decent shavers, and you can't beat the price. If you aren't in a hurry, you can even have them shipped from China for $8-$9.

    It's also a good way to see if an adjustable razor is really your thing: if you find yourself adjusting it for every shave, go ahead and look into others. If, instead, you find that you gravitate to a preferred setting and camp there, you're only out $15 (and still have a decent shaver) ;)
  8. MR41

    MR41 Well-Known Member

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  9. falconhal

    falconhal Active Member

    What are some of the nagging issues with the Progress? The only one I have heard about is the plastic knob on the bottom.
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  10. Daywalker

    Daywalker Member

    Or a Yintal Adjustable, which looks a lot like the Weishi Nostalgic head (just with a different handle/knurling).
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  11. mantic

    mantic U TOOB

    For me it's mainly the lined handle can get kind of slippery in my hand. The Variant's textured handle grips much better. The plastic knob is ugly and a deal-breaker to some but I thought it was a bit unsightly but not a huge deal.
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  12. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    I'll respond to this. I have had two Progresses. I find them "top-heavy", the lather get stuck in the channel (between the safety bar and the blade) and, as has been mentioned, the handle can get slick. I sold them both. Personally, I would get a user-grade Fatboy and see how you like an adjustable.
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  13. johnnyflake

    johnnyflake Well-Known Member

    Buy a Progress, don't listen to all the personal hiccups with these razors. The progress is by far the best in it's class!

    Buy one and then move on, you won't want any other.
  14. kfbrady

    kfbrady Well-Known Member

    Gillette 195 Fatboy.

    It's a USA-made icon and for under $80 you can find a mint one with its case, blade pack and instruction sheet. All nickel plated brass and a little heavier than the Slim and Black handle adjustables, try to find an early one from D3 to E2 (Version 1).

    Here's my D4 (1958) that I paid about $40 for on eBay...

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  15. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    I guess we'll have to use that acronym YMMV. I have been at this a while and the Progress was not a hiccup for me, but a genuine dislike.
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  16. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Yup. I have a couple hundred razors that come and go but the Progress (mine a 1970s gold edition) will never leave my den.

    Sent from my LG-US998 using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
  17. Carson West

    Carson West Well-Known Member

    I've never used a Progress or a vintage Gillette adjustable, but I have a Parker Variant and love it. It's beautifully machined, costs only $57, and gives me great shaves. Some buyers had a problem with these when they first came to market, but Parker has since fixed that issue.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2020
  18. Linuxguile

    Linuxguile dating an unusual aristocrat

    Supporting Vendor
    Nothing against the Variant in this statement. I am pretty sure that the Variant is made of a brass handle and zinc alloy head. From the Parker website:

    Handle material: Genuine brass frame, satin chrome plated

    Head material is not mentioned but I doubt it is anything other then zink alloy and it certainly isn't machined.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
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  19. hins2jw0

    hins2jw0 Well-Known Member

    Greetings! I feel you... The market is very wide as far as adjustables go. I myself have tried many of them - vintage and new. It's definitely a YMMV situation. You have more traditional adjustables that have varying blade gaps (set gaps or infinitely adjustable by turning a dial) or those with varying base plates (like the Rockwell 6S/C or Christopher Karve razors).

    With that said, I have passed on several and continue to hold onto some. First off, how is your beard? Pretty thick and coarse or not? Is your skin sensitive or no? YMMV on razors working for you based on this as well with soap / cream clearance becoming an issue during the shave with subsequent passes. Some just don't work well for me compared to others and I'm sure that you'll be the same in that regard.

    Well, here goes... The vintage market is complicated because of the wide available of condition that exists. I agree with some posts about the Merkur Futur Clone (Q shave / Ming Shi, et al) but it is quirky considering the cap / blade removal. I do have one but mainly use it as an inexpensive travel razor option if I fly.

    I have tried and continue to hold onto a Gillette Fatboy / Slim / Super Adjustable (black beauty) but I don't really use the Slim (it's my least favorite of them considering my beard type). The Fatboy is my personal favorite of these 3.

    As far as the Merkur Progress / Parker Variant debate, I prefer the Progress to the Variant but I think I'm in the minority... I just felt that the Variant was more "harsh" or less smooth no matter what the setting on my face / sensitive skin. Both are good, and I definitely prefer the construction of the variant, but it is what it is . The a Rex Adjustable and Russian Taiga Adjustable are similar to these guys as far as the manner in which they adjust and are 2 piece razors officially, but they shave differently and are constructed from much more premium materials (100% stainless steel) and both well above your $80 price range... But you can always consider in the future . The Taiga also comes with an Open Comb base plate which in my opinion is both awesome and unique.

    I have also tried several other affordable newer traditional TTO adjustable razors like the Weishi Nostalgic Adjustable, Vikings brand (Crusader and Emperor). I haven't tried the other variants like the brand Yintal or the more aggressive Parthenon and its clone but they fit in this same relative category for somewhat bargain TTO adjustable razors. For my beard, I like the Vikings Blade adjustables a little more than the Weishi one. You can get most of these from AliExpress the cheapest.

    As far as the aforementioned base plate adjustable razors (Rockwell 6S/C and Christopher Karve razors), I know first hand that the Karve razors are both well made and shave very well but they are probably out of your current price range. I have yet to try a Rockwell 6S or C but they are worth a look as people rave about them and you could obtain a 6C in your budget to try.

    Of all of these, my personal favorite is the Taiga but it is priced at a high premium. A Weishi Nostalgic Adjustable, Vikings Adjustable, decent vintage Gillette Adjustable (especially Fatboy), or Rockwell 6C are definitely affordable options to try. I know you're nervous about the Merkur Futur Clone, but they are very inexpensive and effective - worth a try for sure (just take care adjusting it and taking it apart). But as everyone knows YMMV. Sorry for my long-windedness. Hopefully this helps more than it hurts. Good luck, happy shaves, and enjoy the journey.


    Sent from my LYA-L29 using Tapatalk
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  20. Carson West

    Carson West Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the heads-up. Edited.
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