Rediscovering the Progress

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by LaneP, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    I've had several Progress razors, including one Mergress, for years now. I used them a bit when I first got them but then fell down the rabbit hole of high-end stainless and titanium 3-piece razors.

    A few weeks ago I wanted to give the Progress a spin again. I also wanted to try a blade I had not used very much, and not for several years....the Astra SP.

    After loading an Astra SP I left the razor at its lowest setting and proceeded to get an amazing shave. Plenty of efficency without a hint of issues, no micro weepers, no irritation, just a great, smooth shave.


    It was such a great shave in fact, I've used nothing else for the past several weeks. I only use each blade 2 or 3 times then pitch, typically along with either DR Harris or Haslinger lather and Speick AS.

    This oldie but goodie was a sleeper combo sailing right under my radar, now rediscovered and enjoyed immensely. Enjoy your day!
  2. Old School

    Old School *$&%@#~

    Supporting Vendor
    What's up with the chrome knob on the one?
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  3. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    That's a customized "Mergress".
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  4. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    It is an aftermarket mod called the "Mergress". Can't remember the individual that does the work but he removes the stock plastic knob and replaces it with a stainless steel version. along with adjusting the razor and smoothing it out. Adds a bit to the price of a stock Progress however. I find the shaves between new production Progress's and the Mergress to be identical, both are great :)
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  5. jmudrick

    jmudrick Type A Man

    I"m not familiar with the "smoothing it out" portion of the show. All that's done is calibrating the dial and lubrication AFAIK. There's nothing to adjust otherwise on the Progress.

    Sent from my Google Chromebook Pixel (2015) using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
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  6. Aztecmike

    Aztecmike George

    I must agree with you that this is a wonderful shaver and one that I don't use nearly often enough. When I do use it I'm always pleasantly surprised at what I close, comfortable and efficient shave it provides. I lucked upon a pair last year for $25 shipped, but generally only use the chrome one as I don't want to mar the finish of the gold one.
  7. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    Nice duo!
    Aztecmike likes this.
  8. Aztecmike

    Aztecmike George

    Thanks. :) Although I really love the look of the Mergress, I am happily content with this pair for now.
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  9. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Lane, maybe you've just rediscovered the Astra SP. ;)

    Glad you're liking the razor :happy088:
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  10. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    I think you might be right, great blade!
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  11. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    A Progress adjustable was my first DE razor that I shaved with exclusively for many years until it broke. If it didn't break I probably would have never ventured into the vintage realm when looking for a replacement. With that said the Merkur Progress is a tried and true razor that has persisted over 50+ years with minimal changes to the design.
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  12. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    You're doing yourself a disservice chucking the Astra Superior Platinums after only 2-3 uses. The longevity of those blades gives between 7 and 10 shaves. Average shaving lifespan of a blade is 4-6. That, along with its price and forgiving, sharp, smooth qualities, make it my go-to blade.
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  13. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    My go to blade as well, and at between $7-10 per hundred, they are one of the cheaper 'good' blades, and cheap enough to toss after 1 shave. (I do get between 5 and 7 shaves per blade, sometimes more, depending on the razor).

    People either seem to love Indian or Russian blades. For me, its Russian blades.
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  14. ewk

    ewk Well-Known Member

    Seeing this thread rekindled my desire to use the Progress. It has waited patiently while I have experimented with a great number of more expensive razors. It gave the most comfortable honest to goodness BBS shave last night. Plus, it really is one of the best looking razors ever created :).
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  15. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    My ONLY gripe about the design of the Merkur Progress is the lack of any knurling on the handle, making it impractical in the shower or in situations where the hands get wet or soapy. Yeah, I can partially adapt by placing my pinky under the plastic knob, but still...

    But you are correct about the aesthetic qualities of the Progress. It is easily one of my favorite for that very reason: it just looks damned good in my collection!
    Lancre and ewk like this.
  16. SRQShaver

    SRQShaver Well-Known Member

    This is definitely on my list. I had been looking for an adjustable and this was in the running. I ended up finding a Gillette Slim instead but I'd still like to try this someday. I tend to favor long-handled razors so I'll probably go for that one.

    Along with the Mergress, I have also seen some people 3D print custom knobs for these. There is a particular seller on Etsy that makes them in different shapes and colors. I don't think it's strictly necessary as I don't really mind the cream-colored plastic.
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  17. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    Quick update: I have been using the Progress exclusively since this post, mixing in the Gillette Rubie in addition to the Astra SP. I will have to say the Rubie performs very well. I used it while on vacation last week and had no problem getting 7 consecutive daily two-pass plus touchup shaves on one blade. The Progress has simply killed off any desire to try other razors (and I have well over a hundred in total).
    GatorJoe, jmudrick, ewk and 2 others like this.
  18. nav

    nav Well-Known Member

    My first PROGRESS was acquired in 2012, three years after I started using DE razors.

    It blew me away on the first use and was my only razor until 2016, when I got the Rockwell 6S, as the head design is similar to the Progress.

    I then went down the rabbit hole with more premium razors and whilst I absolutely love many of them, nothing beats the PROGRESS for the closest, longest lasting and most comfortable shaves!

    I have 2.
    One at home, one for travel.
    the second one has a slight misalignment and only one side is usable so I use it like an SE razor. If it's lost on travels, I wouldn't be too bothered about it.

    But the shaves are sublime!
    Especially with a BIC chrome platinum blade (polsilver and nacet are awesome too!).
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  19. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    Great to hear. Though I occasionally slip in a weekend shave with other razors (Fatboy, Karve, etc), I keep going back to the Progress. It is my Mon-Fri workday morning shaver, and none have topped it for me :happy088:
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  20. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    Perhaps a forgotten trick to solve the slippery handle on the Progress is to grab a pack of rubber O rings from the hardware store. Push up on the baseplate of the razor and you can remove the adjustment knob. Roll the stack of O rings on the handle and reinstall the knob.

    Boom, slippery handle is now sorted.
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