Vikings Blade. Presenting the Emperor Augustus Adjustable TTO...

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Str8on2, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. glassmtn

    glassmtn Member

    Thanks for the excellent review and comments. I believe someone on another forum (I think it was another forum) asked you how shaves on the Viking Blades Augustus compared to the Parker Variant. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    eric
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
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  2. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Actually, the question was asked right here by a forum member @clint64 whom I consider to be a good friend and has a pretty good read on what I look for in a razor and shave. So, this short but sweet answer is for the both of you Fine Gents....

    Design and practicality these two are almost neck and neck. The Variant having a 2 piece design making it a remove the head, align your blade, place the top cap on the base plate and away you go. The Emperor is a simple couple of turns on the bottom knob, doors open, drop in your blade and turn the bottom knob to close and secure the blade. They are both Brass & Zamak constructed Razors and with relative good care should last one a few decades if not more. Up to here, it’s basically a wash between the two but, I give the slight edge to the Emperor solely because of the ease of blade install and removal. And only by a whisker. If you are to look at them side by side, you will notice that the Emperor has a noticeably slimmer head profile compared to the Variant. To me it doesn’t really mean much but, to those that do shave the mustache area, the slimmer head design (a la Gillette Adjustables) of the Emperor in theory should make it easier for a user to shave and clean up that area over the Variant. Again, it’s just a logical thought in theory as I haven’t done a comparison to prove one way or the other. So, the Emperor checks that box as a plus.

    Shave wise, they provide excellent results in all the ranges of size gaps for one to customize the shave to their needs. I will give the nod to the Variant in terms of blade feel or aggression as I feel it gives more blade feel at its highest setting over the Emperor. Trade off is that you have to be mindful of your Shave with the Variant set at its optimum efficiency as it can bite easily if not careful. The Emperor, not so much. If you revere blade feel and love the steel on your skin, Variant takes it.

    They are both very well balanced in the hands and are very close to weight with one another (Variant 110 grams & the Emperor 134 grams respectively) with the Emperor being just a bit taller overall and the handle just a tad thicker. The Variant feels about nearly perfect in the hands with just about as long a handle that I prefer. The Emperor is almost just as good but, I actually choke up on it a bit as the handle is a bit longer.
    Like I said, both offer and give impressive Shave results.

    They both run neck and neck with each other. The Variant has a 2 year head start and the quality issues have pretty much been resolved concerning the finish and plating issues.

    It’s like having them at 1a and 1b. You really can’t go wrong with either one. Just a preference on either a 2 piece design or a classic TTO designed after one of the more Iconic razors in history.

    Either one is a winner. And that’s my humble, honest opinion.....

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  3. clint64

    clint64 Blind Squirrel

    Thank you Gus for such a detailed comparison. One other big negative for the Emperor is the branding on the top of the razor. They should have left it clean in my opinion. I have been thinking about a modern adjustable and these too are on the list because of the reasonable price.
     
  4. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Clint, excellent point. I forgot to mention that. Although it does nothing in terms of how the razor shaves, I believe just as you do that it kind of detracts and takes away on the look of the razor. I'm going to try and see if I can buff out the company logo on the doors and hopefully it doesn't ruin the finish on them.
     
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  5. clint64

    clint64 Blind Squirrel

    I checked and the logo is even on the matte silver one as well.
     
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  6. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    That's a real bummer. :(
     
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  7. glassmtn

    glassmtn Member

    Thanks for a great and thorough comparison. The main thing I am concerned with is the weight of the Augustus. It's 24 grams heavier than the Variant which to me is significant. I usually prefer lighter razors but I took a chance on the Variant at 110 grams and it is perfectly balanced. I don't notice the weight at all. I have owned and/or tried a lot of DE razors including the BBS-1, the Gillette Slim and the Merkur Progress , Futur, and Vision. The Variant is my favorite DE.

    eric.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  8. CrustyCat

    CrustyCat Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the great review, might have to look into it one of these days.
     
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  9. Tinmantoo

    Tinmantoo New Member

    Thanks for the great and honest review. Having started out with Gillettes (by example) in the '70 s with an adjustable black handle TTO I have always thought of razors as just another tool. Cared for and it will last. This it the first review that turned my head and gave me pause to consider a new razor after all these years!
     
  10. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Alright, you say this baby is neck-and-neck with the Parker variant. How would you compare it to the Merkur Progress? I'm debating which of these two adjustables to add to my collection come next paycheck, and I want to be sure I make the right purchase because it'll be a while before I can get the other of the two.
     
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  11. BigD

    BigD Well-Known Member

    I'd be all over it if both safety bars were matchy matchy. My OCD is in overdrive with this one.
     
  12. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    I haven't used a Progress in some time but, I can tell you that aside from the alignment issue that I had with mine it was a fine shaver. Coincidentally I just purchased one earlier today to reacquaint myself with one. I'm looking to do a razor shootout between a few of my adjustables between a couple Gillettes, Merkur, Parker Variant and the Viking Emperor. I'm looking forward to that....
     
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  13. DesertTime

    DesertTime Well-Known Member

    Since this razor more closely resembles the Rockwell model T over the Variant or Rex, how does it compare in terms of quality and shave?
     
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  14. DesertTime

    DesertTime Well-Known Member

    As usual, terrific review; thoughtful, detailed and complete. Thanks.
     
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  15. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    I forgot to mention that the Model T will be in the shootout as well. The Model T has a very good chance at surprising a few to be honest. I personally think it delivets a better shave than the Emperor. But, we shall see again real soon if these 2 match up with each other....
     
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  16. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Actually, I like being able to tell which side of the blade I've already used so I'm not using one too much over the other. With my Merkur 34c HD, I sometimes forget which edge of the blade I'm using and the lighting doesn't allow for reading the engraved writing on the handle.

    ANYway, I went ahead and sent away for the Augustus. With any luck it'll be shipped soon and I'll have it in time to do a review.
     
  17. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Alrighty, I got the razor in the mail today and shaved with it. I'll give my own review of it here. I've attached photos.

    The outer box and the inner case in which the razor is actually packaged were both fancy, made to impress I'd say, and they certainly accomplish that goal.

    Man, this sucker is big! It dwarfs even my Gillette Fatboy for size, and not only in length, but in girth! The razor is so thick that my stands won't accommodate it, so I have to keep it in its case between uses apparently until I can get a stand for holding two or three razors at a time (I have such a container saved on my Shave Nation wish list).

    As today is Wednesday, I'd ordinarily have shaved using Williams mug soap, but I wanted to try something slicker with my Emperor Augustus, so I opened up and broke in my Colonel Conk Amber puck. Blade was an Astra Superior Platinum on its second use. Brush was a Charmman Best Badger.

    I started out on setting number seven for my first two passes, then dialed down to five for my third and touch-up passes. On my first pass I gave myself a nick going under my chin where the beard line is. That was my mistake, as I underestimated just how aggressive this monster really is. When I applied my alum block following my shave, I didn't feel much sting except where I'd nicked myself. Otherwise it was irritation-free. Finished with Nivea cooling post-shave balm.

    As you can see from the photos (which I had to scale down to upload), this thing is simply huge for a razor. If you're not used to such size and weight, I'd say start on the lower settings before dialing up, until you get the hang of it.
     

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  18. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Nice write up.....
     
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  19. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Alright, I've used two Astra Superior Platinum blades in my Emperor Augustus razor since receiving it (#2 will be used for the sixth and final time tomorrow). My opinion of the Astra remains unchanged from my first time using it: sharp yet forgiving on sensitive skin, but the shaves don't last quite as long as they do with other blade brands like Personna Lab Blue or PolSilver Super Iridium. Still, for the length of BBS, the Emperor gets the job done. I can use it on setting number seven for all three passes and get hardly a nick, and the odd ones I get here and there tend to come from my neck simply being tough to shave without nicking (the hairs on the upper neck grow down and to my right, and on my lower neck up and to the right).

    When I finish my Astra tuck, I'll open up the tuck of Rapira Swedish blades I got through a care package. Should be interesting.
     
  20. James Kleinkauf

    James Kleinkauf Well-Known Member

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    I much prefer the Vikings Blade Emperor Adjustable Safety Razor to the Parker Variant. I have had QC problems with the Parker Variant and Semi-Slant razors. Both had uneven blade gaps. No such problem with my VB.
     

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