War of the Adjustables!

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Michael_W, Oct 10, 2020.


Which Adjustable Razor Do You Prefer?

  1. Gillette Fatboy/Slim/Other

    37 vote(s)
  2. Merkur Progress

    14 vote(s)
  3. Parker Variant

    8 vote(s)
  4. PAA Ascension Twist-Adjustable Double Open Comb

    3 vote(s)
  5. Vikings Blade Emperor Augustus/Crusader/Meiji

    2 vote(s)
  6. Other (Comment Below)

    29 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Old_Spice

    Old_Spice Active Member

    Which Adjustable Razor Do You Prefer?
    1. *
      Gillette Fatboy/Slim/Other ........ Yes! thumbnail-12.jpg
    brit and Michael_W like this.
  2. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Recently added a re-plated 1958 D-4 Fatboy to my collection. I'm holding off on using it as I don't want to harm the shiny new nickel finish, so I still use my 1960 F-4, but for a few differences in handle design they're the same razor. So far my favorite adjustables are the Merkur Progress long handle and Parker Variant (tied for first), with my Viking's Blade Emperor Augustus coming in second, Gillette Fatboy third and my PAA Ascensions tying with that.
    Enrico likes this.
  3. wheatshocker

    wheatshocker Guest

    My favorites are Gillette Fat Boy, Slim Adjustable and Super Adjustable. But since I have no experience with the others, my opinion isn't very objective
    Michael_W likes this.
  4. DrStrange

    DrStrange Well-Known Member

    Ok, so I tried it and it's workable that way,
    and without detents, it's infinitely fine tunable.

    So, I'm only going to recommend that if you already have a single ring
    and you've never tried it as an adjustable:
    Try it.
    brit and Michael_W like this.
  5. Bird Lives

    Bird Lives Future Root Beer King of Turkey

    I spent some very enjoyable time with a beautiful Slim. I learned to get BBS with every setting. This taught me so much. I have a debt of gratitude to the Slim.
    I had someone important enough to me that I had to gift it to them. But I am almost 100% SE and Injector anyway.

    But 3 years ago at Christmas my wife copped a Ming Shi 2000s as a stocking stuffer...Almost as a joke...But...that Ming Shi Adjustable is a fine razor and I believe it outshaves razors that cost 10xs as much. Bravo Ming Shi !!

    It won't replace my ER Lather Catcher or Auto Strop A1 or my injectors...but I would not want to not have it in my Shave Cave...a Veddy high quality piece!
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2022
  6. ShaversRUs

    ShaversRUs Well-Known Member

    Bumping an old thread...

    I understand how people can like one blade over another, and one razor over another, but what I never understood was how a person can like blade X, and razor Y, but not blade X in razor Y.

    I love adjustables, and have a bunch in my collection. To me they are just cool. I have many non-adjustable razors that I use as well.

    I consider razors that have more than one base-plate to be configurable, rather than adjustable, but that really is just sematics, I guess. I've seen razors for sale (on auction sites) that come with pre-made shims (they are not just pre-cut shimmed blades), and those are being marketed as adjustables, too.

    I have never had a bad shave with one of my adjustables. I suppose the best one I have is The Progress. (That's what I voted for.) I do have a Pearl Flexi that is awaiting its inaugural shave, even though I've had it around a year already.

    When they were first introduced, I believe the intent was supposed to be "one size fits all," so to speak. Almost anyone could buy a Fatboy, or Progress, for example, and find the right setting. I don't think, but I could be wrong, that the intent was to adjust the setting during the shave. My limited understanding is that Gillette produced their adjustables to replace the color-coded flare-tips.

    To me, the biggest downside of adjustables are the many moving parts (configurables excluded.) I haven't had any long enough to see if that becomes an issue, but the fact that I have vintage Gillette adjustables that still work fine leads me to believe that it is a non-issue.

    From a design standpoint, I do prefer both the looks and mechanical workings of the 2-piece adjustables (like The Progress). They seem to me to be the best compromise between the butterflies and the 3-pieces with configurable plates.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2023
  7. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    I consider the debate over technique versus tools to be rather a bit silly, since both factor into how good and nick/irritation-free a shave is to be gotten. Different blades will be made with different metals and forged to specific balances of sharpness and smoothness, depending on brand and manufacturing ability. Likewise, different razors will be made from different materials and to be mild, medium, or aggressive depending on the marketing department's dictates. Because of these factors, technique must be adjusted to accommodate for specific razor and blade combinations. Adjustable razors were and are a gimmick to make a shaving tool that can be ADJUSTED to accommodate various blade brands and levels of aggression. That's it. There's validity to both the technique and the tool arguments, as part of the larger discussion on how to get the best shave possible. It's not that technique is unimportant. It's that technique has to be flexible to account for differences among razors and blades. Manufacturers are always trying to strike the right balance so that they can sell their products to customers. That's where adjustables began entering into the market.

    I have a number of adjustables in my rotation including the Gillette Fatboy, Vikings Blade Emperor Augustus, Merkur Progress Long Handle, Parker variant, Weishi Nostalgic, and the PAA Ascension and Ascension Select—and all of them provide excellent shaves when paired with the right blade and technique changed to accommodate their individual strengths and weaknesses. There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all or one-method-works-universally approach to shaving. I've been doing this for several years now and am at the point where I've gotten the hang of figuring out which blades work best in which razors, and how to adjust my technique to get the best I can out of them.
    Enrico and ShaversRUs like this.
  8. Tallships

    Tallships Well-Known Member

    I started out with the Gillette Slim over 60 years ago with the Blue blades that cam with it. Found that gradually adjusting it to 7 gave me a great shave. After a time I found the Wilkinson Sword blade gave me a better shave with readjusting to 6. Used the Wilkies for years at the same setting until I found these forums and tried the Asta SP blades that gave me a great shave with fewer strokes.
    Since I got my Fathers Fatboy, I've gotten to like it a bit better than my Slim due to the fatter handle. It all boils down to the benifit of an adjustable is that, instead of buying many non-adjustables an adjustable is just that, many razors in one as far as blade gap, exposure, etc. personally I like to match the blade to the razor. Handle size and weight is up to the user.
    Enrico, Michael_W and brit like this.
  9. ShaversRUs

    ShaversRUs Well-Known Member


  10. brit

    brit in a box

    from ripped off roommate to expert in a couple of years.pretty cool.:eatdrink047:
    Paul Turner and Michael_W like this.
  11. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Oh I never claim to be an expert in anything. I just give my opinion based on observations and experience.
    brit and ShaversRUs like this.
  12. StewB

    StewB Member

    I have a 1961 Fatboy, a 1964 Slim, and a Parker Variant. They are all good! The Variant in particular has impressed me lately.
    Michael_W and Herm2502 like this.
  13. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    I would have to say the gentleman deserves a medalllll(HAAAAHHHH-long lung breath)
    Michael_W likes this.
  14. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    Looks like the Gillette Fatboy/Slim is walkin away with this one.
    Michael_W likes this.
  15. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    About three months ago I picked up a couple Merkur Progresses and have used nothing else since. The weight is amazing, comes in long or short handle (my preference), and and can be dialed from puppy gentle to off the charts efficient. I've never cared for the directions that came with it, but though trial and very little error, I found these directions work great for me.

    1) Load blade and reassemble so dash on end of cap and pyramid on base plate match up.
    2) Fully tighten (ok lets not get crazy now)
    3) Finding the dot indicator on handle, back off the knob (counter clockwise) until the 1 lines up. That is the true gentle setting. As you back off the knob and the numbers go up 5 and +, it get more efficient.

    Now I still enjoy my FatBoy, but I like the Merkur so much I had to come back here and change my vote.

    Michael_W, Herm2502 and Hembree like this.
  16. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Yeah but if you seperated them I bet it is a different result. What is more interesting is exactly how that splits between Fatboys and Slims and then others which will probably lean heavily towards Super 109 adjustables.
    Michael_W likes this.
  17. ShaversRUs

    ShaversRUs Well-Known Member

    Yes, they really are 3 different razors. The head of the Fatboy has a higher profile. The Slim and the Black Beauty (I only have an 84) have what look to be identical heads when I compare them side by side. You mention the 109, which with the longer handle will definitely shave a bit differently even if the head is the same as the 84. I have found, however, that the 84 BB and the Slim are practically identical in the way that they shave. YMMV.

    If the survey has the 3 separated, it would split the votes and you may see another razor come out on top.

    The BB was in production much longer than either the Fatboy or the Slim, and the 84 was dropped at some point and only the 109 was available. Because of that, there are probably more people who have used a 109 BB that any other Gillette Adjustable. Since Gillette produced the 109 up until 1988, it is more likely that people have tried one that is in much better condition than a Fatboy or Slim, which may have had their baseplates monkeyed with (or dropped on a tile floor) over the years, hence changing their aggression settings.

    The best way to do this, and I know it is not possible with the survey function on this forum, is to use the Major League Baseball method of voting for MVP using the 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 weighted score system. Each voter ranks the top 10 (or some other number you decide) -- first place gets 14 points, second gets 9, etc.

    Using the survey in this thread, take the following as an extreme example. Everyone ranks the Merkur Progress second, but many people have a different favorite number 1. In this case, the Merkur Progress would get 0 votes, despite being the overall favorite since everyone listed it second on their imaginary ballot.

    Also, "other" is part of the first choice and the last choice on the ballot. For the first, I assume it means "other Gillette Adjustables."
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2023
    Michael_W likes this.
  18. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Depends how far you want to delineate.
    1 - 4
    We have Fatboys, Toggles, Slims and Super Adjustables aka black beauties.

    Go further then you have
    Fatboys - Executive, Standard, Red Dot, Bottom Dial
    Toggles - Serial, Standard, Chrome
    Slim - Standard / Aristocrat all( both shave the same and this branch doesn't delineate any further)
    Super Adjustables - Super 89 all and Super 109 all(doesn't delineate any further how they shave)

    Go even further
    10 -13
    Fatboys - Executive all, Standard all, Red Dot D1 and F4, Bottom Dial 1-9 F4 and earlier 1-5 bottom dial
    Toggles - Serial all, Standard D1 and F4, Chrome all
    Slim - Standard / Aristocrat all ( both shave the same and this branch doesn't delineate any further)
    Super Adjustables - Super 89 all and Super 109 all (doesn't delineate any further how they shave)

    1 becomes 13 distinctly different shaving razors in this case.
    Michael_W likes this.
  19. ShaversRUs

    ShaversRUs Well-Known Member

    Yup. And unless everyone who votes has tried them all, then the survey is meaningless. Add in the YMMV factor, and then you can add a whole shaker of salt.;)
    Michael_W likes this.
  20. ischiapp

    ischiapp New Product Bloodhound

    Merkur Futur starts where the others finish ... or do not come even close.

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