03-07-2013, 04:11 PM
#1
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
I have so far shaved with all Gillette OC types of head except New Improved. I have an Old type, New Long and short combs, but until now no NI. Of all the Gillette OC razors I tried so far the New LC is by far my favorite. I bought an Ikon bulldog handle for it and tapered it to fit properly and it is one of my very favorite DE razors now. However I was very curious about the NI. So I bought a Big Fellow (at least I think it's a BF. Please correct me if I am wrong). According to the serial number it's from 1922. and is brass with what may have been gold plating. Mine is in excellent shape for a 90 year old razor.

[Image: F3h9JgC.jpg]

I shaved about half a dozen times with it now and here are my observations.

This razor has no blade exposure and really large blade gap. This gives it a very interesting characteristic of having a very mild feel with very aggressive cut. Is this good? I am not sure. First time I used it I got a few nicks because of it, but otherwise a wonderful shave. I would say that after a New LC there is very little to no feedback from the NI head. It's like using a razor without a blade as far as feedback, but the thing cuts extremely efficiently. So this really makes me kind of on the fence about it. I dislike the lack of feedback. It's downright misleading and caused me to get some irritation and nicks that have been gone from my shaves for a long time now. However, I am absolutely amazed at this razor's efficiency. It shaves extremely closely. Pressure needs to be watched and the tough part is that there is hardly any sound or bade feel on the skin by which to be guided. Shave before today I used a Personna Super (lab) (1) blade and got a super BBS, but ended up with slight burn (no cuts that time). So I decided that my feel for this razor is not tuned in yet and today I loaded a Dorco ST300 (1) to have a bit more forgiveness for my lack of feel for this machine. The result was incredibly comfortable BBS with no irritation at all. So, for now I think I'll be using mild blades in this razor and keep learning it. It is by far the most "interesting" feeling razor I tried. No blade feel and very aggressive. I am wondering what others' experience with this razor is. As a whole I think Big Fellow is one of the best vintage Gillettes I have held in my hand. Long, heavy handle, excellent balance. Extremely comfortable to hold and use. This is the only NI type I tried so far and I really like it, but the lack of feedback is a bit concerning.

Please share your NI experiences.

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 03-08-2013, 09:32 AM
#2
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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Looks like I need to dig out a New Improved and get it in shave ready condition. It may not get in cue until next week, but I have been meaning to actually use one and this thread gives me the perfect reason. BTW, great looking Big Fellow there!

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 03-08-2013, 10:00 AM
#3
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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(03-08-2013, 09:32 AM)blzrfn Wrote: Looks like I need to dig out a New Improved and get it in shave ready condition. It may not get in cue until next week, but I have been meaning to actually use one and this thread gives me the perfect reason. BTW, great looking Big Fellow there!

Dave, NI is a very interesting shave. Like I said, feels very mild because of no blade exposure, but make no mistake about it, it is an aggressive razor and will cut very well with no pressure whatsoever. Perhaps my Big Fellow has more leverage because of that long handle, so if you use, say, a Tuckaway things may be different, but in my case I felt like wasn't doing anything and then I had some small amount of razor burn on top of BBS. No audio feedback either, or at least not much of one. Start with a milder blade. Nothing sharper than Astra SP, IMO. Of course, this is all YMMV, but my experience is it's a super efficient razor with very mild feel to it, so it's easy to overdo it with the pressure. Otherwise an amazing good razor. The Big Fellow in particular is very nice. Feels solid and hefty. Knurling is better than most ball end handles on New razors. Just a luxurious and solid feel to it. I like the construction of this one very much. I was hoping to get a Bostonian or some other silver plated one, but this is the one I lucked into and I am very happy with it, but still need to learn it more. It is not exactly like other OC razors I tried.

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 03-31-2013, 03:04 PM
#4
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
I have now had a chance to get used to the Big Fellow's NI head and am getting wonderful shaves from it. It is a very, very nice razor. Mine is from 1922. Works absolutely perfectly. It feels mild and cuts aggressively. I really like the size, shape and weight of the handle and the whole razor just works beautifully. Just wanted to update the thread with my experience. I have been using the Beg Fellow a lot lately and like it more every time I use it. Will go to my New LC for the next few shaves and see how I like the contrast.

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