10-27-2016, 05:07 AM
#1
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OK, I'm new to DE shaving. About 4 months in. Started with a Merkur 38 Barber Pole. It was fine, but switched to a Rockwell 6S. I appreciate the 6S due to its adjustability and because this adjustability is achievable via a change of plates. Once "assembled" there are no moving parts and nothing much to go wrong.

But I keep looking at threads talking about vintage DE razors, particularly those which are adjustable. Gillette Fat Boy, Slim, etc. I just can't get past the fact that these razors were sold for like $1.95 and, by many reports, the butterfly heads are less than consistent from one edge to the other. Not to mention the ravages of 50 years of usage.

OK, so where I'm going with this is: Are there any true advantages to these vintage razors? Or is the community's fascination simply the result of a longing to return to our youth?

The analogy in my head is a current Porsche 911 to a 1965 Porsche 911. I can appreciate the older model, but it doesn't compare to a new one in terms of fit, finish, performance, and driving experience, IMHO.

Any perspective would be appreciated. Thanks.

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 10-27-2016, 05:19 AM
#2
  • Snuff
  • Senior Member
  • Belgium
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Impossible to answer IMHO, there are plenty of people when given the choice that would go for the 1965 Porsche 911 because they find it's still the real thing compared to a modern one. Lucky for you these razors are not that expensive so try for yourself or find someone in your region that's willing to loan you one.


I found several vintage razors that I like but none of them where adjustable (I prefer non adjustable even in modern razors).

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 10-27-2016, 05:24 AM
#3
  • eengler
  • Administrator
  • South Dakota, USA
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I tried many of them along the way and only kept a couple of the good shavers. For me it was all about the shave experience and not collecting. The vintage prices compare and even exceed modern razors that shave as well or better. I don't see a true advantage. I did however enjoy the vintage adventure.

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 10-27-2016, 05:39 AM
#4
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(10-27-2016, 05:19 AM)Snuff Wrote: Impossible to answer IMHO, there are plenty of people when given the choice that would go for the 1965 Porsche 911 because they find it's still the real thing compared to a modern one. Lucky for you these razors are not that expensive so try for yourself or find someone in your region that's willing to loan you one.


I found several vintage razors that I like but none of them where adjustable (I prefer non adjustable even in modern razors).

Totally understand "the real thing" mentality and the appreciation of an old model, well cared-for. I'm just thinking in terms of speed, handling, amenities, comfort and crossing a finish line, the old ones just don't compare.

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 10-27-2016, 05:40 AM
#5
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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They shave well. They are what my dad and grandpa used before they switched to electrics. They couldn't be made today and sold for $2. 

Better shaves may be had but I enjoy my old Gillette adjustable as much as any of my razors.

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 10-27-2016, 05:43 AM
#6
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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All that said more than 75% of my razors are new production. A few Gillettes and vintage straights but mostly new straights and DE razors.

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 10-27-2016, 06:09 AM
#7
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Definitely a hard one to answer. Myself, being a huge history buff, love to collect and use vintage razors, which are the majority of what I own. I like the character of the vintage razors (especially European).With both the newer razors and vintage razors, some of them shave "better" than others. I like that the majority of the vintages I own are brass, but they may need to be replated down the road which is an added cost. It's hard to beat some of the modern quality razors, especially those made with quality stainless steal. I think it's up to the individual, really.

Ward

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 10-27-2016, 06:27 AM
#8
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Not too much to add, but just make sure we are comparing apples to apples (our Porsches to Porsches). I use both vintage and new. There are plenty of cheap new production razors did by a variety of vendors. IMO, the vintages win easy most of the time. Now if you compare a very high quality machined razor that costs $300+, I'm just not sure we're comparing the same thing. But let's also be honest, there are other reasons to buy a $300 razor (or a Porsche) and looks/style are high on that list. And here it really is opinion. Do you like the looks of a modern razor (one blade comes to mind), or do you like the classic looks of a British aristocrat? By the way, i recently tried the one blade, and it didn't shave "better" to me than my vintage red tip, BUT it was faster (like a newer Porsche?) But if I wanted fast, not sure wet shaving is the best plan.
All that to say, spend $50 and try several different style vintages and see what you think. Good luck. And have fun

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 10-27-2016, 06:32 AM
#9
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(10-27-2016, 06:27 AM)NickMach007 Wrote: Not too much to add, but just make sure we are comparing apples to apples (our Porsches to Porsches). I use both vintage and new. There are plenty of cheap new production razors did by a variety of vendors. IMO, the vintages win easy most of the time. Now if you compare a very high quality machined razor that costs $300+, I'm just not sure we're comparing the same thing. But let's also be honest, there are other reasons to buy a $300 razor (or a Porsche) and looks/style are high on that list. And here it really is opinion. Do you like the looks of a modern razor (one blade comes to mind), or do you like the classic looks of a British aristocrat? By the way, i recently tried the one blade, and it didn't shave "better" to me than my vintage red tip, BUT it was faster (like a newer Porsche?) But if I wanted fast, not sure wet shaving is the best plan.
All that to say, spend $50 and try several different style vintages and see what you think. Good luck. And have fun

Well said. And will do. Thanks.

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 10-27-2016, 07:06 AM
#10
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I started DE shaving with a family Gillette Slim.  Went to $2 Chinese razor, which by the way gives a very good shave.  Then I  bought an Edwin Jagger DE89L.  The EJ is a very nice shaver, looks like a piece of art, perfect chroming, I enjoy shaving with it and get a excellent shave.   Then a bought a Gillette FatBoy.  Now I own 3 FatBoy's, a Gillette pre-war tech, and a 1930 gold plated Gillette New Criterion De Luxe Gold Razor .  Recently I had 1 of my FatBoy's plated in Rhodium.  My favorite razor is the Rhodium FatBoy.  This razor not only looks great, it also shaves great.  The FatBoy is a workhorse as it is with many Gillette razor where they will last nearly forever because of how they were built.  There is something special about using these vintage razors that you can't get with the new shavers.  Now with that being said every person is different regarding the "holy grail" razor that we use.  Each person's shaving needs are different and will respond differently to different shavers and blades.  For me, it's the FatBoy.

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 10-27-2016, 07:45 AM
#11
  • EricM
  • Senior Member
  • Encinitas, CA
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I bought a vintage GEM Micromatic OC off Ebay for fun.  I liked the look of it and didn't expect much out of the shave, although I heard they were aggressive.  I tell you, I get some of the best shaves with that $13 razor!!!  It's amazing!

Eric

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 10-27-2016, 07:59 AM
#12
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IMHO many are in fact superior to most modern razors of comparable price level (not counting BBS-1s and Wolfmans and the like)
  • Many were made during the boom times of the late 1940s to 1960s, when the American middle-class was burgeoning and there was exploding demand for products befitting a gentleman of means
  • Gillette was working its butt off engineering ever-superior designs to soundly corner the market away from several competitors (Wilkinson, Schick, etc.) and who are they competing with now?
  • There wasn't such a gigantic drive to widen the bottom line, so Gillette used solid materials like brass instead of pot metal these days
More than any of these, however, my own personal experience has shown vintage Gillettes (particularly the Tech and Aristocrat) to be wholly superior to modern pot metal razors from Edwin Jagger, Merkur, and the like. Blade fits are tighter, exposure is crystal-clean, and the angle is intuitive from the second you pick the razor up.

I've said this elsewhere, but the only modern razor that I think performs as naturally and superbly as my old English and Canadian Techs is the BBS-1.

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 10-27-2016, 08:02 AM
#13
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Also bear in mind that the original Tech was patented in 1932 and sold for $0.49. In today's currency that'd be just shy of $9. I'd take a Tech over any modern $9 razor for damn sure.

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 10-27-2016, 08:18 AM
#14
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In the past, I felt the same about the Fat Boy. It seemed like a private gentlemen's club with the secret handshake. So I decided to purchase a Slim (similar to the Fat Boy) and I thought it was pretty good, but not the best. Then I stumbled upon a 59 Fat boy and tried it out. For me, it's my favorite razor own (even re-plated it). The weight, balance, quality of the mechanism and the way it shaves is a pleasure. I often shave on a higher setting (more aggressive) on my face and lower setting on my neck. As often said YMMV, but for me if I only had one razor it would be my Fat Boy. 

BTW I'm giving one to my son as his first razor.

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 10-27-2016, 08:22 AM
#15
  • blzrfn
  • Butterscotch Bandit
  • Vancouver USA
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I own a few hundred razors and almost all are vintage.  I appreciate the history and most of them still do their job well.  I appreciate the modern razors as well and even though I resist jumping at every new razor that hits the market, I do find that most work as well or better than their older counterparts.  Regardless of manufacturing date, the quality of the build is what is important to me.  I don't like having to arrange the blade manually (small adjustments are acceptable and required more often than not), I don't want an overly aggressive nor mild shave and I don't want something that looks ugly or is fragile.  The nostalgia aspect is ultimately personal and if you get a kick of using a razor that your grandfather may have used in his day then grab an old Gillette and see what they're all about.  If you couldn't care less about vintage tools then grab a nice Muehle or Merkur and enjoy your shave.

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 10-27-2016, 08:44 AM
#16
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[Image: rf7acFR.jpg]

The funny thing is by the inflation calculator this $10 Traveler in 1926 would be equivalent to buying $135 now. That would buy you a Rockwell 6S and a 100 Feather blades (maybe even a decent shave soap).

That's no disrespect to the Rockwell 6S (I'm thinking of getting one to try out)

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 10-27-2016, 09:31 AM
#17
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I'm with the others, above, who cited vintage, and in particular, the Fatboy, as being at least as good as modern razors.  I have and use both vintage and modern razors, but I always come back to the classic vintage razors, especially the Fatboy and the Tech.  I used the Fatboy this morning, as a matter of fact, and it is just a great, great razor.  It just works for me.  

I paid $15 for it at an antique store, with its case, blade bank, and instructions.  Best $15 I ever spent.  I'm still waiting for the modern razor that will make me believe it is better than the Fatboy or even the humble Tech.

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 10-27-2016, 10:41 AM
#18
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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I've tried over 50 razors the last years, now I'm down to 30. My collection consists of both vintage and modern razors. I can't say that vintage razors shave better. There are plenty of excellent modern razors for someone to try. Truth is that for the price you pay for a vintage razor at an antique store of a flea market, there are no better modern options. For example, if someone gives 10 euros for a vintage Gillette Slim, you can't buy a modern razor that shaves as good as the Slim at that price. This is the biggest advantage of vintage razors I'd say.

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 10-27-2016, 11:35 AM
#19
  • Gabe
  • Senior Member
  • Arizona
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I like the nostalgia as well as the shaves. I do not particualrly care for the TTO (twist to open) models. I sold most of them and only have a Redtip and a Ranger Tech remaining. They both give great comfortable shaves. 

I also own a few stainless steel razors that cost quite a bit more. They feel great in hand and will undoubtedly last a very long time. But shave for shave (w/o price in mind), NOTHING beats my Gillette New Long Comb. Mine has been replated so its also nice to look at as well. My Weber PH comes in as a close 2nd.

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 10-27-2016, 11:58 AM
#20
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For a long time, I never really got the allure of vintage razors. I tried nearly every style of Gillette, and I never appreciated the shaves I got from them the way I did my more favorite moderns.

Then I bought a couple of injectors and disappeared down the rabbit hole. Before, I never cared to collect a razor I didn't want to use in a rotation, today I buy just about anything that says Schick if I don't already have it. I guess when I got bit, I got bit pretty hard.


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