03-18-2019, 10:41 AM
#1
  • ischiapp
  • Senior Member
  • Forio d'Ischia, Naples, Italy
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A doubt pervades me every time I see recommending the Merkur Progress a neophyte.
Even worse with less balanced adjustable razor.

This doubt derives from my experience.
I had them, appreciated and sold them.
All, except the Merkur Futur that I don't use for its aggressiveness ... but I admire it as a design object.

At the beginning they are comfortable and bewitching.
You still don't know your preferences, maybe the technique is still unripe, the idea of having so many options, the undoubted charm of some vintage models (for me in descending order ... Gibbs Reglable # 17, Gillette Toggle, Fatboy , Black Beauty Super-109, Slim).

But over time, you understand that performance is related to geometry.
As the gap increases the arch should increase, and since it is impossible for now what increases is the exposure ... then the positive asset, that is the sensation (feedback) of the blade on the skin.

Not to mention the rigidity of the blade, produced only with fixed mechanisms (not movable) that support it strongly on both sides.
All at the expense of comfort.

The refinement of one's perceptions and preferences also plays an important role.
Today I know my ideal razor.
I'm not looking for alternatives that are too far away.

So personally I don't recommend an adjustable.
But above all I do not recommend it to a person with little experience.
I find it much more useful to concentrate one's efforts on a single razor, possibly balanced, for the time necessary (a few dozen shaves, better every day) to refine the technique and consistently achieve a good result.
Only then can you choose an alternative, in a more conscious way.

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 03-18-2019, 11:06 AM
#2
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I agree...I don’t speak negatively if an adjustable is your first choice...but for me...having the options in one razor would make me crazy tinkering with settings, various blades, and various soaps/creams.

I need to keep it a little bit more simple for my chicken nugget brain!

Vr

Matt

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 03-18-2019, 11:13 AM
#3
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This makes sense to me. When I selected my first razor (not that long ago) I did a lot of homework, read a lot of reviews and while I found the idea of adjustables attractive, I eventually decided not to introduce an extra variable into an unknown equation. Instead I went with one of the most common recommendations for a non-adjustable beginner razor. I have not regretted it.

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 03-18-2019, 11:23 AM
#4
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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There are people that get adjustables but use only one setting. It works.

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 03-18-2019, 01:15 PM
#5
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I still use my gillette adjustables and my Futur.  Still give great shaves which is all I care about.

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 03-18-2019, 01:21 PM
#6
  • eengler
  • Administrator
  • South Dakota, USA
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(03-18-2019, 11:23 AM)nikos.a Wrote: There are people that get adjustables but use only one setting. It works.

That’s me. I never deviate from my known best shave setting.

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 03-18-2019, 01:22 PM
#7
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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(03-18-2019, 01:21 PM)eengler Wrote:
(03-18-2019, 11:23 AM)nikos.a Wrote: There are people that get adjustables but use only one setting. It works.

That’s me. I never deviate from my known best shave setting.
Me too, Ed!

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 03-18-2019, 02:08 PM
#8
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While I admire the vintage adjustables for their design I never particularly cared for the shave—they don’t hold the blade rigid enough. I agree with you there but I think all Butterfly razors suffer from this.

However, I find that the shave geometry of the Progress creates a very rigid blade and gives wonderful shaves. For me, after trying many razors when I started traditional wet shaving many years ago, the Mergress was where I was finally able to learn and dial in my preferences given it’s adjustability.

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 03-18-2019, 02:51 PM
#9
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so far I have settled on 3 for my vintage gillette slim adjustable which has no blade rigidity probs since it gives me a DFS every time as does my vintage TTO super speed YMMV

and plate 3 on my new Rockwell 6C, tho not actually "adjustable"

not too much deviation from those settings

i have a Qshave Futur that I haven't shaved with in a while so I don't remember what i set it at when it was my only razor, but probably, if I had to guess: 3

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 03-18-2019, 03:03 PM
#10
  • pbrmhl
  • Senior Member
  • Seattle
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(03-18-2019, 11:23 AM)nikos.a Wrote: There are people that get adjustables but use only one setting. It works.

This is me, too. I’ve had four adjustables: Slim, Variant, Mergress and Ambassador. In every case, when I installed the first blade, I set the razor to the highest setting, and never adjusted. To me, the concept was not to fiddle with adjustments, but to see how close and long-lasting the highest setting could deliver. I gave the Slim and Variant to my adult boys, but I’m enjoying the Mergress once in a while, and the Ambassador much more often. The Ambassador at 6.5 is a fine razor.

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 03-18-2019, 03:33 PM
#11
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I play with it, find my optimum setting, leave it alone. BUT, nothing I have found beats the RS-10..... Smile

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 03-18-2019, 03:36 PM
#12
  • garyg
  • Senior Member
  • Great Lakes
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I'm one who has shaved with most of the Adjustables, my first shave was in the early 60's with a Gillette Adjustable .. from today's Rex Ambassador back to that Fatboy, I've got a Toggle, several Fatties, an Executive, a Slim, a couple different model Black Beauty's .. have had but sold the Mergress and Futur .  As others have noted I hardly ever change the settings once I have the razor dialed in.  

But I'll beg to differ with the OP on not recommending one for a beginner ..  I think the utility of an adjustable is when you are finding your way to what works for you, and being able to dial the blade up or down is way better than buying say 9 razors to see what type of blade makes your socks go up & down ..  So my first recommendation to a noob would be an adjustable, vintage Gillette rather than the pot metal Merkurs or uber expensive Rex.  Once they figure out which end of the spectrum is their comfort level, then they can be either happy with the adjustable or buy more rigid DE's in their level of aggression.

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 03-18-2019, 03:48 PM
#13
  • Nero
  • Senior Member
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Haha, my first razor was a Futur...maybe that's why I complained of irritation for the first couple years of wetshaving!

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 03-18-2019, 04:02 PM
#14
  • SCOV
  • Senior Member
  • Minnesota
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I can understand an adjustable razor has moving parts and thus susceptible to wear, balance plus perhaps rigidity issues.  Vendors like Rockwell and Above the Tie have used multiple heads for adjustability.  I did like my B&R Adjustable razor's shave quality.

1. I would recommend an Edwin Jagger DE89 for all new shavers
2. I have sold razors because they were too mild or too aggressive
3. I have never sold a razor because the aggressiveness was perfect

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 03-18-2019, 05:23 PM
#15
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I know this is blasphemy to some, but I think adjustables are a gimmick. Just my opinion. 

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 03-18-2019, 06:01 PM
#16
  • garyg
  • Senior Member
  • Great Lakes
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(03-18-2019, 05:23 PM)primotenore Wrote: I know this is blasphemy to some, but I think adjustables are a gimmick. Just my opinion. 

And the straight razor guys claim the GEM lather catchers were gimmicks!

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 03-18-2019, 06:58 PM
#17
  • pbrmhl
  • Senior Member
  • Seattle
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(03-18-2019, 04:02 PM)SCOV Wrote: I can understand an adjustable razor has moving parts and thus susceptible to wear, balance plus perhaps rigidity issues.  Vendors like Rockwell and Above the Tie have used multiple heads for adjustability.  I did like my B&R Adjustable razor's shave quality.

1. I would recommend an Edwin Jagger DE89 for all new shavers
2. I have sold razors because they were too mild or too aggressive
3. I have never sold a razor because the aggressiveness was perfect

For noobs, the Rockwell 6s and Karve systems are a great entry into deciding what kind of razor works. Great suggestion.

I only used the #6 plate before giving my Rockwell system to my older son. The other five plates were a waste for me, but he's been trying them all. Karve is awesome because you only have to buy one plate, and then adjust up or down by buying additional plates, and selling the old ones. ATT is similar, but fewer choices.

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 03-19-2019, 12:40 AM
#18
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I'm not trying to speak for the OP, but reading the first post in this thread it feels like his main point has been lost in the discussion.

The point, as I understood it, was not that "adjustables are bad" but that adjustables are not suitable for beginners because as a beginner you do not know what the hell you are doing. To offer more choice to someone who does not know what they are doing is not helpful. As someone who is still a noob I concur. 

Today, after a few months of DE shaving I can tell the difference between razors and have an opinion on how they shave. But when I just started I would have had no way to tell where my technique (or lack thereof) ended and the idiosyncrasies of the razor began. You may try different settings and go "oh this feels great" but you really don't know if it feels great because of the "right" setting or because you managed to not screw up your shaving on that pass. Therefore you introduce more uncertainty into a learning situation and that is not a good thing.

Those are my 2 cents.

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 03-19-2019, 01:12 AM
#19
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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(03-19-2019, 12:40 AM)RazorSteve Wrote: I'm not trying to speak for the OP, but reading the first post in this thread it feels like his main point has been lost in the discussion.

The point, as I understood it, was not that "adjustables are bad" but that adjustables are not suitable for beginners because as a beginner you do not know what the hell you are doing. To offer more choice to someone who does not know what they are doing is not helpful. As someone who is still a noob I concur. 

Today, after a few months of DE shaving I can tell the difference between razors and have an opinion on how they shave. But when I just started I would have had no way to tell where my technique (or lack thereof) ended and the idiosyncrasies of the razor began. You may try different settings and go "oh this feels great" but you really don't know if it feels great because of the "right" setting or because you managed to not screw up your shaving on that pass. Therefore you introduce more uncertainty into a learning situation and that is not a good thing.

Those are my 2 cents.

I respectfully disagree!

Anyone can get the difference, even a guy that uses a DE for a few weeks. It's not just that your technique is getting better with time. The feel is different.

If you use a Rockwell@6, a famous razor system with 6 settings, for your first pass and the second setting for your second pass, the difference is huge. You have to be extremely unfamiliar with shaving in general not to understand a difference. The same with many other adjustable razors (Slim etc.). The higher setting shaves more aggressively than the lower. How can anyone not get that? You don't have to be a guru.

I don't know of any new wetshaver that actually don't know what the hell he's doing (using your words). If someone buys an adjustable, it means that he knows about them and tries to improve a proper shaving technique. It's not that difficult to get there.

Shaving is not science. I don't like making my life difficult. You like a razor? Keep it. You don't? Sell it. You regret a sale? Buy it again.

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 03-19-2019, 02:00 AM
#20
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(03-19-2019, 01:12 AM)nikos.a Wrote: I respectfully disagree!

You are, of course, entitled to.

I agree with you that this is not rocket science but that does not mean there is not a learning curve and that there are not motor skills involved that needs to be trained. You have perhaps done this so long that you've forgotten what it was to start but there are new concepts to grasp for the beginner. Just one example: after decades of cart-shaving (and sometimes electric shaving) I have never once considered how the beard grows on my face. Mapping the growth pattern and paying attention to what direction the blade was going was a completely new aspect. Add to that learning to get a good lather, the bewildering variety of soaps, creams, pre-shave products and different blades and there's enough to figure out. So sure, it's not science but it's not like mindlessly dragging a cart over your face either.

I can only really speak for myself but I can say with certainty that if I had added to the above the uninformed pondering of "should I have picked 4 or 5 or perhaps 3, or maybe 6?" it would not have speeded up my learning one bit. And that's really all I have to say about that Smile

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