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Thread: Vintage vs. Modern Adjustable?

  1. #11
    Living and Dying in ¾‑Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    When you want to shave with a safety razor, it's like Highlander: "There can only be one!" ... and that's a British Gillette #66

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  2. #12
    Member diamondtim's Avatar
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    I own several vintage Gillette adjustable razors. I bought most of them for a buck or two at estate sales. You can get one at an antique shop for less than $25. That is far cheaper than a Merkur anything. Besides it's cool shaving with a dead man's razor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charllie View Post
    I've begun poking around, looking at adjustable razors. At this point it's just research, as I figure I'm some time away from adding an adjustable to the collection. One thing I notice is that the old razors that are written up as having great performance tend to be running in ebay for prices comparable to (or higher in many cases) a modern adjustable (e.g., a Futur).

    One might naturally suppose that a good modern should perform as well or better than the corresponding vintage model (for example a fatboy vs. Futur) and since it's newer, should have better longevity (assuming comparable maintenance procedures). This all assumes that the fact that technology gets a little better each year is more than offsetting the desire to cut production cost by a smidge each year.

    So, except for the fact that it would be kinda neat to have a razor from my birth year, I'm thinking the way to approach this is that if cost is equal or nearly so, I'd pick up the modern one first and maybe add vintage units later, as much out of curiosity as anything else.

    So I wonder if there is (purely from a performnance/longevity point of view) a consensus out there among the experts on this, and would very much like to hear people's perspective (pertaining in particular to adjustables): Vintage or Modern?

    Thanks,
    Charlie
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Wayne1963's Avatar
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    @diamondtim "it's cool shaving with a dead man's razor"...haha never thought of it quite like that. I wonder how many men have lived and died with my Wade & Butcher?

  4. #14
    Snicker Snack
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    I've had many adjustables over the years. I find myself liking the Gillette Long-handled Super Adjustable, and my Merkur Futur.

    The Super Adjustable is a mild razor, even opened up fully, that gives a smooth shave. The Futur is a heavy razor that can be reasonably aggressive, and it gives a lot of aural feedback.

    They're different, but they're both very good.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Wayne1963's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBHoren View Post
    When you want to shave with a safety razor, it's like Highlander: "There can only be one!" ... and that's a British Gillette #66

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    THAT is a thing of beauty!

  6. #16
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    Well I thought I would post back here with the outcome of my explorations along this line.

    Since the time I originally posted this thread I have picked up a couple vintage types (a superspeed and a fatboy). I must say that I do like them both, and they are each very much their own kind of thing. I guess that's true of all the razors I've tried. Despite the similarities of these things, they are all different in subtle ways and they each thus have their own fingerprint, so to speak. I see where the superspeed gets it name from. I'm not sure if it was the designer's intent (although it is certainly implied in the name) but this is THE razor to reach for if I happen to be in a hurry that morning. It's a pity but that does happen. The fatboy I like but have not really resonated with yet. Maybe with that one the combinations of setting and blade are just too big a matrix and I still need to try other blades in that one I suppose.

    Meanwhile I picked up a EJ89 and this has become my daily shaver. In fact shortly after I got that razor I tried it with feather blades and Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream.

    THAT combo (EJ89/Feather/TOBS) is my shave, at least for the past month or two, and I'm not inclined in the least to experiment further.

    At least least I am not inclined to mess with the razor at this point. I did pick up a scuttle which I like very much and is very much part of the daily process now. The heat added by that thing is great, although I could see possibly going back to a plain old bowl again in summer time - we'll see when we get there I guess.

    In any event, it has been a great journey trying out the old and new razors both. Thanks all for the tips and advice.

    Part of me still wants to try a slant bar, but I can hold off on that for now....

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    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    charllie, hi if you could would you call the ej 89 a mild,mid range ,or an aggressive cut? unlike some guys I have had only 2 de,s in my 44 years of shaving ,, my razor I got in the army , cant even remember it , when I came home I got a fat boy adjustable . I recently after 44 years left it in the hotel and it is now gone. so Im looking to replace, but I don't really do the antigue store thing and other than ebay, I haven't seen anyone post de,s for sell here. I love my straights but some days I still need my de ,any advise would be great or il just take a shot at ebay(rather poke my eye) thanks tc
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  9. #18
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    TC, I'd call the EJ89 a comfortable shave, when it has the right blade (which of course means the right blade for me, and you may find a different blade for you). When I have a sharp feather blade in the EJ89, it is both close and comfortable, so I'm not sure how to characterize it's aggressiveness per se. I'm still early in the process of getting my fatboy figured out but have played around with it enough to perhaps give a point of reference: for me the fatboy on 1 2 or 3 is not shaving a close as the EJ89, but it is about as comfortable in that range. When I crank the fatboy up to the higher numbers, it gets very close but also feels like I'm scraping off skin, and is quite uncomfortable (for example when it's in the 7-9 range, which I just had to try). By that measure I'd have to say the EJ8 is mid-range, I suppose. If it comes down to a choice between the EJ and the comparable Merkur, they are both good razors but I'd probably lean more towards the EJ. I have the Merkur 180 which I also like but the EJ89 has become my daily shaver shortly after I received it. Good luck! Charlie

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