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Big Fellow (1921)

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Ok, after I polished the Big Fellow (odd, since I refer to all of my razors in the feminine gender), I loaded-up a Derby and went to shaving.

Yes, indeed the Big Fellow is a tad aggressive.

However, the feedback it gives you, IMHO, is even better than that of the Aristocrat, and the shave is better than the Red-tip Superspeed.

Keep in mind that I have a very tough beard (gray and wicked) and allowed 3 days of growth. Hey, its the weekend man!

There was something about the feel and sound of this baby slicing through the stubble. It was amazing. The first pass cleared a path that the Red-tip would have to bow to. It was so enjoyable that I did a four-pass, which is unusual for me, as I usually only do 3. WTG, XTG, Gillette Slide, then ATG.

Smooth baby....smooth

The Big Fellow is a heavy beast too. I simply let her do the heavy-lifting while I sat back and enjoyed.

If you have one and haven't used it lately, get her out and put her back into the rotation. You won't be sorry.

Me, I may have found my new daily shaver.

Latest reviews

Pros: Heavy, aggresive, very cool
Cons: Touchy for blade placement
My price was apparently a very good deal, especially for an Old Type, so I rated it a 10. At $100+ for this razor with the cool wooden case, I would have rated it a few points lower maybe a 6, or 7. Apparently, they made these heavier versions for a while and they come in Old, New Improved, and New versions. I think all are open comb.

This is at any price an awesome safety razor. The quality of build is as good as anything I seen in a safety razor and it is 90 years old (1920). The silver plate, over what appears to brass, was good enough to have shined up nicely despite the razor likely being used at least into the 1940's. I figure, as the one blade in the blade case was a later Gillette Thin (1946, I think), that someone used this one at that time. I was impressed that it cleaned up from almost black to shiny in less than a half hour with a baking soda/ salt, scalding water bath on aluminum foil, and some old-fashioned hand polishing with Mass metal polish.

User friendly- basically yes. It is an old razor and has some blade replacement issues I cover below. The balance is just fine, but it is a heavy safety razor and may present a challenge for some due to the weight.

The grip is just fine and did not become slippery even when some lather hit the handle.

Blade replacement does require some care, as there is some play in how the blade will sit in the razor. If you take into account that this razor was made to take the thicker three-hole original style Gillette blades, and our modern blades are both thinner and have more of a cut out in the blade to accommodate various configurations of razors, you can understand why there may be some play when seating a blade in these old ones. So, when you replace a blade take care to make sure the shaving edge is lining up evenly on both sides as you tighten it down. Also, do not over tighten, as the barrels on these are subject to cracking from being overtightened. That being said all the new DE blades fit, it just took me a minute or so to seat them optimally.

This is amongst the most aggressive safety razors I have tried. Apparently, the Big Fellow is heavier and longer than the other old types and that adds to the aggressiveness. But, with a light touch and good technique this razor provides superb shaves, about on par with an average straight. I was impressed.

Not an adjustable razor, but you can, by varying the tightening pressure, make it a tab adjustable with our modern blades. Now, I am only talking about a tiny bit of adjustment that results from the level of tightening you apply when seating the blade. It is only a small bit of adjustment, ergo the low rating.

Overall, the balance is excellent, but felt more handle heavy than many DEs to me. The handle is also longer than the other old types and might take a bit of practice to get truly comfortable with.

Overall assessment, is that if you like aggressive razors and get an opportunity to try one, you should. By the way, the cool factor, at least to me, is a 10+. Shaving with the first generation of DEs made in the most aggressive form manufactured really gives you part of the understanding as to why the safety razor replaced the straight as the product of choice. According to what I read, in 1920, the year my razor was made, Gillette produced over 2 million razors!
Grip
5.00 star(s)
Price
5.00 star(s)
Balance
4.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
1.00 star(s)
User Friendly
4.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
5.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
3.00 star(s)
Pros: Cuts through like butter -- great weight/balance too
Cons: Price
I'm thrilled with my new razor! I cleaned, polished and then dipped in barbicide before loading an Astra for the morning shave. Don't care that it isn't as easy to load as a TTO -- not a big deal. Whipped up a lather of MWF and did a 3 pass shave. Result was BBS, and DFS at 2 passes. This is definitely my new go-to razor. If you have the chance, by all means get a hold of one and try it for yourself!
Grip
0.00 star(s)
Price
0.00 star(s)
Balance
0.00 star(s)
Quality
0.00 star(s)
Adjustability
0.00 star(s)
User Friendly
0.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
0.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
0.00 star(s)
I bought this a few months ago from a fellow B&B'er Books for a rediculously low price (I nailed it within a minute or two of it coming up on the BST), so I cannot really comment on the price. I have to say that when it arrived it was in much better shape than I expected based on Books' photos and description. The construction is solid and the plating must be pretty high quality because 90-years later, it's still got a lot of shine on it. The handle is about the same size and weight as a Merkur Barber pole. I have learned to really enjouy shaving with an open comb and this shaver has just the right amount of agressiveness I rated it on a scale of least to most agressive. The shave is comfortable and close. I could see how before the days of RAD, if you could afford one of these bad boys when they first came out, you might never need to buy another. All in all, highly recommended - it is a beautiful piece of history, feels great in you hand ond on you face!
Grip
5.00 star(s)
Price
1.00 star(s)
Balance
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
1.00 star(s)
User Friendly
5.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
3.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
5.00 star(s)

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