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Parker 86R...

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Ok,, Gent's.... Tonight I'll be reviewing the razor that introduced me (and many other new guys as well) to the ways of the "Old School D-E Shave": The Parker 86R....

Basically,, this razor is a copy of the Gillette "Twist-to-Open" design with a longer handle.... It is very straightforward and of the non-adjustable variety (or is it...??? Read on... :eek: )

I had been shaving with this razor exclusively for a few months,, and I'm somewhat mixed on it as far as shave quality.... Since my recent acquisition of a Gillette adjustable,, the Parker may be riding in the back seat for a bit...

For the most part,, I have been using "Sharp" brand blades, which are a bit of a love/hate item better reserved for another review.... Along those same lines,, my shave soaps have been either the Almond or the Lime Conk's,, as lathered by the "Tweezerman" badger brush (for those of you still wondering,, this is the standard "low-buck" Amazon package....

Anyway,, back to the razor.... I'll break down my ratings as follows....

1. PRICE: For $35 shipped with 100 blades,, you can't do much better at retail... If you really scour the internet,, you can find just the razor for around $20... I gave it a "7" because while the price is truly great for a new razor,, you can still easily find better razors in used and excellent condition on our B/S/T forum,, at an antique store,,or even on fleabay... But,, if you're in the market for something brand new that comes with blades,, or you're obsessive about buying stuff on Amazon and getting the most usage out of your 'prime membership' with free shipping,, go for it....

2. QUALITY: Here's where a bit of a debatable point comes to light... The razor is definately solid and well-made,, however,, it is not a precision-built piece... It weighs about 1.8 Ounces and is constructed of nickel-plated brass,, as are many razors out there (including many of the Gillette "twist-to-open" offerings from which it's design is copied)... However,, the quality of the finish and plating are not quite as high as the Gillette originals.... There are visible tooling marks under the plating,, and the stamped ridges in the "safety bars" are not as deep and crisp as the Gillette models..... Also,, it comes with it's own 'case',, which is worth mentioning... However,, the case is a cheap vinyl and cardboard affair with a small snap on the front that is great for storage on a shelf or light travel,, but that's about it.... In some ways,, the whole deal does feel a bit 'cheap',, but don't let that detract from the fact that the razor functions great mechanically in all aspects... I have no problem with the 'cheap' aesthetics of the razor,, as one should not expect NASA levels of engineering and fit-and-finish on a model airplane budget.... Thusly,, I gave it a 6...

3. USER FRIENDLY: Here,, I gave the razor a "6"... It is easy enough to use,, but it does have it's slight little quirks that I will discuss shortly....

4. GRIP: The grip is a full 4" long and just over 0.4" thick,, which is the same as the last line of real Gillette's such as the "Black Beauty"... If you like a long slim handle on your razor,,, this is for you.... The verticle lines of texturing,, while not as sure-grip as sandpaper,, are sufficient.... So,, I gave it an "8"....

5. EASE of BLADE REPLACEMENT: Here's where things get somewhat tricky to properly rate again.... It didn't take long for me to notice that both sides of the razor gave me a completely different feel when shaving.... It seems that the "blade bar" that holdes the blade centered in the head is too thin,, and thus when the blade is inserted and the razor tightened, the edge may protrude more on one side than the other..... Most razors that I have checked out have a bit of 'play' in this area,, but none come close to my Parker.... Weird,, huh...??? So,, while the "TTO" setup makes blade changing a snap,, there are subtleties that must be compensated for during the final tightening..... That is why I gave it a "5" for it's ease of blade replacement......

6. AGGRESSIVENESS: This all depends on how careful you are when installing the blade.... While the razor isn't really overly aggressive,, you can be in for a surprise if you switch sides of the head during your shave and aren't expecting the other side of the blade to be protruding more than the other.... So,, I give it a "6"....

7. ADJUSTABILITY: An "8"...?!?!?! WHAT...!?!?! It's a non-adjustable razor...!!! That's probably what you're thinking if you skipped right to this category when you saw that number listed up top... If you read through everything to get here,, I might be making sense.... The thing with the undersized blade bar is that it is the "perfectly wrong size"... By that,, I mean that if you tighten the head until just before it fully 'clamps down",, and then grab the little protruding 'wings' of the razor,,, you can "shift" the blade so that all of the slack is on one side..... Then,, you have an 'aggressive side' and a very 'mild side'... Both are noticibly different,, but not too extreme to be 'unusable' on either end of the spectrum... That means that you can get two different shaves out of the same razor,,, and use your knowledge of your face's sensitive areas to determine what side to use.... Personally,, I think that's a pretty awesome 'accident' on the manufacturer's behalf.... Yes,, it gets an "8" in my book....

8. BALANCE: I gave it an average "5".... The razor balances about 1" from the head,, which is somewhat light.... It does work out well for those passes on the side with the 'aggressive edge',, however.....


So,, there you have it.... My general opinion on the razor is that it is of average quality,, but the price compensates for this greatly.... Some of you may be turned off by the unintended 'adjustability' factor,, but to others like myself,, it a quite usable feature that doesn't detract from the shaving experience... To me,, it adds a new level of personalization,, and a chance to 'tinker' with things that most people overlook....

So,, if you're newer to shaving and like to experience accidental versatility on a budget,, go for it...!!! If you already have a few razors and don't feel like messing with this thing,,, pass on the Parker and put the money towards something nicer.....

Thanks,,,
-Jim

*edit* I have started a discussion thread since there have been a lot of views of this post... Questions...??? Fire away...
http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?p=1575408#post1575408

Latest reviews

Ok,, Gent's.... Tonight I'll be reviewing the razor that introduced me (and many other new guys as well) to the ways of the "Old School D-E Shave": The Parker 86R....

Basically,, this razor is a copy of the Gillette "Twist-to-Open" design with a longer handle.... It is very straightforward and of the non-adjustable variety (or is it...??? Read on... :eek: )

I had been shaving with this razor exclusively for a few months,, and I'm somewhat mixed on it as far as shave quality.... Since my recent acquisition of a Gillette adjustable,, the Parker may be riding in the back seat for a bit...

For the most part,, I have been using "Sharp" brand blades, which are a bit of a love/hate item better reserved for another review.... Along those same lines,, my shave soaps have been either the Almond or the Lime Conk's,, as lathered by the "Tweezerman" badger brush (for those of you still wondering,, this is the standard "low-buck" Amazon package....

Anyway,, back to the razor.... I'll break down my ratings as follows....

1. PRICE: For $35 shipped with 100 blades,, you can't do much better at retail... If you really scour the internet,, you can find just the razor for around $20... I gave it a "7" because while the price is truly great for a new razor,, you can still easily find better razors in used and excellent condition on our B/S/T forum,, at an antique store,,or even on fleabay... But,, if you're in the market for something brand new that comes with blades,, or you're obsessive about buying stuff on Amazon and getting the most usage out of your 'prime membership' with free shipping,, go for it....

2. QUALITY: Here's where a bit of a debatable point comes to light... The razor is definately solid and well-made,, however,, it is not a precision-built piece... It weighs about 1.8 Ounces and is constructed of nickel-plated brass,, as are many razors out there (including many of the Gillette "twist-to-open" offerings from which it's design is copied)... However,, the quality of the finish and plating are not quite as high as the Gillette originals.... There are visible tooling marks under the plating,, and the stamped ridges in the "safety bars" are not as deep and crisp as the Gillette models..... Also,, it comes with it's own 'case',, which is worth mentioning... However,, the case is a cheap vinyl and cardboard affair with a small snap on the front that is great for storage on a shelf or light travel,, but that's about it.... In some ways,, the whole deal does feel a bit 'cheap',, but don't let that detract from the fact that the razor functions great mechanically in all aspects... I have no problem with the 'cheap' aesthetics of the razor,, as one should not expect NASA levels of engineering and fit-and-finish on a model airplane budget.... Thusly,, I gave it a 6...

3. USER FRIENDLY: Here,, I gave the razor a "6"... It is easy enough to use,, but it does have it's slight little quirks that I will discuss shortly....

4. GRIP: The grip is a full 4" long and just over 0.4" thick,, which is the same as the last line of real Gillette's such as the "Black Beauty"... If you like a long slim handle on your razor,,, this is for you.... The verticle lines of texturing,, while not as sure-grip as sandpaper,, are sufficient.... So,, I gave it an "8"....

5. EASE of BLADE REPLACEMENT: Here's where things get somewhat tricky to properly rate again.... It didn't take long for me to notice that both sides of the razor gave me a completely different feel when shaving.... It seems that the "blade bar" that holdes the blade centered in the head is too thin,, and thus when the blade is inserted and the razor tightened, the edge may protrude more on one side than the other..... Most razors that I have checked out have a bit of 'play' in this area,, but none come close to my Parker.... Weird,, huh...??? So,, while the "TTO" setup makes blade changing a snap,, there are subtleties that must be compensated for during the final tightening..... That is why I gave it a "5" for it's ease of blade replacement......

6. AGGRESSIVENESS: This all depends on how careful you are when installing the blade.... While the razor isn't really overly aggressive,, you can be in for a surprise if you switch sides of the head during your shave and aren't expecting the other side of the blade to be protruding more than the other.... So,, I give it a "6"....

7. ADJUSTABILITY: An "8"...?!?!?! WHAT...!?!?! It's a non-adjustable razor...!!! That's probably what you're thinking if you skipped right to this category when you saw that number listed up top... If you read through everything to get here,, I might be making sense.... The thing with the undersized blade bar is that it is the "perfectly wrong size"... By that,, I mean that if you tighten the head until just before it fully 'clamps down",, and then grab the little protruding 'wings' of the razor,,, you can "shift" the blade so that all of the slack is on one side..... Then,, you have an 'aggressive side' and a very 'mild side'... Both are noticibly different,, but not too extreme to be 'unusable' on either end of the spectrum... That means that you can get two different shaves out of the same razor,,, and use your knowledge of your face's sensitive areas to determine what side to use.... Personally,, I think that's a pretty awesome 'accident' on the manufacturer's behalf.... Yes,, it gets an "8" in my book....

8. BALANCE: I gave it an average "5".... The razor balances about 1" from the head,, which is somewhat light.... It does work out well for those passes on the side with the 'aggressive edge',, however.....


So,, there you have it.... My general opinion on the razor is that it is of average quality,, but the price compensates for this greatly.... Some of you may be turned off by the unintended 'adjustability' factor,, but to others like myself,, it a quite usable feature that doesn't detract from the shaving experience... To me,, it adds a new level of personalization,, and a chance to 'tinker' with things that most people overlook....

So,, if you're newer to shaving and like to experience accidental versatility on a budget,, go for it...!!! If you already have a few razors and don't feel like messing with this thing,,, pass on the Parker and put the money towards something nicer.....

Thanks,,,
-Jim

*edit* I have started a discussion thread since there have been a lot of views of this post... Questions...??? Fire away...
http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?p=1575408#post1575408
Grip
4.00 star(s)
Price
3.00 star(s)
Balance
2.00 star(s)
Quality
3.00 star(s)
Adjustability
4.00 star(s)
User Friendly
3.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
3.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
2.00 star(s)

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