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Adjustable choice: Parker Variant or Merkur Futur?

I'm looking to grow my [small] razor collection by adding an adjustable. As the title suggests, I'm eyeing the Parker Variant and the Merkur Futur.

I currently have a QShave Futur clone, and I like it. Mine does suffer from an uneven blade alignment, but it's apparently not dangerous.

I've read online and on B&B about both of these razors - Variant & Futur - and I'd appreciate any feedback on comparisons, experiences, recommendations, etc. (I'm loving the "Adjustable April" thread!) I wear a circle beard goatee, so that potentially troublesome spot under the nose is not an issue for me at present. I also shave a portion of my head (a semi circle extension of my forehead, if that makes sense), so that will be a consideration.

I seem to have a slight preference for the Parker, but if I go that route should I go closed or open comb? (I shave daily, or at least enough that a couple of days stubble is all I need to deal with.) Can anyone sway me either way with your recommendations (knowing YMMV, of course!).

Many thanks!
 
I do not know the "QShave Futur clone" you mention, but if that is an accurate clone of the Futur, that should tell you a lot. Whether you want an identical razor (the real thing), or add a different one to the collection (the variant), is then a decision for you to make.
I am not familiar with the Parker Variant, so I can't compare, but I do know the Futur quite well. You have probably read enough on the net to be familiar with the points of criticism generally wielded against the Futur: slippery handle, blade "flex/chatter", alignment issues, etc. None of this bothers me, and as far as adjustables go, I think the Futur is a great razor. It's good looking, I like its big and heavy feel, it's simply the most aggressive razor I know, on max setting easily surpassing even the renown Muhle R41 (which I also own). My problem with the Future is that in more general terms I am not super keen on adjustables to begin with. This is just a personal preference that I have developed over the years, long after I got the Futur.
Also, I no longer have a preference for super aggressive razors either. When I started out I thought "the more aggression, the better my skills will become". By now, I have gotten over and beyond that urge, and I find both the Futur and the R41 too aggressive for daily shaving (and I really do enjoy daily shaving). Or rather, I have found other razors which I find comparable in aggression, but more comfortable. The humble Turkish YUMA for example, which you can find for as little as € 2. Looks like a piece for junk, but don't let looks fool you, its one fantastic (and comfortable) little razor.
For adjustables, you will have to pay a lot more, but if you like them in your collection, bite the bullet and feel good about it. :straight:
 
To answer your question, I would go for the Merkur which is more of a ‘classic’ IMO.

However, if you really want a classic, then I suggest a vintage option such as a Slim or FatBoy!!:thumbup1::thumbup1:
 
I have a Chinese Futur clone. I notice that blades fit too tightly in the cap. Too snug. And dialing up to the higher, aggressive settings can cause a "frown" curvature in the blade.

Have you noticed on the top of the razor, with the cap removed, two "dots" imprinted in the metal? I think that is the side you should put the finger ledge side of the cap on when you load the razor. Doing that may fix that uneven-ness problem.

I eventually got the shiny finish Merkur Futur and no longer bother with the clone.

I also purchased a Variable years ago at a cutlery store. At some point it disassembled itself while I was unscrewing the top cap. I have never bothered to try to put it back together, as I prefer my long handle Progress far more.
 
Have you noticed on the top of the razor, with the cap removed, two "dots" imprinted in the metal? I think that is the side you should put the finger ledge side of the cap on when you load the razor. Doing that may fix that uneven-ness problem.
I had not noticed anything like that - thank you for the tip!

Mine does not have dots, but I do have a printed "R."

I'll see if adjusting based on that makes any difference. Cheers!
 

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I had not noticed anything like that - thank you for the tip!

Mine does not have dots, but I do have a printed "R."

I'll see if adjusting based on that makes any difference. Cheers!
Hmm, yes. An "R" instead of the two dots. Should serve the same purpose.
 
Can you help me by suggesting why I should consider one? Many thanks!


If you want Fix Setting Vintage Tech, or Tech like Lord.

If you seek Adjustable, Slim Adjustable.

Can’t say what is best, because both my options work well for many folks, with Blade you like.
 
The Futur has much blade feel and a high level of aggression that is just a bit more than I am comfortable with. Very easy for me to get irritation from the Futur; feels like a rake across my skin.

The Parker Variant Open Comb version is smooth as butter, and much more comfortable shave. I find it even more smooth than the Merkur Progress (which the Parker Variant is a copy of as Merkur let its copyright expire).

As for the vintage Gilette Slim, I find the Parker Variant OC to be much more efficient, slightly more comfortable, and clamps the blade better than the Slim (probably explaining the higher comfort). A new razor will be adjusted as the manufacturer intended. A 50-60 year old razor with moving parts might be just as good as new, or worn enough that it will be far from its prime. For the record, though, I derive much pleasure from using vintage razors as I feel a connection to history. I will be keeping my Slim because it was manufactured in the same year I was born.
 
I have never tried the Futur as I just don't like the way it looks. It might perform well but I'll never know as I don't want one.

I do, however, like the Variant. As noted previously, it is a copy of the Merkur Progress but with knurling on the handle. The Variant gives me very nice shaves.
 
You might consider adding the Pearl Flexi to the comparison list. It's less aggressive than the Futur, and comparable to the Merkur Progress. Cost varies, but it should be comparable to the Futur.

Unlike the Progress (Zamak head), it's all machined brass, with close tolerances. Most people (including me) think the quality-control problems of early lots have been solved. (I thought it was matte chrome-plated, but I read recently that it's made of "white brass".)

The anti-slip knurling is excellent. The Flexi is heavy, but once you find the balance point (around the adjustment ring), it's easy to use.

. . . Charles
 
You might consider adding the Pearl Flexi to the comparison list. It's less aggressive than the Futur, and comparable to the Merkur Progress. Cost varies, but it should be comparable to the Futur.

Unlike the Progress (Zamak head), it's all machined brass, with close tolerances. Most people (including me) think the quality-control problems of early lots have been solved. (I thought it was matte chrome-plated, but I read recently that it's made of "white brass".)

The anti-slip knurling is excellent. The Flexi is heavy, but once you find the balance point (around the adjustment ring), it's easy to use.

. . . Charles
I've never heard of white brass before, and I also thought my Flexi was plated. You learn something new...
 
I just bought a Variant closed comb for my eldest son, to teach him on, and I tried it out myself last week-end. My baseline is a Merkur 34c (HD), but I also own a Gillette Slim.

The numbers go up to '5', and I tried it out on a '3'. Compared to my baseline, the Variant delivered a very smooth shaving experience, and I never once thought I was anywhere close to getting a weeper/nick. However, I didn't get quite as close of a shave as I expected, and I had to do quite a bit of touch-up. (Note that I do one pass plus touch-up.) Still, though, all of that touch-up did not result in any irritation. So, I suppose, if you're looking for an adjustable razor that's on the mild side, then the Variant might fit the bill. I haven't used the Futur to compare it to, but it's definitely milder than my Slim.

It's decently heavy compared to anything else I've shaved with, about 1.2 ounces heavier than my 34c. But the Futur is even heavier than that. Heads up: your QShave 'clone' actually weighs less than a real Futur, so you might notice the additional weight either way. The Variant's head is rather bulky, too, so take that into consideration if you think you might ever be shaving your upper lip with it.
 
The Pearl Flexi OC adjustable is a great choice...very efficient, cost effective and solid brass.
Thank you - that is a solid suggestion. Can you share how the Flexi compares to the Futur and the Variant? The Variant is also brass and priced similarly, if not lower, at a large online retailer.
 
Thank you - that is a solid suggestion. Can you share how the Flexi compares to the Futur and the Variant? The Variant is also brass and priced similarly, if not lower, at a large online retailer.
I had the Futur at one point and just found it to be too big and clumsy. Just not a great shaver for me. Cant comment on the Variant. The Flexi is the only adjustable I have and probably the only one I'll ever need. I really like the Osprey but I just don't think it will shave any better than the Flexi.
 
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