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Parker Variant, which setting works for you?

Heretic, I may go with your recommendations. Are both available on Amazon? Really appreciate your help. Great bunch of guys on this form very helpful.
I believe they are available on amazon but for competitive prices do check out the bay as well. I would suggest that almost any blade works well in Variant once the blade 'agrees' to your beard and skin. Voskhod are least sharp for my beard but super comfortable and idiot proof for those 5 am shaves and I dial up variant all the way up to 5 and past for xtg, they are good for 2 shaves only. Feathers, easy does it for me but die early by 4 shaves. Blacks are smooth and sharp, gets me 4 really good ones. Polsilver are sharp and smooth and somehow manage very good 5-6 shaves.
If you don't want to commit to bulk buy you can try a sampler first off the sellers on bay.
 
I agree, of all my razors so far the Variant seems to be the least picky when it comes to blades. However I find a GSB is a particularly good combo.
 
I agree, of all my razors so far the Variant seems to be the least picky when it comes to blades. However I find a GSB is a particularly good combo.
Yes, GSBs are upgrade over Voskhod for me but not sharp enough. But they offer comfortable shave. Although being PTFE coated both GSB and voshkhod feel on my skin as if I am shaving with a very sharp rubber squeegee.
 
I like anywhere from 2.5 on up, depending on the blade, the amount of growth, or how adventurous I'm feeling at the time. If I want milder than 2.5, I'll use something more like a Tech (I have a Gillette 7 O'Clock from India and a Baili from China) because it's more maneuverable under my nose than the Variant at an equivalent setting.
 
Yes, GSBs are upgrade over Voskhod for me but not sharp enough. But they offer comfortable shave. Although being PTFE coated both GSB and voshkhod feel on my skin as if I am shaving with a very sharp rubber squeegee.
You must have a beard even tougher than mine and I thought mine was pretty tough. If you do not mind my asking, since GSB and Voskhod are not quite sharp enough for you, which blades do your prefer for your tough beard?
 
You must have a beard even tougher than mine and I thought mine was pretty tough. If you do not mind my asking, since GSB and Voskhod are not quite sharp enough for you, which blades do your prefer for your tough beard?
I have sensitive skin esp on chinline and tough beard. Shaving 5 to 6 time a week I shave before shower that makes any blade work harder and retire early. I bought Voshkhod and GSB only because they were said to be very comfortable.
My goto blade are indian Gillette Black and Russian Polsilver. I need a very sharp blade because my skin type and beard combination demand a blade that can cut through tough hair clean and without tugging. Voshkhod give me only two shaves and GSB 3 shaves if 3rd shave is after shower.
Gillette Black start out little hesitant on first shave and evens out plenty sharp but smooth for next 3 shaves. I get 5th shave alright if I am not in mood to change blade. With Polsilver first shave is little rough but next 5 shaves are sublime and very consistent.
Feather blades are different story. They are very sharp but suddenly hit the wall by 4th shave. Only 2nd and 3rd shaves are enjoyable on them.
GSB are just about ok. I use Voshkhods only for hose urgent 5 am shaves. I might add here that both Voshkhod and GSB are completely useless for me in Muhle R41. For most people a less sharp blade in very aggressive razor works well but on tough beard a less than keen blade in a razor that doesn't offer any support to blade other then a clamp, blade chatter is painful experience. I can use feathers in R41 but it takes double the time and I shave pretty fast.
 
Shaving 5 to 6 time a week I shave before shower that makes any blade work harder and retire early.
Is there any reason for this? I also have sensitive skin and a tough beard, and literally can’t shave unless the hair is hydrated, either via a shower or a soak with a wet towel.
 
Is there any reason for this? I also have sensitive skin and a tough beard, and literally can’t shave unless the hair is hydrated, either via a shower or a soak with a wet towel.
Human hair, when dry) has the tensile strength of a copper wire of similar size. Would you consider using your razor to cut copper wire; I thought not. When you thoroughly hydrate your beard, the fibers swell and lengthen and the tensile strength drops significantly. That make it easier for the edge of the razor to penetrate the outer layer of the hair and then the wedge shape of the bevel forces the hair apart until it breaks. Showering is one of the easiest ways to clean and hydrate your beard, but if you do not have time to shower, at lease wash your face and beard and soak your beard for a couple of minutes before shaving, just as a professional barber might do.
 
I have sensitive skin esp on chinline and tough beard. Shaving 5 to 6 time a week I shave before shower that makes any blade work harder and retire early. I bought Voshkhod and GSB only because they were said to be very comfortable.
My goto blade are indian Gillette Black and Russian Polsilver. I need a very sharp blade because my skin type and beard combination demand a blade that can cut through tough hair clean and without tugging. Voshkhod give me only two shaves and GSB 3 shaves if 3rd shave is after shower.
Gillette Black start out little hesitant on first shave and evens out plenty sharp but smooth for next 3 shaves. I get 5th shave alright if I am not in mood to change blade. With Polsilver first shave is little rough but next 5 shaves are sublime and very consistent.
Feather blades are different story. They are very sharp but suddenly hit the wall by 4th shave. Only 2nd and 3rd shaves are enjoyable on them.
GSB are just about ok. I use Voshkhods only for hose urgent 5 am shaves. I might add here that both Voshkhod and GSB are completely useless for me in Muhle R41. For most people a less sharp blade in very aggressive razor works well but on tough beard a less than keen blade in a razor that doesn't offer any support to blade other then a clamp, blade chatter is painful experience. I can use feathers in R41 but it takes double the time and I shave pretty fast.

My experience with DE blades seems to be similar to yours. I also have sensitive skin in addition to the tough beard. A lot of coated blades just are not quite sharp enough on the first shave. They usually improve after the first shave. Feather blades are sharp on the first shave, but a little harsh, but after a couple of additional shaves they are useless. Two blades that seem to work well for me are Wilkinson Sword (German) blades and Personna Israeli Reds. From the Gillette lineup, the Nacets seem to work quite well, but I can use some others like GSB, Polsilver 7 o"Clock black, green and yellow.
 
Is there any reason for this? I also have sensitive skin and a tough beard, and literally can’t shave unless the hair is hydrated, either via a shower or a soak with a wet towel.
No other reason then being slave of old habit and having to report at Corp HQ; looking sharp and fresh as daisy. But the timings are not always a 9 to 5 situation. It isn't that I just jump onto a shave and scrapping away in a minute. In order to expedite things, first I wash face to help hydration by removing skin oils acting as barrier between hair fiber and water. Any regular summertime soap will do as heavily moisturizing soaps are just not suited for that wash. Naturally my lather is just so slightly on the runny side, little pasty rather than all fluff and airy.
 
My experience with DE blades seems to be similar to yours. I also have sensitive skin in addition to the tough beard. A lot of coated blades just are not quite sharp enough on the first shave. They usually improve after the first shave. Feather blades are sharp on the first shave, but a little harsh, but after a couple of additional shaves they are useless. Two blades that seem to work well for me are Wilkinson Sword (German) blades and Personna Israeli Reds. From the Gillette lineup, the Nacets seem to work quite well, but I can use some others like GSB, Polsilver 7 o"Clock black, green and yellow.
German Wilkies get lot of attention around here, so there must be good reason. I haven't tried the Israeli Red either. Which of these two you would say is sharper then the other?
I got 100 Nacets couple weeks ago and it is the only blade in my stock box which I cant seem to understand et al. On my skin it feels like I am using a serrated edge that drags. All shaves are similar on Nacets, that is why this hobby is such a YMMV thing. Since you seem to like GSBs I can recommend SuperMax Diamond Edge if they have made their way to stateside. It is the only blade from supermax stable which is very sharp yet forgiving and as comfortable as GSB.
 
To me, it seems German Wilkies and Israeli Reds are quite similar overall. The Reds might be a little keener for the first shave, but then they are similar.
 
I've had my Parker Variant for some time. I really want to love it. But I still can't seem to find the best blade pairing as well as settings that work for me. I keep going back to my Merkur 34C all the time, as it gives me a very efficient and irritation free shave every time with almost every blade I use.
No doubt the Variant is a well made razor. At low settings, I don't get close shaves. At higher settings and pairing it with less sharp blades, it is ok but not great. With blades like Astra, Gillette 7 O'clock Super Stainless, I get irritation. No way will I ever use a Feather with this razor.

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I've had my Parker Variant for some time. I really want to love it. But I still can't seem to find the best blade pairing as well as settings that work for me. I keep going back to my Merkur 34C all the time, as it gives me a very efficient and irritation free shave every time with almost every blade I use.
No doubt the Variant is a well made razor. At low settings, I don't get close shaves. At higher settings and pairing it with less sharp blades, it is ok but not great. With blades like Astra, Gillette 7 O'clock Super Stainless, I get irritation. No way will I ever use a Feather with this razor.

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What shave angle are you using? I find that shaving off the cap works best with this razor.
 
I've had mine for a few years. These days I only use it a couple of times a month but it is my most versatile razor and if for some reason I could only keep one, it would be the Variant. In the beginning I would dial my shave down, usually 3-2 or 4-3-2. These days I leave it at one setting, generally set at 2 for Feathers and 3 to 3.5 for everything else. I shave every day mostly 2 pass with a 3 pass once or twice a week.

I appreciate the Variant's build quality, heft and blade feel. On those rare occasions when I go a few days without shaving I like the ability to increase the gap to avoid clogging and increase aggression. It's a very heavy razor and you need to be aware of that. If you don't respect its weight I can see how it can be irritating BUT if you are too respectful you can overcompensate and fight the weight and not get a good shave.This razor was my daily driver for about a year and I still like it. In general I don't like switching razors I prefer to find a razor I like and shave with it weeks or even months at a time. For me it pays to learn the ins and outs of a razor and what blades it works with.

I guess that this is my long winded way of saying spend some time with it and get to know it. I' willing to believe that this will improve your shaves with this very fine razor.
 
I have a merkur progress and I use the number 3.5 for all my passes. The blade angle on the progress is just perfect for me.
 
I use my Variant on setting 3.5 for the first pass with the grain. For the second, across the grain, I dial down to 3. I leave it at 3 for some touch ups where needed and I get an almost BBS shave with zero irritation. I shower before shaving. Build a good and slick lather. No pressure. That's it.

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