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This forum and other places have been a wealth of information (Re: First DE purchase TBC)

Hey guys, first time posting. I assumed this would be the best sub-forum to ask, rather than "clogging" up Safety Razors > Doubled-Edged Razors. Anyway as with all long-term purchases I'm considering I've spent multiple days doing research, and I've reached diminishing returns on time spent : new information.

I'll put details in a spoiler for anyone interested:

I used cartridges a long time ago, then switched to a beard trimmer to maintain stubble to look my age (babyface), groom quicker, and avoid itchy neck syndrome. Plus it saved a lot of money compared to buying Mach Fusions, that beard trimmer lasted about 10 years and only cost £40-50. LASTED, the battery has finally lost the ability to charge. So yeah, I'm not a veteran of Safety Razors.

Replacing the beard trimmer is an option, but now I'm 34 and looking younger is beneficial - my GF of 3 years is a bit younger, and likes both stubble + clean shaven - and I should also consider dropping the unkempt neck and upper cheek stubble/stray hairs. I'm also living on savings due to COVID - don't be concerned there are plenty - but with no disposable income coming in it's common sense to limit any expenses. I don't want to use any more BIC single blade razors though (oof) and I do need up my grooming.

Thankfully not all razor discussion is limited to reddit, forums have always been a bastion of information IMO so it's good to see a few still going.

Let's get to the point: I feel with my limited experience I shouldn't go for an open comb. Nor will I likely use a closed comb my entire life and I am likely just to get 1 rather than develop a collection like some of you fine gents here. I did find some vintage Gillettes on Etsy, but they all ship from the US and I'm in Europe. Which brings me to potential CR (combination razor options) AFAIC. I've whittled it down to two:

Parker 69CR - 69CR Safety Razor • Parker Shaving - https://www.parkershaving.com/p/69cr-safety-razor/69cr-safety-razor/
Fatip Picollo SE

I won't bother linking the Fatip, seems you guys are more than familiar with it and I've read so much about its pros and cons here and elsewhere. Not so much the Parker. In my country I found a shop where Parker 69CR is actually being sold at the same price as the Fatip, so don't consider the price difference.

What I do have to consider is:

Full Brass vs Brass Handle (ZAMAK head)
Blade Alignment (I'm aware on both Fatips notoriety and how overrated the issue is)
Short handle vs Long handle
Wear and Tear (Fatip SE has issues with the black head, YMMV on what it means to each person)

One more thing to consider is future purchase of parts. While brass is vintage, there are some meaty looking Stainless steel handles out there. The knurling reminds me of barbells. I would just buy an SS handle and head separately as handles aren't too expensive, but I've read that they aren't supposed to be used with Zamaks because of metal conflicts. There's also the fact that Fatip uses a different thread compared to most razors - It seems most collectors of Fatip here are just combining Fatip parts. I like wood handles too, but they only come with one comb type. I'd rather not get a chrome style razor like an Edwin, the market is saturated with them.

I think I've written enough for you to digest for now, I'll let you give your 2 cents. Thanks for reading.
 
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While the Fatip does have a reputation for possible QC issues, I would recommend one (open comb slant) over a Parker any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I have a Parker 99r and a Fatip open comb slant, and an open comb straight bar. The Parker is just an unpleasant experience, while the Fatip is the opposite, and looks cool doing it. I own two Parker razors and don’t have any interest in a third. Fatip in the other hand…
 
While the Fatip does have a reputation for possible QC issues, I would recommend one (open comb slant) over a Parker any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I have a Parker 99r and a Fatip open comb slant, and an open comb straight bar. The Parker is just an unpleasant experience, while the Fatip is the opposite, and looks cool doing it. I own two Parker razors and don’t have any interest in a third. Fatip in the other hand…
One of the issues I had while doing research, was finding someone who owns both brands. There were obviously reviewers on YT who had reviews on both the Fatip SE and Parker 69CR, but they were not comparisons and therefore both were positive. So thanks for the input.

I haven't considered Slant options, as a complete newb. Shame because they're affordable and come with nice handles and finishes.
 
Just because a razor is open comb you can't assume it is really aggressive. It might be, but it might not.

Wood handle Fatips are available with open comb or safety bar models. I have one, the wood handle is fairly long, about 90cm. It is quite lightweight, also. Overall, it's very nice.
 
I would ask if you've considered a vintage Gillette Tech razor. Many on this forum consider the Tech one of the greatest contributions to mankind (myself included!).
Paragraph after the spoiler. I'll excuse you for not reading the OP fully, it's quite long.

Atlantic thanks for the info. It's not necessarily about the aggression, more that I have zero experience with DE's so why not present myself with both options rather than assume I'll be able to use open or that I'll prefer it.
 
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No offense, but you've backed yourself to a corner way too early.

Forums like these foster a kind of herd mentality and mutual enabling. Spending more time here will not help you find a "be all end all", but give you that little nudge to try something else.

But my 2 cents:

1. Don't worry about Zamak, just about any razor will last you a lifetime.

2. Never tried 69R, but the Parker 26C (identical head) is OK, but a bit too mild for my liking, skips a beat if you don't find the angle right. But should be OK introduction for a new enthusiast.

3. Piccolo: Mild and efficient, a bitt more blade feel. I've been using this all week, great shaves. But if you have OCD, or are seeking perfection (which looks to me like you are), stay away. The QC issues are real. Putting electrical tape on pins to fix a fundamental design flaw is not something I recommend to a new DE shaver. Fatip is the only company I've come across that looks like they go out of their way to make things unnecessarily troublesome.
 
...3. Piccolo: Mild and efficient, a bitt more blade feel. I've been using this all week, great shaves. But if you have OCD, or are seeking perfection (which looks to me like you are), stay away. The QC issues are real. Putting electrical tape on pins to fix a fundamental design flaw is not something I recommend to a new DE shaver. Fatip is the only company I've come across that looks like they go out of their way to make things unnecessarily troublesome.

Just load the blade with the razor head upside-down. The blade self-centers 90% of the time. The tolerances are large since the design is patterned after vintage razors. The same thing occurs with vintage Gillette Old Types, Merkur 37s, etc. but nobody says anything about "alignment issues" for those. If you get a defective Fatip, just exchange it for a good one. Otherwise, Fatips shave very well so just relax and try not to worry too much about perfection. An all-brass razor that shaves great for $20? Sign me up.
 
No offense, but you've backed yourself to a corner way too early.

2. Never tried 69R, but the Parker 26C (identical head) is OK, but a bit too mild for my liking, skips a beat if you don't find the angle right. But should be OK introduction for a new enthusiast.

3. Piccolo: Mild and efficient, a bitt more blade feel. I've been using this all week, great shaves. But if you have OCD, or are seeking perfection (which looks to me like you are), stay away. The QC issues are real. Putting electrical tape on pins to fix a fundamental design flaw is not something I recommend to a new DE shaver. Fatip is the only company I've come across that looks like they go out of their way to make things unnecessarily troublesome.
None taken, my skin is literally sensitive but figuratively it's thick.

I've read enough about blade alignment to believe it's not going to be an issue. Atlantic irons it out, pretty much. I am only concerned about the finish, even though it's purely cosmetic based on what I've read and some even like the 'worn in' look. In addition, I read someone stripped off the paint with nail polish remover to let the brass shine through. There's also the matter of the short handle - although I've used short plastic disposables, long disposables and a Mach 3 + Fusion, didn't make a difference to me. Weight isn't an issue for me, and no handle will be too small because I'm a gloves medium. I like having weighty stuff in my hands, all my kitchen knives have weight.

I guess I could always buy a longer SS handle separately later on, I've just read it's not good to pair with Zinc. A longer brass handle is also an option. I just don't want a chrome EJ, Muhle or Merkur like every starter recommendation because I don't like mainsteam aesthetics and I'll wish I had something more unique looking.
 
None taken, my skin is literally sensitive but figuratively it's thick.

I've read enough about blade alignment to believe it's not going to be an issue. Atlantic irons it out, pretty much. I am only concerned about the finish, even though it's purely cosmetic based on what I've read and some even like the 'worn in' look. In addition, I read someone stripped off the paint with nail polish remover to let the brass shine through. There's also the matter of the short handle - although I've used short plastic disposables, long disposables and a Mach 3 + Fusion, didn't make a difference to me. Weight isn't an issue for me, and no handle will be too small because I'm a gloves medium. I like having weighty stuff in my hands, all my kitchen knives have weight.

I guess I could always buy a longer SS handle separately later on, I've just read it's not good to pair with Zinc. A longer brass handle is also an option. I just don't want a chrome EJ, Muhle or Merkur like every starter recommendation because I don't like mainsteam aesthetics and I'll wish I had something more unique looking.

Sounds fair enough. If you don't mind fumbling a bit, the Fatip hits a great sweetspot for shaving pleasure.

But do keep in mind, future handle plans may need custom work. The threads are different from other razors...
 
This is one of the Fatip wood handles (wenge). They make this in a safety bar model, too (Gentile). The handle is not slick because of the wood grain. I tend to like the smaller handles (~80mm), this is about 90mm, but feels pretty nice. I put this handle on either a Schone or a Slant.

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But do keep in mind, future handle plans may need custom work. The threads are different from other razors...
Yup, something like 4.5 (fatip) vs 5.0 (most brands) IIRC. People have mentioned workarounds, something like Teflon tape as a thread fill or along those lines.
 
Some great advice above!

I agree with the concept that your first razor need not be your last. It is a place to start figuring out what works best for you. So, you should consider the two ‘standard’ options often recommended for folks starting out: the 34C or one of the EJ 89 series. These are great shavers in the mild/moderate range that should last many years.

Of the two options you list, my vote would be the FaTip, recognizing the issues outlined above.

The main thing is to pick a razor, then start working out your techinque!
 
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