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What makes the Gillette FatBoy so great?

Messygoon

Abandoned By Gypsies.
Deep Thoughts...
  • Back Roads Gold: Chris re-plated/restored a $10 Fatboy barn find (bottom, right). It now looks and shaves incredibly well. Very reasonably priced, and highly recommended.
  • Razor Variations: I've read tales of auto assembly workers setting aside those 1-in-1,000 perfect mass-production parts, and then assembling entire vehicles to exacting tolerences using just those perfect parts. The end result is extraordinary. I can only assume Gillette has mass-produced razors with similar pedigrees. B&Bers often rave about fat-handled Techs. I have owned two, with middling results. Conversely, others have found Fatboys to yield "meh" results, yet my restored Fatboy produces luxurious shaves.
  • Jack Handy: Not just some fictional Saturday Night Live character, Jack is real. After leaving SNL, he and wife Marta moved to Santa Fe where he now lives and shaves. Hopefully with a Fatboy. A few favorite "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy":
    • If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
    • It takes a big man to cry. It takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.
    • Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Mankind. Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind." What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

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I have had one for years, but really have not used it much until I noticed a few guys around here recently singing its praises, when they have purchased one or more modern-manufactured razors in the $100-300 range. All of a suddent they are posting they are gaga over the FatBoy. So I started using it about 5 days ago, and it is wonderful.

I'm a fan of several of the old Gillette classics, though. What is it that makes the FatBoy special, in your mind? I'm curious. I love the balance in the hand, the grippy knurling on the handle, the weight. Curious why some who bought the new stuff got re-excited about the FatBoy.

Thanks!
It’s the feel in the hand. I don’t think the shave changes whether you use a FB or slim or super adjustable, but I like a short, fat handle. Slim is a bit, well, slim and a bit long for me, though I love mine. The adjustable, even the shorter 84, is even longer than the Slim.
 
The FatBoy is a great razor, almost as good as the Slim for me! :thumbup::thumbup:

(I may be biased as I learned to shave with a hand-me-down Slim that I wish I had kept.)
The slim is my go to when my stash is not available. When I hibernate for the winter and spend weekends away in the summer, it’s the slim for me. I just picked up a K4 earlier this week in the case for $45.00. It’s in really good shape too.
 
The 195, for it's price, which we refer to as the Fat-Boy, was one of the first truly adjustable razors. Yes there was a New Improved which was advertised as 'adjustable', in that it was designed to allow the handle to be loosened a bit to adjust the blade angle, however, the Fat-Boy was really Gillette's first foray into a truly adjustable blade-gap with settings.

They are nice shavers, albeit for some, not the absolute closest, as many of us have become basically obsessed with obtaining that BBS shave, and I'm no exception. The Fat-Boy is a very comfortable razor, even at the upper end of it's adjustment, and actually still somewhat on the mild side, given many of the modern razors on the market.

Given it was nearly a marvel of engineering, which was actually only made for a few short years, whereas the successors, mainly the Slim, followed by the Super-Adjustable (84 & 109), where made in larger quantities for more years than the Fat-Boy. - The Super-Adjustable of course had the longest run, with each model having 'improvements' in range of gap, and of course lowering manufacturing costs.

I have a Fat-Boy, Slim (actually two), and a Black Beauty (109 Super Adjustable with a black base plate), and they're all relatively mild to me. They don't get used very often, as I get a closer shave with my Timeless, Gillette New, Rockwell, or Rex Ambassador won off of one of the review sites. For comparison, the Rex on around 1.5 shaves about the same as the Fat-Boy on 9, or at least on my face, with those stiff gray whiskers that grow in quickly. Other than the Rex & Rockwell, I've gravitated to open combs for the additional efficiency, tending to chase BBS. Out of the three generations of Gillette Adjustable razors, the Super-Adjustable probably shaves the closest, or that's my experience, however, the Fat-Boy feels the best in your hand, it's substantial, nicely weighted, and sized just right for big hands.
 
The Faboy is a mechanical marvel and a substantial tool to have in your hands. Given the technology available in the 50's it amazes me that such a thing existed at the time. The amount of R&D, proto testing etc to get to a point to mass produce them ASTOUNDS me as a tech buff. Contrary to today where you draw in software and hit print, there was this costly thing called trial and error.
Today, I don't care what you say there's nothing out there new that's anything more than a new, old razor...Designed on a computer, printed via CNC machine or MIM process technology. Woohoo, nothing special IMO and DREADFULLY overpriced.
I have however spent $200 on a new razor...meaning new to me :). If you have the opportunity to buy a toggle for $200 like I did, IMO you'd have to be a fool to pass up on it.
YMMV.
 
I have had one for years, but really have not used it much until I noticed a few guys around here recently singing its praises, when they have purchased one or more modern-manufactured razors in the $100-300 range. All of a suddent they are posting they are gaga over the FatBoy. So I started using it about 5 days ago, and it is wonderful.

I'm a fan of several of the old Gillette classics, though. What is it that makes the FatBoy special, in your mind? I'm curious. I love the balance in the hand, the grippy knurling on the handle, the weight. Curious why some who bought the new stuff got re-excited about the FatBoy.

Thanks!
My DE shaving adventures started about three years ago when I happen to see a Wilkinson Sword razor on a store shelf.
One of the kind members of this forum gave me a Gillette 195 as a gift. Using it for five months it just feels right in my hand. Just this week their is a new razor in my den. As much as I like that one the 195 will always be in my rotation.

Paul D
 
I just remembered that Gillette had some quality control problems during that period. Some drunk guy on the assembly line put mine together upside do

I just remembered that Gillette had some quality control problems during that period. Some drunk guy on the assembly line put mine together upside down!
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I have a couple of Fatboys, so I'll trade you one of my good ones and take that defective one in return. I may be able to fix it. What can I say, I'm such a nice guy ;)
 
The Fatboy is arguably Gillette's most iconic famous vintage razor ever made and while the history behind it it's great as well as the design, it's not Gillette's best shaver as some people claim from time to time.

Despite the fact that there were millions of Fatboys made, some people still call them rare and their prices sometimes are unreasonably high even for the beaten up and caseless ones.
 
Sidebar, someone recently asked me if toggles are so expensive because they're rare. I said they made millions of them, but it that people rarely let them go...all relative.
 
The "195" a truly classic razor, an engineering marvel at the time and a must have for any serious vintage razor collector. However; far from the best shaver IMV. I do use occasionally just because I like the solid feel and looks of this beauty but find the head to large for a nimble shave. I also have a Slim and Blackboy which I find somewhat more nimble. All neat shavers that more than get the job done but with pizzazz.
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Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Fun thread and interesting.


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Although I have a Fatboy I mostly use the gold Executive instead. Both are great razors. I have spells when I use the Executive a good bit.

I agree with most of what's already been said in this thread. While I can use mine at any of its settings I prefer it at #5 and lower.

How to compare it as a shaving tool to modern expensive razors, even ones I own and use, is beyond me, but its engineering, manufacturing, construction, and price point when sold new in the 1950s are mind blowing.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I just remembered that Gillette had some quality control problems during that period. Some drunk guy on the assembly line put mine together upside down!
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It happens. I feel bad for you and shame on Gillette and the stinker who sold it to you. Since I don't use mine very much (see my comments below) I'm willing to help out a fellow vintage shaver and take that catawampus thing off your hands for an even swap. I'll even include the case!
 
I have had one for years, but really have not used it much until I noticed a few guys around here recently singing its praises, when they have purchased one or more modern-manufactured razors in the $100-300 range. All of a suddent they are posting they are gaga over the FatBoy. So I started using it about 5 days ago, and it is wonderful.

I'm a fan of several of the old Gillette classics, though. What is it that makes the FatBoy special, in your mind? I'm curious. I love the balance in the hand, the grippy knurling on the handle, the weight. Curious why some who bought the new stuff got re-excited about the FatBoy.

Thanks!
Hi. I think the cool name grabs people at first. And then for me I like the adjustable shave. I really like adjustables a lot. My skin likes a mild shave. But everyone can have the kind of shave they want with an adjustable. I have two modern adjustables as well and one of the modern adjustables is at the forefront of my rotation. Kind regards Ron Eastman Lynn Massachusetts
 
Hi. I think the cool name grabs people at first. And then for me I like the adjustable shave. I really like adjustables a lot. My skin likes a mild shave. But everyone can have the kind of shave they want with an adjustable. I have two modern adjustables as well and one of the modern adjustables is at the forefront of my rotation. Kind regards Ron Eastman Lynn Massachusetts
One more comment! I mean this in the most positive light. The classic gillettes and Schicks of that wonderful era provide a safe if maybe not exciting shave but a nice shave pretty much guaranteed. Sometimes you just want to have a nice safe shave .
 
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Fatboys rule, I love my FB. This is my second one. My first one was really nice, but this one was just a little bit nicer so the first one was sold to fund the purchase of this one. Yeah, the head is a little large and if you have a large schnoz that may hamper your shave in that area. I love the weight of this so I can let it do all the work and I just barely hold it like I was caressing a baby's hand. I get BBS shaves on setting 9 with Gillette 7 O'clock Black blades. I'll use this as my daily driver for a couple of months every year and then it gets rotated out for another vintage Gillette razor.
 
To the best of my knowledge, it was the only razor that changed the blade angle and the blade gap when it was adjusted. I have an idea that the Slim does the same thing, but I'm unclear about that.

I would love to hear from someone as to whether any other adjustable ever made changes both blade angle and blade gap when adjusted.
 
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