Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why Never a Progress?

Merkur Progress

Despite some favorable reviews -- most notably from Mantic59, a.k.a. the Sharpologist -- I was never motivated to get a Merkur brand Progress razor.

The reason for this is simple. I've used razors with chromed handles -- usually fluted -- and find them occasionally disturbingly slippery during shaves. So the many times that I've considered the Progress and its customized variations, I always eyeball that shiny chromed handle and say, no thanks; too much money, too risky a grip.

The other common objections: the plastic knob, the uncertain adjustment calibration, occasional blade-alignment complaints, etc., they don't even register in my awareness. I can't get past the potential slipperiness of the handle.

Zamak vs Pot Metal

The zinc alloy, Zamak, is often mis-identified as pot metal. This irritates the beejeebers out of me. Zamak is NOT pot metal. Zamak is a high-quality alloy that casts very well. Pot metal is random bits of metal that easily melt to be re-used, re-cast. There is a huge difference between the two.

Zamak is generally strong, although it has its weaknesses. It corrodes easily in the presence of water, which is why Zamak is always plated with a protective coating, which should be carefully preserved. Another weakness of Zamak is that when casting a brass center post into a Zamak top cap, if there is a small bubble in the casting where the post joins with the top cap, it will be a weak spot that may fracture if dropped or otherwise mishandled.

Zamak casts much more precisely than brass, which is why it is used in so many DE razors.

Review of Parker Variant Razor Coming Soon

My review of the Parker Variant razor will coincide with new supplies being available to buyers in the USA. Stay tuned, coming soon!

Happy shaving!


  1. Hmmmm, maybe latex gloves will help with slippery grips?

    1. Interesting out-of-the-box thinking (if you're serious), but not for me; too much trouble. Others have suggested alum on the finger tips to improve the grip on slippery handles. Others have put a shop-tool-type rubbery coating on the handles. For my money, simply don't use slippery razors -- especially when there are good alternatives. For example, Parker Variant instead of Merkur Progress or Merkur instead of Edwin Jagger.

  2. When using my EJ plain handle razor I make it a point to always keep the handle rinsed and the finger tips wet at all times. Otherwise I start trying to catch it. Something about water on chrome that creates a good grip. Personally though I would prefer to make less of a mess when shaving.