Pal Adjustable Injector
Finally tracked one down and used it tonight. I already like it. Even though it is not a perfect razor it was well worth the wait and the hunt. However, had this been my first injector, and/or I tried it before my shaving prep and technique were honed, the Pal Adjustable would probably put me off injectors for a long time. But that's never entirely a razor's fault, nor would it have been here. Anyway...
PRICE: Varies...these don't come up too often anywhere, and when they do they tend to be snatched up fast...and never as cheaply as many more common DEs and injectors. You may luck out, though, so keep an eye peeled. Tip: I've seen them turn up in lots as often, if not more often, as by themselves.
QUALITY: I give it a 10 because the largely stainless steel head seems well designed and well constructed, especially since, of necessity, it has more components than non-adjustables. Also, I don't own a Schick adjustable so I don't know how the construction compares...but the Pal is definitely more pleasing to the eye than the (imo) clunky looking Schick.
USER FRIENDLY: The adjustment is pretty straightforward: L moves the safety bar outwards, away from the blade, making for a less aggressive cut. The dial increments up to H, where the bar is pretty deeply recessed and your face is in for a good scraping.
GRIP: I'm really big on how a razor feels in the hand, so grip is important to me. That's why this area of the Pal Adjustable gets the biggest ding. The handle is a stainless steel spine connected to smoothly triangular, ribbed plastic. The tread itself is good, comparable to the ribs on non-adjustable Shicks of the same era, but the triangle shape gave me some trouble when shaving upward/ATG. I had to hold it much closer to the head than I would have liked just to keep a good grip on it. Had Pal kept the same length but gone with a flatter handle - like some later Schicks have, I believe - or even a rounded one like Gillette's SA, it'd get at least a 9. As is, 5.
EASE OF BLADE REPLACEMENT: As easy as any other nominally operating injector. Nothing different here.
AGGRESSIVENESS: Hoo boy. We need the rating scale to go up to 11. With 3 days worth of growth, I was well lathered up and started out on L with a NOS Pal blade. It felt milder than my old Schick G. Dialed it up to H...that was a mistake. I enjoyed how much hair it took off FAST but I got too careless and ended up bleeding more than I have since first starting out on DEs - I'm talking "styptic won't handle this" level bleeding. This is not a fault of the razor - I just underestimated how much bite this thing has on H. And anyway, I ended up with quite the BBS out of it, and I imagine I'll be BBS for at least a full day, apart from the scabs.
So, you want aggressive? IMO this thing is second only to - and possibly equal to - the early SEs I've used, but definitely blows past any Gillette I've tried on 9 (and I've tried 'em all). I am curious how it compares to a Schick adjustable on high; I'd love someone to tell me since I don't own one.
ADJUSTABILITY: I'll have to play with it more but it seemed that the five "stops" from L to H aren't really stops, as with a Fatboy or SA. It seemed there was a constant slide from low to high. Perhaps the great condition of this razor is deceptive and the adjuster is worn out, I don't know, but I can watch the safety bar slide in and out, so I know that does what it's supposed to.
BALANCE: I could not comment on this area because I've only used it once and the triangular grip still throws me off. I suspect it is very well balanced, what with the length combined with all the metal it has in it, but I won't be able to say until I've used it a few more times.
Bottom line: If you know you like adjustables, and know how to use one, and if you can fine one, get one. You'll be glad you did. OTOH, if you're merely curious about injectors, take the long-standing advice of the old timers herebouts regarding DEs and injectors both: start with one of the milder types. If you feel the need for more bite, move on up to one of the older Schicks, like the G. Then if you want even more, track down a Pal Adjustable. Just don't throw a wad of money on one assuming that you'll like it. You may not! This is a serious, well made shaving tool that'll give some of the best results, but it demands skill and respect.
Last edited by Jim; 04-27-2010 at 07:07 AM.
I am not a newcomer to wet shaving at all. Rather that's how I learned back in the late 50's and have stuck with it since. I started with a basic DE but once I sampled injectors I was sold on that format as they provided me a easier obtained closer and more comfortable shave
As for the PAL, I was an early adopter back in 1965. I was drawn to the stainless handle build and contours. It quickly became my daily user. Unfortunately, as I described in this thread about my history with injector shaving http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=135328 , I lost mine and it was many years before I had a replacement. A PAL again fills the role of my daily user :)
PRICE: Back in 1965 the cased razor with blades went for $1.95. These days I've seen a wide range of prices and as paying for vintage goods is basically a personal thing, I've opted not to grade this category.
QUALITY: The razor makes use of good materials as noted in the lead review above. It was advertised as a quality piece with great "beauty, balance, and brains" reflective of the stainless, handle heft, and adjustability.
My grade hits the razor for the blade tensioning system design which I feel is somewhat inferior to the wide center spring parallel to the handle axis that Schick uses in their later models. PAL's tension spring bar can become misaligned with mishandling or even weaken with decades of use. I've had to adjust this spring to return old razors to operability.
USER FRIENDLY: No rocket science involved at all here.
GRIP: The light ribbing of the plastic meat of the lower under handle gives all the necessary purchase needed in use. It works very well with the deft touch this razor benefits from. As an aside that ribbed area does tend to attract soap scum though.
EASE OF BLADE REPLACEMENT: Again not rocket science and typical of the genre.
AGGRESSIVENESS: Like the Schick L, M, and N series, the PAL itself is less aggressive overall than the earlier model razors from Schick, no doubt due to the head designs. That said these are all capable of extremely close shaves as well as blood letting if too much pressure is employed. Personally I use the most aggressive settings of both the PAL and Schick except during extra passes on my neck when I dial things back.
ADJUSTABILITY: The PAL provides continuous tension held settings with 5 indices for blade exposure versus the Schick M series' multi-click stops with 8 indices but the range is comparable (mild to aggressive). Both of these models retain the users settings without risk of loss while in use.
BALANCE: I love the weight (heft) and balance of this razor second only to the very rare early '70s International Silver / Schick "Paul Revere" razor with its tablewear metal handle. With a deft light touch it will glide effortlessly over your face. On the fly adjustments to orient the razor to ones facial contours are effortless because of the great balance.
SUMMARY: To be redundant this model razor is my go to daily user. I do also employ an International Silver / Schick "Paul Revere" and Schick M1 adjustable but the PAL is the heavy hitter! It is a great razor that injector users owe it to themselves to try. The only caveat is the tension spring bar that may be not optimally functional on well worn samples that may be acquired. Adjustments can be made however returning these prizes to service.
Last edited by bald1; 03-06-2010 at 06:33 AM.
I've received a good number of PMs about adjusting the spring bar. First if your razor shaves fine leave the bar alone. But if the pressure is insufficient to hold the blade securely you do need to mess with things to improve the pressure the spring tension bar exerts against a seated blade. My adjustments were made quite a few years ago using a pair of long needle nose pliers. It's trial and error plain and simple.
Also there is a recent thread from DonOhio that documents an apparently quite rare razor head machining quality issue, See: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=141043
I really like my Pal adjustable Injector, but I just can't seem to get the hang of it. I seem to have better luck with my old E2 Schick. The Pal is definitely a nice razor. Maybe I'll sell mine. I'll probably regret it, if I do.
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