This is the follow up report after shaving with a gillette fat boy (and an adjustable for the first time) yesterday. I'm also new to wet shaving so this has been a little discovery. Day 1 was a very smooth ride but with weird settings on the razor (I had it set on 9!) and wiser members of this Forum kindly pointed out a few things I should look out for and confiremd that 9 is not meant to be mild.
Today was a great test: I set the razor on 3 and went WTG slowly; then XTG on 5, then XTG/ATG back on 3... and 7 on some areas I've been struggling with since I started. All of this nice and slow, realizing that a different set up does imply stretching the blade so I really took time to figure out blade angle, looking for a smooth ride all along. I really enjoyed the more aggressive set up on the chin and around the mouth, these had been tough spots for me with the Merkur HD 34 and this old Gillette performed superbly, by no means the 'mild' experience I had the first time. One thing I felt is that the higher setting on chin area may be the right thing to do as the blade gets stretched/bent a bit as you crank up the settings so it seemed to work better on the chin as it's not a flat area of the face, but more experienced users may disagree. Bottom line: a fresh face, probably not my closest shave ever but not far, and super comfortable.
Thanks B&B members for taking the time to read newbies posts and commenting/helping!