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Merkur Progress Modifications

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Progress Mods
I make no secret of the fact that the Merkur Progress is my favorite razor.  I can “fine tune” my shave depending on variables like the brand of blade I’m using, the quality of the shave lather that day, or even the season.  I also find it useful when I’m testing other products.  But the general agreement is that the Progress is an “ugly duckling” in the looks department.  Luckily there are some variations and modifications available that can help turn that ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.

The Progress Adjustment Dial

Most of the gripes about the Progress’ looks center on its plastic adjustment dial.  And it’s a view I kind of share: to me its like a child with a face that only a mother could love– endearing but could use improvement.  The standard Progress has been manufactured that way for many years.  A long handled version was recently introduced by Merkur but it continues the plastic adjustment knob tradition.
So there’s a bit of a cottage industry in metallic dial replacement parts.  Unfortunately those artisans who give it a try come and go.  The most established modification is called a “Mergress” after the forum username of the guy who thought it up (Mer).  However he’s apparently been inactive for some time.  You can still find examples in the buy/sell/trade sections of the usual forums though.
A more recent example is the Digress, available in the UK (and presumably able to ship worldwide).

A Completely New Progress “Skin”

bullgoose eskimo
The latest Progress modification is a full-on replacement handle and dial.  Currently available at Bullgoose, the “Eskimo” razor is available in three color combinations and gives the Progress a dramatic facelift.

Shaving With These Razors

If you have shaved with a “stock” Progress for a number of years like I have, you may be initially somewhat disappointed with your first shaves.  These modifications can subtly change the balance and/or weight of the razor.  If you’ve developed a “muscle memory” with the Progress you will probably have to adjust your technique slightly to compensate.

Do you have a Progress or modification?  What do you think?  Be sure to leave a comment below!
Related Post:
Mantic59’s 4 Tips For Shaving Success With The Merkur Progress


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

15 thoughts on “Merkur Progress Modifications”

  1. I just got a Mergress and shaved twice with it, set to 3 for the first pass and 2 for the rest. So far so good, it feels substantial in the hand, smooth, comfortable and allows for a relaxed shave, in fact you never get the feeling that it is going to bite you. I like it also from an esthetic point of view, a bit retro in its shiny coat of chrome with a matching steel knob. As time goes by, I will try the more aggressive settings.

  2. People have used Rit dye to change the color of the plastic knob. There are people that make replacement knobs for them. I bought 3 different styles. Problem is I didn’t realize I would have to cut the old plastic knob off to replace it. I’m not going to cut up a nice razor just to change the knob. I wish more people would machine the entire knob assembly. Merkur must not care that most people hate that cheap ugly knob. I have been on the Mergress waiting list for awhile. If Merkur offered a more expensive version with a nice knob, a lot of people would pay for it.

  3. Would it be possible to use a acrylic paint (like for model cars) to paint the adjustment knob a different color? Can you think of any problems with this?

      1. Thanks for the quick response! I may have to give it a go (it’s easy enough to undo if it doesn’t work out)

  4. I would like to echo what Steve said. I just purchased one as well and mine is locked at 0 as well. No way it could be out of adjustment.

  5. Mer still does the modifications and is making Mergress razors. He sells them through Lee’s Razors. There is a wait list. Lee emails when he gets a batch in and it’s first come first serve. It’s well worth the money in my opinion for the extra weight and for the improved aesthetics.

  6. I have a newer Progress (my BB imitation mpentioned sbove) and the newer versions don’t seem to have the zeroing problem any more. Mine zeroes properly and there is no way to ‘adjust’ the zero by twisting the barrel of the handle. Seems to be a ‘locked ‘system now.

  7. I have a Mergress I bought from Mer when he was still doing custom work. I seem to recall that he stopped doing customs and sold them directly through one of the online stores like Classic Shaving or QED or something…I had him paint the dots in Seattle Mariners colors, sort of teal and blue. Love the razor, use it every day. Every now and then, I go back to my first razor, an unstamped Gillette super speed. It’s nice, but lacks the weight I love in my Mergress. I never mess with the settings…keep it at 2.5.
    One more thing…He didn’t just replace the dial knob with a beautiful, machined knob. He also “zeroed out” the dial. I recall this being another topic of major discussion, that there was some variability among Progresses, and he and other found a way to zero it out for consistency. Mantic, can you expand on this?

  8. Everyday starts with my Progress. I have grown to love everything about it including the plastic adjustment dial. I’ll keep my ugly duckling just the way it is lol

    1. Pretty much the same way as a regular Progress after I adjusted for the slightly different balance characteristics.

  9. I made a DIY mod of my Progress by dipping the handle and knob in black Plasti-Dip (as used to coat tool handles). See my entry w/ photos posted in Badger & Blade, DE Razors Forum on 20141003 entitled “Merkur Progress: BB Imitation”. Didn’t seem to change balance much. Total weight is 91g so the coating has only added a gram or so to the weight. Grip with wet hands is more secure.

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