Andis T-Outliner


Modified electric head shaver

When I started shaving my head many years ago, I sought a cut as close to a wet shave as possible, but wanted an electric clipper for the job, since it’s much easier when I’ve let it go for a few days. Occasionally I’ll use a Gillette Mach 3, but my preference is this trimmer by Andis. (I haven’t tried the Headblade, mostly because if I do want a wet shave, I’ve found the Mach 3 works well.) Andis’ T-Outliner would typically be found in a barbershop, generally used for edgework. Mine came with modified blades , which are the key components for an extra-close crop. With the modified blades, this Andis gives the closest cut I can get without using a razor, much closer than what a standard Wahl without any guide combs would accomplish.

Inside is a small motor that won’t quit, though it gets hot when used for extended periods. To keep my Andis trimmer buzzing, I get the blades sharpened professionally about once a year, and use Oster blade lube for maintenance. This trimmer would not be useful for someone who simply wanted a short ’do, or any sort of styling control, nor will it cut quite close enough for a Yul Brynner-like shiny pate job, though nearly. I’ve also found it gives a great almost-shave when I want to outline/clean up an unkempt beard very quickly—once again, much closer than anything other than a wet shave with a razor.

I’m not aware if anyone does something similar, but I found the modified extra-close-cut blades locally, at a shop called Ross Cutlery in Los Angeles, CA. They’re not set up for online orders, though they do take phone orders and have excellent, old-fashioned customer service. They recommend sending in the entire unit about once a year for cleaning and sharpening ($18, plus $8 return shipping).

-- Elon Schoenholz 03/29/10