Open Comb Double Edge Razor

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
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Open Comb Double Edge Razor

Post by Spenser »

What are the pros and cons.
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Post by brothers »

I can't put my finger on any specific pros or cons as such. Some folks seem to think an open comb is somehow aggressive, but that is not my experience and I've tried them all.

In the beginning, Gillette created the Old Type, with the blade laying flat down on the base plate with notches cut into the guard bar which exposed 50% of the edge for cutting, leaving the other 50% of the edge of the blade never used.

That design is copied in the Merkur open comb. Later, Gillette created the New, which has the blade raised up off the bar, giving the edge full cutting ability all along the blade. They aren't particularly aggressive, as I was told prior to my first New. They do shave nicely though.

Then later, the Gillette New Standard head came out sometime in the early '30s, and it also shaves quite well. As in all of this stuff, you owe it to yourself to give them a try and decide for yourself how well they work for you.

One of my favorite open comb razors is the Gillette Big Boy Deluxe, it's got the same head as the New Standard, and shaves great, not aggressive in my opinion. The Big Boy Deluxe didn't make my final few because I get closer smoother shaves from others, so they're what I use.

I had a Fattip open comb, and it only took one shave for me to recognize the shave is the same as the Old Type and Merkur open combs. I didn't keep it after that.
Last edited by brothers on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by kingfisher »

For me the pros are that I get better first-pass reduction and that it seems especially more efficient on neck hairs that tend to lie down close to the skin.

Some people like that if your angle gets off it will leave tracks in the lather.

If there is a con, I guess it would be that if you have bumps or irregularities on the skin being shaved it seems much more likely than a safety bar razor to just go ahead and shave the bump right off.

Honestly I don't see much of a downside.
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Post by Hoos »

I like the open-comb DE if I haven't shaved in a few days. Specifically, the "old type" Gillettes made before 1921. They are more aggressive, but with proper prep and taking your time, not a big deal. The open comb just seems a bit better at getting more of the whisker, when it's longer.

In terms of more recent Gillettes (The New forward), I don't notice much difference between open comb and razors with a comb guard. For example, the Goodwills do pretty much the same job as a Tech.
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Post by druphus »

kingfisher wrote:...Some people like that if your angle gets off it will leave tracks in the lather....
Hoos wrote:I like the open-comb DE if I haven't shaved in a few days...
I agree with everything both of these guys wrote, and especially with the quoted portions. I think an open comb teaches good technique and if I haven't shaved over a weekend it does a bang-up job on Monday morning. I tend to only shave on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If I shaved every morning I would probably use a more mild super speed.
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Post by Spenser »

Thanks you guys, that is the information I needed.
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Post by marsos52 »

dont forget ,,,one other plus is they look cool

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Post by Nitrox »

Nobody mentioned the bad boy of open combs. :lol: Let's not forget the Muhle R41 open comb. It does shave very efficiently and like some have said about open combs, it reduces heavy growth with no effort. I think for the money it is a very fine razor; well made, looks good and feels good using it. I can't use it every day though because it shaves very close and does slice off any bumps that one may have.

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Post by ShadowsDad »

IMO the older Gillette OCs are a hair more aggressive than the models that followed. I can shave with them and I've put the rest of my younger Gillettes in mothballs for the most part (Slim Adj being the exception). BTW, I don't think it's the OC that makes the razors aggressive, I think it's the head geometry. One can use 2 shims in a Tech and get a pleasantly aggressive razor; same comb, but a changed head geometry.

I think an OC lets the lather through better for better lube on the skin. If I have a choice I'll choose an OC for that factor.

Then there's the R41 as Nitrox reminded us. Again, head geometry not the comb that makes it what it is IMO.

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Post by CMur12 »

Spenser, here are my thoughts on the subject.

The first open-comb razors were blade-on-comb, as are the modern Merkur and Goodfella open-comb models. There was no "blade gap," as the blade lay directly on the comb. The open comb was necessary to access the blade.

Gillette introduced blade gap in later open-comb razors, such as the NEW. In this case, there was a raised bed that elevated the blade above the comb. As Brent pointed out, this kind of razor behaved essentially the same as later razors with safety bars.

Once the blade was elevated above the comb, the open comb wasn't really necessary, and safety bars were cheaper to manufacture.

In my limited experience, blade-on-comb razors feel different in their handling from razors with blade gap.

Some say that the open comb on both blade-on-comb and blade-gap razors is a help when cutting through a lot of beard growth. I have no experience with this, so I can't confirm or deny it.

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Post by Pauldog »

I'm especially fond of the Gillette NEW razors I've tried. Thanks to Books, I was able to get a couple of worn ones nickel plated.
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Post by Spenser »

I was able to find a new Merkur Long Handle 25C Open Comb, due in today and anixous to try. Merkur no longer makes but plenty of NOS around.
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