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NMMB
06-05-2006, 09:00 PM
So,

I've only used one DE razor (my Merkur HD), so to say that I am a little razor-ignorant would probably be an understatement. As a result I have a question for you razor-wizzards: What difference is there with an open-comb razor (other than looking kind of cool)?

joel
06-05-2006, 09:03 PM
So,

I've only used one DE razor (my Merkur HD), so to say that I am a little razor-ignorant would probably be an understatement. As a result I have a question for you razor-wizzards: What difference is there with an open-comb razor (other than looking kind of cool)?

It supposedly shaves closer.... I didn't notice all that great of a difference though.

NMMB
06-05-2006, 09:06 PM
It supposedly shaves closer.... I didn't notice all that great of a difference though.

A closer shave, eh? Might be worth trying if I happen to see one around for a couple of bucks (yard sale, crappy antique store, etc). Thanks for the quick response, Joel.

Anybody else have thoughts on open-comb razors? Do they work better for you?

Kyle
06-05-2006, 09:12 PM
I like the regular/closed comb models better. I certainly didn't notice a closer shave from the open comb.

Even still, if you get the chance to use one or score one cheaply, go for it. It may be THE answer for you.

Jonnybc
06-05-2006, 10:41 PM
I started with an open comb Merkur, the only real reason for this was my barber shop had one that was reduced.

I thought they were for heavier beards as they don't get clogged so quickly rather than offering a closer shave.

pcxpe
06-06-2006, 12:28 AM
I started also with an open comb, because the Trumper shop in London where I bought it, didn't have the "closed" one!!! ???
Anyway I have now the closed comb and must say it shaves closer than the open one

_____________
Peter

Jonnybc
06-06-2006, 12:44 AM
I started also with an open comb, because the Trumper shop in London where I bought it, didn't have the "closed" one!!! ???
Anyway I have now the closed comb and must say it shaves closer than the open one

_____________
Peter

Really?

I can get as closer shave with the open and closed comb, it came down to technique. I learned to use the open comb first then moved onto the closed. I get pretty much the same shave now with both.

Which Trumper store did you use Peter? I love wandering up and down Jermyn Street, it costs me too much money though.

NYLaw
06-06-2006, 09:05 AM
I always wondered what the open combs were for... If anyone knows anything about the history, please post! One online seller says that it's for tougher beards, but it's not like the combs actually "comb" the hair, so I'm not sure how they could help.

NMMB
06-06-2006, 09:05 AM
So,

An open-comb razor will either give a closer shave, or will give a shave that isn't as close and may or may not be for heavier beards? Is that about right? I think that this may be an instance where I'll just have to wait and find one for a couple of bucks and then give it a try myself (and hope that such a move doesn't lead to full-blown RAD - so far I have only one razor, but I've heard that once you move to 2, well, it goes pretty fast from there :tongue_sm )

Jonnybc
06-06-2006, 09:23 AM
So,

An open-comb razor will either give a closer shave, or will give a shave that isn't as close and may or may not be for heavier beards? Is that about right? I think that this may be an instance where I'll just have to wait and find one for a couple of bucks and then give it a try myself (and hope that such a move doesn't lead to full-blown RAD - so far I have only one razor, but I've heard that once you move to 2, well, it goes pretty fast from there :tongue_sm )

I was once verry happy with a short handled open comb razor that I started with. I now have all the Merkurs except the adjustable one that's not the Futur or Vision but I'm sure it'll come.

With The Grain
06-06-2006, 09:37 AM
[...

NMMB
06-06-2006, 09:46 AM
James,

Thanks for the info. I am the type of person who love to fiddle with things, but has come to accept that when I "fix" something that I don't know much about (like a razor, for instance), well, it isn't going to work nearly as well when I'm done. Though, that doesn't necessarily keep me from trying. That said, perhaps an open-comb razor isn't something that I need (though, if I happen to find one at a good price it may still become something that I own).

Jonnybc
06-06-2006, 09:53 AM
it's definetly not true;
the open comb merkurs are designed after the "old style" gillette open combs, both of these razors have zero blade gap, meaning the blade lies directly on the open comb, whatever is written about them do not fool yourself into thinking they are for thick beards or shave more aggressively. They actually shave poorly! to the point where if you actually want to get a good shave out of one you must create a/or multiple 'shims' for it. this shim idea was 'invented' by DEF over at SMF and can turn an old style gillette or a Merkur open comb into a decent shaver, ive made my shims simply by chopping of the blade edges of DE razor blades with tin snips and then fitting 3 of them below the actually shaving blade, ie your creating blade gap where none existed- a great idea by DEF.

Now all that said if you want an open comb that will truly shave very well without having to mod it up you need to hunt down a Gillette "New" razor, these have blade gap and shave like a dream, easily rivals a 40's superspeed for a similar shave.
Another option would be an open comb GEM micromatic or EVERREADY single edge razor, most people seem hesistant to try these but they are brainless and great shavers as well.


I'm happy to take advise from more knowledgable people here but I don't understand why the blade sitting directly on the open comb would cause a "poor shave", why is this?

With The Grain
06-06-2006, 10:40 AM
....

Scotto
06-06-2006, 11:26 AM
I believe these razors were designed to do double duty as moustache-trimmers; I think that is what the comb was for.

Jonnybc
06-06-2006, 11:30 AM
Thanks James, I'll do some digging.

yasuo200365
06-06-2006, 12:58 PM
I decided I'd stop just reading and join the forum.

Hello Gentlemen, James is spot-on ..., Comb razors are not as often claimed for those with tough beards etc. They can, and often do shave just as well as bar guard razors...., some of the vintage (NEW style) Combs are some of the nicest razors ever made.

The DE Comb razor pre-date their bar guard cousins by some 30 years or so....,Gillette abandoned the comb in favour of the bar-guard on economic grounds - good comb guards are more expensive to manufacture.

Aesthetically combs can be very nice.

The reason however why combs have a bad name is that Gillette perfected the Comb in the 1930's with its NEW range, but most combs including the Merkur 1904 are of the Gillette's Old Style type.

Modern razor blades are considerably thinner and more flexible than those from the first couple of decades of the last century. Back in those early days DE blades resembled clock springs in thickness - Gillettes prototypes were actually made from clock springs.

The old style combs worked fine with thick blades because the springyness in the blade meant that the cap could be loosened just a little (adjustable was the claim in the early ads) to create a gap with the comb teeth. As DE blades became thinner & sharper the system didn't work as well. Gillette modified the comb in the 1920's twice, they beefed up the comb teeth, made them longer and gave them a coat-hanger profile, this created the gap without having to loosen the cap.

Within a few years of perfecting the comb, Gillette released both the cheaper to manufacture (metal stamped) bar guard 3-piece razors, and the One-Piece razor mechanism which is better with the bar guard. Three piece combs quickly appeared to be old fashioned & out of date.

Gillette at this time also fiercely protected its NEW style patents - there was a DE blade war going on at the time which eventually ended with the main opposition merging with Gillette and the universal DE blade shape. All this meant that if any manufacturers were still making combs it would invariably be the old style. Gillette did continue to make some NEW style combs for a little while longer, but they were under the names of subsidary companies such as Rubie etc.

Putting a shim under the blade of a Merkur 1904 improves the razor no-end but if you want to experience a comb in all its glory then you need to try a 1930's Gillette NEW. The NEW is always written in capitals to distinguish it from the older 'new improved' Gillette range.

NEW combs are no worse than the bar-guards - the design works equally as well, but they look better IMV and top-end razors from the 1930's are the pinnicle in razor craftsmanship.

Don't write off the comb until you've tried the last & best design - the NEW.

Regards
John

ouch
06-06-2006, 01:13 PM
Welcome aboard, John. I thought you would have changed your user name to something more appropriate, like yasuo195.:tongue_sm

Jonnybc
06-06-2006, 01:21 PM
Hi John and welcome.

James pointed me to some of your posts on SMF, thanks fot the info. I'll try the shim thing in my Merkur. What's best to use though? I'd have thought a slice of margerine tub (as used by a SMF mamber) might be a bit unstable. I thought maybe using a dremel to grind the edges off old razor blades might do the trick.

yasuo200365
06-06-2006, 03:54 PM
195 - I am not a number, I am a free man.:biggrin:

John, I used tin snips on some old Gillette Blue blades (slightly thicker) to make my shims. I use 2 or 3 cut blades stacked.

The dremel is a good idea, the finish I got with the snips is very rough.

Make sure you wear protective goggles because the blade edges are very brittle and liable to splinter.

I'm just hoping that there is some enterprising forum member out there with a metal shop that is able & willing to make a batch of shims to sell.:smile:

Regards
John

Kyle
06-06-2006, 05:26 PM
Very informative post, John.

NMMB
06-06-2006, 09:17 PM
Very informative post, John.

Indeed. Thanks for the info.

With The Grain
06-06-2006, 09:19 PM
....

roughrider
06-06-2006, 09:59 PM
I guess most guys aren't missing much.

yasuo200365
06-07-2006, 12:02 AM
Don't guess - try. If you have an old style comb such as a Merkur 1904 the shims make a big difference & if you're adventurous and want to try a comb for the first time look for a vintage Gillette NEW.

Regards
John

guenron
06-07-2006, 05:38 AM
Don't guess - try. If you have an old style comb such as a Merkur 1904 the shims make a big difference & if you're adventurous and want to try a comb for the first time look for a vintage Gillette NEW.

Regards
John
Got it John. Go buy an old new!:w00t:

russellnyc
08-28-2006, 09:06 PM
Just had to chime in here, I'm a straight shaver who uses a Gilette adjustable and a Merkur 1904 open comb sometimes for fun and convenience. The open comb is superb, un-shimmed, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It is the best shave I get from any combination of my 7 razors, period.

GoTeeGuy
08-29-2006, 08:20 AM
FWIW, I have an open-comb Gillette Goodwill razor at home, which also has the blade gap associated with the NEW model Gillette's. I haven't tried shaving with it yet, but at the very least is shows that Gillette modified their open-comb design prior to the NEW model. I'll give it a whirl and post back with my findings.

etagloh
09-07-2006, 07:16 AM
FWIW, I have an open-comb Gillette Goodwill razor at home, which also has the blade gap associated with the NEW model Gillette's. I haven't tried shaving with it yet, but at the very least is shows that Gillette modified their open-comb design prior to the NEW model. I'll give it a whirl and post back with my findings.

I've also got a recently-acquired Goodwill (thanks for the link -- makes it easier to pin down to the early 30s) and there's definitely a blade gap. Not quite brave enough to try using it, though...

ucliker
12-26-2008, 02:34 PM
I know this is an old thread, but ive been shaving with a very vintage Gillette open comb with absolutely no gap what so ever and a Gillette Tech with a decent gap and i get great bbs shaves from both. I think blade and technique matter most not the razor.

GarageBoy
02-22-2009, 03:09 PM
Any thoughts about having John's post stickied?

talibeard
02-22-2009, 03:20 PM
This really is getting a mummy back to live.
Also really love the merkur open combs but some will never know......