Note: Revised some photos and conclusions to better reflect comb position on "1912".
More photographic analysis of razor designs.
As many know, I use SE razors like Gem recommended*, with the head flat against the face or nearly so. Doing it that way, I've found the "1912" and three Micromatic designs to shave more or less comparably. That wasn't the case when I used a higher angle, but it is now.
*[Correction: Gem recommended that for MM only, but not for "1912", to my surprise.]
So Wednesday morning, my first Gem 1912 Damaskeene arrived. It's still the 1912 patent, looks superficially similar, so I expected it to shave pretty much the same, although some have said they prefer it and that it's a bit less forgiving. Well, I was in for a surprise. It was more like shaving with my DE Gillette New Improved types. I could feel the burn - not bad, no cuts or anything, but definitely a different experience!
I had to figure out why.
First the basic layout.
Flat springs underneath the head engage lugs on the cap; lock it open or shut.
A flat spring at the back presses against the back of the blade, forcing it against the retaining hooks.
Notice how the comb dips a little below the sides of the baseplate - in this case, not by much.
Ramp at back of baseplate elevates the blade a bit.
Here's the "1912" (a metal-handled Junior this time, but that doesn't matter at all).
Nice low cutting angle.
If you're shaving with the head against the skin, you can see how pressure with bring the blade edge in contact with beard, but the comb position will act as a "brake" and keep it from going too close.
Now the Damaskeene. See that dark part underneath? That's the comb.
Notice how it is substantially farther below the blade than in the other "1912" models.
So less of a brake here! Even with low-angle shaving, extra pressure will take a toll.
So, what if you're not shaving with a low angle?
Then blade exposure becomes more important.
Here's the standard "1912" head.
A steeper cutting angle if you're going to use "no pressure".
Moderate blade exposure. Moderate distance from comb to blade edge.
With the Damaskeene, about the same angle and blade exposure - perhaps a tad more.
However, a considerably longer space from the tangent to the comb and the blade edge.
The difference might be noticeable if too much pressure was applied.