Just a few weeks ago Joe at Shave A Buck released a new line of razors including a new design open comb head that could be purchased by itself. The head immediate drew my interest for two reasons, one, it was just a head, and two, from the pictures it looked similar to my current favorite razor, the FaTip.
The price seemed very low at $12.00 USD, but considering that I needed to order some creams from him I thought I had nothing more to lose than the cost of a cheap lunch.
For the pictures I paired the Cadet Open Comb Head to the Edwin Jagger DE89L Handle so people could see how well the finish is on the head. If EJ was to purchase this Open Comb from the OEM supplier and did nothing but mount it to an existing handle they would probably market this razor in the $60 to $70 price range.
1. Very affordable at only $12.00 USD
2. Nicely plated in chrome that has been heavily applied.
3. Attention to detail on buffing.
4. No rough patches or jagged edges on any part of it.
5. Better in quality and craftsmanship than most German made open combs.
6. Unique design that borrows elements from various great classic and well respected open combs.
Price: 10 Stars, it is only $12.00 USD. This is a razor head that anyone can afford. Even if a person was to purchase the complete razor at $23.99 the head is worth at least double that!
Quality: 9 Stars. The only reason I am not giving it 10 stars is due to a small amount of chrome that is applied too thick on back of base plate. This is could be a positive as it should last even longer.
Ease of Blade Replacement: 10 Stars. If you currently own three piece razors, then you know how to put in a blade. Unlike the FaTip, blade alignment on the Cadet is a non-issue, you put in the blade, put on the base plate and screw into your handle. Done, perfect alignment, no variance in blade gap.
Aggressiveness: 7.5 to 8 If the 2011 Mühle R41 is a 10, this falls somewhat below that. Although do not let the lower number fool you as far as whisker reduction. Unlike the Mühle this razor does not require finding that weird angle, it just fall into place naturally.
As one of three co-founders of the Brotherhood of the Open Comb (BOTOC), I have tried many open comb razors, just to list a few:
Gillette Old Types (both the 102 and 102a heads)
Gillette New Improved (Tuckaway)
Gillette NEW Short and Long Comb
Merkur Model 41 1904 Open Comb
Merkur 11C HD
2009 Mühle R41
2010 Mühle R41
2011 Mühle R41 (although in my opinion, this is not an open comb, it is a tooth comb)
Tradere Open Comb
Goodfella Open Comb
The Cadet Open Comb head is unique to itself. The top cap is similar to an Old Type. The base plate has a flat bottom, similar to a Gillette New Improved, while the comb is curved similar to a FaTip/Joris. The teeth of the comb are not as long as the FaTip/Joris, but somewhere between the NEW short comb and long comb.
There seems to be a fair amount of wet shavers that will put down any razor that comes out of India claiming the quality is cheap and poorly made, often without ever trying the razor themselves.
I will tell all of the razor snobs that prejudge a razor based upon it's country of manufacture that they may want to reconsider their thinking. This Open Comb design if not just good, it is excellent. Joe put some serious thought into designing these heads, he himself is a wet shaver so of course he wants to make a razor that he would enjoy using.
The Cadet Open Comb has become my favorite razor over anything I have ever owned, tried or had loaned to me on tour, be it vintage or new, or at any price point.
This is "every mans" open comb. If BOTOC was to have an official razor this would be it.