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Thread: Open Comb vs. closed comb

  1. #1

    Default Open Comb vs. closed comb

    What are the differences between open and closed comb razors and is on suited for a rough coarse beard than the other or which is better for a soft beard and can your use either or for a soft beard.

  2. #2

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    An open comb razor leaves the blade more exposed than the closed comb, (generally) resulting in a more aggressive shave. I tend to get an easier shave out of my Gillette open combs than my Edwin Jagger, and I have what I think is a fairly coarse beard. If you have a softer beard, a closed comb might suit you better just because I think you would be less likely to have razor burn issues. The room for error on your angle is a bit less forgiving with an open comb.

    You never know until you try one out for yourself though, and you can find a Gillette old-type or NEW for <$15 pretty easily if you look around on BST or eBay. If you're at all curious, I would definitely recommend picking one up and giving it a shot.
    Eric | Gillette NEW LC Semogue 1800 TOBS Rose

  3. #3

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    I will give a thumbs up to both. I have a short and long NEW, SS, toggle and a slim. They are all different shave and all work great. You will just need to try each out. YMMV and that is the problem for most people.

    What I have come to realize is that each razor works differently with each blade which usually dictates how one shaves with it. For instance I have black handle slim or what ever it is called, for me it shaves best with a thick blade vs the thin blades in the new. And people need not fear the open comb.

    So buy both use each for a couple different blades then sell the one you don't like or PIF it to someone else.

  4. #4
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    The correct term however, is more properly called "solid bar" rather than "closed comb". There are some Solid Bar razors out that are much more aggressive than some of the open comb variety. There are also many very mild open comb razors. It depends on many more things than whether it is a solid bar or open comb razor as to whether it will be aggressive. Blade angle and gap as well as other factors in the razors build will more so determine how closely it will shave. For example the ATT Titan H solid bar is one of the most aggressive razors out there. Also the new iKon solid bar is also very aggressive. These would match up in aggression with the most aggressive open combs out there. The Muhle R41 is actually a hybrid, something between a solid bar and open comb and it is acknowledged by many to be one of the most aggressive razors out there if not the most. The only way to know is to read about the razors an to try it out for yourself if it sounds like it might suit you. Some of the more moderate open combs can be good for preventing irritation and yet are very efficient razors, I myself have found that to be the case. Good luck!
    ---Attila---

  5. #5
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    Parker 94R super aggressive solid bar, Merkur 1904 super mild Open comb. I found the Open comb razor has been kinder / better for my skin.
    Order of Kent, Alliance of Merkur, BOTOC

  6. #6

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    The main advantage is that you can shave (much) longer hairs with the OC razors; you can shave a full beard off if you want (which I do once a year with my vandyke). There are both aggressive and mild OC's, just like with safety bar DE's, so the comb itself doesn't make the razor more or less aggressive. Blade gap, exposure of the blade and so define aggressiveness, not the teeth.
    I must to the barber's, monsieur, for methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face

  7. #7

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    I like milder razors and use a merkur 1904 OC every day of the week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doctordial View Post
    What are the differences between open and closed comb razors and is on suited for a rough coarse beard than the other or which is better for a soft beard and can your use either or for a soft beard.
    Looks is about the only difference.

    There are good razors of each style that work well for tough and soft beards.

    You just need to try a few to find one you like.

    There's no "magic" about ether design.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Looks is about the only difference.

    There are good razors of each style that work well for tough and soft beards.

    You just need to try a few to find one you like.

    There's no "magic" about ether design.
    This. It is the conclusion I've come to.
    I wouldn't go in there for a bottle of whiskey and a red headed woman to pour it!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim9112 View Post
    I like milder razors and use a merkur 1904 OC every day of the week.
    The 1904 OC is a great open comb razor to start with!!
    1965 SS, Slant, GEM Jr., G-Bar, PAL Adjustable, Schicks, Red Tip, SA, Slim

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    OC razors are better for shaving longer growth and are slightly more aggressive.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antares600 View Post
    OC razors are better for shaving longer growth and are slightly more aggressive.
    Although they can be useful for longer hair growth, it is not always true that they are more aggressive. There are many examples of open comb razors that are much more mild than some solid bar razors and vice versa as well. As already discussed above, it is more dependant on the overall design of the razor as to whether it would be aggressive or not.
    ---Attila---

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Attila View Post
    Although they can be useful for longer hair growth, it is not always true that they are more aggressive. There are many examples of open comb razors that are much more mild than some solid bar razors and vice versa as well. As already discussed above, it is more dependant on the overall design of the razor as to whether it would be aggressive or not.
    This is true.

    I think the old gillette OCs are more aggressive than a modern safety bar razor. On the contrary, I once had a Merkur 11C and it was very mild.

  14. #14
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    I find the my OCs can reduce the number of passes, not saying that they are more aggressive just that they are more efficient for my skin, beard, and growth pattern.

    You really need to grab 1 old type, 1 new, 1 new improved, 1 long-comb, one Fatip or Joris, and a R41 Muhle.

    I am sure I missed a few, but this will ensure that you left no stone un-turned.
    Available for honing mentoring near Louisville, KY

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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Looks is about the only difference.

    There are good razors of each style that work well for tough and soft beards.

    You just need to try a few to find one you like.

    There's no "magic" about ether design.
    Turtle's right as rain. If it's magic you seek, that'll require a slant!
    - Jim

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  16. #16
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    had a really great two pass with a New long comb, tried a feather which had already been used a couple of times, arko+palmolive superlather - DFS. I have a few OCs but this is the first time I've used one and very happy with the result.

    question - if the measure of aggressiveness includes blade gap as mentioned many times in the preceding posts - how is blade gap measured on an OC? what is the blade gap for the razor I used today? I see the database measures it at 58/thousandths of an inch, but is that accurate if there is no bar to measure against?
    Mark - dome Gem G-Bar - face Progress 510 - seeking 3 pass perfection since 10/2012
    TLC - BOSS - BOSH - OGA - Cult Of Arko - LOSER - HLC founder - RAD sufferer (in semi-remission) - dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by chilliman64 View Post
    question - if the measure of aggressiveness includes blade gap as mentioned many times in the preceding posts - how is blade gap measured on an OC? what is the blade gap for the razor I used today? I see the database measures it at 58/thousandths of an inch, but is that accurate if there is no bar to measure against?
    It would be measured the same way..just use the plane of the teeth as your reference. However, the reality is that blade gap is not a very useful measure when comparing two razors. It's only really effective when comparing razors with the same (or very similar) head geometry. Comparing the gaps of two different razors that have very different head designs won't tell you very much about their relative aggressiveness, as you can make a razor that has a very large gap, but is very mild, if the blade doesn't stick out much past a line tangent to the cap and guard. OC razors tend to have this sort of low profile head design, so the gap measurement really doesn't tell you much.
    James - 2011 R41 w/Weber Handle, Feather, Arko (face lather), TGN Super Silvertip brush, Gillette Sun-Up AS
    BOTOC - LOSER - ARKO - TOFLAC-U - GNU - B.E.A.S.T

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