Straight Bar vs Open Comb

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by ejf33950, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. I am just a little lost (ok really lost) and have not found anything that explains the real difference between Straight Bar vs. Open Comb.

    I am trying to figure out as someone with a beard and moustache which better serves me as well as what is the real difference. I have looked through the FAQ and other place where I thought I should find the information. If I am processing everything I reading correctly it would sound as if HD Hefty Long Handle Double Edge Razor - Straight Bar by Merkur would be a good starter for someone like me.

    PLEASE HELP ME!!! Thanks!
  2. Open combs come in handy if you don't shave every day and have a fairly fast and heavy beard growth. The open comb razors can take down longer hair where the straight bars can skip over these hairs. If you are planning to shave off your beard and moustache with a DE, then I would recommend an open comb, otherwise it is probably better to get a straight bar.

    In the end though, either one will work.
  3. Suzuki

    Suzuki Moderator Emeritus

    I agree that the open comb razors are better for getting through several days worth of stubble as they don't seem to clog up - I ploughed through 3 days worth of stubble with my NEW the other day - like a knife through butter.

    That being said, my personal view is that open vs. closed comb has a very minor, if any, impact on how a razor shaves. In other words, two razors that are identical except for the comb design will basically shave the same.

    My understanding is that the move to the closed comb was the result of a desire to streamline/reduce costs of the manufacturing process.

    As an aside, open combs are a bit harder to clean up, as the teeth do tend to act as crud catchers.
  4. I just tried an open comb New this morning and I REALLY liked it. Don't let comments about how aggressive they are put you off. The Gillette open combs are more tame then their European cousins.
  5. Having read several members here and elsewhere talk about the quality of shave the have gotten from the Gillette New, I decided that it was past time for me to try one. For some reason or another, although I have tried many of the razors in my collection, it occured to me that I had never tried a "New".

    About a week ago, for six days, I shaved exclusively with one of my "New's". I have to say that I was more than pleased with the quality of the shaves I got. I now realize how close to "the perfect DE" Gillette was when they released this model. This wasn't the first open comb razor I have tried, but it is certainly, for my taste, the best open comb type that I have used.

    With all of that said, for the last few days I'm back to using my Red Tip SS. For some reason I just seem to find the smooth safety bar more comfortable on my face even though I think both razors perform equally well. Besides the Red Tip, my other favorite of all of my razors is an old Pomco slant bar.

    I rather suspect that Suzuki's explanation of why Gillette likely changed to the smooth safety bar is pretty close to the mark. It makes a lot of sense to me. Also, have you seen all of the broken and bent teeth there are out there after only 80 or 100 years? Also, open combs are kind of ornery to clean up after a few decades of neglect.:001_rolle

    Obviously, everyone must judge for themselves what they feel works best and is the most comfortable for them, but this is the result of my most recent experimentation with a "different" razor.

  6. When I am off for a few days out in the back country, I don't shave but you can bet the first thing I grab when I come back in is a New open comb.
  7. An open comb does a better job at getting through thicker longer hair. When you shave every day, open combs just tend to be more agressive. Many say the open comb can give you a closer shave.
  8. My vote goes to the open comb, I think they give a better shaving experience, too bad Gillette quit on them early in the game.
  9. Suzuki

    Suzuki Moderator Emeritus

    As far as I'm concerned, the NEW is one of the finest razors Gillette made.

    I realize that I risk having prices go up exorbitantly once it gets out how good these razors work - and for a surprising number of different beard types.

    I do find it slightly more aggressive than my Merkur Classic (which I also think is one of the best all-round razors on the market).

    Of course, this is very much a YMMV thing.
  10. Update finally made a decision and here is what I bought:
    • Merkur Long handled Heavy Classic 38C
    • Vulfix 1000A Pure Badger
    • Colonel Conk: Almond Shave Soap; Bay Rum Shave Soap; Styptic Pencil
    • Stand, Mug & Blades

    I have to wait till Fathers’ Day and act surprised. The more I read and watch I am excite at the thought I will finally get the shave I know I have been missing. As I guy with a beard and moustache the areas I shave I want to look clean and neat all day.
  11. Congrats on the Merkur. Realize you can't have just one razor, or six or twelve for that matter. So, make it a goal to get a fine old open comb Gillette. You owe it to yourself.

    I used my new to me 1905 double ring old type, open comb, for the first time this weekend. It gave me a fantastic shave. The best DE shave I have had, I think. I highly recommend one for your next purchase.
  12. Please elaborate.
  13. I use an open comb to shave 5-6 days a week. The other days I use a razor with the straight bar.

    For me there seems to be no difference other than the open comb seems to skip less on my neck when I do a WTG shave (from adams apple to the ear), especially on the right side of my neck.

    I guess for me it is the thrill of shaving with a razor that is 80-100 years old. (I have a 40 Regent Tech as well as a 1909 Single Ring. A couple NEWs and a Frankenrazor in there too.

    My main concern is getting a BBS shave each day without too much blood. I can accomplish that with any of my razors, open comb or straight bar, with the exception of my two adjustables which are now stored in cases in a drawer, perhaps never to see the light of day for a long, long time.

    If you are looking for a change of pace or just something very vintage give an open comb razor a shot. I think you will like it.
  14. It really depends on your beard. My day of stubble is like 2-3 for a lot of guys. I love my new/improved but I get great results from my red tip as well. They are both on the slightly aggressive side I guess. I haven't had good luck with techs or more "tame" razors. Anyway, it's certainly worth trying and using an 80+ year old razor is pretty cool.

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