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Adjusting to a new razor

Since returning to wet shaving about a dozen years or so ago, the only DE that I have used is a Gillette Black Beauty adjustable. It still works like a charm, but I decided that it was time to branch out. So I ordered a Merkur 34C, which finally arrived yesterday. Since I didn't have to go to work last night, I waited until this morning to shave. I won't be going back to work again until tomorrow night, so I'll wait until then to shave again. (That's my usual routine for my nights off: shaving the morning after my first night off and waiting until the night of my return to work to shave again.) Anyway, my first shave with the 34C was not as good as I was hoping. I am so used to shaving with the black beauty that I was having difficulty getting just the right angle or the right placement of the blade to shave any whiskers off at all. Fortunately I didn't carve up my face trying to figure that out, and I did end up with a fairly okay shave. Not dfs and certainly not bbs, but okay. I'm not sure what the reason is for the difficulty in getting the same kind of shave with a 34C that I get with the black beauty. I just figured it would be the same as far as how to hold the razor against my face to get the blade to cut the whiskers. But for some reason I had to experiment with proper angles and such. How long does it usually take to get used to using a "fixed blade" razor such as a 34C after shaving for so long with an adjustable razor like the black beauty? Before shaving this morning I was debating whether to order a couple of other razors such as the Parker 91r and the Muhle r108. After this morning's shave, however, I think I might want to wait a while before doing that, just so I can get used to the technique of using a non-adjustable razor. After that, then maybe I'll consider dipping further into RAD. What say, gents?
 
Since returning to wet shaving about a dozen years or so ago, the only DE that I have used is a Gillette Black Beauty adjustable. It still works like a charm, but I decided that it was time to branch out. So I ordered a Merkur 34C, which finally arrived yesterday. Since I didn't have to go to work last night, I waited until this morning to shave. I won't be going back to work again until tomorrow night, so I'll wait until then to shave again. (That's my usual routine for my nights off: shaving the morning after my first night off and waiting until the night of my return to work to shave again.) Anyway, my first shave with the 34C was not as good as I was hoping. I am so used to shaving with the black beauty that I was having difficulty getting just the right angle or the right placement of the blade to shave any whiskers off at all. Fortunately I didn't carve up my face trying to figure that out, and I did end up with a fairly okay shave. Not dfs and certainly not bbs, but okay. I'm not sure what the reason is for the difficulty in getting the same kind of shave with a 34C that I get with the black beauty. I just figured it would be the same as far as how to hold the razor against my face to get the blade to cut the whiskers. But for some reason I had to experiment with proper angles and such. How long does it usually take to get used to using a "fixed blade" razor such as a 34C after shaving for so long with an adjustable razor like the black beauty? Before shaving this morning I was debating whether to order a couple of other razors such as the Parker 91r and the Muhle r108. After this morning's shave, however, I think I might want to wait a while before doing that, just so I can get used to the technique of using a non-adjustable razor. After that, then maybe I'll consider dipping further into RAD. What say, gents?
Besides the razor angle, another important technique is to use the least pressure you can to achieve a good shave. My early mistakes with DE/SE/injector razors were applying too much pressure. Let the weight of the razor largely do the work.
 

Flintstone65

Imagining solutions for imaginary problems
I would echo the advice from above -- although given your long standing relationship with the Black Beauty, it doesn't seem that you are a DE newbie. But I will say that after exploring more than 100 different razors (thanks RAD!) in various formats (DE, SE, Straights, Hair shapers, proprietary blade systems, etc), I do find that more often than not it takes more than 1 shave to get a really decent shave....the number of shaves it takes usually depends on my patience, focus and how quickly I learn the subtle adjustments to technique that get the razor "dialed in" -- I shave every other day, so a week is only 3 shaves for me, and usually by the 3rd shave I feel like I'm on the right track (but this is definitely a YMMV thing).

That said, my first DE razor was the Merkur 34C, and I never really took to it. I ultimately got a decent shave from it, but I went vintage and never looked back. Most people really like it, but honestly, I learned that I'm more of a "vintage" guy. There's nothing wrong with the 34C, or any of the newer razors, they just feel a bit "sterile" to me. Give me a WWII Tech, or a 1930's New Short Comb (or long comb), or a 1907 Single Ring (or my 1905 Double Ring), or a lather catcher, or an early injector, or a Weck Sextoblade....they all have different "shave personalities"; but I like learning the history and experiencing those various personalities, much like our predecessors did. And the more I dove down the rabbit hole, the more I realized that I wasn't going to find "The ONE" razor for me, or even a handful of "great" razors, but rather I learned that most (if not all) razors will do pretty much the same job, just some brought me more shaving joy than others.

Enjoy the trip, and please keep us posted!
 
The 34C is a great razor as most will attest. When I get a new razor, I usually feel pretty comfortable with it after about 5-6 shaves. The angle is usually the thing that causes me issues. Luckily all my razors can be used with a steep angle as that is what I naturally tend to do. All razors I have gotten that require a shallow angle, I typically struggle with them and end up returning or selling. I have the 34C, and though it's been a while since I've used it, I do like it....it's typically on travel squad duty.
 
The 34C can give excellent shaves but the window of the angle where it cuts most efficiently is rather narrow. Furthermore your preferred blade for the Black Beauty might not be the best suited one for the Merkur. I like something like a Bic or Nacet in mine.
 
The 34C can give excellent shaves but the window of the angle where it cuts most efficiently is rather narrow. Furthermore your preferred blade for the Black Beauty might not be the best suited one for the Merkur. I like something like a Bic or Nacet in mine.
I'm guessing what you and gdawg55 mean by the window of the angle being more narrow/shallow is that the razor should be tilted closer to 15° or 20° rather than 30°, correct? I'll give that a try and see if that works. I'm hoping that's all the experimenting that I need to do, but I'll keep at it until I figure it out, including figuring out which blades work best with it. The only thing is, from all I've heard about using a new razor/blade/soap etc., you want to keep the variables as limited as possible at the beginning so that if you experience problems it's easier to detect what the problem is caused by. So I'll continue with the Astra SP the next couple of shaves, and if no improvement occurs by adjusting the angle, I'll switch to a different blade and see if that works.
 
no, what is meant is that the working angle is rather close, so you need to make sure you hold the razor at the correct angle to do it's work properly. Assume it works best at 30 degrees, than you have a working angle of 25-35 degrees. Below or above that area, the razor hardly cuts, or is not comfortable anymore. So you have a small working area. From memory, I think I used it more like riding the cap, than riding the guard.
 
no, what is meant is that the working angle is rather close, so you need to make sure you hold the razor at the correct angle to do it's work properly. Assume it works best at 30 degrees, than you have a working angle of 25-35 degrees. Below or above that area, the razor hardly cuts, or is not comfortable anymore. So you have a small working area. From memory, I think I used it more like riding the cap, than riding the guard.
Ok. Thanks for the clarification.
 
Last night's shave was much better, still not quite dfs but closer than Thursday morning, and no irritation. I'm guessing shaving with this razor will be second nature before I'm done with my next blade. Thanks for all the help, guys! 🙂 Much appreciated.
 
When I was new to west shaving, I would think I don't like a razor and would try with a different blade and I loved it. Same with the blades. I would think I don't like a blade and then try it with a different razor and it was great. Try different razors with different blades and you will eventually find a perfect setup, or spend your whole life always searching for something even better.
 
I often screw up the first shave with a new razor when it is opposed to my usual habits.

Die example the Blackbird OC, riding the bar with that one is totally wrong, it's rather ride the cap.

For the Merkur 34c, it is very forgiving and flexible. You might rather struggle getting used to the short handle. I have a fairly large hand and short handles are finger work for me.
 
When ever I get a new or used razor I found I like to take short light strokes usually near the side burns on a small area, 1st stroke downwards and 2nd across grain and then I do a feel test. If I feel stubble it indicates mild or mid and then I do the exact same process on the other side burn area to confirm quick results.
A person can learn a lot from a 2 pass shave how aggressive and efficient the razor blade combination is. Also I like to use a Gillette Astra blade if possible because it's my standard blade and know it well to keep things consistent when testing a new razor.
I have used a lot of different razors over the years(50+razors) and I find my technique adjusts very quickly to receive the results I'm use to it seems, its like automatic adjusting as the shave continues to get similar results consistently.
I bought recently a Yaqi Katana SE razor head on sale and I did a little research and gave it a testing recently with good results and then I label it mentally a upper mid range automatically so when I pick it up next time there is a respect for its physical capabilities and my shave results should be good.
Some razors need 2 passes with cleanups and other milder razors need 3 passes with cleanups, As your technique matures you know you limits of skin irritation and what you can get a way with and must stop shaving so not to **** your skin off & not to ruin that day shave experience.
 
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