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Handles?

So still being new to the whole safety razor thing, I've seen a lot of handles on the sale/trade forums. Aside from having superior metals and weight and possibly a different grip, is there really any advantage to having a different handle?

My only 3 piece currently is a Merkur 180 (23c). I'd not really given any consideration to using a different handle with it before. But now I'm scratching my head about it.

Is there a standard as far as threads go or would I have to know what my current threads are and try to find something that would work?
 

ajkel64

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I know that members like to mix and match to find a combination that works for them. I am more of a purist. I like things to be as they are. Having said that I have bought many razors thinking that they are as they were made only to find out that someone had switched handles/heads in the past.
 
I guess it really depends on what DE razors you are talking about. I like the variety of handles that are available for the Gillette NEW razors, US & UK models. For Old Types, the ABC handles and the Canadian handles are nice and are my go-to's. Like @ajkel64, I am more of a purist, keeping the head and handle aligned to OEM options.
 
I tried a lot of razors honing my technique.

Ultimately, I just prefer lighter weight razors, but this preference is not shared by the majority of shavers. So most manufacturers make razors with SS.

In order to get the desired weight (60-80 grams for me), I need to pair lighter handles (25-45 grams) with heavier heads (25-50 grams). This is just my personal preference, but I enjoy the head heavy balance, which adds to the efficiency for me as well.

Also, while some very light weight materials are nice (Aluminum, Bakelite), the handles for those are often too light for me to pair with the SS heads. Which basically leaves one material that works, which is Titanium.

But Ti is expensive and hard to work with, and since most people prefer SS, there is a limited market. This has led to some Ti handle makers going out of business (eg, Jurgen Hempel, Triad?, and Stork).

Currently there are only a few companies that still make Ti handles as their primary product (TiBam, Windrose). And the razor companies that make Ti complete razors charge a premium (Wolfman, Paradigm, Timeless as examples).

The choices for Aluminum and Bakelite are also slim. PAA, ATT, Standard, Merkur 45 (possibly discontinued), some iKon heads, and Hone are the main ones I know of that still work with these materials.

Outside of these, the only options are hollow handles or vintage models.

This has led to a marketplace (arguably shortage) for Ti handles to be bought/traded on the BST (often at a premium). But there's no "need" for a Ti handle, just some people's preferences.

I hope that helps. Happy shaves!
 
In some cases balance. The Gillette New SC/LC with Common Bar Handle was very head heavy compare to its New Deluxe sibling and New Improved predecessor. I prefer to change handle if it feels better than win an award for purity.
So still being new to the whole safety razor thing, I've seen a lot of handles on the sale/trade forums. Aside from having superior metals and weight and possibly a different grip, is there really any advantage to having a different handle?

My only 3 piece currently is a Merkur 180 (23c). I'd not really given any consideration to using a different handle with it before. But now I'm scratching my head about it.

Is there a standard as far as threads go or would I have to know what my current threads are and try to find something that would work?
 
So still being new to the whole safety razor thing, I've seen a lot of handles on the sale/trade forums. Aside from having superior metals and weight and possibly a different grip, is there really any advantage to having a different handle?

My only 3 piece currently is a Merkur 180 (23c). I'd not really given any consideration to using a different handle with it before. But now I'm scratching my head about it.

Is there a standard as far as threads go or would I have to know what my current threads are and try to find something that would work?
I realized I only answered 1/2 the question...

Yes, there are 2 "standard" threads: 10/32 in and M5 (metric). Metric handles will fit 10/32 threads, 10/32 handles will not fit M5 threads.
 
Threading doesn't guarantee fitment, as is being discussed on another thread some New Short Comb baseplates won't accommodate all 10-32 handles because of the narrow opening.
I realized I only answered 1/2 the question...

Yes, there are 2 "standard" threads: 10/32 in and M5 (metric). Metric handles will fit 10/32 threads, 10/32 handles will not fit M5 threads.
 
I have mixed handles on all 3 of my razors so that they are “tuned” to the way I like them.

I have the 23c as well and put a shorter, heavier (84g) handle in it due to the mildness of the head and to make it easier to shave my head with it also. I have a more aggressive closed comb head that had a lighter handle (77g) that works better with the aggressiveness and helps me keep a lighter touch. Then my very aggressive open comb has the hollow 23c handle (60g) on it for the lightest touch.

Doing this gives me MY best personal setup for any shave situation. I use the 23c and closed comb for my daily shaved with different company blades in each one.

As everyone always says, experiment to find what you like and YMMV.


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Threading doesn't guarantee fitment, as is being discussed on another thread some New Short Comb baseplates won't accommodate all 10-32 handles because of the narrow opening.
Agreed... Hence the " ", but I could have been clearer.
 
The threading is standard the width of the baseplate opening to receive the handle differs.
Agreed... Hence the " ", but I could have been clearer.
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Handles definitely make a big difference for me. Weight, length and balance all change how a razor feels and how it shaves. My preference is for UFO or Wolfman handles but those are very pricey.

I wouldn't tell you to shell out a ton of cash for a top of the line handle in some exotic material at the moment. Consider trying some lesser priced handles in different sizes to see what combinations you like and don't like. At the very least you'll get something that has a bit more grip to it which will keep the razor in your hand a bit better. There are plenty of handle manufacturers like Windrose selling very reasonably prices all stainless steel handles. I hear Maggards has some very inexpensive handles that are pretty decent as well. It's a nice upgrade that won't cost you a fortune.

In addition selling something used that's solid stainless steel you usually can get back most of what you paid for it. After all, it's generally an item that'll last forever and doesn't really deteriorate much by being used for a short time.
 
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I completely agree with @dfoulk about a razor's balance and feel. It's amazing how much just changing a handle can completely change a razor's behavior. The handle on your Merkur 23c is 98mm x 11mm for reference. My current rotation does not include any of the handles that came with the razor heads and I didn't bother ordering a matching Karve or Charcoal Goods handle. The first 5 (l-r) are custom tibam_handles in 90mmx26mm, 85mmx20mm, 80mmx18mm, 75mmx18mm, and 70mmx14mm. All in 6Al4V titanium, M5 threaded, and only $50. He's super accommodating, will make just about whatever you want, and also offers C360 brass. The only catch is time, since they can take 4-8 weeks to arrive from Russia due to their postal system. Handles 6 and 7 are Windrose K2 handles out of England, 84mmx15mm, 303 stainless, and about $40. The styles currently available are about $40-$80, but some have really narrow necks. Something to keep in mind. Handles 8 and 9 are the Weber Classic 99mmx13mm and Bulldog 79mmx13mm, both in 316L stainless, both readily available, and only $30. The last is the Ikon Tuckaway, also in 316L stainless, also readily available, and only $25. Places like Maggard's, WCS, and Razorock have decent, inexpensive handles as well.

If for no other reason than why not, try experimenting with the exact opposite of your current handle. Something shorter, wider, and possibly heavier.
 
I briefly contracted RHAD (razor handle acquisition disorder). As a result of that, though, I ended up with 3 UFO handles, so I'm pretty happy.
I only wish I had contracted the disease about six months earlier, so I could have had a BRW (Bob's Razor Works) handle in my collection, as well.
 
I struggle with my RHAD. I still have more handles than heads and I am working to correct this error...which leads to another problem.
 
Thanks @Aziraphale, it is. I've been working on something wall mounted with vertically stacked razor head trays, but I'm limited on useable scrap sizes and mill capabilities at work. Ideally, I'd make them in hardwoods.
 
I like to swap out handles and try out different lengths, but mostly different weights. I've got five heads: Timeless SS + Ti .95MM SB, ATT H1 SS SB, GC .84-P SB, Gillette Heritage, and a Blackbird SS SB (the only razor handle that I don't swap out - it's perfect as is). I've used the iKon maybe twice. Just yesterday I put the aluminum bamboo ATT on the Timeless and had a very enjoyable experience. Light is right in that situation lol.

61g ATT Atlas
50g Charcoal Goods
30g Gillette Heritage
73g Game Changer HD
88g Timeless H7 Barber pole
20g ATT bamboo
79g iKon OSS 95mm

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