Open Comb Razors

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by Two Rivers Man, Jul 28, 2018.

    I recall reading some years ago that open comb razors are best for heavy beards; is that strictly true? I have a medium beard but have always wanted to give one of these a go. So what is the deal with open combs?
  1. Yes and no. It depends. Kinda and maybe.

    There are those who would agree with the thrust of your question. There are those who would disagree.

    But 90% of the time, technique and preparation are more compelling than whether one's razor has teeth or not. I get excellent shaves from both kinds, and I have coarse 81 year old whiskers.
  2. Just try it!
  3. The less you have in front of your razor’s edge the easier it will be to take off long growth. If you use a straight razor it the edge has no teeth or safety bar running into hair prior to the blade. No clogging up. OC razors provide a safety razor option that’s closer to this. The comb gives you protection while allowing more unobtruded blade to face contact and less clogging. A safety bar gives the skin more protection than a comb GENERALLY SPEAKING (my most mild razor is a Hoffritz OC so there are always exceptions) but the safety bar also causes longer hair to get clogged so it takes more time and shorter strokes to remove the hair unless you shave every day and only have stubble to contend with.
  4. Thanks for the replies! I just ordered the DOC from Phoenix Artisan Accouterments. Came upon it accidentally and had to snap one up. And it's nickel plated to boot!
  5. emwolf

    emwolf Contributor

    The doc is a very nice mile razor
  6. I very much look forward to shaving with it.
  7. Uncas

    Uncas Contributor

    I do not have a heavy beard, although old and coarse. I use one of three different open comb razors everyday, and consider them excellent shavers.
  8. I figured the comb was present to allow more later to remain on the face and thereby maintaining a better level of hydration. The popular Schick injectors from the same era never had an open comb that I am aware.
  9. Not true. I have sensitive skin prone to bumps and ingrowns. I use low settings on adjustable and prefer a mild razor.

    As long as you have good technique you will get great shaves.
  10. One thing I will say about open comb razors: Not all of them will feel as nice on your skin as others. Some of the later-made old types from Gillette weren't finished the best on the comb tips, they can have burrs, etc. and feel harsh on the skin. Compared to a New Improved or a New, all old type open combs are sharp and skritchy to me, though they are still great shavers.

    Some bakelite open comb razors have the casting lines on the tips of the fingers, and feel abrasive on the skin. The PAA slant is like this out of the box.

    I use open combs about as often as I use safety bar DE's, but almost without fail, the safety bar razors feel smoother, even if more aggressive. Just try a 1946 aristocrat and you'll see what I mean.

    When selecting a "keeper" open comb, I look closely at the finish on the comb finger tops and tips. If it's not nice and smooth there and well finished without burrs, plating flashing, etc., I opt for another razor. YMMV.

    In some cases, when having an open comb I like replated, I take the opportunity to remove burrs and sand the comb tips to a uniform smoothness on a piece of fins sandpaper on a flat surface plate. When re-plated, those razors are IMMENSELY improved in how they feel on my beard.
  11. Good advice on using sand paper. I like wettable for working with brass.
  12. From what I have heard, all of the early Gillette razors were open comb. Back then, a lot of men may not have be able to shave every day, so having a razor that would not clog with a heavy beard was an advantage. I shave often enough that my beard never gets heavy, but it is coarse and my skin is sensitive. The open comb allows a portion of the lather to escape through the comb to lubricate and cushion the blade. If find that to be a real advantage. Of course, the "best" solution for a heavy beard is a razor with no comb...otherwise known as a straight razor. Of course YMMV.
  13. Straights can be intimidating, but you could also consider something like a Rolls Razor, it shaves like a straight but is easier to use.
  14. Some told me the older gems shaved like a SR.
  15. My beard is coarse, but only full on certain areas like my chin, jaw line and upper lip. The majority of my cheeks are bare. With that being said, I love open comb and slant razors.

    Gillette New Improved is my very favorite razor. I also enjoy the PAA BOCS. Definitely worth looking into an open comb or slant, if not just for variety.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  16. I agree. OC is not as pleasant as SB, on my face. The extra little bit of efficiency on an OC is offset by a harsher feel. I have and use both, I just prefer SB.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
  17. My eldest son often goes weeks without shaving, and he used to use multi-blade disposables.
    I took pity on him and set him up with some decent cream, a brush, some Astra SPs, and a RazoRock Old Type.
    He really likes how it sails through heavy growth and is so easy to rinse.

    Another advantage I find with open combs is when you are blade buffing. They seem to be better at dragging lather back over a spot you just did.
    That's my theory too.
    I imagined ranchers and farmers who would only shave on Saturday nights after their weekly bath, in preparation for church on Sunday morning. Or blue-collar workers on Friday nights, if they have a hot date lined up.
  18. I don't think open combs are strictly for guys with coarse beards. My facial hair is fine and somewhat sparse. And I've settled on an open comb Gillette NEW as my daily shaver. Its efficiency means fewer passes and less irritation.
  19. I like open combs because they are efficient and don't clog. I have a slightly tough beard, but I wouldn't call it a heavy beard.

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