Open Comb Razors

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

    Yes, I saw he has 2 replated ones on there now, one short comb and one long. I'm asking about the SC. Apparently the perceived wisdom here is that there is only a penny's worth of difference between the two models, YMMV, etc. And I like the look of the SC a fraction better.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  1. I have a replated LC and although it feels fantastic on my face, I always manage to cut or aggravate a patch of skin to the left of my Adam’s apple when I use it (where it hollows out if you know what I mean). Since it was the first safety razor I tried when I started wet shaving 4 years ago, I put the problem down to poor technique. However, I’ve since read a couple of posts from other people who’ve encountered the same problem and I believe they said that the LC offers a bit less blade support than the SC, which may lead to such issues. I really don’t know if that’s true but it did make me want to try an SC at some point as I love the look of the New razor.
  2. Someone here said that the NEW SC holds the blade a bit more rigidly. Is that right, or do I have it backwards? The LC is quite impressive with its long fangs (so to speak), but a rigid blade is probably a better thing all around.
  3. Kai


    I don't think Open Combs have any distinct advantage over Safety Bar razors, as there are 'mild' and 'wild' versions of both to suit any type of beard. There is, however, one exception: Open Comb razors have a distinct advantage when cutting many days worth of growth compared to Safety Bar razors. When I go more than a day or two between shaves, that's what I reach for.
  4. Yes the SC holds the blade more rigidly, as the raised portion of the base comes much closer to the edge of the blade than on a LC. Other very smooth OCs are smooth for similar reasons, the Timeless (SS/Ti), Schone, and Fat-Tips some to mind, all clamping the blade down very nicely over a large portion of their surface area.

    I'll second eaglesgift's comment, that if there's an existing injury, scar, scab, ingrown, or cut/nick, you're more likely to have it caught by an OC razor. I have a small raised bump the last few days on the left side of my chin. (Probably was a small weeper or ingrown hair, or something). Once my Timeless grabbed it on Tuesday, it also easily found it Weds and Thurs, making it open up again, and having me reach for the styptic stick. My solution was to use my Rockwell 6s (with plate R6 no less) this morning, and didn't have any issue pulling the razor across that area. I'm 100% sure that using my Timeless 95 OC, Schone, or one of the Gillettes (SC/LC) would have caught that bump gain.

    The OCs will sit in the drawer for a couple of days, until the little bugger heals up and no longer sticks out taunting me to open it back up.
  5. That is more of a theoretical advantage than a real one both new models hold the blade more rigidly than most modern offerings.
  6. I have a NEW LC and a pretty coarse hair. It mows down everything efficiently and its very smooth feeling.

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  7. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    The SC holds the blade in a much more rigid way than the LC.

    NEW SC left, NEW LC right.

    IMG_1447.jpg IMG_1458.jpg IMG_1459.jpg

    The difference between them is in how much of the base plate supports the blade, how large those bearing surfaces are and how the cap clamps the blade to the base very close to the blades edge as if in a vise.

    The NEW SC gives virtually the same shave as the Wolfman WR1, which is the main reason you can find 20 NEW LC's for every one NEW SC.

    NEW SC left, Wolfman WR1 right.

    IMG_2118.JPG WolfmanWR1.png

    I personally found the NEW LC's lack of support an issue. You can read about that here, even with using a shim and in a direct comparison to a more rigid design, a made in England Gillette Flare Tip Rocket.

    Gillette NEW LC Not Cutting It

    That can be a direct result of a razors design lacking support and is pretty much the same issue I had in the above thread.

    Adjusting the angle while shaving can limit that, but it depends how much support you need over such trouble spots. I have a swirl growth pattern on each side of my adams apple. The NEW LC skipped over them. A shim helped about 50%. A shim under the blade increases rigidity. Where the LC skipped, the SC just wipes all the stubble off with the lather.

    This isnt theoretical. Its physics.
  8. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    They are very smooth. The NEW LC I had was one of the smoothest razors I used until I got to my swirls. If I didnt have the swirl growth patterns I do have, I'd still have that LC.
  9. I’m definitely going to try an SC then. It’s never the easiest part of my shave - the area I mentioned - but the LC is the only razor I’ve tried that seemed to like nipping me there every time. Probably something I could work on but I really did try and had little success those first few months of wet shaving and it’s been a long while since I’ve used it now. Maybe I should dust it off and see if anything’s changed in the last 2 or 3 years.
  10. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    Using one shim will tell you if more rigidity is what you need.

    See this thread: Prewar Tech + one Shim =...

    The pre war Tech and the post war Tech offer similar base plate designs to the NEW SC and LC. The post war offering increased rigidity over the pre war.

    Post war Tech base left, pre war right.


    Post war Techs are easy to come by and inexpensive. Get one with the Fat Tech Handle and you'll have one of the best razors ever made. Get both, pre and post war, and see which design works better for you.


    The NEW SC and LC will offer increased efficiency, but both were sold with one of I believe 7 different caps.

    Caps below.

    SC left, LC right. Notice the corner tabs.

    IMG_1468.JPG IMG_1469.JPG IMG_1447.jpg

    The 'correct' SC cap has squared corner tabs to mate with the machined recesses in the SC base and also offers the most blade exposure. My SC, with the SC cap and a Polsilver is a 2 1/2 pass BBS every time I use it. With the post war Tech cap, I need to add one more clean up below my jawline. Thats the only difference I can find. The SC cap will only fit on the SC base. It wont fit any other Gillette base plate.

    Another one worth trying is a Gillette Old Type. They can be found for around the same or less cost than a Tech and have the same efficiency level for me as my NEW SC while being more comfortable because they have less blade gap.

    As has been said previously, with OC razors, make sure the teeth are straight. You can break teeth off by trying to straighten them without annealing them first. A Gillette Old Type, has a much thinner base plate than the NEW SC so it can also be bent quite easily. Chances are, if it has bent teeth, the base plate is also likely bent, but thats a fairly easy fix if you're so inclined. With my 1917 Gillette Single Ring I was so inclined and I actually did more work to it than I ever guessed it needed. The end result is, its now my favorite DE.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  11. Thanks for all the detailed info Mike. When you say a shim under the blade, do you mean between the base plate and the blade?

    EDIT: Never mind, I just read the Tech thread you linked to so I already know the answer :). I think I did try a shim in that position but maybe I cut too much off the edges. I remember getting some uneven blade exposure issues when I did it.

    At the risk of going off topic, are all the post war Tech base plates and caps the same? What I mean is could you take the plate and cap off a travel tech and use it with a fat handle, and get the same result as if you'd bought a post war fat handle tech?
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  12. From my personal experience an OC clogs a lot more when I haven't shaved for a week that a SB DE. I have done some OC pass arounds and now have a DOC and PAA Slant. I love shaving with both, but not when I avoid shaving for a week, the hair clogs up so fast, I have to loosen them up to clear and then go again.
  13. sw_


    I second that. Shaved my arms a few days ago with a DLCyaqi (AKA Razorock SLOC) and it clogged immediately, wouldn't really rinse and was totally useless for the job. I took a DE89 then which was very efficient and pushed the cut hair forward instead of clogging. I had similar experiences with other OC razors. Blade gap is what you should be looking for when cutting longer hair! And if it's really long, only a straight or shavette will work properly.

    I'd say the benefits of an OC razor are purely theoretical. The assumption that OC razors are generally different or better in whatever way is wrong, it soley depends on the individual design.
    Which is kinda disappointing because I think OC razors look much more interesting. :/
  14. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    You're welcome!

    Under the blade as a general rule, yes. It depends on where you feel the rigidity is lacking. A shim on top can help sometimes too, but thats more dependent on blade reveal, the amount of blade showing from looking down at the cap.

    My Fatip Grande below is a Mk.2. The Mk.2 Fatips have a 19mm wide cap. Mk.1's an 18mm wide cap giving more blade reveal and blade exposure.


    Using that razor with a steep angle over my swirls, the edge of the blade can flex and tug the hairs. A shim on top might help limit that, but its easier and more comfortable using it at a shallower over them.

    A shim on top of a Mk.1 Fatip would lend it even more rigidity, because more of the blade is revealed.

    Finding your best angle, which gives you the most comfortable shave and a shave as close as you like, is pretty much determined by the angle of use.

    With my razors that have a lot of blade exposure, my preferred angle is shallow to very shallow. See the pic below and think of the red line as my skin.

    IMG_2182 (2).JPG

    I push the cap into my skin so that I can achieve the edge to skin angle that gives me the most comfortable shave. This I think is one of the largest hurdles for DE shavers, especially if their new to DE razors. You need to find the right angle and pressure combination that works for you. What works for one most likely wont work for another. Find the sweet spot and you're in business.

    The wider the shim the better it will work. Just be careful of those cut off edges. They curl and can be dangerous. Some use a file to take the edge down instead of scissors to cut them off.

    Adding a shim also increases blade gap, the more shims you add, the larger the blade gap becomes. That does exactly the same thing adjustable razors do.

    Basically yes, a post war Tech is a post war Tech. If it has oval slots its generally known to be a post war. If it has triangular slots, its a pre war. There are minor differences in some years of post war Techs, but the basic base plate design is the same in regard to blade support.
  15. It's funny how open combs are generally looked at differently from scalloped bars. They are very much alike in having spaced high points for contacting skin. Of course, lather can't collect inside a scalloped bar and pass through it as with an open comb, and an open comb is better suited for mowing down long hair, but the mechanics are similar in how OC and scalloped guards interact with skin and hair. The most important parameter with them is the spacing between the teeth or peaks. The smaller the spacing, the more like a straight bar the guard becomes. The larger the spacing, the more like the guard isn't there. Larger spacings result in more aggressiveness and efficiency for both OC and scalloped guards.
  16. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    With a shallow enough angle, it doesnt even matter because neither the SB or the OC touches the skin. :)
  17. True (as long as the blade exposure is positive enough for the angle and pressure that you use)! Hey, Mike, why don't you just get it over with and switch to straights? You know you want to. :wink2: :laugh:
  18. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    Nope. Too lazy and too impatient. My Grande is a straight, with a guide cap lol.
  19. I hear ya, Mike. I don't want to struggle with a straight, either.

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