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Open Comb vs. Closed Comb. Which do you prefer and why?

Considering purchasing a DE razor. Although my results using a supply 2.0 are really good, I feel like I'm missing something. Schick blades are great but maybe there's better shaves to be had. I'm really sorry if this has been gone over before. I couldn't find in search what I want to ask. I know the difference between open and closed comb razors insofar as what they look like an head design. That's about it. I am curious however, about the practical differences between the two in terms of performance, reasons to chose one over the other etc. I guess one came first and the over was invented for a reason. Thanks in advance for replies.
 

thombrogan

Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
My favorite safety feature is the open comb on my RazoRock Hawk V3OC because it looks like Wallace and Gromit teeth. Otherwise, whatever saves me from myself and feels comfortable is A#1-okay with me (which is coincidentally an open comb most of the time).

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OC. I am confident it is pure prejudice.

I'm reasonably sure both designs can be executed to shave well for most men, but I don't intend to use enough ordinary SBs to find out for sure. For an SB to make it into my rotation, it has to pander to one of my other biases (slant, GEM, injector).

I already PIFed away a bunch of Merkur SB heads. My Karve SBs may go next. Anybody need a Fatip Gentile plate?
 
I hate to answer with "it depends," but it depends. I have some OCs that I like, and some that are harsher that I don't like. The same holds true for my closed comb razors. In general, I prefer lighter OC razors over heavier OC razors (which feel harsher to me), but I prefer heavier CC razors (usually with larger blade gaps) over lighter ones with smaller gaps (which are usually, but not always, less efficient).
 
The big advantage of open-comb razors is they can tackle longer growth without clogging. If you face-shave irregularly, or do any body/head shaving, that can be a big plus.

People often say open-combs are more aggressive but I think that depends on the head geometry rather than the open comb. For example the Merkur open-comb head is extremely mild, with negative blade exposure. It's an easy, relaxed shave.

I also have a Fatip Piccolo. This feels mild to me - although not to everyone. It also feels very smooth because of the way it clamps the blade down tight, reducing chatter. It's a really nice shave.
 
Oh yes - one more thing that I wanted to mention: although one should not push down on a DE razor while shaving (usually), a closed comb exacts less of a penalty than an open comb if this happens. If you push down on an OC razor, the skin is more likely to pop up between the comb teeth directly into the path of the blade - not a good thing.
 
Thanks. Such good info. I am a definite every day shaver. Really can't miss a day. Almost a little OCD about it. Kind of leaning toward a beginner closed comb but I like an aggressive razor as I use the Supply only with the 3 Dot plate.
 
I'll provide another vote for "it depends". That said, where I've used both an open comb and safety bar version of the same razor, I have found the open comb to be slightly more efficient and slightly more aggressive. I also have used the Supply with the 3 Dot plate. If you're looking for a double edge razor you might try the RazoRock Game Changer .84. It comes either as an open comb or safety bar. You can buy the full razor with one and add the extra base plate (assuming that it's in stock). The Karve razor might be another good choice, but I don't speak here from personal experience. Like the Game Changer, it allows you to add a second base plate, has both open comb and safety bar options and gets very good reviews on this forum.
 
Depends on the razor. On my ATT, I prefer the M2 over the M1. The M2 is open comb and the M1 is solid bar. It’s a fairly mild razor and the M2 open comb helps w blade feel and even shaves smooth. I pay a little more attention with it though but it’s a great razor. For my newly acquired Wolfman I got the SB 1.05 WR1. It’s been great. I shaves my course stubble so easy I wondered if I should have gotten something more aggressive. It is so easy and smooth. Perfect shave even on autopilot. I can’t imagine going OC with it but I have a 2nd order with Wolfman open and I think I may go 1.05 OC.


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It really depends on the razor and finish for me. The OC on an Old Type feels so smooth, I don’t feel the comb at all. At the same time, I feel the comb on my OC Timeless .95 yet it is also very smooth.

By contrast, some SBs don’t feel very smooth to me at all. I think there are a lot of factors at play and it really isn’t an OC vs SB thing. The OC side on my Ikon SBS is my least favorite side of the dual comb and almost has a garden rake feel to it. I love the razor and the SB side, but the OC, not so much.
 
I tried couple OC razors and first time today on another one (Karve OC D plate). I'll have to say, OC does add a bit more blade feel and not as comfortable as CC in general. That's been pretty consistent all across OCs for me (Parker, Fatip, Karve, Gillette, PAA). I think I prefer an efficient Closed Comb razor like GC84 or Rockwell on 6 plate.
 
The big advantage of open-comb razors is they can tackle longer growth without clogging. If you face-shave irregularly, or do any body/head shaving, that can be a big plus.

People often say open-combs are more aggressive but I think that depends on the head geometry rather than the open comb. For example the Merkur open-comb head is extremely mild, with negative blade exposure. It's an easy, relaxed shave.

I also have a Fatip Piccolo. This feels mild to me - although not to everyone. It also feels very smooth because of the way it clamps the blade down tight, reducing chatter. It's a really nice shave.
Correct, my vintage Leresche are not aggressive. Also the English RFB is quite mild, milder than many solid bar Aristocrats.


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I began shaving about fifty years ago with an adjustable Gillette with a safety bar. Since then, I've gone through all sorts of razors: slants, injectors, disposables, even a cursed Techmatic.

About ten years ago I bought an Muhle R41 with its modified open comb--a very aggressive razor. All went well for a few years. Got nice, close shaves without skinning myself. Then, about three or so years ago, all that changed. It was like the damn thing developed fangs and a taste for blood.

Anyway, I bought a much milder razor, an Oristo (said to be a progenitor of RazoRock's Mamba). At first, I got terrible shaves until I realized that because of the razor's geometry and the safety bar, I could apply pressure in a way I wouldn't dare with an R41.

Since then, I've not looked back, and have acquired several more mild razors: a Mamba 70, a Feather AS/D2 and a Hone Type 15. All safely permit me to press down a bit for truly wonderful shaves without bloody melodrama.
 

emwolf

Contributor
I vote for it depends as well. When I have a multiple day growth, I find the OC mows down better than a SB. However, for my daily shaves I enjoy something mild and find a SB is just that, comfortable and smooth.
 
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