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

Having used the Gillette Old type, New type , Game changer OC , Timeless OC, and my favorites Gem razors like MMOC - I must say I lean to OC razors - however SB razors like Pre war Tech do have their place as they are ultra smooth with a good blade.
Well I'm firmly in the "It depends" camp ... allied to the YMMV outlook .. There are so many variables I think defining the "Best" is pretty impossible . I tend to prefer vintage razors, I've had some of the more usual modern brands and tried them .. Mostly they get cleaned and put away safely while I promise myself to sell them but just forget to. Of the Vintage ones .. I like the old Tech closed Model with the ball end handle .. great grip and never slips. ( unlike a lot of modern razors that look great but are downright dangerous to use with soapy fingers ..) ... I also have an Open comb Tech of even earlier vintage and I usually use the Bolzano blades even though many people seem to dislike them ... Personally I don't get nicked , Irritated and have nice smooth close shaves.
To me those are the standard I judge all razors against ...
BUT ...and here's the "yeahbut " the amount and type of soap / shaving cream.. the angle I use .the blade exposure . the heat of the water , what feels good to me etc ...are all subjective ... and impossible to replicate or describe in a meaningful way.

I hear of people describing some razors as either aggressive or mild .. To me it boils down to your control of the razor , technique and sense of touch .. Maybe years of guitar playing gives me an "Edge" in that regard <Grins>


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As a rule I like OC because they allow for more lather flow through than the SB plate. The more scalloping on the SB plate the better as it does allow a certain amount of flow through.

I find that my Timeless OC razors are very smooth because the teeth are very rounded. To the other extreme my Blackbird OC can feel a little harsh, like the teeth are sharp, but I believe that is by design. When I feel that harshness I know my angle is too aggressive and needs to go more towards the cap.

I really like both of these razors because they are so different but shave great. I will point out that I don't like the Timeless SB plate, because it seems to plow away the lather and causes some skipping. That plate is totally solid with no scalloping at all.
I am curious however, about the practical differences between the two in terms of performance, reasons to chose one over the other etc.
Depends on the razor.

Most SB Gem razors, for instance, are too mild for me. The Blackland Sabre, an SB Gem razor, is one of the closest shavers I have. It's closer for me with less irritation than the Gem MMOC. The PAA Starling V2SB is too mild; the Starling V2OC is a wonderfully close razor.

I tend to prefer OC razors, but with the RazoRock Hawk V3 I prefer the SB over the OC because the OC is their "Jaws" design that has wide gaps between the teeth. I find that a recipe for blood as the OC tends to straddle bumps instead of ride over them. The SB gives me smooth lovely shaves. I would like an OC option for it with two more teeth.

On the DE side of the house, I don't use "regular" DE razors and prefer slants. I have both OC and SB slants -- the SB Wunderbar is a very efficient razor while the OC PAA El Fantasma is quite mild. That's a function of blade gap and exposure instead of SB vs. OC.

It's also a useful illustration that just considering SB or OC won't give you the whole picture. I've also noted that many modern makers tend to make their OC razors more aggressive than their SB razors, even if by just a little. It's kind of hard to compare too much if they're changing other variables along with the bar or teeth.

Closed combs require a bit of pressure in my experience.

OC requires a lot less pressure, but some razors might feel like a garden rake. I personally prefer the 'scratchy' shave of an OC, but do enjoy shaving with an EJ 3ONE6 as well, as it's one of the few razors with a safety bar which is quite aggressive.
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.
Whilliam, Of the ones you mentioned, which is your 'Go To'

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The Instigator
Got OC and scalloped baseplate for Timeless, and alternate each week.

A different non-answer! 🙄

Whilliam, Of the ones you mentioned, which is your 'Go To'
I doubt if I could tell one from another blindfolded, save for the Hone, which is quite heavy and has a feel all its own. If I had to choose just one, any would do.

As for price-performance, the Mamba 70 is the clear winner (more so if you can score a Mamba 70 "Special" blem, which I did for about $50). The Hone and the Feather are the most expensive of the lot, each going for about $170.
+1 - It depends! Almost half of my razors are OC so they are used weekly either vintage or modern. Slant bar and vintage SE too as part of the rotation...
The smoothness of a shave got nothing to do with if the razor got a comb or a bar. It is all about blade exposure and gap, and you can have the same geometry for both open combs and bars and they shave pretty much identically. There is one thing I like with open combs: you could neglect shaving for months and the super mild Merkur 15C would mow it down without clogging. Open combs are less prone to clogging.
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 have an original issue Supply, and while it gives a nice shave, you are indeed missing something. I took a diamond plate to my bar for size reduction, and am much happier now.

To directly answer your question: it depends- on the razor. Some SBs perform as well as, or similar to, other makers OCs, and vice versa.

iKon has some heads on sale right now, so you could try both for a fairly reasonable investment. Bargain basement, go ebay, and find a Gillette OC that you like the looks of, and a SuperSpeed or Tech.
Being a total nerd and self confessed sucker for what works for me .... Just scored another mint vintage ball end closed comb tech,
.. Why ...cuz I love em and I'm just paranoid enough to envisage the day I drop my beloved tech and stand on it ... Hey it might happen ...right ? I also invested in a new Parker 26C open comb based on reviews , videos and it looks nice :) I have tried a Baili 171 .which is cheap as fries ( over here we call those chips ) .. it works just fine ...like a modern Tech with a Bolzano blade in it ...BUT ...omg ..I popped in a Feather last night .. Holy moly It almost took my teeth out .. wont be trying that again.. No angle worked good. Ouchy .. Oddy a feather in my very vintage Gillette OC works just fine ..But on examination the blade exposure is far less on the Gillette . ( lesson Learned ) ... Looking forward to seeing how the much praised Parker 26C works out ...will report back after I've tried it with different blades and a steady hand :)
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