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Open tooth vs. Bar- would someone school us on the differences?

Pretty much as stated above. I've seen versions of both on many new Merkurs. What are the performance differences? What are the shaving/facial/beard characteristics most likely to prefer one over the other?

I was initially under the impression that the open tooth was more aggressive. But I've seen a lot of vintages with open teeth and seen some referred too here as mild shavers, thus a bit of confusion.

Thanks in advance for your replies, and for taking the time to educate yet another fledgling DE shaver :thumbup1:.
 
R

rainman

There is a lot of variation just within the safety bar classification or just within the open comb. It will come down to which one that you prefer. Definately don't judge an open comb before you try one, you might like them. I use an open comb for my head. The hair that I have left on my head is much thicker than my facial hair. Safety bars on my head don't work as well and can produce a bouncing effect which is a bad thing. For my face, I prefer safety bar razors, open combs always leave me a little raw.

The general thought is that open combs are better for heavy or thick hair growth. Also for someone who shaves once a week instead of daily.
 
I was initially under the impression that the open tooth was more aggressive. But I've seen a lot of vintages with open teeth and seen some referred too here as mild shavers, thus a bit of confusion.
I was under the same impression. i've got an open comb old type and it shaves just fine, but there is a noticeable difference in shaves when I use this over my Tech (which I find more forgiving on my face). I would assume blade placement on the head is what makes the difference. maybe a fixed head safety razor provides a milder shave compared to an adjustable.
 
OC's are not milder or more aggressive than safety bars by nature.
Merkur OC's (and the new Mühle R41) are rather mild while the old Mühle's (R41/89; same number so may confuse) are very aggressive. With vintage Gillette's same story; some are mild and others are aggressive.

The OC's main advantage is that they will shave a 2 month old beard with the same ease as your daily stubble. They also work great when the grain of your beard is all over the place.

They will deliver a different kind of shave and I think you just have to try them out to get to know them. Personally I like them very much and the new Mühle R41 is probably my favourite new razor around.
 
I was under the same impression. i've got an open comb old type and it shaves just fine, but there is a noticeable difference in shaves when I use this over my Tech (which I find more forgiving on my face). I would assume blade placement on the head is what makes the difference. maybe a fixed head safety razor provides a milder shave compared to an adjustable.
You just mentioned two razors close to the opposite ends of the aggressive scale. Kinda like wondering why a Porsche and a Volkswagen are different. Try comparing the difference between a New open comb versus a Super Speed and you'll find almost no difference in aggressiveness. Of course the two shave differently. But they were designed for the same blade, the Tech and the Old Type weren't. The only way you can judge how a particular razor will shave is to try it.

Len
 
You just mentioned two razors close to the opposite ends of the aggressive scale. Kinda like wondering why a Porsche and a Volkswagen are different. Try comparing the difference between a New open comb versus a Super Speed and you'll find almost no difference in aggressiveness. Of course the two shave differently. But they were designed for the same blade, the Tech and the Old Type weren't. The only way you can judge how a particular razor will shave is to try it.

Len
+1 You have to just try it.
 
Thanks for the education Gents, I'll have to give some a try! (I've got my 30's New shave ready now, so when I transition from my "learner", I'll throw that one a week in rotation!).
 
Thanks for the education Gents, I'll have to give some a try! (I've got my 30's New shave ready now, so when I transition from my "learner", I'll throw that one a week in rotation!).

Take it easy my 1930's NEW with a new blade left me with some raw spots on the neck. My 195 Fatboy year 1960 set 1-3 has been fine so far.
 

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
OC's are not milder or more aggressive than safety bars by nature.
Merkur OC's (and the new Mühle R41) are rather mild while the old Mühle's (R41/89; same number so may confuse) are very aggressive. With vintage Gillette's same story; some are mild and others are aggressive.

The OC's main advantage is that they will shave a 2 month old beard with the same ease as your daily stubble. They also work great when the grain of your beard is all over the place.

They will deliver a different kind of shave and I think you just have to try them out to get to know them. Personally I like them very much and the new Mühle R41 is probably my favourite new razor around.
+1

The only other thing that I will add is that an OC will help you a bit with your angle. The OC will have the blade pick-up the lather. If you are doing it right, you will get a clean shaven spot. If not, you will have teeth marks. With a closed safety bar, good/bad angle, the lather will be wiped.
 
I love open combs. They slice through a few days' growth like nobody's business. I've been using a Merkur head (on a Parker horn handle) but I've recently bought the old-style Muhle R89 because I want to see what a more aggressive razor would be like.

It's been my experience that it's much easier to give yourself irritation with open combs though, if you're not careful.
 
Can they really do that or are you exaggerating?
Yes they can (probably) do that. Razors with a safety bar will flatten out long whiskers making them harder to shave off. The open comb lets the whiskers pass between the teeth and get to the blade in a more upright position. It also does not scrape up the lather before the blade can get to it.

One theory I've heard is back in the day when ALL safety razors were open comb it was common for men to go for some significant time between shaves so it was important for a razor to deal with long whiskers.

Another theory is that the safety bar was introduced not to make the razor shave any better but to eliminate bent teeth. No teeth, no bent teeth!

EDIT: A third theory is that thinner sheet metal allowed for less expensive manufacturing -- cheaper materials and simpler process. Just stamp it out. I don't know how open combs were manufactured. Maybe also a stamping process but with much heavier stock.
 
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Thanks again for all the replies guys, I'm learning! Sounds like I'll like an open comb, looking forward to trying it.

Take it easy my 1930's NEW with a new blade left me with some raw spots on the neck. My 195 Fatboy year 1960 set 1-3 has been fine so far.
That's covered. I've got several razors inbound, including a really clean Slim Adjustable from '65. So I can try something similar to the Fat Boy too (and I'll probably pick one of those up too, though they are pretty pricey right now!).

+1

The only other thing that I will add is that an OC will help you a bit with your angle. The OC will have the blade pick-up the lather. If you are doing it right, you will get a clean shaven spot. If not, you will have teeth marks. With a closed safety bar, good/bad angle, the lather will be wiped.
Sounds intriguing, maybe it'll help me improve my technique :cool:.

I'm going to start another thread with pics of the New, I just cleaned it up this evening, and I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out.
 
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Can they really do that or are you exaggerating?
They can and that is just what I do once a year; my goatee goes off every summer (and the lenght off my beard will be around 0.5 to 0.75 inch). If I wanted a DFS/BBS I would need one extra pass but since I let it grow back again anyway I don't bother.
No trimming just soap and a fresh blade!
 
A whole lot depends on the blade that you use. I use Astra Superior Stainless Platinums. They are greatand smooth. I tried a Derby Extra in my go to razor and it was rough and I thought I would need a packet of quick clot before it was over. I have leathery skin and this was a horrible experience.
 
+1

The only other thing that I will add is that an OC will help you a bit with your angle. The OC will have the blade pick-up the lather. If you are doing it right, you will get a clean shaven spot. If not, you will have teeth marks. With a closed safety bar, good/bad angle, the lather will be wiped.
Interesting Luc, I never thought anything of the teeth marks when I've used my OC, but your post makes sense. I'm going to work on that now. Thanks. :biggrin: :tongue: :rolleyes: :001_rolle
 
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