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Open Tooth vs. Regular: What is the difference?

I'm looking at getting my first DE razor, and am pretty sure I want to go with a Merkur-- not only on the advice of the famous mantic but also on their affordability-- and a long handled one, as I have larger hands. Long handled Merkurs seem to come in either Open Tooth or regular varieties. What is the real difference between them, besides construction? Is there a difference in performance/aggressiveness/technique? Which is better for a beginner?
 
I hope someone with more experience than me will chime in on your more detailed questions. I have a couple of open comb razors, but I don't feel like I can elaborate on their differences vs closed-comb in any detail.

The usual recommendation is to start with the closed-comb model. I'm not sure that it matters: after all, young men in the 1930s must have learned to shave with open-comb Gillettes.
 
the open tooth comb is for thicker beards if i'm not mistaken and is slightly more aggressive. the regular head (like the Techs) provide a milder shave. I have an open comb Old Type and it works great - I did notice that the blade gap is much closer when compared to a Tech head but it performs just as well. YMMV
 
the open tooth comb is for thicker beards if i'm not mistaken and is slightly more aggressive. the regular head (like the Techs) provide a milder shave. I have an open comb Old Type and it works great - I did notice that the blade gap is much closer when compared to a Tech head but it performs just as well. YMMV
The closer blade gap is a product of the head design and not necessarily the open comb design. Some people find the open comb to be more aggressive, I find them best with 2+ days growth. I don't believe any different technique needs to be applied when varying from closed to open comb in the same model razor.
 
The closed comb requires that the shaver pass the razor over the whiskers at about 30degrees or the head or comb get in the way of the blade. When you get the angle right, depending on the gap between the comb and the blade, you can manually alter the "aggressiveness" of the cut - within limits. The head pushes down on the blade, but not all the way to the comb.

On the open comb, the head pushes down on the blade until the blade rests on the comb. The blade is exposed for about a 1/16" between the comb teeth. In essence, the open comb will allow the blade edge to come into contact with the whiskers during the entire stroke. The angle will also determine the "aggressiveness" of the cutting.

So, the open comb is a little more forgiving of technique if all you want to do is cut whiskers - and this is what I think people mean when they say it is aggressive. If you get the angle right on the closed comb, it's every bit as aggressive. There is also some mention that the comb on the open comb can help untangle and straighten the whiskers to align them with the blade better, but I don't have that problem so I can't verify it.

I own both the open and closed comb razors. Once your technique gets better, the results from both razors is very similar. The open comb does seem to be much more sensitive to blade types than the closed comb.

When I first started using a DE, I had better results with the open comb. The closed comb forced me to slow down and improve my technique.
 
Didn't mean to sound stuffy. I guess when I read all the posts about razors and blade types, it just hits me how easy it is to get a good razor(s) and blade(s), and yet so little is written about what you want/need/plan to achieve. For me, the cutting of the whiskers is the easy part. The hard part has been figuring out how to get my skin to recover from being hit with a very sharp blade almost every day. I get a red face from the hot towel face prep, using some creams, using a Feather with every shave, too much touchup, and some AS's. So the challenge hasn't been getting a smooth face, it's been trying to figure out how to not look like MR TOMATO FACE for the next 24-36 hours. Oh yeah, I forgot, face lathering almost killed me. No problem building up lather - but my face burned for 2 days. I'm in my mid-fifties, and instead of having the grizzled old cowboy leather-like skin, my face skin is more like paper. So, the cutting whiskers part has been easy. But if your desire is to have a smooth face and healthy, clean skin - then, for me, the first part was easy, but the second part has been a lot of trial and error. The razor and blade choices were the easiest for me, and yet it seems to be the most belabored topic.
 
I'm fairly new at this, but I have a Merkur 34C and a Merkur 1904 Open Comb. I get a good shave with both, but actually find the Open Comb a little more forgiving. I know that is kind of contrary to the general consensus that open combs are more aggressive, but works for me. YMMV.
 
My first DE razor was the Merkur 1904 open comb. I too feel that it is a very forgiving razor on top of being very good looking. :thumbsup:
 
the open tooth comb is for thicker beards if i'm not mistaken and is slightly more aggressive. the regular head (like the Techs) provide a milder shave. I have an open comb Old Type and it works great - I did notice that the blade gap is much closer when compared to a Tech head but it performs just as well. YMMV
Sorry, your mistaken.
Opened combs predated safety bar razors, so everybody had to shave with opened combs, Single edges or Straights.
 
I'll put it simply; open combs shave closer if you have a heavy beard or like to wait a few days between shaves.

The end.
 
I find that the open comb razor's great for shaving a 3 day or more of beard growth. A big plus for me is that the open comb razor's provide a thinner head which I'll take any day over a thicker headed razor. I can get into any problem area's better with the thinner head.

My go to open comb razor is the Merkur 1904, with the Merkur HD running a tight second. :thumbup1: :a5:
 
Didn't mean to sound stuffy. I guess when I read all the posts about razors and blade types, it just hits me how easy it is to get a good razor(s) and blade(s), and yet so little is written about what you want/need/plan to achieve. For me, the cutting of the whiskers is the easy part. The hard part has been figuring out how to get my skin to recover from being hit with a very sharp blade almost every day. I get a red face from the hot towel face prep, using some creams, using a Feather with every shave, too much touchup, and some AS's. So the challenge hasn't been getting a smooth face, it's been trying to figure out how to not look like MR TOMATO FACE for the next 24-36 hours. Oh yeah, I forgot, face lathering almost killed me. No problem building up lather - but my face burned for 2 days. I'm in my mid-fifties, and instead of having the grizzled old cowboy leather-like skin, my face skin is more like paper. So, the cutting whiskers part has been easy. But if your desire is to have a smooth face and healthy, clean skin - then, for me, the first part was easy, but the second part has been a lot of trial and error. The razor and blade choices were the easiest for me, and yet it seems to be the most belabored topic.
Good point, well made. It's much like the counter-intuitive emphasis on prep, isn't it? Ignore the comb behind the curtain - nothing to see here, folks.
 
When I first started using a DE, I had better results with the open comb. The closed comb forced me to slow down and improve my technique.
Interesting. I had nearly the opposite experience. I started with a closed comb DE and only recently acquired an open comb (both vintage Gillette's - the open comb having been replated). I found the open comb to be a nice challenge. I had gotten into a comfortable place with my closed combs, and I wasn't having to pay as much attention to technique. When I started with the New a couple weeks ago, I had tons of irritation and nicks because I needed to refocus on the technique again. Now, the New is doing great!
 
I have three Gillette New open combs; one with a short comb and two with a long comb. The short comb (on the left) is mild, and the long comb (on the right) is aggressive. I am not sure if that is due to the comb length, or other factors.
 
King Gillette himself believed that the open comb design allowed for more lather to pass thru to the blade therefore making a bit of a slicker shave.
I agree with him.

While I am certain the Merkur 1904 etc are great razors I gotta suggest a vintage Gillette like an Old Type or a NEW because they are built like tanks and can be had for even less money than a Merkur.
Wp
 
I own both the open and closed comb razors. Once your technique gets better, the results from both razors is very similar. The open comb does seem to be much more sensitive to blade types than the closed comb.
I, too, found that the blade seems to be more of a variable with an open comb razor. SWMBO bought me some blades earlier this month that were outstanding in my Aristocrat (which shaves great no matter what blade I use.) When I tried the same blade in my New, it almost required stitches! :ohmy: I thought maybe it was just me . . . but now someone else has voiced the same findings.

So, I now have a "favorite" blade for my closed combs, and a "favorite" for my opens!

Of course, as they always say, YMMV!! :wink2:
 
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