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Rudimentary Analysis of 5 OC Heads: Merkur 15c, RazoRock SLOC, Yaqi SS Mellon, Fatip OC, and Muhle r41

Jay21

Collecting wife bonus parts
This is my first attempt at analyzing razor heads. It's quite rudimentary as all I had on hand was my cellphone, graph paper for proper scaling, and a basic picture editor. If I had a better camera, tripod, and powerful image analysis software, I could do much better. But, this is what it is.

My goal for this was to try to understand for myself why certain OC head geometries feel so differently on my face. This is very much a YMMV hobby, but I am particularly intrigued how one person can classify one razor as mild with no irritation when another classifies it an an irritation machine. Yes, technique plays a huge part, but I also am a firm believer that certain razor head geometries will simply never work for certain people.

I have five OC razors, which are of increasing aggressiveness. The feel on my face aligns very well with the Italian Barber scale. That scale doesn't list the Yaqi, but based on my experience and reading posts here, it's pretty clear that the Yaqi Mellon is more aggressive than the SLOC. Here are the five OC razors I "analyzed" this morning listed in increasing aggressiveness:
  1. Merkur 15c
  2. RazoRock SLOC (probably a Yaqi OEM Mellon)
  3. Yaqi SS Mellon
  4. Fatip OC
  5. Muhle r41
For my very rudimentary analysis I placed the razors with the same blade (Dorco ST300) on graph paper to photograph with my cellphone. I used graph paper to try to equally frame each picture to the same size. Additionally, the graph paper lines helped account a bit for parallax, but it's probably not to be too trusted. Then, I put the pictures in a basic photo editor and traced lines over various parts of the razor. I did not control for parallax or other photo angles because I had no means to. Like I said, this was very rudimentary. I didn't dare taking actual measurements such as shave angle and blade exposure. My goal was to visually capture differences in razor head geometry. This is for fun.

Here are my findings:

In the first picture, you can see the razor heads and the lines I drew over them. Then, I copied those lines so you can see them separately. I realized that after this entire analysis I goofed with the Merkur 15c as it's not properly aligned on the graph paper. I must have bumped it somehow before I photographed it. It is what it is and I'm too lazy to repeat it and remake my graphics.

Razor Analysis.jpg


In the second picture, I lined up all of the drawings and provided a key.

Razor Analysis Summary.jpg


I'll let those more skilled than me interpret what all this means. Yes, this far from a controlled study and would never pass any sort of scientific review or scrutiny. However, one takeaway I can see right away is the RR SLOC and Yaqi SS Mellon have some key differences between them other than the metal they are made from. Another takeaway for me is that the two most aggressive razors that leave me with considerable irritation, the Fatip and the Muhle, have the two smallest blade reveals and steepest (or shallowest??) shave planes.

It was a fun exercise for me on a Sunday morning in my attempt to understand why five different razors feel so differently on my face. For me, each razor increases in aggressiveness for me. They cut closer, but they also cause more irritation. I'm sure blade exposure plays a huge role in all of this, but I had no reasonable way to measure that.

Please discuss and have fun. And please don't shoot me as this was my first attempt at this.
 

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Jay21

Collecting wife bonus parts
I had no reasonable way to measure blade gap, but here are two pictures that show it very well.

The first is the Merkur 15c, which causes me no irritation. Notice the small blade gap.

IMG_2222.jpeg


The next is the Yaqi SS Mellon. It has a visibly larger blade gap and, coincidentally, causes noticeable irritation for me.

IMG_2219.jpeg
 
This is my first attempt at analyzing razor heads. It's quite rudimentary as all I had on hand was my cellphone, graph paper for proper scaling, and a basic picture editor. If I had a better camera, tripod, and powerful image analysis software, I could do much better. But, this is what it is.

My goal for this was to try to understand for myself why certain OC head geometries feel so differently on my face. This is very much a YMMV hobby, but I am particularly intrigued how one person can classify one razor as mild with no irritation when another classifies it an an irritation machine. Yes, technique plays a huge part, but I also am a firm believer that certain razor head geometries will simply never work for certain people.

I have five OC razors, which are of increasing aggressiveness. The feel on my face aligns very well with the Italian Barber scale. That scale doesn't list the Yaqi, but based on my experience and reading posts here, it's pretty clear that the Yaqi Mellon is more aggressive than the SLOC. Here are the five OC razors I "analyzed" this morning listed in increasing aggressiveness:
  1. Merkur 15c
  2. RazoRock SLOC (probably a Yaqi OEM Mellon)
  3. Yaqi SS Mellon
  4. Fatip OC
  5. Muhle r41
For my very rudimentary analysis I placed the razors with the same blade (Dorco ST300) on graph paper to photograph with my cellphone. I used graph paper to try to equally frame each picture to the same size. Additionally, the graph paper lines helped account a bit for parallax, but it's probably not to be too trusted. Then, I put the pictures in a basic photo editor and traced lines over various parts of the razor. I did not control for parallax or other photo angles because I had no means to. Like I said, this was very rudimentary. I didn't dare taking actual measurements such as shave angle and blade exposure. My goal was to visually capture differences in razor head geometry. This is for fun.

Here are my findings:

In the first picture, you can see the razor heads and the lines I drew over them. Then, I copied those lines so you can see them separately. I realized that after this entire analysis I goofed with the Merkur 15c as it's not properly aligned on the graph paper. I must have bumped it somehow before I photographed it. It is what it is and I'm too lazy to repeat it and remake my graphics.

View attachment 1669277

In the second picture, I lined up all of the drawings and provided a key.

View attachment 1669265

I'll let those more skilled than me interpret what all this means. Yes, this far from a controlled study and would never pass any sort of scientific review or scrutiny. However, one takeaway I can see right away is the RR SLOC and Yaqi SS Mellon have some key differences between them other than the metal they are made from. Another takeaway for me is that the two most aggressive razors that leave me with considerable irritation, the Fatip and the Muhle, have the two smallest blade reveals and steepest (or shallowest??) shave planes.

It was a fun exercise for me on a Sunday morning in my attempt to understand why five different razors feel so differently on my face. For me, each razor increases in aggressiveness for me. They cut closer, but they also cause more irritation. I'm sure blade exposure plays a huge role in all of this, but I had no reasonable way to measure that.

Please discuss and have fun. And please don't shoot me as this was my first attempt at this.
Very good and interesting post. I own three of the razors tested; the RR SLOC, the Fatip Piccolo OC, and the unused, recently acquired SS Yaqi Mellon. I will comparing the SLOC and Mellon in the coming days, so this is quite useful information.
 

nemo

Lunatic Fringe
Staff member
Nice work! I've never really measured it but have read here where some say that the Merkur 15C has a negative blade edge exposure. Was that your finding?

I've normally been able to achieve an adequate shave with mine and also my Merkur 11C, possibly because I'm one of those misfits that applies some pressure, always have and always will (less with the R41, of course!).

I looked closely and know these older models don't have negative exposure.
full
 

Jay21

Collecting wife bonus parts
Nice work! I've never really measured it but have read here where some say that the Merkur 15C has a negative blade edge exposure. Was that your finding?

I've normally been able to achieve an adequate shave with mine and also my Merkur 11C, possibly because I'm one of those misfits that applies some pressure, always have and always will (less with the R41, of course!).

I looked closely and know these older models don't have negative exposure.
full
Without measuring it, and only going by eye and how it shaves me, I’d conclude the 15c has a negative exposure. I’ve seen some pictures floating around here that also seem to indicate that.
 
Without measuring it, and only going by eye and how it shaves me, I’d conclude the 15c has a negative exposure. I’ve seen some pictures floating around here that also seem to indicate that.

The 15c does have negative blade exposure. If your skin were as solid and inelastic as a sheet of glass, such a razor wouldn't cut anything. This brings in the dynamic aspect of razor geometry, rather than the static. With increased pressure, you get the skin rising to meet the blade as the razor moves over the surface.
 

Iridian

Cool and slimy
Some observations:
The Yaqi Mellon has a very pronounced bar, or rather distance of the bar. I also noticed the steep shave plane of the R41.

I find it, despite all data points and evidence, hard to gauge how aggressive a razor might be.

For instance, the Wolfman WR2 and related clones from Yaqi and others with their huge, often 1.5+ gaps and a very steep shave plane. They aren't aggressive, even mild.

I guess many, like me, looked at the thread as I did on the questions asked in my math exam over 25 years ago. I could answer the questions partially at that time, by now I had trouble understanding the questions...^^

Nevertheless, my takeway from this and other disseminations of razor geometry is that exposure is a more significant factor than the gap. In the end it is the clever combination of this and other metrics that causes the magic or lack thereof of a razor head.

My particular gratitude for showing the significant differences between the SLOC and the Mellon head. I wonder which head was actually the inspiration for the Mellon by now. Hmm...!

Edit: As I started wetshaving, the R89/DE89 left me underwhelmed, I got the R41 and used it for years exclusively. I think this is the reason why I am "wired" to first try shaving steep with every razor I get.
 
Curious how your review finally plans out, as I've tried all but one of the listed razors, or a variant of them, with the exception of the 15c. Might I also suggest that if you have access to one, toss a Pearl OC head into the mix. Similar price point, unless they've recently changed, and similar aggression to the Fatip & R41.
 

Jay21

Collecting wife bonus parts
Curious how your review finally plans out, as I've tried all but one of the listed razors, or a variant of them, with the exception of the 15c. Might I also suggest that if you have access to one, toss a Pearl OC head into the mix. Similar price point, unless they've recently changed, and similar aggression to the Fatip & R41.
I'm still getting the hang of razors 2-5 in the list as I'm sure their shaving angles on my face play a huge factor. But I can preliminarily conclude that each razor increases in efficiency, aggressiveness, and irritation on my neck. Neck irritation is one of the most important factors for me in choosing a razor and seeking that grail razor. For me, the grail razor isn't about price, such as a Wolfman, but about leaving my neck smooth without irritation. If it happens to be a $5 razor, that's totally cool with me. My RAD isn't about collecting per se, it's about finding the razor I can live with.
 
Thanks for your efforts.

I have four OC razors. The most aggressive is the Muhle R41. Your analysis seems to shown that it is quite different than many other OC razors. That explains why is shaves differently.

I have a Merkur 25C. I is my understanding that the head is the same as the 15C, but with a longer handle. For an OC razor it feels rather mild. I have heard some reviews that indicate that the blade exposure is negative. I can use the razor, but seldom do as I prefer heavier razors. YMMV.

I have the Parker 24C. The 26C is the same head with different handle coloration. This is my favorite OC razor. I use it most days for my 1st pass WTG to knock down multiple days of beard growth. However, for my sensitive skin, I need to shave with a shallow blade angle (off the cap) to avoid irritation. I would love to see how the 24C/26C razor would fare in your analysis.

I also have a Karve C-plate OC. I did not like the chunky "teeth" design of the OC. Thus, the OC plate sits in a drawer and I purchase a SB plate for the razor.


I do not have the Yaqi SS Mellon, but I think I would like the design. I understand that it has a 0.40 blade gap, which is larger than the gap on other Mellon designs. I would try shaving "off the cap" as that would likely minimize irritation of what seems to be a more aggressive razor. I think SLOC type razors are designed to be used off the cap, otherwise, there is no reason to slot the cap. The curvature of the cap seems like it would be naturally establish the right shave angle.
 

Jay21

Collecting wife bonus parts
Thanks for your efforts.


I do not have the Yaqi SS Mellon, but I think I would like the design. I understand that it has a 0.40 blade gap, which is larger than the gap on other Mellon designs. I would try shaving "off the cap" as that would likely minimize irritation of what seems to be a more aggressive razor. I think SLOC type razors are designed to be used off the cap, otherwise, there is no reason to slot the cap. The curvature of the cap seems like it would be naturally establish the right shave angle.
You're welcome. This has been fun.

I've been shaving with the Yaqi SS Mellon steep, but that caused me irritation. Since my neck hair lies pretty flat against my skin, it was my understanding that it is preferred to shave steep, so I have been. I will have to try the SS Mellon neutral and shallow in the future to see how my face responds.
 

Rosseforp

I think this fits, Gents
I have five OC razors, which are of increasing aggressiveness. The feel on my face aligns very well with the Italian Barber scale. That scale doesn't list the Yaqi, but based on my experience and reading posts here, it's pretty clear that the Yaqi Mellon is more aggressive than the SLOC. Here are the five OC razors I "analyzed" this morning listed in increasing aggressiveness:
  1. Merkur 15c
  2. RazoRock SLOC (probably a Yaqi OEM Mellon)
  3. Yaqi SS Mellon
  4. Fatip OC
  5. Muhle r41
For my very rudimentary analysis I placed the razors with the same blade (Dorco ST300) on graph paper to photograph with my cellphone. I used graph paper to try to equally frame each picture to the same size. Additionally, the graph paper lines helped account a bit for parallax, but it's probably not to be too trusted. Then, I put the pictures in a basic photo editor and traced lines over various parts of the razor. I did not control for parallax or other photo angles because I had no means to. Like I said, this was very rudimentary. I didn't dare taking actual measurements such as shave angle and blade exposure. My goal was to visually capture differences in razor head geometry. This is for fun.
Here is the set-up I use for my pics @Jay21, I use the crosshair tool to center the tip of the blade in the pics.
20230613_122031[1].jpg

I don't have the Yaqi SS Melon, but I do have the rest of the razors in your test.
SLOC.jpg

The SLOC looks to be the mildest with negative blade exposure.
Merkur15C.jpg

The Merkur 15C is next with neutral blade exposure.
PiccoloSE_.jpg

The Piccolo SE is when the blade starts to get forward and you begin to feel the blade.
MuhleR41.jpg

Then we have the Mühle R41. Positive blade exposure for that polished feeling on your face.

I hope these help!

~doug~
 

Jay21

Collecting wife bonus parts
Here is the set-up I use for my pics @Jay21, I use the crosshair tool to center the tip of the blade in the pics.
View attachment 1670410
I don't have the Yaqi SS Melon, but I do have the rest of the razors in your test.
View attachment 1670409
The SLOC looks to be the mildest with negative blade exposure.View attachment 1670408
The Merkur 15C is next with neutral blade exposure.
View attachment 1670405
The Piccolo SE is when the blade starts to get forward and you begin to feel the blade.
View attachment 1670406
Then we have the Mühle R41. Positive blade exposure for that polished feeling on your face.

I hope these help!

~doug~
Excellent work and collaboration. This is how science gets done.
 
Funny part is out of the four on the list I've tried, the one I liked the most was the R41. I use way fewer strokes, and only need 2 passes tops, to achieve BBS with no irritation or weepers. - I will clarify that, the exception is with a Feather Blade, which on the first shave or two does cause some irritation and/or weepers in the R41.

I'm on the odd-ball list, as I also tend to apply some pressure during the shave, and start with a hybrid ATG/XTG pass, followed by a WTG for clean-up, if a second pass is needed or desired.
 
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