Open comb or safety bar razor?

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Stubble, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. Stubble

    Stubble Member

    I just picked up a gold, open comb HD from Jim at Vintage Blades. They were on sale, and a good looking razor. I really like the open comb razors, seems to me they give you a very close, comfortable shave, perhaps more so than the safety bar razors.

    Granted, you must have a light touch, or the open comb will give you razor rash. But, with a light touch, you get a very comfortable, close shave.

    I don't have a HD with a safety bar, but how do they compare to the HD that is open comb.
  2. TraderJoe

    TraderJoe Pink Floid

    Ken - I have & use the HD w/ safety Bar, and I have used the Merkur classic OC (but not the HD open comb).

    What I can tell you based on using these two razors is that the HD shaves like a lamb compared to the OC. The OC is much more aggressive, and also note that these three-piecer OC's can be shimmed to crank up the blade exposure even more :D
  3. fritz

    fritz New Member

    Yes, indeed. Use 3 10-32 washers. I use split ring washers, so you can get a little adjustment by tightening/loosening the handle. Here's the LH shimmed, the view of the washer placement, and the LH normal.

    Attached Files:

  4. Scorpio

    Scorpio Big Hitter

    If ya'll jack up that razor with a feather in it might as well shave with a straight:D

    All of my DE rafety have a safety bar I got BBS shaves every time. I did use a slant for a while with great results.

  5. fritz

    fritz New Member

    If you really want to see something wicked, put the washers on top of the blade instead of underneath! :eek:

    I did this before I got my Futur. Now, I leave the LH as normal and adjust the Futur. It's easier and better than the washer trick...

    And I have used straights before. I feel that the sharper the blade, the easier it will cut, BUT you have to have a light touch and be more careful. And make 3 or 4 very light passes instead of one heavy one. I have tough whiskers and weak roots; if the blade doesn't slice well, it tries to pull the whiskers out. Leaves your face very painful after a few days of this.

    So, sharp blade. Then, more exposure, light touch on first pass cuts 70% off cleanly without pulling. Once the whiskers have been shortened so much, there's less tendency to pull, so can use less blade exposure and take off 10 % each remaining pass.

    I think a key part of a good but COMFORTABLE shave is to set aside 30 minutes to do it, even if you only use 20 or 25. OR, you can sleep late, shave in 5 minutes, and regret it the rest of the day...:D
  6. Stubble

    Stubble Member

    OK, so if I understand this correctly, the open comb is more aggressive than the safety bar.

    And thats fine with me. So far the open comb has been working well, and I enjoy the shave. So, seems I've made the right decision, as perhaps the safety bar could be too mild. Joe says it is mild, like a lamb.

    Fritz, thanks for the extra effort with the pictures, but I don't understand what I would gain with the shims. Sometimes it takes me a little while, if you know what I mean. How would the shims change the razor performance?
  7. TraderJoe

    TraderJoe Pink Floid

    Cool - excellent tip. I was actually just using cutouts from plastic solo cups, but the washers is a novel idea. I like the fact that it affords adjustability. Great pics :happy088

    I think its a matter of preference, but what you are doing is making the razor more "aggresive" by increasing the blade exposure. Notice the difference between the razor/blade in pic 1 and pic 3. You can notice that in pic 1(shimmed), the "gap" between the safety bar and the head of razor is much greater than in pic 3.
  8. TraderJoe

    TraderJoe Pink Floid

    Very good point. so true...
  9. qaswer

    qaswer New Member

    I am agreed by this by i have noticed that many of us don't like open comb . Do we think that these are not safe as other ? Surprisingly these open comb are more safe for me and i feel more comfortable .
  10. norman931

    norman931 New Member

    I believe there is a lot of misunderstanding concerning open comb razors. The concept of "aggressiveness" seems to mean different things to different people. There are knowledgeable people on the forums that call OC razors mild, and other knowledgeable folks who call them aggressive. All I know is that open-combs work great for me, and safety-bar razors tend to give me razor burn (except 40s SS). I have twelve open comb razors!

  11. TraderJoe

    TraderJoe Pink Floid

    I think you're right.......but I will stand behind the fact that, "for me", OC's are less forgiving than those with a straight bar.
  12. norman931

    norman931 New Member

    I admit that I have to be more careful with the open-comb to avoid nicks. But, going for BBS, I find that an open-comb with a Feather blade gets me there quicker and with less irritation than anything else. I guess my face just needs the more aggressive approach. I would like to try a straight razor, but I'm in awe of the learning curve. Maybe someday . . .

  13. PalmettoB

    PalmettoB The Old Guard

    Don't fear the straight! In fact, I'm beginning to believe that I get better shaves with my DEs after having used straight razors. Straights do have a learning curve of several weeks to a couple of months, whereas DEs you just have to unlearn some bad habits from cartridge razors.

    But a straight really makes you focus on growth patterns and the best approach to each part of your face, and that definitely makes my DE shaves better, too.
  14. NoobShaver

    NoobShaver BGDAAA

    I don' t think that the comb/ bar of the razor affects "aggressiveness." It does affect the flow of the lather during the shave. The blade gap/ exposure is where your aggressiveness comes from. I've shaved with very mild open combs (Gillette Sheraton) and aggressive safety bars (Gillette adjustable on 9). The point is, use what you like and enjoy your shave.
  15. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    :signs011: Mike speaks much wisdom.
  16. SOS

    SOS Member

    Around the sides of my mouth I have hairs that tend to lay down very flat against the skin, the open comb razors get at those hairs better then a closed bar razor.
  17. johnus

    johnus Well-Known Member

    Cost... And ease of manufacture, I believe, were the main reasons for the change from OC to CC. that and style change, you drop or whack an OC and there go the teeth a bar was just faster to use. it signaled in a New Era.
    GDCarrington likes this.
  18. SharpSpine

    SharpSpine Well-Known Member

    Zombie resurrection thread... Awesome!

    I agree that it depends on other variable as far as aggression goes. I have a very aggressive OC that I use almost daily. Then I have a much milder solid guard bar that works wonderfully too. To confuse things further, a separate solid guard bar razor I have gives me lackluster shaves. Each razor has its own characteristics and the open/closed comb or solid guard bar is only 1 small part of the equation.

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