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Thread: Aggressive DE Razors? It's All About Technique.

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    Stay calm. Carry on. MisterMoo's Avatar
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    Default Aggressive DE Razors? It's All About Technique.

    I just bought my second DE razor the other day; I pitched the first one about 40 years ago due to chronic irritation and slightly less frequent bloodbaths. Fair to say I learned a world about how to shave since finding SRP and using a straight razor daily for almost a year. A straight razor has to be the best defined teacher of all things beard-removal. Some experience with open blades (straights and a Rolls) and skin/lather preparation made my approach to a double edged razor methodical and conservative. That's not to say I bought a particularly conservative shaver, however.



    After good results with open blades a trusted friend suggested an open comb shaver. Bargain priced around $30, I went with the Merkur Classic #41 (aka 1904), a reproduction of the 110 year old Gillette precursor. Smooth shave, darn near perfect actually, with an Astra blade right out of the box. Small enough to work around the neck in all directions and heavy enough to feel substantial; the weight of the razor all but pulls the blade on a downstroke. Yeah, but - first doubled edged razor? I'm not sure proceeding carefully with a traditional open comb would be a bad idea for anyone who is not impulsive. As with an open blade it's all about good skin prep, following a conservative angle from the start and registering the voices of experience before putting steel to skin.

    So, the results? First shave was a breeze. Respecting the temper of a so-called "aggressive" open comb shaver for my first dance I used the method proposed by my friend. After proper skin prep and a good lather I rested the top of the razor flat against my sideburn. As I let it draw slowly downward I began tipping the angle of the razor to a gentle "attack". As soon as I felt the blade bite whiskers I backed the angle off a degree or two and continued to march. Repeating this a few times I quickly felt comfortable with setting a mild angle, stretching my skin and drawing the blade up, down or sideways. I made two passes, rated it DFS and called it a day.

    I rate success by smoothness when the witch hazel and aftershave is rubbed on, lack of blood, lack of visible post-shave irritation and lack of sweat burning my neck anytime through the day. Then there is the all important "Wife" test. The Merkur Classic #41 gets high marks for price/value, construction, shave performance and design. Folks, if I can use this razor and get a DFS first try then anyone can. I knew any DE razor can cut you but now I know an open comb razor shouldn't arouse undue wariness. New to DE shaving like me? Do your prep well, proceed conservatively to find the lowest angle of attack that shaves clean and quit while you're ahead. Find "your" blade and register a couple of dozen shaves. A well made aggressive razor, if there is such a thing, doesn't bite; bad equipment and bad technique does.

    Downside to the Merk 41? The handle is quite short. Like a Rolls, I find it works great for steering around neck patches so I can't complain but others might not like this feature. No travel case - just a cheap paper box. Not a razor for many youths; it will reward experience but may punish a lack forethought or understanding of consequences. Beard reappearance seems to come with spikier tips, FWIW.
    Last edited by MisterMoo; 05-06-2014 at 04:22 PM.
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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Have you tried the "slant bar" DE's? I've heard those razor's are the closest to a straight, very aggressive razors...a website I looked at described them as for advanced users!

    Thanks for the post!

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    Stay calm. Carry on. MisterMoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phrank View Post
    Have you tried the "slant bar" DE's?
    Nope - this is my first DE razor since the early seventies. I am not hardly the voice of experience on this gear, Phrank, no matter how much I write or however many firm opinions I express.

    I wanted to try out an open comb DE and picked the M41 because it was well reviewed (and half the cost of the safety-bar Slant).
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Congrats, you picked a good one for your first OC because it has a rep of being a mild razor from the reviews I have read. Treat any DE with the same respect for technique and the need for a good lather as with a straight and you are off to the races. You had exactly the right idea there too and were rewarded for it.

    If you ever want to try a DE that will give a straight a run for it's money shave wise try a Muhle R41 which has a rep of being very aggressive.

    Bob
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    I agree with BobH. The Muhle R41 is definitely a great aggressive razor. I have a Merkur slant bar and an original 1904 Gillette. Neither comes close to the Muhle. The Muhle also has a long, light handle that shifts all the weight to the head.

    Charlie

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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Looking forward to the review of the Muhle. For a long handle Merkur Slant the 139C fills the bill if you ever decide to go that way.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by cskumin View Post
    I agree with BobH. The Muhle R41 is definitely a great aggressive razor. I have a Merkur slant bar and an original 1904 Gillette. Neither comes close to the Muhle. The Muhle also has a long, light handle that shifts all the weight to the head.

    Charlie
    That is the one thing I did not like about the Muhle R41, the handle. It never seemed grippy enough for me and the diameter was too small too. Cured that with an Ikon Bulldog handle and what an improvement that was for me.

    Bob
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    I do agree that the Muhle handle can be a bit slippery at times but I haven't had any problems with the diameter. I use the Merkur to shave my head because I find the Muhle a bit aggressive for that.

    Charlie

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by cskumin View Post
    I do agree that the Muhle handle can be a bit slippery at times but I haven't had any problems with the diameter. I use the Merkur to shave my head because I find the Muhle a bit aggressive for that.

    Charlie
    I have big hands and like a bigger diameter handle but the grip supplied by the cut knurling on the Ikon Bulldog handle is light years ahead of the factory handle.

    Don't shave my head but can see where the R41 might not be what you'd want to use on your noggin.

    Bob
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    Aggressive Shaving Addict DickWhitman's Avatar
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    I have yet to find a smoother more efficient DE than my Muhle R41 head w/classic Weber handle paired with a fresh Feather blade. 1 Wtg and 1 ATG pass = BBS.

    Learning to shave with a straight has greatly improved my technique with a DE. All about skin stretching!
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