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Thread: Ordering a DE

  1. #1
    Senior Member ats200's Avatar
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    Default Ordering a DE

    It's been almost exactly a year now since my first straight razor shave and I, by no means, consider myself an expert at this point. But I want to start branching out a bit to experience more. I've been considering a DE for quite some time now to use when I travel and when I need a quick shave. (I still like to take my time with the straight and enjoy the experience)

    My main question, which I'm sure has been explained in the past (as well as just about every other question a wet shaver might have), is regarding "aggressiveness." I see this term used quite a bit when trolling through the DE section. Can someone maybe explain a bit more to me what is meant by this terminology? I'm not sure if it means more direct contact with the blade or if it means something regarding the head that some prefer and some do not (similar to the grind of a straight).

    Of course, I'm looking for the closest shave possible so I'm game for a more aggressive DE if that will be the result, but I want to be sure I'm interpreting this correctly.

    For reference, I'm going back and forth between the Muhle R89, R41, and the EJ 89L

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    Member markdfhr's Avatar
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    I just purchased a EJ89L; it came yesterday. I never shaved with a DE before and I've only been shaving with a straight for a few months now.

    The EJ is a wonderful razor. The blades it came with did the job. Like I said, I had never used a DE (or any safety) before, just cartridges. It was extremely easy to use and gave me a shave better than I get with my straights. That's because I'm still a newbie with straights and they take a lot more skill than the DE. Heck right out of the box I got the best shave of my life with the EJ 89.

    I think aggressiveness has something to do with how much the blade sticks out; some blades are adjustable to where you can control this. The EJ is not, but for me it was perfect; its reputation is well deserved from my perspective.

    Just FYI, I purchased it for travelling, to give me a better baseline for me as to how good a shave I should be attempting to attain in the short term using a straight (letting me know what is at least possible), and just to vary things up a little bit. My wife may also use it; she learned with her dad's DE razor.
    Last edited by markdfhr; 12-20-2011 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Damn the typos, full speed ahead

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    Norton convert Blix's Avatar
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    Yeah aggressiveness usually means the blade exposure and blade curvature as well.
    I'd say for a first DE, don't buy a 2011 R41, it's a unforgiving beast that can rip your face off easily. I have one and it's one challenging DE for sure. It demands perfect prep and perfect lather, even more so than a straight razor.
    That said I've had some awesome shaves with it, but for a first you'd be much better off with a EJ89, Merkur 34C or 37C for a first DE.

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    THG
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    Aggressiveness is a combination of blade angle and the gap between the safety bar and the edge.

    With an adjustable razor, you can change the aggressiveness with a knob: the gap between the edge and safety bar can be increased or decreased.

    As for angle, here's an example between the R41 and the R89:

    Photo from The Superior Shave

    You can see that the R41 (left) has a much flatter angle, making it much more aggressive.

    By the way, I believe the EJ89's use the same head as the Merkur R89 (and every other Merkur except the R41.)

    I do have the R89, and it's an extremely smooth shaver.

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    Senior Member ats200's Avatar
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    Awesome, thanks!

    If I'm understanding correctly then, the primary thing I have to decide is blade angle and feel/weight of the handle? (obviously there are some other factors but these would be the main ones from what I gather)

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    I am also a new wet shaver, working on the straight shave when I have lots of time but using a DE when I have less (I still do my best never to hurry my shaves anymore, I spent too many years doing that and not enjoying anything about shaving). I just bought a Parker 91R to start with, which is an inexpensive ($25) DE razor made in India. It's a good quality piece with decent weighting and I have nothing to compare it to, but it has given me great shaves.

    From what I've been reading comb razors like the R41 will always be more agressive than flat bar razors, which flatten the skin slightly just ahead of the edge of the razor blade. The R41 is known as a very aggressive razor because it has very short open comb teeth and a flat blade angle (as helpfully shown in the image above). Kinda like shaving with a straight.

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    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    Gentlemen,

    The Edwin Jagger 89 actually uses the Muhle shave head, not Merkur. It's a wonderful shaver. Both the Muhle R89 and Edwin Jagger 89L, then, have the Muhle shave head. The Muhle R41 is an open comb, and more aggressive than the other closed comb razors in the Muhle and EJ category. You can't go wrong with any of these razors. Good stuff.

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    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    I think in many ways an open comb like the R-41 can be thought of as a miniature shavette. That blade is pretty much right on your skin so your blade angle is critically important. I would not call it a safety razor by any means.
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

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    Well Shaved Gentleman... jhenry's Avatar
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    That's great Mark.

    I have an EJ DE razor myself and love it.
    markdfhr likes this.
    "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." Mark Twain

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    Senior Member ats200's Avatar
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    thanks for all of the info guys, I think I'm going to go with the EJ to get started. I want to be sure I like using a DE before I go with something more expensive if I'm going to get similar or the same results.

    the 41 sounds tempting because I want the challenge but I think I'll feel more comfortable at work if I don't have gashes and wounds all over my face for the first week or so.

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