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Thread: Muhle R41: Great Risks, Great Rewards!

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    DLB
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    Thumbs up Muhle R41: Great Risks, Great Rewards!

    After letting my beard grow for two days, I finally got the nerve to try my new Muhle R41 DE Razor and Muhle Chrome Travel Brush this afternoon. I am a virgin no longer!

    I had been taking it easy after a 5/8 Thiers-Issard 150 (Universal Cutlery NY) left me with a nice one-inch cut on my right cheek earlier in the week. Of course, I had to attend a major charity dinner that evening. During the meal, the lovely lady to my right finally enquired, "What happened to your face?" I smiled and whispered in a conspiratorial tone, "It is a dueling scar from this morning but don't worry, it will heal rather quickly." She raised her eyebrows and became a little speechless. I thought it was humorous.

    Now to the Muhle review. First of all, the Muhle Chrome Travel Brush (synthetic hair) was outstanding. It easily whipped up a full mug of thick, rich Bigelow cream. I highly recommend it as a travel brush. It all unscrews and stores in its own chrome tube. As to the Muhle R41 DE Razor, I will say straight up that it is a supremely beautiful razor that gives a superb shave. It has my highest Five-Star Rating.

    With the feather blade installed, I kept eyeing the huge gap between the edge of the blade and the teeth of the R41 with a little trepidation. Even the gap of a Fatboy with a setting of 9 seemed rather tame by comparison. I kept thinking, "Feather Blade, use a touch as light as a feather and you will be ok." True to my word, I lightly stroked my face with the R41 but the very first WTG pass on my cheek was a shock. I felt the edge of the blade with a visceral vividness that would have thrilled Freddie Kreuger. It was not unpleasant but somehow it felt really DANGEROUS! I was sure blood would be flowing down my face. I wiped away the remaining lather and saw that my two-day growth had simply disappeared with nary a sign of blood, razor burn, or irritation.

    I continued applying the lightest of WTG touches for the rest of the shave. The feeling of vivid sharpness never lessened. I found myself shaving with the greatest concentration of my life. "Careful, slow, and deliberate" became my mode of operation. Every stroke of the R41/Feather combination made my heart skip a beat. THIS IS ONE SHARP RAZOR! Absolutely none of my straight razors gives me the sense of danger that is imparted by the Muhle 41 with a Feather blade. It is the scalpel of the shaving world.

    I cannot imagine a Newbie trying to learn the skill of wet-shaving with a Muhle R41. I think it would probably result in a bloodbath. Even with 56 years of wet-shaving experience, I did not escape unscathed. Along my lower right neck, the tender flesh yielded to four angry red weepers. As I finished the first round, the R41 caught the loose flesh on the side of my lip and left a minuscule bleeder. Oops! I forgot to stretch my lips. Big mistake! It may have been a tiny cut but blood streamed down as if I had cut an artery. Fortunately, a styptic pencil slowed down the dripping flood. Of course, it took four applications of the styptic pencil, two cold water rinses, and a alum block to bring it all under control. All just for a tiny, tiny minuscule cut.

    Then I faced a dilemma. "Do I dare do a second pass?" "If I do a second pass, should it be XTG or ATG?" I argued back and forth with myself. The first WTG pass had done such a close shave that I chickened out of a XTG or ATG grain pass and settled for a light touch up with a second WTG pass. It went well.

    While this razor is not for the faint of heart, I must unequivocally state that the Muhle R41 with a Feather blade gave me the "finest DE shave I have ever experienced." Yes, I had to go VERY SLOWLY and apply the lightest of touches. Anything heavier than a feather touch will have you seeking a plastic surgeon before the shave is even finished. I am one for enjoying a variety of shaving experiences so I love the mild-mannered smoothness of the Edwin Jagger DE89L and the easy, friendly competence of the Gillette Slim Adjustable and Gillette Fatboy. With these three old friends, I feel relaxed, safe, and comfortable with no doubt that they will complete their work with my best interest at heart.

    The R41 is another whole matter. It seems dangerous from the first moment the blade touches your face. Your heart will have palpitations. Little beads of sweat will break out on your brow. You will wonder if your insurance is all paid up and you will be looking behind the shower curtain to make sure you are not in the Bate's Motel. As you anticipate each stroke of the blade, adrenaline will flood your central nervous system. In short, it will give you the shave of your life.

    Don't be misled by the emotional highs that this razor engenders. If you have the courage to use and develop the skill required by this very alluring razor, it will reward you in spades. However, be assured that if you fail to properly stretch the skin or if you use too much heavy handed pressure, YOU WILL BE CALLING FOR AN AMBULANCE. While it may not provide the smooth feeling of a Jagger or Gillette, when a light touch is employed, the shave is quite comfortable and, if you have my experience, you will receive the closest and finest shave of your life.

    I rewarded the excellence of these two fine shaving implements by purchasing a Parker leather DE razor case and a Parker leather shaving brush case for their storage, both fairly inexpensive but beautifully made. These cases are a real bargain.

    Muhle R41 DE Razor: Highly Recommended! Five Star!
    Muhle Chrome Travel Brush: Highly Recommended! Five Star!


    Obie, lz6, sharptonn and 4 others like this.

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    Norton convert Blix's Avatar
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    Lol, that was a fun read.

    But yeah, the R41 is quite something else, I've had one for a few weeks now.
    I pretty much treat it as a straight when it comes to the shaving, you have to watch those angles, and use the lightest of touch.
    While I think the quality of lather is important no matter if you use a straight or a DE, I find a "normal" DE can be a bit more forgiving in that department, but not so with the R41, if you don't have a moist and slick as hell lather, you're in for a rough shave.

    I don't think it's for everyone, but those who likes it will be rewarded with some truly top notch shaves.
    I pretty much stopped using DE's after going straight, but the R41 has a weekly spot now.
    DLB likes this.

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    Plausibly implausible carlmaloschneider's Avatar
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    That review makes me glad I got the R89, it sounds scary! Well done, though, it sounds like I felt on my first SR shave...
    Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?
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    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    DLB, my dear friend, informing and amusing thoughts on the Muhle R41. Yes, you're right, such razors are in their own class and should be left to the more experienced hands. Well done.

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    OlllllllO eTom's Avatar
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    Very emotional report.
    Greetings to Texas from Saxony- where the Muehle factory is located.

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    DLB (11-15-2011)

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    The Knight who says NI! mcgyver74's Avatar
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    Great writeup!!

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    Senior Member TonyN's Avatar
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    Great review!

    The 2011 R41 is a great razor. I have noticed that the blades dull in it faster than other DE's.

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    Senior Member eflatminor's Avatar
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    I just order Merkur's version of the R41 head, which is found on their 11C, 12C, 15C and 25C razors. I ordered the 12C with the longer 'barber pole' handle. I'm a little frightened after reading that review!

    I already have Muhle's R89, which is a very easy to use and comfortable razor with a fantastic fit and finish.

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    Senior Member eflatminor's Avatar
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    By the way, here is a picture of the R41 "tooth comb" head on the left vs. the normal R89 head on the right:

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    THG
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    Quote Originally Posted by eflatminor View Post
    I just order Merkur's version of the R41 head, which is found on their 11C, 12C, 15C and 25C razors. I ordered the 12C with the longer 'barber pole' handle. I'm a little frightened after reading that review!

    I already have Muhle's R89, which is a very easy to use and comfortable razor with a fantastic fit and finish.
    Actually, those Merkurs are just open comb heads. The Mühle R41 has a bar with teeth on it.

    And also, the main idea of the R41 is supposed to be the angle that the head puts the blade at. It's very aggressive due to this. I'm not sure if Merkur has an equivalent.

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