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Thread: Open Comb now Burn

  1. #1
    Some kind of Zombie BigJim's Avatar
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    Unhappy Open Comb now Burn

    I usually shave with straights, but on the weekends I lean toward DE's as that's the busiest time of the week for me. This morning I woke late and didn't have time to shave, so I shaved this evening. It was my first real shave with an open comb; near as I can tell a Gillette "Genuine" or "Old Type" razor from the 20's. No idea if the comb is long or short, but the back plate is smooth with three perfectly round holes (one for the screw cap, one for each "bullet") a thin handle with classic cracks at both ends of the tube, and the ball end on the handle (standard length).

    The first pass was dream like. I usually use a Slim Adjustable passed down from my grandfather for my DE shaves, and shave with as much of the head touching the skin as possible (think, GEM Micromatic technique). I used a less perpendicular angle with the OC razor this evening and was pretty happy, thinking "I might have to keep hold of this one." But then I went into XTG/ATG second pass on the neck. Trying to keep the head against the skin as I do with the Adjustable I'm used to met with a lot of discomfort. Trying for a less perpendicular angle either cut nothing or caused pull. The end result is a fair amount of alum burn, something I'm no longer used to.

    SO: Was my technique just way off base for an OC or are they just that much more aggressive? My neck is burning, and my cheek's are missing the gentle touch of my Boker. Thanks for your help.

    Peace,
    Jim

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    If it's the same OC I'm thinking of you may have a thin cap vs. a thicker. I had one that was a thin cap and felt it was very aggressive. Every DE seems to have it's sweet spot, some are more dramatic. The only other thing I can suggest doing is just a WTG & ATG and be happy with that until you get to know the OC better.
    CHRIS

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    If you can find a 1935 TTO Sheraton (only comes in open comb) you will not look for another OC razor. By far the best OC shaver I've ever used. Just my .02 worth....

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    Some kind of Zombie BigJim's Avatar
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    Trimmy, it is definitely a thin cap. I've seen the thick caps to know the difference. I won't give up on the razor yet as I like the styling and age, but if it turns out to just be that aggressive I'll probably pass it on to someone who'll enjoy it.

    Razorburn, I'm not really in search of or longing for an OC razor. Picked this one up to try out b/c I liked the look of it and it was a good deal. My favorite razors have no comb or bar at all. Thanks though.

    Peace,
    Jim
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    Jim,

    I have limited experience with open comb razors, but the general consensus is they are indeed more aggressive than closed comb models. Mine demands absolutely zero pressure and perfect angle before rewarding me with a great shave.

    Something else you may want to consider: perhaps your razor didn't like the blade you were using? If you have a selection to choose from try another brand of blade and see what happens. Sometimes it's as simple as that, you just have to experiment a bit to see what works.

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    I wouldn't focus on whether or not the razor is more aggressive than any other razor.

    These older DE razors varied greatly in their effectiveness and aggression. However, I've found that they all can shave well, if you take the time to figure out how to use them effectively.

    I remember when I first tried a Gillette Single Ring (and Old Type razor, like yours) - I hated it, and it cut me to ribbons. I thought it was very aggressive. Now (several years later), I love the shave and consider it to be one of the milder razors I use. It was the same with the New Improved Gillettes - they didn't work for me when I first tried them, and now I love them.

    So, is the OC razor more aggressive than the safety-bar razors you've been using? .....Possibly. But it's equally likely that your technique hasn't adjusted for the new razor type yet.

    Keep at it, you should be able to figure it out.

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    Senior Member Java's Avatar
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    Just wanted to add to some of the great advise above; About the cracks in the handle - check it often during your shave to make sure it is still snug. Over tightening might split the handle, but it has to stay snug during the shave, or in effect you have an adjustable that is randomly changing adjustment on you as you shave.
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    Some kind of Zombie BigJim's Avatar
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    Thanks Java, but the cracks in the handle tube have no effect on the collar that actually does the tightening on this razor. I'm going to have to do some more research to give a definite name...or supply some pics. At any rate, the only affect the cracks could have is if they allowed the collar to slip...not an issue here.

    That said, I did shave with her again this morning, just to figure her out. I tightened a new blade down beyond snug (as I'm used to with the adjustable) and was extra careful not to apply any pressure. The experience was MUCH improved.

    I don't know that the pressure was significantly lighter, though I was extra careful to watch it. I'm theorizing right now that the extra tightening improved the blade angle creating a gentler shave. Still wasn't as nice as my straight shaves, but more on par with my adjustable's work.

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Peace,
    Jim

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    Senior Member Wayne1963's Avatar
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    Open combs are like closed in the respect that some are aggressive and some are mild. My Ikon with the dual head is middle of the road, leaning toward mild, while I find my Tradere somewhat aggressive. Also, as suggested by other posters, try different blades.

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    Some kind of Zombie BigJim's Avatar
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    I shaved twice more with the OC razor. It's definitely fallen in line with my Adjustable regarding performance; on par, though not any "better" than the adjustable. A few more spots of burn, a few more weepers. Certainly things that could be rectified via technique.

    However, I also noticed on Monday as I was trimming the edge of my van-dyke that it was grabbing and pulling hairs. Not a fun sensation. A closer look revealed a small gap between the last comb tooth and the cutting edge of the blade. The blade's rounded corner creates about a one-whisker-width triangle where there is no cutting edge. I looked to see if the blade was not properly centered, but the same gap existed on the other end of the head. It's something that can be worked around once you know it's there, but were vintage blades any longer than blades today?

    Peace,
    Jim

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