Thursday, May 22, 2014

Merkur 37C Slant Update: My light touch continues to evolve

Now into my second week of using the slant every day, we continue to become better acquainted.

Today I actually did less beard prep than previous days: I only used shave oil with the first pass after just a few splashes of cold water, and my shave soap this morning was off-the-shelf Van Der Hagen.

I did two full passes plus a partial third for some clean up -- all done with the slant and a Personna Blue blade.

Very close shave with only a couple of tiny weepers. No visible irritation.

It's interesting how we adjust to the more demanding tool. The first day that I used the 37C, I remember being actually nervous and somewhat hesitant to take the big dog out for a run. Today, though I still respect the efficiency of this razor, it is now merely my daily shaving tool, but a special one that is very efficient.

If you are an experienced DE user, you may still have to use lighter pressure than usual. If you are transitioning from a cartridge razor, this is probably not advised until you get some DE experience.

After more than a week's use, I find this razor allows a very close shave with fewer strokes, meaning a good shave with less irritation.

Using the listing from yesterday's post (read by clicking here), here's a summary of the razor's characteristics:
  • Blade angle - Varies across the blade edge as is normal for a slant-bar razor. The left end of the edge has a larger angle, which is potentially more harsh, while the right end of the edge has a shallower angle, which is less harsh.
  • Razor gap varies under the edge, compensating for the varying blade angle. At the left of the head, where the angle is larger, the gap is smaller; at the right, where the angle is  shallower, the gap is larger. This gap design tends to make the harshness/smoothness of the edge uniform despite the varying blade angle.
  • Blade reveal is the largest of the razors that I own, and I suspect few razors would have a larger reveal.
  • Blade stiffness (as determined by the razor design, not the blade itself) is difficult to evaluate, but it is likely that the slight twist of the blade by the design of the slant razor tends to add some stiffness to the cutting edge, thus offsetting to some degree the potential harshness of the large blade reveal.
  • Blade exposure is rather neutral. Unlike many mild-shaving razors that have the edge well within the protective cove of the top cap and safety bar, and unlike a few questionable razor designs that have the edge protrude above that protective cove, this razor seems to have the edge about at the level of the plane that is determined by the top cap and safety bar.
  • Edge slant is, well, slanted as one would expect from a slant-bar razor. This increases the effective sharpness of the blade, thus increasing the cutting efficiency of the razor.
  • Safety-bar design (round cross section, scalloped bar, or open comb) is a closed comb, but one that has open teeth that go way beyond the typical closed comb. This design allows longer whiskers a less-obstructed path to the blade, making this razor excellent for mowing down several day's worth of growth.
Plus the three with which most are familiar:
  • Razor weight: 76 grams / 2.7 ounces
  • Razor balance: I can't relate this to you other than to say I think it's fine.
  • Handle dimensions: Rather short [2-15/16"] and stout [approx 1/2" diam], which should be fine for anyone using the appropriate fingertip grip -- though, of course, opinions vary.  ;-)
Happy shaving!

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