[This article was first published on March 2, 2015. To some readers, the conclusions it presents are controversial, arguable, outright wrong. To me, it is iron-clad, without-a-doubt correct. Further anecdotal evidence is that my same friend mentioned in the article also shaved with the Rimei RM2003 razor, which is more aggressive in character than both the Lord and the Merkur 33. Yet he also finds this razor not as effective in a single-pass shave.]
Though I have long studied the 33 Classic razor, I have not had the pleasure of measuring the 34HD to get primary data. Thus I have not compared the design specifics of the two models, which most of those who have helped to sustain this myth should have done -- and I'm sad to say, that group includes this writer. But I have seen the error of my ways and hope never to repeat this type of mistake. Still, without primary data on the 34HD, how can I now assert so confidently that it and the 33 Classic do not, in fact, have the same razor head design?
It was a close friend of mine who, unintentionally, busted the myth. Here's the rest of the story:
On the advice of a silly ass, who months ago suggested that the 34HD was an appropriate high-end razor for a DE newbie (that silly ass is this writer), my close friend purchased one. Over the next few months, despite watching the requisite videos and using appropriate shave cream, brush, and diligent due care, was unable to get a shave without blood loss.
He is not one to complain, but when I finally learned about his commitment to DE shaving and the troubled outcomes of his shaves, I was greatly dismayed to learn of his plight and his expenditure on a razor he can't fully enjoy. The very reason I had recommended the 34HD as a higher-end starter razor was due to the common misinformation (or delusion) that its razor head is essentially the same as that of the 33 Classic, and that the only significant difference is the size and weight of the handle. Therefore I had intended to recommend a razor of mild-shaving character that would encourage a new DE shaver by having an instrument that easily provides comfortable shaves.
I immediately suspected the problem was that, unlike my favored 33 Classic, the 34HD was too aggressive for his face. So without telling him my concerns, I simply ordered a Lord LP1822L and had it sent to his home.
Later, when I inquired as to which razor he preferred and why, he thanked me heartily for the Lord razor, saying that though it doesn't shave as closely in a single pass when he's in a hurry, he is consistently getting low-irritation, no-blood shaves from the Lord LP1822L, and much prefers that razor for his morning ritual.
That said, one could easily and correctly infer that generally speaking, since the Lord and the Merkur 33 Classic offer similar shaves, then the 33 and the 34HD certainly do not. And that is exactly what I am asserting. I will even go further. I have measured the Lord L.6 razor head (which is on the LP1822L razor), and it has the same blade angle and approximately the same negative blade exposure as the Merkur 33. Where they differ is in the safety bar cross-section profile, which makes the blade span slightly larger in the L.6 -- meaning it shaves slightly more aggressively than the 33, and this has been born out not only in measurements but in evaluation shaves!
So this means that not only does the 34HD shave more aggressively than the Lord L.6, it also means that because the 33 Classic razor is a bit milder still, the difference in shave character between the 34HD and the 33 Classic is even greater than the difference between the 34HD and the Lord LP1822L!
Myth busted. The Merkur 34HD two-piece razor does not have the same head design as the Merkur 33 Classic, and the 33 offers the milder, more face-friendly shave.
Happy shaving, and continue to question everything!