Monday, November 24, 2014

The Merkur 37 Slant Shave with a Red-Label Blade

Two things happened independently recently, which brought about a third, unexpected event: I shaved once again with the mighty Merkur slant-bar razor, the model 37C. This razor had been banished to my clothes closet, buried in my shaving-supplies shoe box, not to be used because of its harshness on my skin. A typical shave with this razor leaves me with irritated skin and weepers.
My slant-bar razor got another use -- this time with a
blade very compatible with my face.

However, two things together led me back to the 37 slant, causing me to reconsider the razor. The biggest factor was my week-long trial of the Personna red-label blades, which I found to be an excellent blade for my skin and beard when used in my Merkur 33 or my Lord L.6. Coincidentally during this week long blade evaluation, I used my newly-acquired caliper micrometer, and did a final study and analysis of the Merkur 37C -- this go-round including measurements of its key design aspects.

The suitability of the blade for me, combined with having the slant razor on my mind led me to wonder how it would shave with a blade that seems to be so compatible with my face. So I pulled the razor out of storage once again and resolved to try a two-pass shave.

My two passes were planned to be with grain and against grain. However, in the second pass, the against-grain pass underneath my jaw was clearly irritating; I probably would have been better advised to go across grain in the second pass. So since I was shaving neck upward, I modified the rest of the second pass to be cross grain on my face. Aside from the irritation under my jaw, the second pass was not irritating, so I did a partial third pass on my face against grain, and under my jaw line cross grain.

The result was a close shave (except, of course, for my jaw line and underneath, where I was taking it easy after the second pass) with a single small weeper on my upper lip, slight irritation (not much) on my cheeks, and moderate, lingering irritation under my jaw. I followed the shave with a cool-water rinse, then a water-and-Noxzema wash, and capped off with an after-shave-lotion-and-vitamin-E oil rub. Neither styptic nor alum was necessary.

This re visitation of the slant has led me to consider the instrument for those days when I want to optimize the outcome of a single with-grain pass. Other than that, I think I can do as well in two or three passes with my normal milder-shaving razors mentioned above. This is particularly true when I take both closeness and irritation of shave into consideration.

Since I rarely limit my shave to a single pass, the razor will remain in the closet for the time being.

Happy shaving!

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