A reader writes: “I have a Merkur 34C heavy duty that I really like. Having ordered a Feather AS-D2 and being left disappointed in its performance compared to the Merkur, I’m wondering if you can give me some advice on what to buy to complement the Merkur. I tried the Feather for about two weeks with different blades and was pretty careful about the distinct blade angle. If it’s helpful, I typically use Feather platinum or the Israeli Personna blades in my Merkur. I tried those in the Feather, too, but did not get the same shave.”
Apples And Oranges
OK, so you’re looking for something “different.” Here are three (well, four if you want to go vintage) suggestions:
A slant-bar razor. The Merkur Slant is reasonably priced and widely available. If you want to go full-tilt on a slant consider the new iKon slant with the DLC coating: it’s expensive (~$150) but it’s really nice (just got one myself and I’m very impressed with it). Italian Barber is also planning a slant razor.
An open-comb razor. I just wrote about a couple here on Sharpologist–the Parker open combs and the How To Grow A Moustache “Syngergy” open comb. Personally I think the Parker razors will come closest to the level of aggressiveness that the 34C has. There is also the Goodfella razor which is a bit milder than the 34C but still an excellent alternative experience.
An adjustable razor. With an adjustable razor you can change your shave experience, even during the shave. I’m admittedly biased here…I love my Merkur Progress (now available in a long-handle as well). The Merkur Futur has its fans too though (and comes in matte, polished, and gold-tone finishes). The Merkur Vision 2000 is ridiculously over-engineered and surprisingly delicate but if you want to tackle the regular maintenance on it the experience would be very “different.” (Note that I’m hearing that the Vision is being discontinued.)
If you don’t mind vintage razors you also might consider a vintage Gillette Superspeed or a Schick Krona (or Injector, for that matter) razor.
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2 Vintage DE Razors For The Beginner