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A “Different” Shave Experience?

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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.
Related Posts:
What Is The Best DE Razor
2 Vintage DE Razors For The Beginner
Why SE?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

6 thoughts on “A “Different” Shave Experience?”

  1. I found the Feather blades used in my Merkur 34c to leace black substance? Even durining a shave I have to pull it apart and clean it!
    This does not happen with any other blades. I must admit the Feather blade is sharp as @%^#!

  2. The Feather D2 is a tricky razor. It takes a while to nail down its quirks. It works well enough for a lot of folks (myself included) but I can see how it won’t make the cut for others.
    I’ll second Mark’s recommendation of the Progress. Amazing piece of kit, albeit a little homely looking. You can go from mild to wild with a twist of a knob and finding a setting that works with your blades and face is pretty easy to do. It’s my choice when I only have enough time for a 2-pass shave.
    Good luck with your search.

    1. I’ll second the adjustable suggestion, although i’m partial to my Merkur Futur (I have the less blingy Matte version), great weight and adjustability from the the docile to aggressive ranges. I typically have mine dialed around 3.5/4 with feather blades, and get awesome shaves (I’ll sometimes open it up a bit more on the initial pass if I’ve got a bit of weekend growth on…). It can take a couple of shaves to get used to under the nose because of the head size, but I honestly stopped noticing that after about 3 shaves.
      I’ve tried some TTO razors that aren’t bad, and that are quite low profile (never any issues around the nose), they are great for loading, although the ones I’ve had were way too mild (not sure the model, since they were branded for a local shop, and I’m not sure who the actual manufacturer is).

  3. FWIW, my Feather AS-D2 works well, albeit slowly because it’s mild. I’ve tried a Merkur 34c but found it prone to bite.
    I’ve never tried a Fatboy, but TTO razors all seems to have the same problem: The head is too tall to fit under my nose and behind my ears. For me, that’s a deal breaker.
    I can second the thumbs-up for iKon quality. I use an original iKon OC in regular rotation (this morning, in fact), and it’s never let me down.
    Has your reader considered a Standard? It’s still pretty mild, but it’s maneuverable and very smooth. If nothing else, it’s certainly different.

  4. Since you mentioned Italian Barber’s upcoming slant, I thought we should mention their very fine open comb razors, too. I’ve been shaving with the Jaws oc head for months now and love it, [Aside, while the Jaws handle was fine, I didn’t like it as much as the Cadet handle I had—-and I wasn’t that crazy about the Cadet safety bar head. So I use the Jaws head on the Cadet handle.] They also make another OC called the Little Bastone. Both are under $20.
    I’m told the RazoRock (Italian Barber) razors are rebranded Cadet razors. So if you are looking for more variety in handles, you might want to take a look at the Cadet line. They have beautiful razors that are quite inexpensive.

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