Fine Accoutrements makes wonderful things: the soaps are among the best, and the collection of ceramic bowls for holding soap and for lathering are excellent. A few short years ago, Fine began making safety razors, starting with the SuperLite Slant, and then the aluminum Slant. Now, we have the first non-slant conventional safety razor from Fine, the Marvel. And despite being a non-slant, it’s a unique take on the safety razor.
First of all, Marvel is affordable, priced at $40 USD. Made of Zinc Alloy with Chrome Electroplating. This is one of the ways that you get the cost down when manufacturing, and while it’s not a buy-it-for-life item, it’s one that will last for a good many years if cared for. But that’s not what’s unique here. What’s unique is the shape and the shave.
The handle texture is similar to that used on the Fine Superlite Slant and the Premium Slant. The handle has a decent amount of weight to it, and is identifiably a Fine product. The head is an unusual shape, with large quantities of blade gap and fantastically huge safety bars. This is part of the design that gives it its very different shaving experience.
Fine is trying to answer the question, “what would happen if you replaced the Merkur 34c or DE89, and re-thought what makes a razor shave well?” Instead of associating blade gap with blade feel or aggression, Fine believes it’s the size and shape of safety bar that drives much of the tactile feedback from the razor while shaving. The design uses the previously-mentioned large safety bar along with an enormous 0.95 mm blade gap and above average blade exposure.
The Marvel Razor In Use
In practice, the large safety bar provides comfort, and the gap provides closeness. The bar cancels out most aggressive feeling, and the large bars add a little weight that feels nice in the hand.
Some people report that it shaves well enough to just use a with-the-grain one pass or two pass shave, getting close without irritation. In my experience, it took about a week to get used to, and then I started to really enjoy it. That’s the thing about shaving; when you make a big change in your routine, either through a razor with very different geometry, or other changes, give yourself some time to acclimate. I still used the common three pass shave, but eventually got really nice shaves, that were consistently nice.
I found there were two things I had to pay attention to when using the Marvel DE. First, the handle has a grip pattern that looks like it works really well, but in practice isn’t as sharp as the handles on the Fine aluminum Slant or Superlite Slant. Keep your hands dry and it will work fine. Secondly, the large bars are affected by the quality of your lather. Other razors can push through a lather that might not have the most cushion or be the most slick, and with a light touch, you might not even notice. Here, because the bars have such a large surface area, they are occasionally subject to dragging in anything less than great lather.
I have asked Fine to consider giving the bars the same texture as the handle to reduce surface area. It’s not anything wrong with the razor, it’s just what I think of as an improvement in what is otherwise a, well, Fine razor.
My Conclusions On The Fine Marvel Razor
If this were your only razor, you’d be in good shape. You could do one- or two-pass shaves, have a nice and clean face with little effort, and if you really wanted to chase the perfect shave, a three-pass would get you there. Make sure to use a good soap like Fine makes, or some of our other top choices, and be mindful of pressure. The Fine Accoutrements Marvel DE is a good, affordable razor. If you give it a chance, make sure to give it some time to get used to it, and it will reward you with great shaves. It’s available for $39 from fineaccoutrements.com and also from West Coast Shaving (affiliate link) and others.