Probably you are looking for an aggressive razor. You want the closest shave you can get right? Yet not sure if you are up to the task using a razor that could potentially bite you? Well, the good news is that while Slants are considered more aggressive than let’s say classically designed safety razors – this one isn’t (much). The current version appeared around 2015 with an improved quality yet less aggressive head. But let’s look at it closer so you can make an informed decision should you choose to buy one.
+ Good for coarse beard and sensitive skin
+ Comes in two different sizes
+ Good grip
– Assembling can be confusing
– Needs more attention when shaving otherwise leaves you bloody
- Unique razor head design provides very efficient shave. This means less effort to get a really smooth shave. But the risk of cutting yourself is raised as well
- There are two handle lengths. The shorter handle is called model 37C and the longer one mode 39C
- Because of the more aggressive profile of this razor, it is not recommended for those that are new to wet shaving. You don’t want to kill your enthusiasm with the first shave that leaves your face covered with nicks and cuts
- There is only the chrome version
- It is a two-piece safety razor
- Is more expensive than some other razor
Merkur/Dovo is one of the oldest and most respected safety razor companies. They have many products that are considered to be industries benchmark. With a good resume like that one would expect a little more refined package. Merkurs are packed into a cheap looking gray-blue package emblemed with the profile of Greek goddess Merkur. This is, of course, subjective but I find the package not very pleasing. Should I be considering this as a present I might find a better home for the otherwise good razor.
Both 37C and 39C have a nice weight to them. The shorter 37C is 3.3” / 8.3 cm and the longer 39C is a 4 in / 10.1 cm razor. In the early 1900s when safety razor was invented they rarely were heavier than 2.4 oz / 70 g. But just like the length of razors also the weight has gone up in the evolution of safety razors. Many of the new companies only manufacture razors that are at least 3.5” / 9 cm in length and tend to weigh 3.1 oz / 90 g and upwards.
37C: Weight: 2.9 oz (79 g)
37C: Length: 3.3″ (8.3 cm)
39C: Weight: 3.9 oz (113 g)
39C: Length: 4″ (10.1 cm)
Made in Germany
How Does It Feel In Your Hand
Merkur 37C handle is short so once again guys with big hands may find it slightly uncomfortable. This is one of those Your Miles May Vary points. There are plenty of men out there with big hands who enjoy the small handle and have no problem with it. Merkur HD 37C slant is a temperate razor but you still need to show your respect while using it, otherwise you end up covered with weepers. To minimize the risk of getting cuts and nicks while shaving I would prefer a tool that feels perfect in my hand. Luckily there is also the long handled version 39C.
37C and 39C have the same knurling on the handle. It is definitely not shallow and allows good grip even with soapy hands. Because you usually end up doing less passes with a slant, slipperiness is even less of a problem as your hands are covered less time with the soap. The longer 39C has a barber pole handle design that in my opinion ensures even better grip than the normal 37C handle.
Both razors are hefty. If you happen to have some previous experience with safety razors then 37C is very similar weight wise to Merkur 34c and Edwin Jagger DE89. The heavier Merkur 39C is similar to Merkur Futur which is 4.5 oz / 128 g. The longer handle and added weight makes it slightly harder to maintain the right angle and light touch while shaving. By harder I mean you need to think about it more
What About The Design
Slant design has been around for almost a century. Merkur 37C has seen many variations during its existence but it has never gone into masses. Even during the golden age of wet shaving because of the weird head design. If you look at the Merkur 37C you will notice that there is a slant to the head ergo the name “slant safety razor”. It almost looks wicked so you would be surprised how smooth shave it produces.
Merkur 37C and 39C are both two-piece razors. To insert the razor blade just hold the razor in your palm. Cap piece resting against your palm. Then unscrew the base-handle piece, place the blade on the cap and screw back the handle.
It has a very nice sturdy chrome coating, covering Zamak made razor head. You shouldn’t be worried over the pot metal though. Merkur uses higher quality zamak and covers it with thick chrome coating. Corrosion is rarely reported and in many instances is more related to the way the razor was cleaned to outright neglect and harm.
Will It Shave?
Merkur 37C comes with one default Merkur razor blade. When we talk about ordinary safety razors and why one is more aggressive than the other, we usually consider blade exposure, blade gap, blade angle, weight etc. When we talk about slants I am afraid only really technically minded will get the real reason why slant design is so effective. There are even some who argue that slants design has no real benefit and it is purely a marketing fab. Terms like “negative rake angle”, “torque of the blade” and also “helical blade formation” will enter the discussion. Let’s just say that due to design it shaves very efficiently. Because it has varying blade exposure it can cause weepers but overall shave quality is excellent with modest aggressiveness.
There has been also a lot of controversy about how should the blade be aligned. Because of the slanted design, many will make the claim that it should be parallel with the safety bar. That is not correct though. It has been confirmed by the Merkur company that while fixing the blade, it should be parallel with the cap.
Comparison: Merkur 37C vs Above The Tie Atlas S1/2
Slant razors have they own niche in the realm of safety razors and wet shaving. But that niche isn’t particularly big. Every once and a while it sees renewed interest which dies down rather quickly. One of the few mass-produced Slant razors besides 37C and 39C is ATT Atlas S1/2. There is also iKon ShaveCraft X3 but it is even harder to find than ATT Atlas razors.
Both razors are slant bar but one is open-comb and the other is not. Now a lot of you might say that I am comparing at the moment apples and oranges. ATT S1 and S2 are both very expensive and made out of stainless steel while 37C and 39C are their cheap lower-quality cousins. But if you look at the core we will see that they are still rather similar. They have the same slant bar design and they prove very efficient yet modestly aggressive shave.
Atlas razor weighs in at 3.3 oz / 94 g, total length is 3¼” / 8.2 cm . So S1 and S2 are heavier but shorter than 37C. Both the open combed and closed combed models are three-piece razors and made out of stainless steel that makes them corrosion proof. This is also one of the reasons why it is more expensive. ATT is manufacturing small quantities of these razors and machining is more time and energy consuming compared to 37C and 39C which are cast using pot metal.
I wouldn’t recommend ATT S1 and S2 for a beginner. While both razors are superb it makes no sense to invest so much into a hobby that you are just beginning. But if you happen to have the finances and you are willing to spend that much money you are in for a treat.
To summarize the key differences:
- ATT S1 and S2 are both stainless steel DE razors. This means that they won’t corrode
- ATT S1 and S2 are heavier and short than Merkur 37C . Shorter handle is a matter of preference but for a man with bigger hands, it might be uncomfortable.
- ATT S1/S2 are three-piece razors compared to C37 and C39 which are two-piece.
- ATT S2 is an open comb razor, it means it is more aggressive than C37, C39 and S1.
- ATT S1 and S2 are very expensive
Merkur 37C Slant bar double edge safety razor is a very efficient razor. It shaves close without being too aggressive. Would I recommend this for a first-time DE safety razor user? – Probably not. This razor has too many technicalities for a beginner. But if you want a really close shave and you have a coarse beard and sensitive skin. And you are prepared to take the time and learn how to use it (usually takes a few weeks). Then this razor won’t disappoint. Just remember – patience is the key here!