Welcome to Tuesday Shave and Groom! Today I will take a look at the Merkur 34C safety razor. As I mentioned yesterday, I am working on adding a little more structure to this blog. As my readership grows, I think a little more order will help keep posts more organized and our readers more interested. The first thing I am doing is dedicating each day to a specific topic or idea. Yesterday was The Monday Rise. Today is Tuesday Shave and Groom. Each Tuesday I will review or recommend one shaving or men’s grooming product. I decided to start with the first razor any guy should buy if he wants to start shaving with a traditional double edge safety razor. And you would too if you read my post on Five Real Reasons Why You Should Switch to a DE Safety Razor.
If you search the Internet on which DE Razor you should start with, there is pretty much one answer: The Merkur Heavy Duty (HD) 34C. You will definitely see the Edwin Jagger DE89 mentioned a bit too, but not like the Merkur 34C. (I do own and use both of these razors myself.) The problem is that no one really tells you why. It is just sort of assumed that if you’re asking the question, you will follow advice blindly. While I do agree that the Merkur 34C is the razor you should start DE shaving with, I think you should know why too. I put together a list of five reasons why I think you should pick up this razor. And remember, if you are already a DE shaver, but haven’t ever bought a Merkur 34C, then this list is for you too!
While this is not as heavy as some razors you could buy, it definitely has some heft to it. Why is weight important? Well, unlike a cartridge razor, you let a DE razor and gravity do all the work for you. All you really need to focus on is the angle. Okay, that’s simplifying it a little, but if your razor has enough weight to it, then you will have a better shave and learn proper technique. I would just wait until you have the angle down before trying some of the heavier razors.
As I just mentioned, pressure is not needed with a DE razor, so you will definitely have to practice using a lighter hold of the razor. A lot of safety razors have a smooth-surfaced handle for aesthetics. This usually looks great, but unfortunately doesn’t help you when you are learning a new grip. The slightly abrasive grip on the handle of the Merkur 34C is perfect for beginners looking to learn and veterans looking to improve their technique.
The Merkur 34C utilizes a two-piece system to hold your blades in place. Some other razors, like the Edwin Jagger DE89, use a three-piece system. I don’t have any issues with a three-piece system, but I think, while you are learning, using less pieces works better when handling sharp objects!
Yes, there is that old stereotype about German engineering, and it’s probably true. There are a lot of high quality products that come out of Germany. You can probably also apply that stereotype to the Merkur 34C, but, more importantly, I can tell you from personal experience that this is a well-built razor. The pieces are solid. The tightening mechanism has worked flawlessly for years. This razor will absolutely not fall apart on you.
Sure, $42 seems expensive for the Merkur 34C when you could pick up a Gillette Fusion for about $10, but I assure you the quality and durability of this razor will far, far outlast that cheap $10 purchase. You will also have better shaves, and the savings over the years in razor blade purchases will pay you back in no time.
All-in-all, the Merkur 34C is the ideal razor for anyone beginning with DE shaving, but it also is a classic and should be included in any veteran’s shaving cabinet. The quality will last, and the design will teach. It’s the perfect combination of form and function.