Wet shaving is gaining traction once again.
Thanks to men like Geofatboy, the Sharpologist, a.k.a. Mantic59, Nick Shaves, and a whole bunch of other YouTube shaving gurus that provide us with tons of resources to get started.
But the next question is you’ll probably is what an excellent beginner razor is?
There are a lot of options you’ll see on Amazon.
But one of the recommendations in forums and in online stores is the Merkur 38C or the “Classic Two-Piece safety razor.”
This is the bigger brother of the 34C because of the long handle and the heftier weight. It tips the scales at 4 ounces or close to 120 grams.
This is one of the most massive safety razors in the market. The heavyweight means a slightly more aggressive shave and better control.
The heads of the Merkur 34C and 38C are identical. And the most significant difference would be the handle length and design.
The 34C has a stubbed knurling design and measures approximately 3″ in length while the 38C has a barber pole knurling and is longer by 0.75″.
If you’ve read my review about the 34C, you’ll see that a lot of expert wet shavers like Nick Shaves recommends this to beginners because it isn’t too aggressive.
But if you want a close shave, you can still put in a sharp blade in there like a feature if you want a closer shave.
For men with bigger hands
So you’re a beginner with big hands, this is a better option because it has a more extended handle.
This razor is massive and is solidly built, but that added weight adds to the aggressiveness. If you’re a beginner, avoid putting any pressure, or you’ll risk a lot of blood loss.
A quick look at the features
- Has a barber pole knurling design
- Handle length is around 3.75 inches
- Weighs around 4 ounces
- Chrome plated finish
- Type: 2 piece
- Aggressiveness: 5/10
- Blades included: 1
- Excellent craftsmanship and has a good weight
- The weight allows you to use a lighter pressure which means less irritation
- Blades will align well when you tighten the handle
- More aggressive compared to the 34C because it’s heavier
- Barber pole handle design and length may not be for everyone (some like it and some do not because it slips and it is too long)
This razor is a bigger version of the 34C in terms of handle length and weight.
I’ve already mentioned it in the intro, but I’ll say it here again. The handle length of this razor is around 3.75,” and it weighs approximately 4 ounces.
The stubble design is also different.
Instead of using the traditional stubbed knurling, this razor uses a barber pole design. It doesn’t have as a secure a grip as the 34C design if you’re holding it with your right hand as compared to your left.
Similar to the 34C, the 38C is a two-piece razor. This means it has two parts – the blade plate/handle assembly and the top plate.
You attach the blade on the top piece in between the poles and then screw the handle.
The blade automatically lines up as you tighten the two pieces together.
Blade bending is minimal, and the alignment on both sides is equal, so expect a consistent shave on both sides.
This razor has a chrome finish, and brass frame as a majority of Merkur DE razors have. It also comes with one Merkur stainless steel blade.
Being a two-piece razor makes it easier to load the blade because there are fewer parts to align.
I’ve shown you earlier how the two-piece design looks like.
Blade alignment is also good, so expect an even alignment each and every time you load up the blade. Just to be sure when tightening the blade, hold on to both sides of the head while tightening this.
It is essential to always check blade alignment so that the shave is even on both sides of the razor – you’ll want that consistency.
Both the 38C and the 34C have a similar head design. So, in essence, this is a mild razor, but since it has more weight to it – that adds to the aggressiveness factor.
The heavier weight means you can use a less aggressive blade and let the weight of the razor do the work for you.
Unlike lighter razors where the tendency is to push down, you won’t have a problem with this.
When you pair it with a really sharp blade like a Feather, it can give you a really close shave in just two passes.
First pass with the grain, second pass against the grain.
But if you have sensitive skin, please avoid going against the grain. If you want more tips in wet shaving, just read this article.
Unlike the Merkur 34C that has a gritty style knurling, the 38C comes with a classic barber pole design on the top and bottom of the handle that still will give you a pretty solid grip.
The handle itself has a spiral knurling design that isn’t very deep. And since it goes in one direction, it will give a better grip if you hold this with your left hand than with your right hand.
This is a pretty long razor at around 4.2 inches long. The handle alone is 3.75 inches long, which is longer than the Merkur 34C!
Both will yield the same shave quality because each uses the same head. The most significant difference would be weight, and that adds to the aggressiveness in the 38C.
|Overall Length||4.2 inches|
|Handle Length||3.75 inches|
Consumers like this product because it has good weight, consistent, and not too aggressive.
Some newbie shavers also chimed in, and one said it allowed a neophyte like him to achieve a BBS shave out of the gate.
More room for error
Remember that this razor has the same head as the 34C. The main difference is the length of the handle and weight, so there is more learning curve involved.
Not so deep barber pole knurling
The feedback on handle grip is mixed; some find it stable while others say that it is slippery, so this could all boil down to personal preference.
In terms of fit and finish, it is also mixed, but a majority liked how it had a smooth, high-quality finish (at least on the visible parts). However, there are also complaints of poor craftsmanship even so it was still able to perform its primary function, which is to shave.
This razor is another good alternative to newbie wet shavers looking to get into a resurgent DE shaving community.
The longer handle and heavier weight make this suitable for men with larger hands.
The barber pole design is a mixed bag – some say it provides excellent grip while others say it was slippery.
Overall this is an excellent DE and versatile razor that will give experienced users a close shave when paired with a sharp blade like a Feather blade.
For newbies looking to wet shave for the first time, they may want to pair this with a less aggressive blade like the Derby, but you’ll have to look at a lot of factors like your skill level, the coarseness of your facial hair and your skin’s sensitivity level when choosing one.
If you have a coarse beard, you’ll be better off with a sharper blade to lessen the tugging and pulling that can also cause irritation.
For men with sensitive skin, you can opt for an Astra. It is close in terms of sharpness to the Feather, but it is less forgiving – this is a popular option for men with sensitive skin.
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