Merkur 38C HD Review – Heavy Duty Long Barber Pole Safety Razor – For Guys With Bigger Hands
Features of Merkur 38C HD
- Features an attractive and functional barber pole grip design
- The handle measures just under four inches
- It has a weight of 4 ounces
- Comes with a chrome plated finish
- It is a 2 piece safety razor
- The aggressiveness of the safety razor is about in the middle of the scale compared to other razors available in the market
- Includes a single blade
Overall Length: 4.2 inches/ 10.5 cm
Handle Length: 3.75 inches/ 95 mm
Handle Diameter: 0.59 inches/ 15 mm
Weight: 4 ounces/ 110 grams
Type: 2 Piece Closed Comb
Knurled handle: Yes
Blade included: 1
Last update on 2018-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Yippee for the internet! Thanks to YouTube and dedicated shaving gurus on this platform, the likes of Geofatboy and Nick Shaves, there is a lot of content and material to guide newbies in wet shaving.
We all started somewhere. But as a newbie, the journey to understanding the art of wet shaving can prove to be a tedious one when there aren’t enough resources to guide you along the way. The numerous razor products available on the market do not help the situation. A quick search on Amazon for the best safety razor will leave you even more confused.
That said, in a bid to purchase the best safety razor, and after numerous reviews, one particular safety razor stood out–the Merkur 38C.
This is without a doubt the bigger brother to the bestselling Merkur 34C. It features a longer handle, and it is slightly heavier in comparison. It weighs about 4 ounces (approximately 120 grams).
This is undoubtedly one of the heaviest double edge razors available, giving Parker 99R Long Handle a run for the money in that regard. Its heavy nature means that it provides better control as well as an aggressive shave.
Comparing the heads of this razor and Merkur 34C, you will not find any differences–they are identical. The only difference between the two razors (as pointed out above), is the length and design of the handle. Speaking of design, the 34C features a knurling design and is approximately 3” long. The big brother, on the other hand, has barber pole knurling and is slightly longer by a little less than an inch.
Most wet shaving gurus tend to recommend the 34C for beginners. Why you might wonder? Well, its design and weight make it slightly less aggressive–a feature that beginners benefit from greatly. If you are a beginner but would like to get that close shave like the wet shaving guru you look up to, you can simply use a very sharp blade on the 34C.
However, if you have big hands, you are better off going with the 38C courtesy of the comfort it will provide courtesy of the long handle it features yes, this longer handle makes a world of a difference when it comes to comfort in wet shaving.
The razor has a great heavy, solid feel to it. The additional weight contributes to its aggressive nature. As a beginner using this safety razor as you learn the best wet shaving techniques, you should ensure that you do not exert a lot of weight. If you do, you run the risk of nicking or cutting yourself.
What You Can Expect From This Razor
As pointed out several times before in this piece, the MK38C can be considered as the bigger brother to the MK34C. This is with regards to the weight and length.
It is also the handle design of the two Merkur units is different. Instead of the barber pole grip design, the 34C features a stubbed knurling along the length of its handle. While the knurling design on the 38C handle is beautiful, it is not secure when held with the right hand as it when held in the left hand.
Like the 34C, the 38C features a 2-piece design as well. This is to mean that the unit features only 2 parts – the top plate and the handle. You attach your sharp blade to the top piece. The blade goes between the built-in poles and then screwed onto the handle. As you fasten and tighten the two pieces together, the blade will automatically line up.
The 2-piece design is effective as it does not cause the blade to bend. If anything, the alignment is smooth and equal on both ends. Upon replacing your safety razor blade, you will be left with a unit that provides a consistent shave from both edges.
The razor features a chrome finish while the frame is made of brass. Most Merkur DE safety razors feature this kind of finish and construction. Additionally, I should point out that this Merkur safety razor also comes with a sharp stainless steel blade.
How Easy is it to Load Your Blade?
We already pointed out that the MK38C safety razor features a 2-piece design. But is this the only design all safety razors feature? No. Some safety razors have a 3-piece design. Each of these designs features their unique pros and cons. We shall not get into the details of that here. But with regards to ease of loading the blade, 2-piece razors are easier to load compared to 3-piece safety razors.
We have gone over the basics of a 2-piece design and how it works.
Blade alignment on the 38C is great and is flawless. All you need to pay attention to when loading the blade is holding the blade on both ends as you fasten the top plate onto the handle. Speaking of alignment, it is imperative to ensure that the razor is aligned and even on all ends – this will ensure you get a consistent and close shave.
Balance and Weight
It weighs 4 ounces. As pointed numerous times above, this makes it significantly heavier than the MK 34C. You should note that at 4 ounces, it is considerably heavier than most other safety razors as well.
Heavy safety razors have their fair share of pros and cons. Most wet shaving gurus prefer using heavy safety razors as they require little application of force while shaving. The razor’s weight is enough to achieve a great and close shave. On the flip side of the coin, heavier safety razors prove to be slightly more difficult to use, especially when changing hand positions during shaving.
If you are stepping up from a lighter unit using a heavier safety razor may prove to be more aggressive than expected. If you are one of those people who feel the need to apply additional pressure regardless of the razor’s weight, doing so with the 38C safety razor, you just might end up nicking yourself.
Moving on to balance, the balance is slightly lower on its handle. This is lower than one would expect just from looking at it. That said, overall, it features a great balance and you would have no problems maneuvering the razor. Additionally, it is perfect for those with large hands.
The grip on the handle of the 38C is pretty decent and is the barber pole style. These spirals wind in a counterclockwise direction from the top to the bottom of the length of the handle. This design is similar to that of the before mentioned Parker 99R only that in the Parker 99R, the spirals move in a clockwise design.
The fact that the spirals run down in an anticlockwise direction improves the grip for the left-handed individuals. This is because the thumb is positioned perpendicularly to the handle grooves rather than being parallel to the thumb as is the case with right-handed persons. However, there are some pros who have on gone on record to state that they wish the grooves were slightly deeper than they are. This would improve their grip all the more.
On the 34C the handle features a gritty metallic grip. This, for some wet shaving guru proves better than the barber pole grip design. Moving on, at the bottom of the safety razor is a barber pole knob. While the 38C does not feature the best grip in the industry, the protrusion at the bottom substantially increases the maneuvering ability of the safety razor.
Overall, the aggressiveness of this safety razor is mild. The head, gap between the safety bar and the blade angle of the 38C are exactly the same as that of the 34C. However, the aggressiveness of the 38C is slightly higher courtesy of its heavier construction. This aggressiveness is great for those who are learning the art of light touch in the wet shaving technique. They should, however, exercise caution so as not to nick themselves.
To increase the aggressiveness of this unit, you can choose a sharp razor blade from the many available in the market. For your blade, you could choose the Feather blade – this will help you achieve a close shave in a simple two-pass motion. Try with a variety pack to find your perfect fit.
The first pass should be with the grain and the other against the grain. Other options are blades from Merkur, Timor Solingen or Derby. Note that if your skin is sensitive, you should avoid shaving against the grain.
It measures about 4” (10 cm) in length. This is a great length as it allows individuals with big hands to use different grips when they are shaving. This cannot be done with safety razors featuring short handles. It is this long handle that contributes significantly to the extra weight.
If you have smaller hands, the 34C will serve you well as it is shorter by 0.75”.
What Consumers Say
Most consumers love this product for three reasons – the weight, its not too aggressive nature, and consistency. Newbies who had the opportunity to use this safety razor also love and complement this product as it allows them to achieve a smooth, close shave with minimal effort and difficulty.
In comparison to other safety razors like the Merkur 39C (AKA Sledgehammer) and the Merkur 37C Slant, the 38C razor provides its user with more room to err. This is to mean that even with a lapse in concentration for a second, you will not cut yourself (unless of course, you apply too much pressure on the already heavy razor).
As you contemplate purchasing this unit, always bear in mind that it features a similar head as the 34C. The only difference with the 38C is the weight and the handle length. Given these differences, it is safe to say that there is only a slight learning curve to using it effectively.
As for the grip on the handle, the feedback is mixed from its users. There are those that feel it is too slippery and there are those that find it solid and just right. All in all, pertaining to any safety razor grip, it boils down to one’s personal preference.
As for the finish and fit, some love the high quality and smooth finish while others are left complaining about the poor craftsmanship of the safety razor. Nonetheless, the razor still performs the main duty which is to provide a close shave; and does it very well.
The internet today is full of online shops where you can purchase any item and product you desire. The issue is never finding a product you need but finding it at the best price. But while there are many shops selling these razors, you are almost certain to get the best deal from Amazon.
A few points to remember about this razor:
- It features a similar head to the Merkur 34C and is the recommended razor for persons making their transition from cartridge razors
- The handle is longer and the overall unit heavier as a result
- The handle features a barber pole grip design
All in all, Merkur 38C – the bigger brother to the Merkur 34C is a versatile and great razor. It is perfect for both professionals and newbies looking to attain a close shave with sharp blades like Feather.