Merkur 39C Review – A.K.A. The Sledgehammer Slant Bar Razor
Below are some features of the Merkur 39C to get us started:
Features of Merkur 39C
- It is a heavy razor – one of the heaviest at over 4.0 ounces
- It is designed as a 2-piece razor
- The head features a slanted design which improves its shaving efficiency
- The handle sports a barber pole grip
- The unit measures a whopping 4.1 inches long from its head to the end of the handle
- It features a beautiful chrome finish
- Its aggressive design and rating is 10/10
- Its packaging comes inclusive of a single blade
Overall Length: 4.1 inches/ 10 cm
Handle Length: 3.79 inches/ 96 mm
Handle Diameter: 0.55 inches/ 14 mm
Weight: 4 ounces/ 111 grams
Type: 2 Piece Slanted Closed Comb
Knurled handle: Yes – Barber-pole Style
Blade included: 1
Last update on 2018-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In this review we take a look at Merkur 39C Slant A.K.A. Sledgehammer.
If you are new to wet shaving, your head might be spinning from all the choices you are bombarded with. As more and more people are gaining interest in wet shaving, more blades are being designed to match the growing demand.
As a beginner, you have no clue where to start. But you know you have a lot to learn before you can call yourself a pro. Luckily for you, on this site, I have taken the liberty to review and compare some of the best safety razors in the market. These reviews are designed to reduce the hassle you go through to get the best razor for your needs.
Speaking of reviews, one of the razors I have reviewed recently is the Merkur 37C Slant. In its review, we went into the details of its designs, pros, and cons and even why some wet shaving pros refer to it as the slant. To jog your memory, or get you in the know (in case you have not read that review yet), this name is courtesy of its slant design. The slant on its headpiece is constructed starting from the upper left to the bottom right of each side. The whole idea of incorporating this idea is to help slice through the facial hair with minimal effort. This design makes it feel like a beard mower – its efficiency is through the roof.
But while the Merkur 37C Slant Bar is efficient and preferred by most experienced wet shavers, there is yet another blade that gives it a run for its money – the Merkur 39C which we are reviewing today. Now, you can consider the 39C as the bigger brother to the 37C. It is sort of an (evil) twin to the Merkur 38C. Compared to 37C – the Merkur 39C is thicker, bigger and needless to say, heavier. The weight and dimensions are about the same as Merkur 38C – but with a slant bar design. So you can actually call it a hybrid between 37C and 38C – the functionality of the 37′ in a 38′ size.
Wet shaving enthusiasts refer to it as the Sledgehammer. This name alone should give you a hint as to how efficient this blade is.
But before we sink our teeth deep into the review, let’s have a look at the slant design that this blade boasts of.
The Slant Bar
We have hinted at the slanting design above. But what exactly is it? Well, the slant design is on the head. Rather than a flat design, once a blade is loaded onto the head, it is held in a slanted position. The principle used here is similar to that used in a guillotine. The angled blade is bound to cut slightly more efficiently compared to flathead designs.
The only downside to this setup is the fact that the blade used will become dull faster. Additionally, courtesy of this design, the razor is and not ideal for beginners who have not yet mastered the wet shaving technique. A single wrong move could result in a quick nick.
Weight and Balance
The Merkur 39C is one of the few units that feature a heavy construction. It weighs slightly over 4.0 ounces. Needless to say, this is heavier than most of the safety razors available in the market – even some from Merkur – like it’s best selling model the adjustable Merkur Futur and also the before mentioned 38C. It even gives Parker 99R a run for the money in this regard.
Given this heavyweight construction and design, a user needs to put in very little work to obtain a clean shave. The slant design also plays a role in making this blade easy to use and efficient as well.
For beginners, it is important to note that the balance point of this blade is at about a quarter of an inch along the length of the handle from the head. Some users prefer a higher balance point, but this is not a big issue for your shaving results.
Speaking of balancing the blade, note that the length of the unit allows one to grip the razor at the bottom of the razor with the pinkie. This eases the pressure applied when shaving. Geofatboy, one of the great experienced and wet shaver enthusiasts, shows you how it is done on the YouTube video posted.
The first thing that should pop into your head when you see the word grip in relation to the Merkur 39C is the barber pole grip design it features. This grip design and style is similar to the Merkur 38C. As a matter of fact, if you have both of these blades and you hold them each on either hand, you will not notice a difference in the grip quality.
In addition, when performing a comparison Merkur 39C vs. Merkur 38C, it is important to note that both of these units are constructed as 2-piece designs. They feature the exact same design from the head to the bottom of the handle.
Left-handed wet shavers will have an easier time shaving as the thumb will be aligned perpendicularly to the grooves while shaving. The barber pole grip design features grooves that spiral counterclockwise from the top of the handle (right below the head) to the bottom of the handle. But this does not mean that the grip is no good for right-handed wet shavers. It is, just that it is not quite as good in the hands of a right-handed individual as it is in the hands of a left-handed shaver.
At the very end of the handle, past the spiraling grooves is a knob designed to improve the grip. With this knob, the chances of the blade slipping from your hand are reduced. Overall, the grip of this safety razor is OK and great for most wet shavers.
In addition to being heavy, the unit is also long in comparison to most safety razors. The length of the safety razor is 4.1 inches. The handle itself measures about 3.5 inches. While you might wonder why we are making a big fuss of this, it is imperative to the comfort and handling of the unit.
Here is the thing. Not all men are created equal. Some grow up to have large hands, some normal and some small. It is really all God’s design and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when it comes to using safety razors, all these different hand sizes require different handle lengths to be comfortable.
That said, it goes without saying that individuals with large hands will only benefit from long handles. And since very few safety razors features lengthy handles, the Merkur 39C comes as huge relief to individuals blessed with large hands.
Individuals with small hands normally have no problem maneuvering and handling all safety razor types and handle lengths. Like most things in life, it just takes a bit of getting used to.
Almost everyone who uses this safety razor terms it as an aggressive razor. Now at this point, I would like to make a difference between aggressiveness and efficiency.
You might have noticed that all through, up to this point in the article, I have used the terms, aggressive and efficient almost interchangeably. However, they are not, especially in the case of the Merkur 39C.
Here is the thing. While the razor might provide you with a close shave (closer than any other safety razor can), and has a higher chance of beginners nicking and cutting themselves, aggressive is not the best term to describe the razor. Efficient is a much more accurate term.
Why is this? Well, as pointed out earlier in this review the slanted design the unit features is designed to slice through hairs and not struggle cutting through them like most safety razors do. That said, it would be unfair to rate the Merkur 39C as a mild safety razor. As such, in my aggressive rating scale, the unit earns a 10/10. Its efficiency is also impressive. However, bear in mind that this unit does require a different technique to use. As such, if you are a newbie to wet shaving, you are better off starting with a low-level shaving unit and working your way up to the Sledge Hammer.
Given that the Merkur 39C is a 2-piece safety razor, blade replacement is a fairly simple process. The 39C design is similar to the 38C. While the unit is not exactly an easy twist and open type of safety razor, it is far less challenging to perform a blade replacement than many other models. With the quality this unit oozes, it is bound to last you a lifetime.
While on the same note of blade loading, there are different techniques to achieve your end goal. If you are a fan of watching Merkur videos, there are high chances that you have probably come across some of their videos displaying some unorthodox ways of blade loading. Most of these videos recommend that one loads the blade onto the top cap while it is upside down and then screw the handle over it.
However, this is not the best of blade loading techniques. Why? Well, this technique often results in misalignment. The exposure of the blade on both ends is usually uneven. There is a better way of blade loading on a 2-piece razor. Numerous videos, including this one, shows the proper way of doing it.
While loading your blade, you should ensure that the blade is properly aligned for even shaving.
What Consumers Say About the Merkur 39C
While the 39C is marketed by most individuals as being an aggressive unit, there are some users who are of a different opinion. As mentioned earlier, rather than being aggressive, they consider it as being efficient courtesy of the slant design it features.
Actually, some individuals who have had the opportunity to take it for a test run say that this unit is more aggressive and efficient compared to the earlier mentioned Merkur Futur.
I cannot stress this enough – this safety razor is not for individuals who are learning about wet shaving. Instead, it is for those who have some experience and are looking to improve their chances of getting a clean shave and fast. There is no way you can use the same technique that worked on a cartridge razor. The results will be far from what you are looking for.
Using this razor, you need to apply very little force and pressure. To ease the pressure on the blade, support its barrel with your pinkie.
Also, it is imperative that you pay close attention to the process you follow to load your blade. While the process is straightforward, there are some techniques that may leave you with an uneven blade.
Last but not least, you might want to use this safety razor with a sharp blade like Feather. A great safety razor requires a great blade to compliment it as well, but I would personally try with a variety pack to find your perfect fit.
This safety razor is available on numerous platforms online. The West Coast Shaving website is one of such sites. However, you are bound to get the best deal on Amazon than in any of these specialty sites.