I first became curious about the Merkur Bakelite because of the recent craze, partially fueled by the ItalianBarber, surrounding the Bakelite Slant. (Which if there was ever any confusion as to who manufactured the Bakelite Slant, there really shouldn’t because the handles to both razors are virtually identical.) If it wasn’t for the slant I would not have given the Merkur Bakelite a second look, but the relatively low price, and curiosity I gave it a shot.
I will start by saying that if you are a fan of the feel of the Bakelite slant you will enjoy the feel of this razor. It is light, really light, toy like light. So, as I was with my Bakelite, I was skeptical about the Merkur Bakelite. Next to the lightness of the razor you can’t help but notice its colour, the black and red design, without a doubt, gives it a retro feel (image to the right of the head of the razor showing the pattern – click for a closer look).
I took a few shots of the Merkur Bakelite next to a Merkur “1904” to provide a comparison. As you can see they are more or less the same size,with the biggest difference being the head of the razor. The head of the razor is quite different than my other razors because of the safety bar. The bar is rounded, allowing it to move smoothly while you shave. I feel however that the design, also makes it a bit more ‘aggressive’ vs traditional Merkur straight bar design.
The head of the Merkur Bakelite, like the “1904” has a traditional three piece design. with the handle screwing into the two piece head. It does feel that if you tighten it too much that you may break it, other than that it functions perfectly well.
As for how the razor performed I will have to say that it did a nice job. I used it a couple of times over the past four days, using a new Astra blade with each shave, and I walked away with a decent and comfortable shave. As with the Bakelite slant, I wasn’t a big fan of the lightness of the razor, preferring the heft of a nice chrome handle. I also prefer the handling of some of my other razors over the Merkur Bakelite; operating under my nose and chin wasn’t as easy as with say my Edwin Jagger. I am not trying to say that the Merkur Bakelite doesn’t have its place, and as I mentioned from the outset, if you love the feel of the Bakelite Slant, I don’t see how you wouldn’t enjoy this razor as well. It would also make a great little travel razor – its light – and also available with its own travel case. What this razor isn’t, is your first razor, save the purchase of this once you have mastered and enjoyed classic shaving with a razor made out of something other than Bakelite.
The lack of weight is a problem for me.
No complaints here. Never felt like I didn’t have control of the razor.
Blade Exposure 4/5:
The design of the head seems to expose a bit more of the razor than I am used to.
Not many razors cheaper than this.