I recently had a chance to try the new Above The Tie (ATT) X1 Single Edge (SE) Slant Safety Razor. Here are my thoughts.
ATT X1 Slant SE Razor
From the ATT Website:
“Above the Tie is proud to offer the X1 Single Edge Slant Safety Razor, hand crafted from solid 303 stainless steel here in the USA.
“The X1 is a mid aggressive, slant & single edge, solid bar razor. The blade gap is 0.55 mm. The blade exposure is 1.5 mm. The weight of the head is 46 g / 1.6 oz.
“The X1 uses Artist Club blades, which are thicker than DE blades. This thickness prevents vibration in the blade, for a smoother feeling shave. The thicker blade is also better for denser areas of hair, such as the chin.
“The Slant design holds the blade at an angle. This creates a slicing motion on the hair. Slants typically feel smoother, yet more efficient, than the blade gap indicates. Slants can cause irritation to sensitive skin.”
My Experience With The Above The Tie X1 Single Edge Slant Safety Razor
Note: Above The Tie loaned me an X1 temporarily to try.
I received an X1 with the ATT Calypso handle. The Calypso is one of ATT’s most popular handles (along with the shorter Atlas), and the weight of that handle brings the total weight of the razor to over 4 oz. I find the razor’s balance very good, even with the longer handle: still balanced more toward the head, which I prefer. Fit-and-finish on my razor is excellent, as I’ve come to expect from ATT.
I’ve always found changing “barber blades” in a three-piece razor to be a bit fussy–it’s just “the nature of the beast.” But dealing with blade changing in the X1 isn’t too bad for me: the size and shape of the razor’s head and blade-holding tabs make it reasonably easy to clamp into. Speaking of the head, the “slant” design looks quite modest–I can barely see the blade torquing “by eye,” compared to a typical double edge slant design. Of course, since it’s a single edge design and SE blades don’t have nearly the same “depth” as a double edge blade, torquing may not look as obvious.
Knowing that slant-type razors are usually more aggressive than others (I normally prefer “mild” razors) I decided to try a “mild” barber blade for my first few shaves with the X1. I chose the Feather Professional “SoftGuard” blade (Amazon affiliate link). The Feather Pro SoftGuard has a “wavy guard” that supposedly eases pressure on the skin:
The first strokes of my initial shave with the X1 seemed to confirm my caution: there’s a lot of blade feel. On the other hand, my first shaves went quite well! No pulling or tugging, and the relatively thin head height made getting in places like under my nose easier than I thought it would be. Getting into larger curved regions like under the jawline was a bit more challenging due to the width of the barber blade–but again, understand this is “the nature of the beast” with wider blades and I anticipated that issue.
I decided to try a shave with a more efficient blade, a Kai Captain Titan (“Mild” but without a guard. Amazon affiliate link). Shaves with this blade were also excellent but with a few minor “weepers.” In the end I decided to go back to the Feather Pro SoftGuard. YMMV.
Overall, shaves with the ATT X1 are excellent for me: “baby’s butt smooth” (BBS) with a three-pass shave and just a bit of touch-up. It definitely passes my wife’s “face caress test.” 🙂
The Above The Tie X1 Slant Single Edge Razor occupies a unique niche’ in the artisan razor world: a slant SE. It continues ATT’s reputation of high-quality, innovative razors.