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ATT Atlas SE1: Measurements, Photo Analysis, Review

Summary

  • The Above the Tie (ATT) Atlas SE1 Artist Club (AC) safety razor was photographed and measured. General measurements (mass, length, center of mass, etc.) were made and safety razor parameters (blade exposure, guard span, blade angle, etc.) were analyzed.
  • The sample blade exposure of 0.29 mm is considered by the author to be very aggressive. The author has found that he prefers a more neutral blade exposure, and these new measurements and shave results add to that correspondence. Quantitative measurements can be correlated with individual preferences to help each shaver understand what works best for him.

Introduction


The Above the Tie (ATT) Atlas SE1 is a three-piece Artist Club (AC) safety razor that is CNC machined out of 303 stainless steel in the USA. The Atlas handle has a classic "barber pole" look, as ATT states. The SE1 analyzed here is dated 2016, so it is possible that a newly machined model might be somewhat different.

Special Thanks to Chan Eil Whiskers


Back in August 2018, @Chan Eil Whiskers (Jim) lent me his ATT Atlas SE1 and two other single-edge (SE) razors. I was supposed to analyze those razors in a reasonable amount of time, but I let the project slip by, and eventually, the years passed. Jim was incredibly patient and understandably asked for his razors back around the end of 2021. Thankfully, he agreed to give me extra time to do what I should have done years ago. I can only hope that this analysis helps make up for my extreme tardiness.

Overall Photos


The ATT Atlas SE1 is nicely machined and finished. The pieces fit together well and the blade automatically aligns itself with pretty even blade exposure.

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Measurements Without a Blade


Below is the general table of measurements for the razor without a blade. Mass was measured with a calibrated scale having a 0.01 g resolution and distances were measured with a calibrated digital caliper having a 0.01 mm resolution. The center of mass was found by carefully balancing the razor on a relatively thin edge and then calculating the location from the top of the razor. Regarding the cap and baseplate, width dimensions are perpendicular to the guard and length dimensions run parallel to the guard, as observed from the top of the razor. Dimensions are averages of a few or several measurements, possibly derived by calculations with two or more parameters.

ATT Atlas SE1 AC Safety Razor: Measurements Without a Blade
Mass112.20 g
Length84.64 mm
Center of Mass from Top29.58 mm
Head Mass50.60 g
Head Height8.38 mm
Thread Size x PitchM5 x 0.8 mm
Thread Length into Handle5.69 mm
Handle Threaded Hole Length9.22 mm
Handle Mass61.60 g
Handle Length76.26 mm
Handle Diameter12.68 mm
Cap Mass17.22 g
Cap Width17.09 mm
Cap Length50.85 mm
Cap Height without Pins4.82 mm
Cap Pin Height0.80 mm
Cap Pin Width2.07 mm
Cap Pin Length6.91 mm
Cap Pin Center-to-Center Distance30.67 mm
Cap Pin Back to Cap Edge Distance4.74 mm
Cap Edge to Baseplate Back Distance18.77 mm
Baseplate Mass33.38 g
Baseplate Width21.07 mm
Baseplate Length50.87 mm
Baseplate Height5.89 mm
Baseplate Guard Width1.94 mm
Baseplate Slot Width3.31 mm
Baseplate Slot Length20.56 mm
Scallop Length2.53 mm
Scallop Depth0.22 mm
Scallop Spacing1.10 mm

Analysis around Blade Cutting Edge


The methodology that was followed for determining parameter values around the blade cutting edge (URL) of a Colonial General AC safety razor (URL) was applied here. The following overall procedure was employed:
  1. Measurements were taken of the cap and baseplate, as tabulated above, with care taken to make measurements that would help with analyzing parameters around the blade cutting edge
  2. The razor was loaded with a sample blade having a width of 8.07 mm, a distance of 1.74 mm from the back edge to the slots, and a thickness of 0.262 mm. Using my accurate set of micrometer-measured feeler gauge blade combinations (URL), blade gap was accurately measured to a precision of 0.01 mm by finding the thickest feeler gauge stack that fit at most places between the guard and the blade cutting edge with room to spare.
  3. The razor was loaded with a modified AC blade that had an unevenly sanded cutting edge and a variable blade width. A flat plastic piece was then moved across the cap and baseplate to find where the plastic contacted the blade. That point of zero/neutral blade exposure was identified.
  4. A small scale was balanced across the cap and guard. The scale was positioned very close to the point where the modified blade's edge would meet the neutral shave plane and touch the scale. My phone's camera was then used to capture a picture for analysis of the neutral cap and guard spans.
  5. The razor was loaded with a modified AC blade having a cutting edge that was evenly sanded off. A blue acrylic piece was taped onto the razor head so that the acrylic securely spanned the neutral shave plane and was approximately centered across it. After the first photo was taken, a second photo was taken with the razor having been turned around 180 degrees inside the vertical wooden stand. I did my best to keep all other geometry the same so that averaging angles from the first and second photos would approximately average out physical mounting biases, particularly whatever bias might have been present from the razor not being perfectly vertical.
  6. The razor was loaded with the sample AC blade and side view photos were taken of the blade cutting edge
  7. Steep and shallow shave plane side view photos were taken using a similar procedure to the neutral shave plane photos
  8. Average dimensions around the blade cutting edge were found using physical and digital measurements

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ATT SE1 AC Safety Razor: Neutral Values* Associated with Zero Blade Exposure
Neutral Blade Width from Back of Pins5.77 mm
Neutral Blade Angle31.56 deg
Neutral Handle Angle42.73 deg
Neutral Guard Span1.83 mm
Neutral Cap Span1.61 mm
Neutral Free-End Distance1.03 mm
Neutral Clamp Distance4.09 mm
*See this ShaveWiki page for definitions

ATT SE1 AC Safety Razor: Parameter Values* Associated with Sample Blade Having Width of 8.07 mm
Steep Blade Angle40.16 deg (w/ 34.13 deg Handle Angle)
Neutral Blade Angle31.56 deg (w/ 42.73 deg Handle Angle)
Shallow Blade Angle26.36 deg (w/ 47.93 deg Handle Angle)
Blade Angle Range13.80 deg
Blade Exposure0.29 mm
Guard Span1.35 mm
Cap Span2.09 mm
Blade Gap0.53 mm
Free-End Distance1.59 mm
Clamp Distance4.65 mm
*See this ShaveWiki page for definitions

Too Aggressive For Me


I tried the ATT SE1 back in November 2021 and found that it was way too aggressive for me. Jim recommended using a steep angle and lighter pressure, and that seemed to help me a little with his AC razors, but I could only do some WTG or XTG shaving. An ATG pass was too treacherous. To me, this was more evidence that I like more neutral blade exposure. Blade rigidity, as solid as it was, could not compensate.

What's Next?


The ATT Atlas SE2, also loaned by @Chan Eil Whiskers (Jim), is up next. The SE2 is the third and last AC razor loaned by Jim in 2018 for my analysis.
 
One of the great charms of the AC format is that blades come in different widths, from back to cutting edge. As a result, blade choice can make a huge difference to how aggressive a razor feels.
With a Kai Mild Pink in place, for instance, the SE1 feels quite mild and very effective, at least to me.
 
One of the great charms of the AC format is that blades come in different widths, from back to cutting edge. As a result, blade choice can make a huge difference to how aggressive a razor feels.
With a Kai Mild Pink in place, for instance, the SE1 feels quite mild and very effective, at least to me.
I tried a few blades, including the Feather Soft Guard, Kai Captain Titan ProTouch MG, and Feather ProGuard. No matter the blade that I tried, the ATT SE1 and Colonial General were way too aggressive for me.

I have a Kai Captain Titan Mild, which I believe is the "Kai Mild Pink" blade that you referenced---please correct me if I'm mistaken---but my records imply that I didn't try that blade. Its dimensions are similar to the sample blade that I used in analyzing the ATT SE1. The sample blade has a width of 6.33 mm from the back of its slots to its cutting edge, while the Kai Captain Titan Mild that I measured has a similar distance of 6.37 mm. You are right that the blade choice can make a huge difference in razor aggressiveness. The Kai Mild Pink might just work better for you because of its blade cutting edge, not because of its blade width.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Good to see you around, Grant. Keep up the good work, if you have time! Haha.
 
Good to see you around, Grant. Keep up the good work, if you have time! Haha.
Thanks, Mike. I've got a few razors on deck. I've got to finish analyzing the ATT SE2 for Jim and then (finally) return his AC razors. Then, I will analyze the RazoRock BBS Standard that I bought and am shaving with and then I will get to the RazoRock Mamba 53 that I just ordered last night. (The BBS Standard is too aggressive for me, which is why I'm going to try the Mamba 53. I might eventually try the Mamba 70.)
 

Esox

I didnt know
Thanks, Mike. I've got a few razors on deck. I've got to finish analyzing the ATT SE2 for Jim and then (finally) return his AC razors. Then, I will analyze the RazoRock BBS Standard that I bought and am shaving with and then I will get to the RazoRock Mamba 53 that I just ordered last night. (The BBS Standard is too aggressive for me, which is why I'm going to try the Mamba 53. I might eventually try the Mamba 70.)

I think Jim might have every razor made by this point, he might be able to offer samples lol.
 
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