- The Colonial General (original version) 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 0.31 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.
The Colonial General is a three-piece Artist Club (AC) safety razor that is CNC machined out of 316L stainless steel. Originally, the Colonial General was machined in China, but the razor is currently machined in the USA. The current version is claimed as "an engineering and aesthetic improvement of the original design (circa 2016-2018)" (URL). The original version is analyzed here.
Special Thanks to Chan Eil Whiskers
Back in August 2018, @Chan Eil Whiskers (Jim) lent me his Colonial General 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.
The Colonial General is nicely machined and finished. The pieces fit together precisely and the blade automatically aligns itself with even blade exposure.
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.
|Colonial General AC Safety Razor: Measurements Without a Blade|
|Center of Mass from Top||32.58 mm|
|Head Mass||55.49 g|
|Head Height||8.40 mm|
|Thread Size x Pitch||M5 x 0.8 mm|
|Thread Length into Handle||4.81 mm|
|Handle Threaded Hole Length||12.86 mm|
|Handle Mass||65.78 g|
|Handle Length||84.92 mm|
|Handle Diameter||12.24 mm|
|Cap Mass||22.42 g|
|Cap Width||19.12 mm|
|Cap Length||50.18 mm|
|Cap Height without Pins||5.23 mm|
|Cap Pin Height||1.43 mm|
|Cap Pin Diameter||2.16 mm|
|Cap Pin Center-to-Center Distance||35.56 mm|
|Cap Pin Center to Cap Edge Distance||3.65 mm|
|Cap Edge to Baseplate Back Distance||19.44 mm|
|Baseplate Mass||33.07 g|
|Baseplate Width||22.53 mm|
|Baseplate Length||50.17 mm|
|Baseplate Height||4.63 mm|
|Baseplate Guard Width||2.26 mm|
|Baseplate Slot Width||1.62 mm|
|Baseplate Slot Length||42.13 mm|
Analysis around Blade Cutting Edge
The methodology that was followed for determining parameter values around the blade cutting edge (URL) of a Fatip Piccolo (Mk 2) (URL) was applied here, but slightly adjusted for the single-edge geometry of the Colonial General. The following overall procedure was employed:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The razor was loaded with the sample AC blade and side view photos were taken of the blade cutting edge
- Steep and shallow shave plane side view photos were taken using a similar procedure to the neutral shave plane photos
- Mean (average) dimensions around the blade cutting edges were found using physical and digital measurements
*See this ShaveWiki page for definitions
|Colonial General AC Safety Razor: Neutral Values* Associated with Zero Blade Exposure|
|Neutral Blade Width from Back of Pins||5.72 mm|
|Neutral Blade Angle||30.97 deg|
|Neutral Handle Angle||46.19 deg|
|Neutral Guard Span||1.59 mm|
|Neutral Cap Span||2.54 mm|
|Neutral Free-End Distance||0.99 mm|
|Neutral Clamp Distance||1.80 mm|
*See this ShaveWiki page for definitions
|Colonial General AC Safety Razor: Parameter Values* Associated with Sample Blade Having Width of 8.07 mm|
|Steep Blade Angle||39.85 deg (w/ 37.32 deg Handle Angle)|
|Neutral Blade Angle||30.97 deg (w/ 46.19 deg Handle Angle)|
|Shallow Blade Angle||26.67 deg (w/ 50.50 deg Handle Angle)|
|Blade Angle Range||13.18 deg|
|Blade Exposure||0.31 mm|
|Guard Span||1.07 mm|
|Cap Span||3.06 mm|
|Blade Gap||0.57 mm|
|Free-End Distance||1.60 mm|
|Clamp Distance||2.41 mm|
Too Aggressive For Me
I tried the Colonial General 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.
The ATT Atlas SE1, also loaned by @Chan Eil Whiskers (Jim), is up next. It shouldn't take years to get to those measurements.