What's new

The Tilted Picnic, Year Three

If you want to say nutty things, I'm an ally.

On occasion I have produced nutty things on request. Often at the request of an editor, which means I get paid to do so. But hey; we're all friends here...

Is the super slant the coproduct of an emerging manufacturing process or was it precisely the aim of a manufacturing process?

Let me restate the question so you can understand where my answer arises: "Was the 'Super Slant' produced as a test of a manufacturing process, or was it produced as a part of the product line?"

I'll go with the latter. If it was a test to see how far a particular process could be carried and what the economic consequences of that might be then I wouldn't expect the razor to have been marketed. If that were the case I can't even see them actually putting the razor parts together, as I assume that part of the process does not significantly vary from the process of assembling any other non-adjustable razor in the line.

No, the razor was meant to be a razor and be sold as such. Documentary evidence is, as has been noted, essentially nonexistent. As far as the current operators of Merkur are concerned they walked into an old factory with some machines in it for making razors, so that's what they make. Apparently some razors were made there before they took over, but aside from finding them here and there the company has no official idea what, where, why or how many.

Several elements support this contention. There are examples known of all four major iterations of the "Super Slant" -- two-piece and three-piece razors in both OC and SB formats. There are, additionally, examples of re-badged "Super Slants" under marques like Hoffritz, Coles, Abercrombie & Fitch, Bartali and others. The rebadged razors are also aimed at different demographics, so clearly there was attention paid to market analysis.

Further, there are suggestive observations of razors we tend to think of as "non-Merkur" that seem to indicate Merkur may have had a hand in their manufacture. Two cases in point are the Walbusch B5 adjustable tilted slant and the later version of the Fasan Double Slant. The adjusting knob on the B5 looks identical to the adjusting knob on the Merkur Progress. Direct lineage or parallel evolution? I'll go with direct lineage. Walter Busch Sohne seems to have been an early "lifestyle company" in that they sold razors but had broader interests in textiles and clothing. (Still do; I hear they sell shirts now.)

The evidence for a linkage between Fasan and Merkur is at third-hand for me, at least. However, some parts are interchangeable, and it appears Merkur picked up Fasan in its later years. It's not a far stretch of the imagination to envision a company that made a lot of razors that were sold under other names to also have picked up a struggling competitor and relaunched some of their product line.

So, close the loop. There's a lot of information that has disappeared into private holding and likely will never see the light of day. But we have the physical result in our hands, even though not in very many hands. I can imagine the forces in an early-global marketplace. To me the "Super Slant" feels like a gamble. A well-planned and executed gamble, but still a brave hope in the face of uncertainty. The overall shave market changed dramatically in those years, and I think it just didn't find enough traction in any market demographic.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave One: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Sunday March 27, 2022
Razor: "Glamorous Glennis" :)
Blade: Kai Captain Titan Mild PINK (1)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Cedar Savage

Well, I'm down to the mug in the centre of my puck of Cedar Savage. It may or may not last out this blade; we'll see.

A year into using this razor and I'm still learning things from it. I have also learned that when I'm having trouble framing something, that may mean I'm trying to use the wrong frame. In some ways the X1 really challenges the frame of "slant razor."

[cue smarmy television game-show theme music...]

So let's look at the X1 through an alternative lens and see what comes clear.

First, a little housekeeping. The X1 is a slant. It is a tilted slant instead of a helical slant, which imposes a different context on the shave, and a single-edge slant which brings further difference, but it is still a shave very much in the "slant mode." Now on to the festivities...

I often see people posting questions about starting with Artist Club format razors. Remembering my own journey into AC-space I wanted something relatively mild to start out. My first AC razors were a bit past my skillset at the time. Some time later I ran into the RazoRock Hawk V3 Stainless and finally had an AC razor that not only delivered the kind of shave and blade life that AC is known for but did so in a fairly safe-feeling presentation.

I have the impression that many shavers considering an equipment change will want to develop their technique in a stepwise fashion. I may be wrong about many of you, but I'm not jumping in at the deep end. I'll start mild and go up until I find what works best for me. I decided to do that after starting aggressive and dialling back until the pink lather went away.

I've come to look at the X1 as both a nice slant razor and as a razor that can be a milder and more congenial introduction to AC shaving. I encourage anyone who's looking for a good milder AC razor to grab an X1. Not only will you get a great shave but you'll have "two-for-one street cred" among the slant guys and the AC guys. One razor to shave them all during SEptember and SLANTember!

Like any shave with a fresh blade, it was very smooth. The shave window is a little narrower than some razors I've used, but not bothersome. The blade is both stiff and well-clamped. There really are no surprises with the X1. It's well-thought-out, well made and well-mannered.

O.H.
 
I love this razor. I did a couple AC blade sample packs and fouI nd that this razor performs great no matter the blade. I find it to shave mild even without the blades with stabilizing bars.

I tried a couple of different guarded blades, and found I did not like any of them. I tend to stick to the KAI Captain Titan Mild Pink blade -- like the Astra SP DE blade it's entirely predictable. I tried the ProLine blades a couple of years ago in a more aggressive SE razor and found them sharper than my skills then. Should have held onto them, but piffed them off when I sold that razor. I see it's available outside Japan now, so I think I'd like to try it out with the X1.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Two: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Wednesday March 30, 2022
Razor: ATT X1
Blade: Kai Mild Pink (2)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Cedar Savage

Back on my regular shave schedule after a couple of days away. Cheap motels, bad lighting; glad I shaved before leaving! The shave this morning felt very familiar and comfortably straightforward. Fast, too. I think I was done the most of it in about 25 minutes. Not that I was racing, but the razor and blade do a great job. I had one area where I got a little close last day so shaved around it carefully today.

The X1 is a nice smooth close shaver with a milder presentation (but don't call it mild!). Just what I needed this morning.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Three: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Friday April 1, 2022
Razor: X1 "Glamorous Glennis"
Blade: Kai Mild Pink (3)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Cedar Savage

Oh, right...I keep forgetting that AC blades can be a little harsh on the first two shaves but once they've got a couple of shaves on them they really smooth out. For a while; maybe five or six shaves for me. Lovely, lovely shave this morning.

Almost done with the Cedar Savage, though. It was my last puck from that batch. I'm not outta soap! I have a pile of pucks of the Peppermint Trip so after one more shave to get the last of the lather scraps out of the mug I'll drop in a minty fresh minty puck and carry on.

I've noticed an interesting thing about the X1 compared to other razors. When the going gets a little hairy (pardon the pun) with most razors I'll roll up on the cap to lighten up the cut a little. However, I'm finding with the X1 that getting on the bar is more effective than going on the cap. I'd love to speculate on that, but honestly there are so many variables that sorting them out is more than I'm in for right now.

I'm enjoying this "modality" of shaving: a rather sharp blade in a rather mild presentation. With some razors I need all three passes to get the temples smooth. With the X1 and a few others it's one ATG pass and done, there.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Four: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Monday April 4, 2022
Razor: ATT X1
Blade: Kai Mild Pink (4)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Cedar Savage...annnnd done.

Another lovely shave this morning! The last woody gasp of the Old Hippie Cedar Savage soap got me through the shave but all that's left of it now is just a fond memory. Next day's soap will be Old Hippie Peppermint Trip, which'll be interesting as the last of the cedar scent will still be on the brush.

The shave window on the X1 is maybe a bit narrow, which is probably due to the narrower gap that makes it such a mild and efficient razor. That's not a problem, but it is something I keep accommodating as I shave. After a few shaves to get back in tune with the X1, it's automatic.

O.H.
 
Very good reviews, enjoyable at times humorous reading also. I know you enjoy slant razors from other threads I have read over the years but this is more condensed and interesting review on slant razors. Great job, you have a gift for explaining your thoughts and actions.
 
Last edited:
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Five: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Wednesday April 6, 2022
Razor: ATT X1
Blade: Kai Mild Pink (5)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Peppermint Trip

Rinsing off minty-fresh soap with ice-cold well water this morning got a loud "AhhHOOhah!" out of me. But it was good. :)

There isn't much to say about the X1 at this point. I'm getting lovely shaves, as good as the Wunderbar in some respects.

By which I mean that with the Wunderbar I can usually get about three really close shaves in a row before I get some little nicks and bumps from shaving just slightly too close. I'm getting exactly that level of shave out of the X1, but the difference is that here we are five shaves along and still my skin isn't telling me it's unhappy with the level of shave.

I'm really quite happy.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Six: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Friday April 8, 2022
Razor: X1
Blade: Kai Pink (6)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Peppermint Trip

Another lovely shave! Once I remind my muscles where the edge is on this razor, I can just motor on through. Looks like I'll probably get three more shaves on the blade. That's good -- I just got a backordered tool that I need to make some mods on the FOCS before I can rock that one a little.

The next one may not go the full six -- I already know some of the drawbacks inherent in what I want to do, but I'm gonna do it anyway. :)

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Seven: Above the Tie X1

Catching up...

SOTD: Sunday April 10, 2022
Razor: X1
Blade: Kai Mild (7)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Peppermint Trip

Another Sunday shave before going out of town for a day. DFS but the edge is beginning to fade out.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Eight: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Wednesday April 13, 2022
Razor: X1
Blade: Kai Mild (8)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Peppermint Trip

Back from my excursion and once again glad I shaved before I left. Shaving in a dimly-lit room with someone who's recovering from surgery just doesn't sound like much fun.

I thought I could easily bin the blade after this morning's shave. It's starting to be a little tuggy and draggy. I consider that I may be in for a rough ride Friday, but if it's too much I've got other razors and fresh blades so I can pull the ripcord and make a safe landing anyway. I'll know on the day; that's good enough.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Eight: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Wednesday April 13, 2022
Razor: X1
Blade: Kai Mild (8)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Peppermint Trip

Back from my excursion and once again glad I shaved before I left. Shaving in a dimly-lit room with someone who's recovering from surgery just doesn't sound like much fun.

I thought I could easily bin the blade after this morning's shave. It's starting to be a little tuggy and draggy. I consider that I may be in for a rough ride Friday, but if it's too much I've got other razors and fresh blades so I can pull the ripcord and make a safe landing anyway. I'll know on the day; that's good enough.

O.H.
I can never get 8 shaves out of my AC’s, congrats 👍. I blame my neck hair, it’s way too course and the only part of my “face” I strive for bbs.
 
I can never get 8 shaves out of my AC’s, congrats 👍. I blame my neck hair, it’s way too course and the only part of my “face” I strive for bbs.

I've pretty much settled on five shaves to a Gem blade, six to a DE, two or three to a 1/2 DE, and usually about nine on an AC blade. That said, I occasionally bin a blade a little earlier if I'm having more issues than normal.

Sometimes I think I'm really burning through the blades because I see guys getting 30 shaves on an AC but really 6 shaves on a DE is two weeks for me, and I've got 300 blades at the moment. That's approximately 600 weeks or about 12 years, so I think I'm good for now.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Three. Round Three, Shave Nine: Above the Tie X1

SOTD: Friday April 15, 2022
Razor: X1
Blade: Kai Mild Pink (9)
Brush: Omega 10005
Soap: OH Peppermint Trip

Another blade for the bin. The final shave was a little less smooth and comfy than the first few, but that's normal. Still got a DFS although with a little irritation in a couple of spots.

I think I'll wrap the Tilted Picnic for this year on that note. Because of shipping issues I had to wait a while to get the tools to do the next step, so instead of stringing everyone along until I can get out in the shop and mess around with that project I'll wait and present it separately when I get done.

I think I'll put a fresh blade in the Konsul and go a bit longer with that, starting next week. Later this weekend I'll add the wrap-up and reflections for the razors in this year's edition.

Thanks for coming along for the ride! I had fun, and I hope some follks got interested to try on a slant or pick up another one to see how it goes.

O.H.
 
I've got a few minutes; might as well knock out the wrapup!

Kind of a short Tilted Picnic this year with only three razors. I think it was last year that seemed to drag on and on. I thought I'd try for the happy medium. I had also intended to have a mildly worked-over FOCS to talk about, but that got pushed back far enough that it'll be its own thing in a little while. I had also considered adding a couple of razors. I was thinking the PAA Filament which I hear is a bit more aggressive than the Monsters, and also I had been pushing RazoRock a little to see if they could get a set of their new slants into my hands. The same slowdowns that hit me hit them as well. (As a reviewer who wants freedom to discuss good points as well as bad, I buy my review razors.) Oh, well...there's always next year.

I was lucky enough to get the Rex Konsul right after it came out, and further lucky (and blessed with a good friend) to pick up the Merkur "Super Slant." Revisiting the Above the Tie X1 a year in was cool. It hasn't just been sitting for that year, but it was nice to take a little more organized look at it and think it over. Guess I'll wrap 'em up in order...

Rex Supply Co. "Konsul" Adjustable Slant

My. What a razor. Hey -- you drop that kind of money on a razor, it better be the best thing you ever used. I'm sad to say that many times in my life the reality didn't live up to the advance press. I was a bit concerned that I'd found another case of "looks good in the ads, but..." Once I figured out setting adjustments in the various zones I shave I had the best shaves I've ever had. I've never shaved with a razor that I could use on skin damaged by over-enthusiastic shaving with another razor. Oh, sure, carefully. But I had some nicks that didn't get ripped open again and healed right up in a couple of days while I was using the Konsul.

One measure of "fitness" to shave me long-term is whether I can shave with it more than three days in a row. Some razors are lovely close shavers but tend to shave me just slightly too close. After three days that means a slowly growing accumulation of nicks and weepers. It's always a compromise between a long-term razor that almost shaves close enough but leaves things comfy, and a razor that shaves just a little close. The factors that seem to matter are vice-like blade clamping, medium gap, neutral to slightly negative blade exposure, low blade reveal and a medium sharpness blade.

Suffice to say that the Konsul has moved into the #1 slot in my razor rankings. I'm not yet ready to move the ATT S2 into #2, though -- so we'll just make a little more space on the winner's podium. The S2 is just so simple. That simplicity fits well with my technique. The main difference between the Konsul and the S2 is that one can be adjusted while the other really prioritizes technique.

Merkur "Super Slant"

I have been drooling over "The Razor That Merkur Forgot" for years. Finally getting close to one unhinged me a little to the vast amusement of @Tanuki who was my gracious middle-man. Like some other things in my life, I still occasionally go just look at it. It doesn't have its own altar in the Lather Pit, but only because I haven't made the time to build an altar. :)

This run with this particular "Super Slant" was both interesting and suggestive. Interesting because it really does shave differently than a 37. Suggestive because -- just like a 37 -- it's a two piece razor and I'm not head over heels in love with that short little handle. I'd like to get my hands on at least two more of the four total iterations of the "Super Slant" -- the three piece SB and OC versions. I can speculate that I'd enjoy the shave a little more with a slightly longer handle.

As I commented earlier, blades in the Merkur "Super Slant" seem to wear down a little faster. I'm OK with that. I found those three shaves to be twice as good as the 37, so I guess that level of efficiency comes at a cost. My razor is well used and that may affect the shave quality, but it still works. My pre-1970 37 is a little worn, too.

Above the Tie "X1" Single-Edge Slant

I admit I thought, "Oooh...gimmick" when I first saw it. I was wrong. It's an excellent razor. As a single edge it is of course a tilted slant. AC blades being thicker stock than DE blades, as well as much narrower, there is no reason to try making it helical. It's not the first SE slant, of course, but it's been a while since others were made.

With the advantage of three weeks of long term use, I had some time to explore the physical context of the razor and to mull over the philosophical context as well. It's been commented that the X1 doesn't seem to be hugely slanty. I've come to think the X1 needs to be considered as both a good unusual slant design and a good introduction to AC razors for those who prefer a mild to medium aggressiveness. It can serve two groups that way.

I hope the X1 does well, so that ATT will put out an X2 OC version. If they do, I plan to snap it up as soon as I can because it may only be a limited run like the G1. (and Oh Hey while we're at it, can I get a G2?)

Now I get to keep my eyes open for the razors that will show up in The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year Four...

O.H.
 
Thanks O.H.! I enjoyed following along on this year’s journey!

Fingers crossed ATT give you an open comb X2 for next year and an updated “Windsor” slant would be fun too. Though I’m skeptical of an improvement over the S1 and S2, I’d be curious to see them try.
 
Though I’m skeptical of an improvement over the S1 and S2, I’d be curious to see them try.

However the idea of an SE slant came up, I find it an interesting and lateral move. Even considering the X1 as being "just" an AC SE razor, it's a good one if one is looking for a fairly mild razor. It's a razor I could travel with -- delivers a good but not complicated shave, which would be ideal for the kind of scuzzy antique hotels I tend to frequent when traveling.

I'm not sure they can improve on the S1/S2, though. I'm feeling the X1 is a bit like the G1; if you think you might want one, better get it while it's still in stock. Good thing I have three G1s...

I was a little bummed that RazoRock has been having troubles getting their new slants to market. But I was also bummed that Shane at Blackland put his slant project on the back burner to get the ERA project running, but I can understand. In the end, slants are a niche-y demographic like Gems. I'm pleased they're attracting some interest, as witness the number of recent threads asking about slants.

O.H.
 
Top Bottom