11-28-2012, 11:16 AM
#1
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
User Info

[Image: DSCN9506.jpg]

Above the Tie's Titan H1 stainless steel razor is a remarkable achievement in design and quality engineering. Most surprising is that it is the very first razor of a very young company.

Above the Tie is a Tennessee based company that designs, engineers and manufactures its razors locally, using U.S. steel. The company's close attention to manufacturing detail and quality control has raised the Titan H1 to a level of direct competition with high-grade razor manufacturers worldwide.

The Titan H1 is an aggressive razor. For shavers looking for a less aggressive razor, Above the Tie has also introduced a mid-range and mild version of the razor, and even makes accessory base plates and handles available to promote easy customization and individualization.

The Titan H1 is a beautifully made razor, and an effective and somewhat aggressive shaver. Its quality is readily apparent on first sight and touch. It has a very nice satin-matte finish and surprising heft for its size. The gleaming knurling on the handle makes for an attractive and sure grip and the balance made it immediately at home in my hands. This is a fine razor—there is no mistaking that.

On first look, I was struck by the very clean stainless finish and the subtle, even brushing on the top cap. The bottom plate is missing the usual large holes for pins that DE razors use to help with blade alignment. An examination of the undersides of the top and bottom plates shows why: they have been replaced by mini-pins and divots that don't require through-drilling. This makes for a very clean appearance under the bottom plate and a place for fine engraving to identify "Above the Tie" and "Made in USA".

I was struck by the genius of the mini-pins and divots, which absolutely ensure perfect blade alignment every time. I wondered why no one else had ever thought to do this. I was also struck by the blade exposure, which is large, and the blade gap (.036), which is significant.

[Image: DSCN9520.jpg][Image: DSCN95231.jpg]

I had heard that the Titan H1 was considered to be fairly aggressive, but with a lot of experience with the Mühle R41, I was not intimidated. I was surprised at how easily that first shave went, as well as the next few. The Titan was as sure and easy to use as my Merkur HD and 38C. It provides excellent audible feedback, which to me makes shaving easier.

Was the Titan aggressive? Oh yeah! Not at the same level as the Mühle R41, but close. What surprised me the most was how freely I could approach shaving with such an effective and aggressive razor. I did not fear this razor. I could easily fling it about and shave amazingly quickly. This razor is aggressive, but it is also remarkably well-mannered!

Over that next few weeks, I tried the Titan with a variety of different blades, soaps/creams and brushes. It seemed to be quite accepting, and did well with anything I threw at it

Price: The retail price of Titan H1 all-stainless razor is $185, which is roughly in the mid-range of stainless DE razor prices. Considering the durability and craftsmanship, as well as the soon-available accessory handles and base plates to modify aggressiveness and further customization, the investment is an attractive one. This razor offers high value for the money.

Quality: This razor screams "quality" along any dimension. The brushed satin stainless finish is very well done. It even holds up to close inspection under magnification. It is a great marriage of form and function. Not only is it attractive, but it is also perfectly balanced. The heft is solid, but not over-the-top. The knurling on the handle is both precisely machined and perfectly executed to provide a solid, non-slip grip. It reminds me of the checkering on the handle of a fine Purdey shotgun.

The razor is easy to clean, especially due to the innovative pin-and-divot blade alignment feature that does not require drilling holes through the base plate. The feature also guarantees perfect blade alignment every time. It is my understanding that this feature is a first for the industry, and I think it's a good example of the care and thought that goes into the design and execution of Above the Tie's razors.

User Friendly: I prefer three-piece razors for ease of cleaning. The extra few seconds it takes to replace a blade every few days I find negligible. The pin-and divot alignment feature, while ensuring accurate blade alignment, was sometimes a little tricky for me personally because of arthritis in my hands. For most shavers, this will not be an issue, and you will only appreciate how perfect the blade alignment is every time.

Grip: The grip and its finish are two of the Titan H1's finest features. The texturing is attractive and provides a secure grip under slippery conditions. The handle is large enough to be well-suited to most users, but small enough to be very nimble. Its dimensions are 12.3 mm x 88.5 mm, and it weighs 108 gm. It has the best grip and balance of any DE I have ever personally used, and the grip and balance contribute to great control and performance. I felt this razor made sure, close and comfortable shaves easy.

[Image: _MG_9730.jpg]

Ease of Blade Replacement: Personally, I like three-piece razors, including this one. Its unique pin and divot guides in the top and bottom plates help assure perfect blade alignment every time. For me, with limited dexterity in my hands, the feature could be a little tricky at times, and take a few extra seconds. I've always enjoyed the ritual of inserting a fresh blade, and with the Titan, the time it takes provides is a visual reminder of the excellent quality and craftsmanship of this shaving tool.

Aggressiveness: This is an aggressive and effective razor capable of giving fine, close and comfortable shaves. I find the aggressiveness in the same range as my Merkur slant razors, and close to that of the Mühle R41.

For all its aggressiveness, I found it remarkably well-behaved. I was able to shave quickly, and with little concern for nicks, cuts or irritation. I have a lot of experience with the R41, and this may be a factor in my ease of adjustment. With the R41, I still have to concentrate on my technique while using it. I find shaving with the Titan to be as free and sure as with my Merkur HD

I tried the Titan with a variety of blade, soaps/creams and brush setups. I especially like it with Feathers, Perma-Sharps, Personna Med Preps, and Gillette Blues and Yellows. Others report that Sharks, Kais, Personna Reds, Astras and Derbys work as well.

The Titan does not seem to be nearly as particular as the R41 with regard to blade selection. Where the R41 seems to magnify differences between blades, the Titan minimizes them. It seems to work well with most brands. It does not seem to share the R41's characteristic of shortening blade life. Any good soap/cream/brush combination works fine with it.

Members with sensitive skin have reported that it borders on being a little too aggressive for daily use. It may not be for everyone.

Fortunately, the Above the Tie stainless steel line is offering two more models for those who prefer middle and mild grades of aggressiveness. Accessory handles including an attractive barber-pole, and additional base plates to modify blade gap and aggressiveness are also available.

Adjustability: This is a non-adjustable razor.

Balance: For me, there is no doubt that this is the most perfectly weighted and balanced DE razor I have ever used. Shaving with it is as easy and carefree as it could be, in my opinion.

Overall: This stainless steel razor is a remarkable achievement, especially as the first razor of a very young company. It is designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States by an American company using U.S. steel. The manufacturing detail and quality control are competitive with high-grade razor manufacturer worldwide. Above the Tie's first entry into razor production deserves a close look by serious shavers everywhere.[/font][/size]

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 11-28-2012, 11:36 AM
#2
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
User Info
Well said Codfish and beautiful pictures. I have the H1 and could use it everyday without missing most others. An aggressive razor that doesn't bit like the R41. Thank you

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 11-28-2012, 11:45 AM
#3
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A fantastic review that has me thinking hard about the R1 Atlas. Thanks, Codfish.

Does soap or debris accumulate in the pin holes in the base plate?

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 11-28-2012, 11:59 AM
#4
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
User Info
(11-28-2012, 11:45 AM)kentclark Wrote: Does soap or debris accumulate in the pin holes in the base plate?

Not at all. It's a great system for maintaining razor cleanliness.

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 11-28-2012, 12:06 PM
#5
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(11-28-2012, 11:59 AM)Codfish Wrote:
(11-28-2012, 11:45 AM)kentclark Wrote: Does soap or debris accumulate in the pin holes in the base plate?

Not at all. It's a great system for maintaining razor cleanliness.

Good to know. I read elsewhere that Stan is endorsing a 30 day trial period for customers. What enabling...

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 11-28-2012, 12:37 PM
#6
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Great Review. One of the best I've read in a while.

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 11-28-2012, 03:24 PM
#7
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Excellent review.

In many of the "highly aggressive" razors, the Darwin being an exception, it seems that each user really has to work hard to find the one or maybe two blades that will play nice with the razor. Many would give up that last degree of aggressiveness for a solid razor that can handle a wider range of quality blades without radically compromising the shave quality.

I look forward to reading more about the Titan and the Atlas series and the base plates H1, R1 and M1 that will allow for greater customization.

http://www.abovethetie.com/?store_cat=34&sub=true

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 11-28-2012, 04:06 PM
#8
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Great review Codfish.

I had discussed the R41 with you in the past and value your experience, especially regarding blade selection.

Sounds like Above the Tie has a winner on their hands with this razor!

So...
Will the H1 take over top spot edging out the R41?

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 11-28-2012, 06:14 PM
#9
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
User Info
Hi

Hat-tip Sir! An excellent write up Thumbsup

Take care, Mike

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 11-28-2012, 07:59 PM
#10
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Excellent review! Thanks for sharing.

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