Thanks for the information. I guess I still have quite a bit to learn. Balsa stropping could be something that I can pick up a little later down the road. As for now, the SR's that I have/want to have will not be daily shavers. As indicated earlier, I have four NA razors, and I thought they would be a good entry point in learning technique and proper maintenance. When I had them in my possession, (prior to sending back for honing), they felt like they were nice quality.
Not to hijack the post any further, but does anyone have experience with Grimm blades? I like the way they look, but my searches on B&B seem to show a lack of disinterest, or a lack of acceptance to them more or less. I would like to add an American made to my collection eventually, even if it is not my go to for an every day shave. Looking at the butcher specifically. I am aware this is not a beginner friendly blade, but I am okay with purchasing it, getting it honed properly, and waiting for that day to arrive to test my skills with. All the other SR's that I would most likely use often are in the 5/8 6/8 category.
Give the Grimms a miss, and any other razors or razor shaped objects (RSO's) that look too "kewl". Most new razors going for under $100 are junk. A few can be made to perform decently with a little work, but most in that price bracket are unredeemable garbage, and once you have bought it, it has served its purpose, which is to fleece the gullible or the unknowing. The razors that you see recommended by long standing members here or on other forums are generally a good value for the money.
For cheap but usable, Titan in Taiwan makes one model in particular that meets my approval. Unfortunately I forgot what model it was. I think it was made from HCRM-2 steel and was nominally hardened to HRC-60, and had normal, unlined wooden scales. It honed nicely and handled like a proper razor. Then there were the ZY razors, which don't seem to be on the market any more, which had a much too obtuse bevel angle and I was not impressed. Finally there are the Gold Dollars and except for the "W" models which I do not like, or the 900 which is overpriced and has too-heavy scales and spacer, can be pretty good once honed by someone who is good with that type of razor. Value is way out of proportion to the lowball price, as far as functionality goes.
Your best bang for the buck is a good vintage razor. Unfortunately, without considerable experience getting ripped off, you can be easily ripped off with razors that are no longer viable. And so, it is important to buy from someone in the community, who has a reputation to uphold. I think American vintage blades are the best buy these days. Mass produced Unions, Gencos, LIttle Valleys, Ontarios, are excellent if you get one that isn't cracked, badly pitted, or worn into a toothpick. They were made in massive quantities and are still common, and prices reflect that.
There are a lot of rebranded Gold Dollars out there, and with the conventional models you are getting a usable razor, but when they are rebranded and sold for 10x the normal price, let's hope that you do have a very very very good edge on the razor. Remember what it is you are actually getting. Most rebrands are 66, P-81, or "W" series models.
For Gold Dollars I rather like the P-81, which hones up nicely with few issues. Next, the 208, and finally the iconic but humble 66. The 100, 200, and 300 are sold as carbon steel and as stainless. However, they are not so stamped or etched. My contact at the factory says they will be happy to mark the box so you can at a glance tell them apart. The irony is lost I guess. The 800 is quite a good razor if you can find it at a good price, and is stainless. The 900, give it a miss. The P-81 is etched "Gold Dollar 1996" (the year the company was established) on the tang, and has two dimensional cutout acrylic scales and a flat acrylic spacer instead of a proper wedge. Easily distinguished from the other models.