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New to straights - what have I got and where do I go from here?

Howdy, str8 shooters.

I've been wet shaving for over twenty years, and using safety razors for about four months. This week, as part of a pass-around PIF box, I acquired a straight razor and hone. I've been lurking in the straight forums for a couple of days, and am starting to get a basic idea of what this is all about. I'd like to know what I have, what I still need, and what I need to do before I put the blade to my face.

Attached are some pics of the razor. I'm a terrible photographer and only have a cellphone camera, but I tried taking a couple of these pics through a regular magnifying glass and it seemed to help with the close ups. I'm happy to post more pics of different parts or angles if it will be helpful in identifying the razor or determining its condition.

I've found nothing about this particular razor (though a little about the maker, and what little I have found seems quite positive). I don't know whether it's shave-ready or not. I've seen reference to the HHT (hanging hair test), but not exactly what it is or how to perform it. Is the idea that a shave ready blade will slice through an arm hair just hanging from the arm? I'm planning to take the razor to Stoddard's cutlery in Newton when I can to have them take a look and, if it needs honing, get it shave ready.

Attached to the next post are pics of the hone. I don't know what make it is, or what its composition is, etc. if anyone recognizes it from the pics, please let me know what I've got here, and whether this is a suitable hone to start learning how to hone on. For learning how to hone, should I get a really cheap, crummy straight to practice on? I don't want to ruin my one good straight. Do I need anything more to start with than the stone I have?

I've figured out that, once the blade is shave ready, I'll still need a strop, so I've ordered the Poor Mans Strop Kit from Larry at Whipped Dog (who is a wonderful guy to deal with, BTW!).

Any info you guys can provide about the equipment that I have, or should get, or tips about what I should do with it, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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Hone pics.
 

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Looks like fine razor. Its a faux frameback. Most likely a wedgie kind of grind. Should make for a nice shave. I will let others take a stab at the hone. Try posting the hone pics in the honing section. All ya really need is a shave ready razor and a strop to shave. A decent brush and soap or cream is nice. Good luck and keep us posted.
 
The steel of the razor looks like it's in good condition. The shape of the razor shows that it is well-used. There is quite a bit of hone wear, and the width of the blade and the the bevel are no longer uniform. The heel probably has a little spike (the sharpened part of the edge closest to the handle is a little square, and that can catch your skin and cut you), which should be removed before you use it.

I think the razor still has plenty of life in it, and I think you'll enjoy it. Before you use it, have it tidied up a bit by one of the pros on here. I'm not familiar with the cutlery shop you mentioned, but unless the person honing the razor actually uses straights regularly, he or she probably doesn't know enough about straights to do a high-quality job. This is your first straight, right? Give it a little TLC. It will make a big difference in how much you enjoy the learning process.
 
Thanks. I know the guy at Stoddard's does do straights, and I've seen one or two good reviews, but I'd rather "keep it in the family" anyway. I just found out that rickboone1, who actually put together the traveling PIF box my straight came out of, hones razors so I'm planning to have him do it. Strop from Whipped Dog should be here by the end of the week, and then I'll be ready to try my first straight shave! :badger::badger::badger:
 
I think you'll find it well worth the effort.

Also, prepare to destroy your wallet. The land of straight razors is a financial black hole.
 
Just for those following this thread, the hone is a la grise coticule glued to slate.

I think the straight is fine, cant tell if its shave ready, but i wouldnt mess with much of it. Just be careful.
 
Yeah definitely a glued coti. When you learn to use it, it will do nicely for a hone, though myself I like a much bigger honing surface, which is one reasone I switched to lapping film.

The razor may well be shave ready. If not, just about anyone who offers to hone it can make it so. I love a shoulderless razor. Yours will serve you well for decades to come. Still plenty of meat left on it, even if you straighten the edge.
 
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