New straight razor - must it be honed first?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Fred_London, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Fred_London

    Fred_London New Member


    I would like some advice.

    I am a new shaver, I bought a brand new Dovo straight razor last week.

    At the same time I bought a brush, cream, strop, styptic stick, etc.

    I have shaved a few time, and get an ok shave apart from many nicks/cuts.

    The razor does not actually seem to be extremely sharp, more like a disposable Bic. Now, someone said on the internet that new razorrs must always be honed first, i.e. made "shave ready".

    Is this true? I figured Dovo would do this in factory so you can shave "out of the box"

    BTW, my razor does not pass the HHT (hanging hair test).

    Am I ripping up my face unnecessarily?

    Should I get it honed, if so, can this easily be learned and done yourself with a water stone?

    All advice much appreciated, only from experts/people that know what they are talking about please!
  2. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    Well, :signs046 anyways.
  3. Dslazar9

    Dslazar9 Took the Menthol-cratic Oath

    Yes you'll definitely want to get your razor honed. I got into straights after about 6 months of DE shaving. I sent my razors to a honer to be honed. I have a stone and am just starting to learn how to use it. I have a beat up razor I'm using to learn on. I would definitely start with a professional-at least so you can know what a good sharp razor should feel like. I would suggest you go to u-tube or "The Straight Razor Place" to find some videos on how to strop-it's much more important to learn how to strop. While you're there you can see videos on how to shave. I've been using straights for about 6 months now and still get much smoother shaves from DE razors-why do I do it? It's just a cool thing to do and I recognize there's a learning curve, that's half the fun. I'm not going to suggest any honers in public-there are many good ones out there. If you want to send me a PM I'll be happy to share my experiences with you.
  4. battle.munky

    battle.munky Has the menthol.munky on his back!

    My experience is very similar to Danny's, even down to the timing. I don't know if there is much more I can add other than a resounding "yes, get it honed."

    And, oh yeah, welcome to The Den! :D
  5. Jaymo

    Jaymo Active Member

    I have an old German straight I need to get honed.
  6. PalmettoB

    PalmettoB The Old Guard

    You'll see "shave-ready" used often, and more often than not, it isn't. Somewhere on here we posted a video of the Thiers-Issard factory in France making straights (have to see if I can find that...) They do grind the edges off pretty nice, but not by hand and not so fine as to be a really good shaving edge. A good, sharp shaving edge is only going to be gained by honing by hand, probably using a succession of stones with increasingly fine "grits" until you get to a point you have an edge with which you're happy. If you're not to that point in your maintenance routine, you might want to send it out for a good honing, as the others have noted.
  7. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    To the OP
    I am not sure of the London designation in your S/N but really whether the Dovo is shave ready, mainly depends on where you bought it from...
    They are sharp from the factory, but they are not "shave ready" by most everyone's standards ...
    There are however many vendors that do hone the razor before selling them, sometimes for an extra fee, sometimes all of them ...

    The HHT is about the most useless test for checking an edge there is, I am not real sure how in the last year so many people have come to think it does any good at all.. Literally I can pop my hair all day long on an HHT at 1k, and would never consider shaving with that edge, the opposite is also true it all depends on the hair...
    Either way it is only useful to the person that is honing a razor and that has developed the test over time...

    Was the factory seal broken when you got the razor??? if not then for sure it needs to be honed... If it was broken then contact the vendor you bought it from and ask...

    If you are in London let me know and I will give you some links of people on that side of the pond to contact...

    Welcome aboard the straight train hope you enjoy the ride...
  8. Fred_London

    Fred_London New Member

    Some answers to your questions

    thanks everyone for prompt feedback.

    I think I know what to do - get it honed! - but I'll respond to some of the questions asked for everyones' benefit.

    1. Stropping - yes I have stropped the razor, and checked on youtube how to do this right. Unfortunately I think the first vids I viewed were incorrect, so I may have applied too much pressure on the blade during the first attempts (i.e. pushing the sharp edge down into the leather instead of letting it trail after the spine). But how much damage could I have done in the space of a couple of minutes?

    2. I bought the razor at "Dr Harris", which is a 200 year old pharmacy near Jermyn St in London. It is located 200 yards from "Taylors of Bond St". That is a classic place, it had great products but I felt the overall prices were a little steep. Then again quality vs price - 9/10 times it is usually a trade off between the two..

    The razor did have a transparent rubber/plastic sticker covering the engraving, so I assume it had never been honed but was straight from the factory. From the comments I have received, it seems honing needs to be done. Taylors of Bond st do offer that service, maybe I should go there. Its £29.

    3. I'll get a pro to do it the first time, I definitely don't want to risk damaging the razor.

    4. So any referalls to companies/people that can do it in the London area would be good. Is £29 reasonable?

  9. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    I don't know who hones at the shops in London ...

    I do know that Neil Miller here

    and Steve Dempsey here

    Have earned their reputation for producing fine shaving edges in our circles...

    As to price the going rate is around $15-$20 American :D which according to my Google money exchanger means that they are charging $46 if I read this right £29
  10. Chimensch

    Chimensch Member

    I met Steve Dempster at the SRP meeting in Birmingham and also purchased from him. He does good work.
  11. Gibbs

    Gibbs Member

    There are only about 1 in a very few Dovo razors STRAIGHT from the factory that are ready for your face. Get it honed, stropp it the right way and learn how to touch up the razor yourself as soon as you can.
  12. Blade

    Blade Member

    Wups a bit of a SNAFU there SixGun! Our charges are not £29 for a hone and $15 does not mean $46 or £29 either - I think that money exchanger needs a talking to! Our charges vary from £13.70 (approx. $22.14) to £31.70 (approx $51.24) depending on work to be done and type of blade, return location, value etc (for insurance purposes). Not a plug but just to set the record straight. Oh and the name's Dempster, BTW.
  13. Rekonball

    Rekonball New Member

    Nobody gets into straight shaving to save money.:happy102

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