Several weeks on and I have yet to decide on a new straight razor. One of the issues that had me confused was the difference between a shave ready straight razor and a factory honed straight. If you are searching for a razor you will come across some shops that have their razors listed as being either “shave ready” or “factory honed”, in some cases not listed as either. So, after a bit of research this is what I have come up with.
Factory Honed Straight Razors
Factory honed straight razors are just that, honed at the factory. Which creates a bit of a problem and discussion in the straight razor community. Some believe that although the razor was honed in the factory it is not ready for use and will need a ‘proper’ secondary honing. While others believe that if you purchased a factory honed razor all it requires is an initial pass on your stropp and you should be good to go. To be honest I find the wording and lack of clarity on the matter a bit deceiving, and to the conclusion that, while a factory honed razor may be ready for use, it also may not be.
Shave Ready Straight Razors
The lack of clarity with the factory honed razor has me leaning towards purchasing a shave ready razor. Generally a shave ready razor will have had a secondary honing after the factory, usually sold by a straight razor vendor. So as long as you find a quality vendor, you should end up with a quality honing.
Which One to Buy
Unless you have a honing stone at your disposal I would imagine your best bet is to go with a straight razor that is shave ready. You eliminate one of the factors that could result in a poor razor or experience. As I mentioned earlier your best bet, as always, is to pick up a straight from a trust worthy source.