i've been de shaving for several years now but have held off on trying straights. but curiosity is getting the better of me and i think i'd like to try. a big reason i haven't tried is that i'm confused by what needs to be done, primarily in terms of prep. any help would be great...

do i need to know how to hone to use a straight?
do i need to buy stones, etc?
do i need to own several straights and rotate their use?
what exactly is the prep involved each time?
what are good straights to buy?
what do the sizes mean i.e. 5/8, 6/8?
do i need to anchor a strop to the wall?

is this really complicated or is it simpler than i think?
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The sizes are measured from the back of the spine to the edge.
Modern razors usually are designated by eighths of an inch (or sixteenths)

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You need to learn how to either refresh your blade on a cotton twill loom or hanging strop or learn to refresh the edge on a high grit synthetic hone such as a 12,000 grit Waterstone or on the treated strop using for instance (chromium oxide ) on it.

When this no longer does it you need to learn how to use a coarser hone set say a 4,000 and an 8,000 grit set up and then refine the new edge on the pasted strop or the 12,000 etc that you already have at this point.

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I usually suggest two razors.
Use one for up to a month and then bring in the other alternating days until you decide the first razor is not shaving you as well as you remember it doing previously.
Then you need to decide to either learn how to bring back an edge yourself (not really that hard) or send the dull one of to a honer of skill to be re sharpened.

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Prep before a shave is to use either a combination strop in say linen first for 20 light laps and then leather for 25 to 50 (your choice/taste) or use a chromium oxide treated linen, cotton twill,or poly webbing to do 2 to 6 light passes on then (wipe the spine ) and do 20 to 50 laps on your leather strop.

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If you buy from a noted person you could buy a cheap gold dollar from a guy called Anthony Esposito on YouTube and Facebook.
Or perhaps buy the economy model Dovo from http://www.thesuperiorshave.com in Florida (they mail fast) or an economy straight from a restore oriented individual on the web (do your research and check out their service history) of course.

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New Jersey
I have sent OP a bunch of messages, but the guy commenting here (caleb) is what I call my straight shaving Jedi master. Smile So OP can follow his advice without even a nano-gram of salt.
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Dovo are decent.
Boker are lovely.
Hart Steel are great (but costly)
Anthony Esposito turns out a nice Gold Dollar that will shave well
Look up DrMatt357 on YouTube for honing information also by the way.

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It can be as cheap as buying lapping film (3M brand) I do recommend in 30 micron, 12 micron, 9 micron, 3 micron and 1 micron and going to Walmart or target and getting a flat Glass cutting board from the cooking section and using the smooth flat bottom as a base to stick the film on as you hone or refresh your razors.

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(This post was last modified: 08-31-2016, 02:49 AM by caleb31.)
Or buying a DMT8C diamond plate to lap your stones and buying the Shapton Professional Series in 1,500 grit,5,000 grit ,8,000 grit and finish on the 12,000 grit .

Or many other stones.

Or buy a thuringion hone from http://www.griffithshavinggoods.com and a rubbing stone (call and talk to Matt ) and simply stay on top of your blades maintenance and you could keep an edge going for years.
But it is most likely you will kill your first few edges so do not stress about that.

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