I got my impulse-buy package in the mail today - I'd like to quickly plug menzbiz.com.au too: I ordered midday and the package arrived the next afternoon via courier, even though I selected the "normal" (free) postage. They also threw in a few free little samplers (creams and balms and stuff).
The first thing I did was got everything out and played with it. I sliced my fingers twice on the straight razor before I even got off the bus.
When I got home, I stropped the straight razor. 25 careful laps on the linen side, followed by 50 more on the leather side.
I lathered up and tried shaving, but it didn't work. Just felt like it was catching and tearing on the hair. I suspected that my beard was just too long (over a weeks growth - and it's thick and wiry).
So I tried the DE razor. That worked like a charm. In fact, I was totally blown away. It just "fell" through my copper-wire whiskers like a knife through butter. I can tell straight away, I won't be going back to a Mach III. I don't care that much about smoothness of shave, what I like is a "comfortable" shave, and the DE provides that in spades. Effortless.
The neck area is tricky because the hair grows down under the chin and swirls out to the sides, so it's hard to keep it WTG. But I managed.
After that I only had "WTG-shaved stubble" so I thought I'd have another crack with the straight razor. Unfortunately, it still felt like it's "catching" and not cutting. I experimented with lots of different angles, but never with much pressure. I'm guessing it's just not sharp enough and needs to be professionally honed, which is kind of surprising seeing how easily it sliced the skin on my fingers. I'll ask about that in the straight razor forum.
So I went back to the DE razor and experimented a bit across and against the grain. The end result is a nice shave. Neck is a bit raw with quite a few nicks and cuts, but nothing I didn't regularly get with a cartridge razor.
In the end, cheeks and chin, etc. are fine and smooth-as. Shaving my neck will need some practise. Nice stuff the traditional shaving. I really hope to get the straight razor working sooner rather than later.