Maybe it is because I have hard water.
Yes, yes, yes. I have had soft water for so long I forgot how much tougher it is to shave in really hard water. You can compensate by using the heated towel or shaveing after a hot shower and then using a very good soap.
As to sharpening. A good set of stone will cost a pretty penny. My first set were a set of three - Soft Arkansas, Hard Arkansas and Black Arkansas. This was in the early '70s and I paid around $60.00 for the set back then.
I notice that one of the links has a sharpening service fro $19.00. I have only had to hone mine a couple of times a year and use the strop the rest of the time. You might find it more affordable to use their service to get started off right and buy stones later if you continue using the razor.
I did that for a couple of years until I could afford the stones I needed and it worked out very well for me. ( for you guys who laugh at me not being able to afford $60.00 right away, just remember, that is probably 4-600 dollars in today's money )
My best razor is german silver steel and it holds the best edge.
Another thing I should mention. I got my razor and strop from an old barber. Now, especially since they don't use them anymore, you might look up some old barbers that may be willing to sell their razors, strops and stones. May be some bargains out there.