Do they shave out-of-the-box?
The short answer is; "Sometimes." To understand why (or why not) you need to know a bit more about how straight razors are made or more precisely, how they are sharpened.
There is no razor manufacturer to our knowledge that actually hand-hones a razor's edge the way it's owner or user would. Frankly, the reasons for this are as much economical as practical.
Anyone who has ever succeeded in achieving the perfect hand-honed razor edge knows that doing so is a time and labor intensive process even when performed by an experienced person. For a manufacturer to hand-hone every razor edge would reduce production levels to such a low number that the resulting cost of each razor would be prohibitive for anyone other than the Sultan of Brunei. In any manufacturing process certain trade-offs are inevitable - most are necessitated by the requirements of maintaining acceptable production quantities and keeping the selling price affordable. The final step in the manufacture of a straight razor is applying the finest edge possible within the aforementioned limitations.
Factory sharpening of straight razors is a combination of machine and hand and there's very little "honing" to it.
The shaving edge of a razor is applied by use of a very fine abrasive disc, much in appearance to that of a record album on a turntable. The razor's edge is lightly held to the flat surface of the spinning disc. The razor's back is held up, away from the disc in order to prevent damage to any decorative plating or filework. The edge is then ground equally on both sides.
By now the variable factors should be apparent. Was the edge actually ground equally on both sides? Was the razor's back raised to exactly the same height for both sides of the edge? How many razors were previously sharpened using the same disc? How long since the disc was dressed or replaced? How experienced was the craftsman? Was this the last razor sharpened before lunch or on Friday afternoon, or the first on Monday morning?
If all factors in the equation are perfect the resulting razor will have a perfectly shavable edge, perhaps not as keen as a carefully hand-honed razor, but shavable. If any of these factors or a host of others are less than ideal the razor's edge will show it. That's why the answer is "Sometimes." The resulting razor's edge is the sum total of the variable factors in play at the time of it's making. And we haven't even considered how to test the shavability of a razor yet! Most experienced straight razor users will agree that the only real test of suitability is to shave with it. How could this be done in a manufacturing environment? We're back to making four razors a day that cost $2500.00 each!
The reality is that any hand-made products are just that - Hand-Made, by real hands belonging to real people who have all of the same real things going on in their lives that you and everyone else does. People are not machines and will never be able to produce anything with the same degree of consistency that machines do. When you buy any hand-made product you must accept this reality. Look around your house or office - most of what you see is 100% machine-made and is absolutely identical to it's counterpart with the same model number. If you are fortunate enough to find things that are hand-made look at them closely, you will surely find imperfections and inconsistencies.
Can you think of any product that is made halfway around the world, by hand, in relatively small quantities, using 400 year old technology, and can still be purchased for as little as $29.99?
Don't apply "Mach III turbo" thinking to straight razors, it is misplaced and you will be disappointed. Instead enjoy the uniqueness of your razor. Celebrate it's individual personality. Not unlike the family pet, learn it's ways and you will be rewarded immensely.
The alternatives are one of those chromed plastic robot dogs and a lifetime of buying consistently manufactured blade cartridges.