» Keeping Things Sharp


I finally bit the bullet and bought myself an electric pencil sharpener. I didn’t really “need” one, but when you have piles of colored pencils to sharpen, it can sure come in handy. I’d been working with a battery operated unit that even when loaded with fresh batteries always sounded like it was about to up and die.

I like that this one can sharpen pencils of varying thicknesses as I’ve always struggled to get a good point on my favorite Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils which are slightly thicker than a regular pencil.

This beast will live in my studio, while the 5 miscellaneous pocket sharpeners I know I own will remain at large.

How do you keep your pencils sharp? Do you have a preferred sharpener?

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Posted on April 11th, 2013 by Stephanie
Filed in: Artist Inspiration, New Tools
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I have a very reliable Panasonic sharpener that my father owned. It does a great job but it takes more off the pencil than a manual sharpener.

I settled on using Staedtler and M&R/Maped sharpeners to keep a sharp point. Manual sharpening seems to give me a short break in which to gather my thoughts – and the pencils last longer with a better point. I used to think all sharpeners were alike. Definitely not.

I’m on a pencil kick right now so lots of sharpening as I try different pencils on different paper for different tasks. :)

We have tried several electric pencil sharpeners. We switched to a Carl A-5 manual pencil sharpener. It holds the pencil while you crank the handle.
If I sharpen too many colored pencils, I sharpen a standard pencil because the graphite is a natural lubricant and will keep the blades clean.

Much thanks for the tip on running a graphite pencil after colored pencils to clean the blades. I didn’t know that.

Good sharpening tip indeed. I keep some woodless solid graphite sticks handy to sharpen in my crank sharpeners (Classroom Friendly and Mitsubishi Uni KH-20) to lubricate the cutting gears when they get cluttered with colored pencil wax debris. For pencils that I want to wear down more slowly and have a shorter taper, I rely on a KUM brass wedge or an Alvin brass bullet.

By David Maliniak on April 12th, 2013 at 9:02 am

I have never had much luck with electric sharpeners. They grind down the pencil and when I remove it, the lead’s broken off inside. It’s probably me.

So I prefer manual sharpeners, like the little Staedtler one I have here on my desk. Yeah, it takes a few seconds longer, but it renders the lead needle-sharp and just works.

I use a cheap manual sharpener from Staples. I only have a few pencils at my desk and it seems to do the trick for them. Usually, I write with pens.

I also have eyed the beautiful sharpener you now own many times, but have never yet taken the plunge. I have several electric sharpeners (don’t ask) but my absolute favorite is an old Panasonic sharpener (probably the same model that Bruce above has) that still works flawlessly. It produces the most perfect, sharpest point I have ever seen.


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