Pencil sharpeners seem like they’re a dime a dozen. That is, until you begin searching for that coveted ultra long point. The urge to find the ultimate long-point sharpener is kind of like Hepatitis B: some people get it and it just never goes away. A sharpener that reliably generates an elegant, long taper is even more elusive in hand-blade format.
Esteemed German manufacturer KUM has attempted to solve this issue with their Automatic Long Point sharpener. I purchased this sharpener without necessarily intending to review it, and have been using it off and on for several months now, so I reckon I’m highly-qualified to give you the dirt on it. In this case, I’ll be reviewing the Blackwing-branded model, although I’m pretty sure that there is no difference between this and the “white label” model other than the screen-printed Blackwing logo. So keep reading, long-point enthusiasts; because herein lies an in-depth look at one of the most popular long-point hand sharpeners on the market today.
Getting a nice, long point on a pencil without having to use an elaborate or bulky sharpener is kind of a rare joy for writers. On the one hand, there are lots of desktop sharpeners that give a long point, but that would be kinda dumb trying to carry one of those around in your pencil case. On the other hand, there are tons of high-quality compact wedge, bullet, and canister-type sharpeners, but most of those make pretty short points. Among those that leave long points, many of them involve some sort of multi-step process. Of course, if you happen to be an artist with different types of pencil requiring different shapes of point, then things get even more complicated.
Kutsuwa’s STAD T’Gaal Multisharpener takes a crack at solving these problems by combining the flexibility of adjustable point length and the compactness of a bladed canister sharpener in one small package. With the turn of a dial, the position of the blade adjusts to allow for point angles ranging from “fancy long” to “mascara pencil small”.
I picked up one of those nifty-looking sharpeners to test out and see how effectively it manages to pull all of that off!
I don’t do this often, but I figure since those stalwarts of the writing blogosphere have helped a little guy out, the least I can do is pay it back/forward. So here’s a few links that I’ve enjoyed reading lately (“lately” defined very loosely):
I’m just writing a quick post to share this funky vintage gem I found at the local Goodwill store: the Berol Premier Vacuhold APSCO sharpener!
It was almost like it was communicating with me telepathically. I originally passed it up on the office supply aisle (my favorite aisle, obviously) but I just had a certain feeling that I needed to go back and look underneath a random pile of junk. So I did, and…voila!
I first came across this little bugger in a book shop in the Anchorage airport. They wanted $7 for it. I almost bought it. Then I found the same model in Seattle for $3.50. Moral of the story: don’t buy things at the airport.
Nonetheless, the Ooly Mighty Sharpener stood out to me for some reason. Maybe because it’s cute. Maybe because it has a long-point sharpener. Maybe because it gives you options. Whatever the reason, when I came across it the second time (and the price was reasonable), I snagged it and brought it home for a review.
I’m in Seattle. Seattle is a major city with a substantial Japanese population. Japanese people are serious about their writing supplies. So when my buddy who lives in the International District took me for drinks this evening, you know damn well we made a little stop on the way to the bar. So, this happened:
You’re looking at the Tombow La-Kea Recycled Pencil (HB/B/2B), Mitsubishi Uni-Star (HB/B/2B), Tombow 2558 (HB/B), Mono Plastic Eraser, Rabbit ECOfeel Eraser, Kutsuwa STAD adjustable manual sharpener, Ooly Mighty Sharpener, and the Apica CG54 grid notebook. All that and I still had my eye out for more finds on the walk back to my hotel…
Have you ever googled something like, “how to start journaling” or “journal tips for beginners?” If so, you’ve probably come across one piece of advice that is suggested consistently on pretty much every single web article that has to do with keeping a journal/diary/whatever: you’re supposed to make a specific time in your schedule to write in your journal, and do it at that specific time every day.
That’s some bunk, yo.
I journal regularly. Probably excessively. But for a period of time I tried and tried and just couldn’t get into it. It wasn’t until I broke the supposedly iron-clad rule that says you’re supposed to journal at a specified, consistent part of the day that I was able to make it a regular part of my life.
I’m sure you can imagine what a quick trip to the grocery/big box/etc. store looks like for me. “Yeah babe, I’ll run out and grab some bread, be right back!” I tell my partner as I run out the door. An hour later I return with the bread…and a handful of random crap from the art and/or office supply aisles.
That’s more or less how I ended up with the X-Acto Vacuum Mount manual helical pencil sharpener (sidenote: I’ve also seen this or a similar product marketed as the “bulldog”). A quick pop into Wally World for some Oreos to comfort my beloved after she sprained her ankle necessarily included a trip down the office supply aisle. I’ve pretty much picked that joint clean of anything that looks promising or even interesting, but occasionally new surprises pop up, and I’ve been curious about hand-crank helical sharpeners as a happy medium between noisy electrics and bladed hand sharpeners. And there she was: the X-ACTO vacuum mount manual sharpener for the low, low price of eight bucks. Sold!