A Very Short Guide to Pencil  Sharpeners

A Very Short Guide to Pencil Sharpeners

May 30th 2021

A sharpener is a pencil's best friend, and for every pencil and ever pencil user there's a perfect sharpener. Choosing the correct one has a lot to do with diameter and point length, but also has a lot to do with the preferences of a pencil user. Here's a quick breakdown of all of the handheld sharpener types: 

Normal Single-Blade Sharpener: This is probably the most recognizable type of sharpener and to tell the truth, they're all virtually the same. The difference usually lies in the quality and design. A high quality sharpener will have a blade that stays sharp and that is attached properly to its frame so it stays firmly flat. Beyond that, any single-blade handheld sharpener will generally do the same medium point. 

Recommended for: general use with normal diameter pencils, hard-to-sharpener pencils, for those who prefer a shorter point

Double-hole Sharpener: This is the type of sharpener you need if you're using a jumbo or larger-than-normal diameter pencil (yes, it will sharpen ALL jumbo pencils we sell). The smaller hole is the same as that on a normal single-blade sharpener, and the large hole does a short point on a jumbo pencil. 

Recommended for: those who use jumbo pencils or a large variety of pencil diameters

Long-point sharpener: This type of sharpener is not necessary for any type of pencil but preferred by many pencil users. A long-point sharpener, as expected, does a long point on a normal diameter pencil. For this type of sharpener you have two options: a single-step sharpener (like the CWPE sharpener on the left), which is a single-blade sharpener with a realllllly long blade, or a two-step sharpener (like the Kum Masterpiece on the right), which has one blade to sharpen the wood and one blade to refine the graphite. 

Recommended for: people who prefer the look of a long point, those who are writing with a pencil for a long time, those who want a lot of graphite exposure, those who are heavy-handed and want to sharpen their pencil less frequently

Soft-Core Sharpener:  Have you ever tried to sharpen a colored pencil or a super soft pencil and it just keeps breaking? This could be for one of two primary reasons: 1. your sharpener blade is too dull or 2. the inside of the pencil is shattered (Sorry! There's nothing you can do to fix this). Generally, a sharpener with a shorter blade at a straighter angle will be more gentle on your difficult pencils. 

Recommended for: colored pencils and softer pencils, anything that is difficult to sharpener or super waxy

Those are the basics! Generally, we prefer handheld sharpeners to all other types because they're easy to use and easy to troubleshoot. Other types of sharpeners: 

1. Hand-crank sharpener: We love these!! If you're looking for a forever sharpener, get a hand crank to use at home! Obviously, they're not portable but they're great to have if you work from a desk all day. 

2. Electric sharpener: Don't do it!! Currently manufactured electric sharpeners are GARBAGE. If you must do it, find a vintage Panasonic on eBay. 

3. Carpenter pencil sharpeners: Technically, these exist, but they're a pain to use. We recommend you just use a knife instead. 

4. A knife: The purist way. Requires practice, but you will be proud of yourself when you master the perfect point! Bonus: you have lots of control to do it exactly how you want it!

Still don't know what sharpener you need? Call the pencil hotline: 917 734 8117. 

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