A search through some old art bins in the studio set me tumbling down a rabbit hole of wooden pencils, pencil sharpeners and crafting the perfect point.
This all started when I decided to organize my favorite pencils in nylon roll up cases that I bought from Michael’s. I decided to buy a couple of these cases so that my favorite pencils would be available to easily grab to use. I wouldn’t have to search or think too hard if I wanted to draw in the park or throw it in my bag for work. Just grab and go! It was sort of like having spare pairs of eyeglasses close at hand. Being that I have duplicates, triplicates and quadruplicates of my favorite pencils, it was not hard to fill these nylon cases.
While I was looking for the particular pencils I wanted to use, I came across a General No. 555 Layout Pencil which had an unusually long point. I’m sure the pencil was unused, and I wondered what sort of pencil sharpener was used to deliver such a fine, long point. That’s when I fell down this particular rabbit hole.
I found a number of videos online detailing techniques for sharpening pencils with razor blades and sand paper as well as reviews for electric and manual pencil sharpeners. My options were to either make a mess or spend money. A lot of the electric pencil sharpeners have rechargeable batteries. I really don’t want another device that will become useless once the proprietary battery fails to hold a charge. I also don’t want to add to my sea of various charging cables. So I spent a little money on a KUM Automatic Long Point Pencil Sharpener which is not automatic but is a pretty decent wooden pencil sharpener and a tiny Uni Lead Pointer for 2mm leads which is so small that I’m sure I’m going to lose it. They both work very well, but it turns out I didn’t have to spend a dime.
I bought a used, possibly antique manual pencil sharpener from a seller on eBay after my beloved Boston electric pencil sharpener died a few years back. I wanted to get something American made so that meant I was going to find something old. The more familiar brands such as Bostitch were expensive so I found a less known brand Apsco at a decent price. I don’t know why, but I let it sit around my studio mostly unused for years. As I was recently looking around my studio gathering the pencils for my nylon cases, I came across the Apsco. I tried it on a number of pencils and I noticed to my delight that it sharpened them to the nice long lead I was looking for. When it took the enormous 13/32″ girth of a My First Ticonderoga pencil and gave it a nice long point, I was sold. The pencil sharpener I was looking for I had already found.
So with my pointy pencils and leads, I am attacking my little sketchbooks anew. My horror story is getting fleshed out a little further and is turning into a real monster mash.