Pencils are something I admittedly dabble in quite a bit less than pens (although I really enjoy pencils too), but occasionally people in the pencil fanatic communities like our friends Tim, Johnny, and Andy over at The Erasable Podcast talk about certain products enough that I can't help but buy them.
In comes the KUM "The Masterpiece" pencil sharpener. Sounds pretty impressive, right?
Apparently these particular sharpeners have traditionally not been sold by retailers in the United States, but that changed recently and the awesome ladies at CW Pencil Enterprise got them in and I quickly placed my order.
In addition to the sharpener I also bought a few pencils (because, it is impossible not to) and I'm using at the moment an older Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 (which may be gone now) that I got from their "vintage pencils" section. They have an older Mongol from around the turn of the 20th century that has an awesome ferrule which looks amazing, but is $30. A steal for the avid collector no doubt...
In a nutshell, this sharpener creates an incredibly sharp and long point. I mean, super long and super sharp. Like, wicked sharp. Like, don't let little kids or people who have difficulty with pointy things play with kind of sharp.
The Masterpiece comes in a little stretchy, spandex-like pouch with a snap closure and big KUM logo on the front, wherein lies a little plastic box that holds the actual sharpener. Full disclosure, this sharpener costs $17 which seems like a lot, but the results it produces are astounding. It'll be interesting to see how it holds up long term.
The sharpener is of the hand sharpening variety and has no moving parts. It also has no shaving collection process, so you'll need a place to put them as you go. I don't smoke, but on my desk I have a vintage brass ashtray from the 1939 New York World's Fair (like this one) which acts as my shavings collection bin, and it looks cool. I actually got the idea from Dan Bishop of Karas Kustoms to use a vintage ashtray. There are so many cool ashtrays that really are works of art or history that don't get used and this is a perfect repurposing application for them.
In addition to being a hand sharpener, it is also a two step sharpening process. The solid magnesium block has two sections each with their own blade for each part of the process. The first hole marked with a "1" shaves away the wood and leaves a long cylinder of nearly unsharpened graphite sticking out of the end. Almost like it strips the graphite clean... amazing.
There is a blue piece of rubber that is attached (but optional) to the magnesium block which acts as a stopper. While sharpening during step 1, when the graphite touches the blue stopper you're done.
Hole "2" is for step 2 and is where we take that cylinder of graphite and gently sharpen it to a point. Slowly the blade shaves away bits of graphite dust until you are left with what equates to a writing spear.
Seriously, the result is so fantastic. Although, I'm not entirely certain as to why a point like this is desirable over other sharpness angles, but it is sure to allow for a pretty decent writing session.
I did an initial test with two pencils of seemingly very different grades: the vintage Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 mentioned earlier and a much softer Palomino Blackwing 211. Also, paired up with the Doane Paper Idea Journal because I enjoy the slight "tooth" that Doane Paper has when using pencils.
The Mongol kept its point and sharpness pretty much throughout the whole test (without even breaking which was impressive for a 50 year old pencil), but as you can imagine the 211's tip snapped off a bit with the first few letters. Even still, it held an awesome writing point for several lines of writing which I generally don't get with a shorter sharpening.
Is this one of those need to have items? For the price, maybe not, but the results are amazing and worth getting if you are a pencil enthusiast. I'm super pleased with it.