Long point sharpeners

Long point sharpeners

I love to work with graphite and chew through a lot of pencils in doing so. Seriously, I buy them by the box… I am also very fussy about the point,  they have to be long and sharp, but I don’t want to waste time with knife and sandpaper because I would rather be drawing. Achieving that holy grail of getting reliable, fast and long has seen a great many frustrations and waste along the way.

The current line up includes three solutions for my three situations.

Long point pencils
Sharpened with, left to right: KUM hand held, Staedtler rotary and Ledah electric sharpener.

The KUM Long Point sharpener is cheap and portable. Not the cheapest pencil sharpener if compared with those on offer at the supermarket, but the cheapest way to get a long point. It lives in my sketch kit for touchups on the go. I usually carry four pencils pre-sharpened, protected with some sort of cover (currently the Faber Castell 2001 eraser caps because they are pretty much the only thing available here). With the KUM along to keep them going, I can draw for hours.

My studio sharpener was, for many years, one of the old Staedtler Mars Rotary 501-20s. I wore it out. Giving up on it and throwing it away was difficult, made even more so, when I realised that I wasn’t going to be getting another from the stationery store. The new model is OK, but does not deliver quite as sharp a point my old one did. It is still the studio workhorse. Maybe I’m doing something wrong? I love that the plastic claws don’t scratch up the pencil body as many crank sharpeners do.

The past few months have seen me confined to a small room in the house (because my studio is unheated, my version of asthma is triggered by cold air and I’ve been ill). Undeterred, I got help to make room for an easel, improved the lighting as much as I could and figured what media is compatible with a small space and a dodgy set of breathing anatomy. Graphite, of course. Unfortunately there is no right-hand desk edge to which to clamp the Staedtler so thoughts of, maybe, buying a second one evaporated. That’s how the electric Ledah arrived in my life. Look at that point!