The Etsy Blog

How to Sharpen Pencils handmade and vintage goods

You might know David Rees as the political cartoonist behind the series Get Your War On, among others. Well, he has set all that aside to pursue his lofty dreams as a preeminent craftsman in the little known field of artisanal pencil sharpening. His new book is titled How To Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants. Read on for an illuminating excerpt from the book that will guide you through using a single-blade pocket sharpener. Time to sharpen up!

Of all pencil-sharpeners, the humble single-blade pocket model is perhaps the most ubiquitous. That doesn’t mean our little friend is easy to master. On the contrary, its unassuming appearance gives no hint of the potential frustrations, pitfalls, brambles, dead-ends, and heartbreaks that lie within.

I approach every use of a pocket sharpener with guarded optimism. As far as I’m concerned, it offers the most intimate encounter with a pencil. It’s my favorite sharpening technique precisely because, like all intimate encounters, its ideal outcome is so obvious yet its practical application is so fraught with peril.

Equipment Checklist:
Emery board
Magnifying lenses
Single-blade pocket sharpener
Pencil (not pictured)

Step One: Inspecting and Cleaning the Sharpener
Before beginning the sharpening process, do a quick visual inspection of the sharpener. The casing should be free of cracks and blemishes. The blade should be properly aligned relative to the body of the sharpener and free of rust, blood, or other elements that could compromise the blade’s motion across the surface of the pencil.

If wood shavings or graphite residue from previous use are lodged against the blade, remove them by gently inserting a wooden toothpick between the blade and the opposite plane. Pull the toothpick towards the sharpener’s entrance hole, collecting debris as you go.

Step Two: Placing the Tool in Hand

Hold the sharpener in your non-dominant hand so as to stabilize it during the sharpening process. The blade should be face-up and visible throughout the process, as you will be monitoring its contact with the pencil as well as the unfurling of shavings.

Hold the pencil in your dominant hand. You will be rotating the pencil, not the sharpener. The sharpener should remain stationary throughout the process, barring extreme circumstances.

Step Three: Engagement
Begin rotating the pencil inside the body of the sharpener so the blade is engaging with the shaft of the pencil. For left-handers, this means a clockwise rotation. Maintain steady, moderate pressure along the shaft as you guide it towards the forward end of the sharpener.

Step Four: Monitoring the Shavings’ Egress

Many of my clients request the use of a single-blade hand sharpener because of the iconic, scalloped ribbon of shavings it produces. (Sometimes called “the apple-peel effect” or “M’lady’s ruffled skirt abandoned on the floor  in the throes of our love-making.”) Although you may be tempted to focus exclusively on the pencil point, attention must be paid to the merry byproduct of your labor.

As pencil shavings begin to curl out of the sharpener, turn the sharpener away from you so the shavings fall to the side and don’t obscure the blade. Do not allow the shavings to collect in your palm. Shavings should unfurl completely, lest they jam the sharpener.

If shavings are reluctant to leave the sharpener’s planar orifice, a gentle tug will release them from its grasp. Place them on a flat surface and return to the task at hand.



Step Five: Checking In With Your Pencil

After some time you should notice the pencil point beginning to take shape and feel the sharpener engaging the newly exposed graphite, which will offer less resistance than the wood. (See Table 5.1.) This typically happens after thirteen to fifteen rotations. Now is the time to pay especially close attention to your pencil’s progress. You may be tempted to remove the pencil and test its point after one or two further rotations. Resist the temptation a bit longer — approximately two more rotations, if not one additional rotation, or even a further, final rotation.

Remove the pencil and look at it.

If the pencil is still not sharp enough, engage the sharpener in one or two additional rotations. Avoid a third rotation, a.k.a. “the Devil’s Dance.”

Step Six: “A Closer Look”

Use your magnifying spectacles to search the pencil point for irregularities. In this photograph, we see a ragged edge to the collar at the site where the sharpening process was concluded. This begs for correction.

Step 7: Correcting the Collar

You can further improve the pencil by removing the raised edge where the blade last encountered the collar. Smooth the collar with an emery board, taking care not to flatten its conical surface. A light touch is key.

After smoothing the collar, clean any graphite residue with a cotton handkerchief or rag. Make sure not to damage the graphite and the tip!

Step Eight: “Bagging the Big Game”

At the end of the sharpening process, you must attend to the shavings. They are part of the pencil and, as such, should be returned to their rightful owner.

A bag of clean shavings, besides looking delightful, should put to rest any concerns your clients may have about your technique: that you used an electric sharpener instead of a hand-sharpener; that you hoard shavings for your personal use; that the “pencil” is a plastic simulacrum; that you passed the shavings through your body before returning them, etc.

Using tweezers, carefully place the shavings in a bag. Label the shavings and pencil according to your preferred indexing system.

Step Nine: Reviewing Your Handiwork
This step can be emotionally wrenching, but it’s required if you hope to improve your practice. Taking a long look at your finished pencil is an opportunity for reflection and renewal. While reviewing your handiwork, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How closely does the pencil point correspond to your desired outcome?

Is it sharper or duller than you wanted? If the former is the case, review the rotations recorded for this job in your log book and try one or two fewer rotations on your next pencil; if the latter, add rotations — keeping in mind that most pocket sharpeners lack a physical bulwark against over-­sharpening, thereby risking the production of an irregular “pin-­tip” which may break at the slightest pressure and leave the point further compromised.

2. Is the collar-­top consistent around the point and flush with the graphite?

Are there dips or scoops in the wood you didn’t intend? (These issues may have more to do with the quality of your pencil than your abilities; lesser pencils may have a loose or otherwise imperfect bond between the graphite core and the wooden shaft.)

3. Does the exposed graphite show signs of irregularity?

Are there divots associated with inconsistent pressure applied during the sharpening process? Again, an inferior pencil may be the culprit, as pencil-­core production involves a delicate balance of graphite, clay, and wax — which may, in lesser models, be less than uniform throughout the core. Nevertheless, too much rotational torque during the sharpening process may gouge the graphite and leave a twisting “ghost image” of the sharpener blade.

The photo above exhibits several imperfections in a pencil point produced by a single-­blade pocket sharpener. See if you can identify them, and consider how they could be reduced or eliminated in future jobs.

This illustration shows an ideal pencil point produced by a single-­blade pocket sharpener. The collar’s height stands at 1/2 inch, roughly equal to the length of the blade less the exposed graphite. The collar-­bottom runs parallel to the ferrule and eraser, perpendicular to the edges of the shaft. The collar-­top is uniform and parallel to the collar bottom; there is no gap between the wood and the graphite. The point is consistent and smooth, showing no mark of the blade. The tip is solid yet sharp; there is no “pin tip” waiting to shatter.

This pencil point could be usefully employed by the general-­interest user. It offers hours of stable, uniform graphite exposure for writing, arithmetic, or doodling. Highly recommended for the layperson.

Thank you to David Rees and Melville House for sharing this thorough tutorial with us. For more sage pencil sharpening advice and techniques (including novelty techniques or how to sharpen a pencil in a waterfall), check out his book, How to Sharpen Pencils, available from Melville House, or catch him live on tour

More Tutorials | Pencil Sharpeners on Etsy

  • sparksoffire

    sparksoffire from sparksoffire says:

    I'm surprised you didn't touch on the Myers-Dunningham approach to this. Is it *still* controversial in 2012 to dogmatically use the right hand to hold the sharpener and to twist only in half turns for the first ten rotations (twelve for longer pencils)? I know there can be collar-dampening effects from this on darker tones (what we in the rest of the world could call 'beating the B'). Anyway, I'd be interested in your views.

    4 years ago

  • caseysharpe

    Casey Sharpe from caseysharpe says:

    While I feel that this is an excellent article with a depth of knowledge on a single topic, I do wish Mr. Rees had attended to the differing methods (and sharpening times) for various hardnesses. One simply cannot be expected to sharpen a 4H in the same manner that one sharpens a 3B.

    4 years ago

  • SamOssie

    Sam Osborne from SamOsborneStore says:

    I would be very keen to know how David feels about sharpening with a knife or scalpel blade. I personally prefer the bevelled edges this technique creates, from a purely aesthetic point of view, but wonder if it reduces the quality of the finished sharpened pencil - which would naturally diminish it's drawing quality - and of course you don't end up with the 'apple-peel' shavings.

    4 years ago

  • grimmlynn

    Jeni from grimmlynn says:

    I imagine I am a huge disappointment to many pencil sharpening enthusiasts as I use a lead pencil with 0.9 lead. I bare down really hard when I write and if I had to stop and sharpen each time the lead broke, I would never get a thing accomplished. Kudos to those who have the time and patience for these types of hobbies, though.

    4 years ago

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    Judith and Raymond from AnnaOliveDesigns says:

    I see that your tutorial is specifically designed for professionals such as flange turners, anglesmiths and writers. Tell me, would a layman, such as myself, be able to master your techniques or would I need to become said flange turner or anglesmith first? I frustrate and feel defeated quite easily so if you feel that even attempting your techniques would be an exercise in futility without first becoming the required prerequisite professional, please advise.

    4 years ago

  • alyson2

    Alyson Button Stone from alyson2 says:

    I must add a technique I have used in sharpening emergencies. Due to a miscommunication recently, my daughter absconded with my regular sharpener, leaving me in a quandary. I was able to continue with my project because of an eyeliner sharpener! It took a bit of adjustment (and some daring on my part), but I had a successful outcome. Just a thought for your readers. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed a post so much.

    4 years ago

  • marmades

    Joanne Maher from marmades says:

    A truly glorious read!

    4 years ago

  • specialme

    heather snitch says:

    An intriguing and insightful Article. I commend you, Mr Rees, on your attention to detail and eloquence. I must ask, Would you indulge us with an in-depth look at sharpening those pesky builder's pencils? I find the flat, rectangular shape easier to hold whilst marking wood for cutting or drilling. I fear I may not be paying proper attention to sharpening procedure, as I focus; perhaps mistakely; more on the use of the pencil once sharpened. Thank you for your time.

    4 years ago

  • beaujangles

    Paul Townsend from beaujangles says:

    I must admit, I prefer the self-propelling ones myself ..

    4 years ago

  • kcnh

    Karen Crowe from MeadowsweetDesignsNH says:

    LOVE this!! Happy April Fools Day!

    4 years ago

  • Elyseeart

    Lavinia Voicu from Elyseeart says:

    Interesting article and technique!

    4 years ago

  • hmmills

    Helen Mills from 1820BagCo says:

    I too use the 0.9 lead plastic pencil and grew tired of the constant breaking point, I have gone back to the old fashion no. 2'. Great post and photos.

    4 years ago

  • CecilandCo

    Lisa from CecilandCo says:

    Fabulous reading :)

    4 years ago

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 says:

    No wonder I always had short pencils in school

    4 years ago

  • terrihvaught

    Terri H. Vaught from terrihvaught says:

    A sharp mind, makes for beautiful writing!

    4 years ago

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny says:

    I always thought myself quite a pencil smith, but I failed to hoard the shavings afterward. I guess I'm not as good as I thought.

    4 years ago

  • LilyThings

    Elizabeth Lagasse from LillyThings says:

    When your take pride in everything you do ,even sharpening a pencil it shows!

    4 years ago

  • ChezMargot

    ChezMargot from ChezMargotVintage says:

    Hilarious indeed.

    4 years ago

  • popgear

    Christian from PopGearDesigns says:

    I clicked on this and thought 'surely, they can't be serious...' I had a couple laughs, especially on the 'devil's dance' part. Etsy never fails to make my day.

    4 years ago

  • laMarmotaCafe

    Marmota Café from laMarmotaCafe says:

    Does this mean that one could sell professionally sharpened pencils on Etsy?

    4 years ago

  • grimmlynn

    Jeni from grimmlynn says:

    Marmota, people do that. Sharpened pencils have even been on the front page.

    4 years ago

  • HandmadeIsAllAround
  • stachebash
  • BeadingWithPassion

    Janee Dilbeck from BeadingWithPassion says:

    I'm so relieved to see another person indulging in the pleasures of pencil sharpening. I really can't think of an act more intamate than this, guiding the shaft into the entrance hole, applying the right speed and pressure until the pencil spills its inner self onto the desk. Although I do find catching it in my hand to be easier clean up but I hae to agree that blade up is the best position! I am thoroughly satisfied after reading this and I hope everyone remembers to pull out before you prematurely break the tip off inside!

    4 years ago

  • Ayshma

    Ayshma from ArtPieces says:

    This is a beautiful article, great job Mr. Rees I had so many expressions while reading this article. At first I was like " Ok, let's check out" then i was like " Haahahaha" At about 3/4 I was " omg omg, so much on pencil sharpening" and at end I was " WOW" and more than that comments made me think that I know nothing about pencil sharpening, :) This is awesome, thanx for sharing :)

    4 years ago

  • shopfancyfree

    Esther L from shopfancyfree says:

    This is really interesting! This shows that we can find creativity and art in even the simplest of actions, like sharpening a pencil. Love it!

    4 years ago

  • designedbyval

    Val Swanson from DesignedByVal says:

    A true artist.

    4 years ago

  • ThatSallie

    Sallie from ThatSallie says:

    And this is why i will never be a true artist...the level of talent that he shows is so intimidating! **sobs**

    4 years ago

  • drumchick99
  • heartofwisdom
  • blueanne8
  • salishseabeads

    linda from salishseabeads says:

    Glad to find this important info here. I have been searching the web for it for days.

    4 years ago

  • JDWolfePottery

    JD Wolfe from JDWolfePottery says:

    Very informative! I have always wanted to try this!

    4 years ago

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice says:

    LOL - this is brilliant!!!!! And I actually have a (rather sad!) friend who is always complaining that she can't get a decent pencil sharpener, so I'm going to point her in this direction! Happy 1st April!

    4 years ago

  • TheStitchAndFold

    Stitch from TheStitchAndFold says:

    "I imagine I am a huge disappointment to many pencil sharpening enthusiasts" - that would be me, an enthusiast of the mechanical pencil! Pencils that stay sharp forever, no sharpening required!

    4 years ago

  • misponko

    Liudmila Rosario Ponko from PonkoWorld says:

    perfection!! :)

    4 years ago

  • kh1467

    Kelly from KikuPaper says:

    I am surprised to see the number of longer comments for this articles. Didn't know people had strong ideas and opinions on the subject.

    4 years ago

  • MarciAnnDesigns

    Marcia from MarciAnnDesigns says:

    I must admit that my favorite pencil sharpener is the old gray metal one that hung on the wall of each of my schoolrooms throughout elementary school. My pencil gave me infinite excuses to get up from my desk and look out the windows, or just move around a bit. Fascinating read, thank you Etsy for putting a smile on our faces this 1st day of April :)

    4 years ago

  • Dalim

    Dalim from Dalim says:

    Hahaha! Happy April 1st :)

    4 years ago

  • Zafirah

    Zafirah from Zafirah says:

    April Fools' Day or not, this is FASCINATING!!

    4 years ago

  • SilverSmack

    Jean from SilverSmack says:

    I'm glad you've gone back to hand turning and away from those electric ones that just make dust instead of gorgeous shavings. Jean- SilverSmack

    4 years ago

  • NaturelMistik

    Naturel Mistik from NaturelMistik says:

    A properly sharpened pencil is a thing of beauty. It begs to be used, much like a blank canvas. The act of sharpening is also quite enjoyable, from the satisfying feel of the wood being shaved to the lovely pile of shavings left behind. That said, I must make a confession right here and now: When I bought my current house there was (and still is) an old "Boston KS" hand crank sharpener mounted to the wall in the basement. It is slightly rusted and will put a 1/2 inch point on a #2. You could use them for blow darts. I love to use it - does that make me a bad person?

    4 years ago

  • elizasteindesigns

    Eliza Stein from elizasteindesigns says:

    What are your thoughts on Prismacolors? Are they like the third rail in the world of artisanal pencil sharpening? If anyone's brave enough to go there, it's you, Mr. Rees.

    4 years ago

  • gothicrow

    gothicrow from gothicrow says:

    I always wanted to know the proper procedures involved in sharpening a pencil, thank you!

    4 years ago

  • tippleandsnack

    Tipple and Snack from tippleandsnack says:

    Nicely done, Etsy!

    4 years ago

  • calicodaisy

    Michele Chisholm from calicodaisy says:

    Oh, you had me. I was actually interested though became a bit worried when he got to the point of returning the shavings and labeling the baggie to the pencil! Well written.

    4 years ago

  • isewcute

    June from isewcute says:

    Haha!!! Too awesome!

    4 years ago

  • LuckyceesCloset
  • MidwestAlchemy

    MidwestAlchemy from MidwestAlchemy says:

    "One simply cannot be expected to sharpen a 4H in the same manner that one sharpens a 3B"...very similar to my first thought! Fantastic read!

    4 years ago

  • StoneWearDesigns

    StoneWearDesigns from StoneWearDesigns says:

    Perfect! I need those pencil shavings for this new ring idea!

    4 years ago

  • Stephaniemakesall

    Steph from OneStitchDesigns says:

    wonderful in depth article on pencil sharpening! I must confess to a love of the plastic ones with the pop out points though

    4 years ago

  • khmetalwork

    khmetalwork from khmetalwork says:

    I LOVE reading about an artist's process, so inspiring.

    4 years ago

  • JessicaSharrah

    Jessica Sharrah from WearableCeramicArt says:

    I need to go buy pencils and practice!

    4 years ago

  • VIFmike

    michael white from Vintagesteelandwood says:

    I use silver pencils at work for marking things to be cut on steel. I do not like to use a school type pencil sharpener because it make the "lead" too long and fragile. I use a makeup pencil sharpener because it makes a shorter more angled point. Works better for me. I am also certain that it would have worked well in school.

    4 years ago

  • GNCcreations

    george clarke from GNCcreations says:


    4 years ago

  • IntheMoodforVintage

    Michele from IntheMoodforVintage says:

    Hmmm ... a "point" well taken.

    4 years ago

  • whyte

    Pat from whyte says:

    Finally-----graphite respect----------thank you David! All H lovers applaud you! LOL!

    4 years ago

  • rakubuttons

    rakubuttons from rakubuttons says:

    A very Eco friendly approch

    4 years ago

  • CatBlackGallery

    Nicky Scholnick says:

    Nearly had me, lol - happy April 1st!!!

    4 years ago

  • RebeccasRoomEngland

    Rebecca Symonds from RebeccasRoomEngland says:

    I've been doing it wrong for years! I use a scalpel for sharpening. But it is not very convienent for sharpening 'on-the-go'. Particularly tricky to carry in ones pocket - the number of pairs of trousers I've ruined! Thank you for reminding me of the portable sharpener - most useful.

    4 years ago

  • gspengel

    Gina Spengel says:

    April Fools, Right?

    4 years ago

  • girltuesdayjewelry
  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    LOL This is brilliant, why confine it to April? Can't we have a Pencil Sharpening 101 course on the first of every month, there are so many more aspects to be considered. BTW, I use a carpenter's pencil & sharpen it with a knife!

    4 years ago

  • paramountvintage

    kristin from blackmoonsky says:

    i love that the commenters are experienced pencil sharpeners too!

    4 years ago

  • honeyhurd

    HurdandHoney Hurd from HurdandHoney says:

    Intriguing...I actually went through each step. I didn't ever realize how detailed this could be. Now if only I could get all 63 fourth graders to do this :)

    4 years ago

  • minipotterybyanita

    minipotterybyanita from potterybyAnita says:

    Wow, does this guy work for the GOVERNMENT!? LOL! So detailed, I can almost smell the lovely cedar odor coming from the shavings! Great article!...♥

    4 years ago

  • kaleach

    kaleach from kaleach says:

    April Fools?

    4 years ago

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    Annette from TheLeveretsNest says:

    heh heh :)

    4 years ago

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags says:

    Merci !

    4 years ago

  • sleepyking

    Savannah May from sleepyking says:

    Love this article! :)

    4 years ago

  • estellelle

    Estelle from estellelle says:

    LOL! Funny stuff!!!

    4 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    Great article! It really made me smile :)

    4 years ago

  • ArtDecoDame

    Desiree from ArtDecoDame says:

    =) too funny.

    4 years ago

  • Waterrose

    Rose Waterrose from Waterrose says:

    Can you discuss the other end of the pencil as well....the proper use and care of the eraser....if is often overlooked.

    4 years ago

  • ReleafPaper

    Heather from ReleafPaper says:

    Pencil shavings make me ridiculously happy so I get it. I get it.

    4 years ago

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace from VintageMarketPlace says:

    i needed a good laugh, thank you :)

    4 years ago

  • JoyousCrafts

    Heather Salzman from JoyousCrafts says:

    Lol! LOVE it! :P

    4 years ago

  • k13probot

    Katie Probert from Jesuisunemonstre says:

    April Fools? :) Very good! xxx

    4 years ago

  • Aye4Art

    Robin West from Aye4Art says:

    This is a freakin hoot!

    4 years ago

  • floresflorestanis

    Carmen from florestanissupplies says:

    Hysterical! And the erudite comments are brilliant too!

    4 years ago

  • amberike

    Amber Ikemoto from FromtheHeartbyAmber says:

    I just read this and thought...You gotta be Kidding Me. April Fools!

    4 years ago

  • martelvonc

    Martha Fletcher from martelvonc says:

    I would love to see an addendum on the technique of properly sharpening a "Carpenters Pencil". The challenges presented by this impliment, while not a popular as the Yellow #2, it is still a technilogical choice in the construction industry.

    4 years ago

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle says:

    LOL!! Thanks!!

    4 years ago

  • DharmaKarmaArts

    Indira Govindan from DharmaKarmaArts says:

    April Fool or not, delightful reading. I kept smiling throughout even while wondering if I was being taken for a ride!

    4 years ago

  • nettyofficerboulton

    Annette from NettysBitsandBobs says:

    personally i favour the electric variety......... hand action is never quite as...?...... exciting or tinged with the unexpected?

    4 years ago

  • BlackOrchardDesigns

    BlackOrchardDesigns from BlackOrchardDesigns says:

    ..and a happy April Fools to you too!

    4 years ago

  • woolnimals

    Abby Emerson from Woolnimals says:

    I loved this!!!!!! Thanks for the laugh... And not to get TOO serious, but there is a fine art to sharpening a pencil well. I think it is a moment for meditation and quiet and skill. I don't know...maybe that's too much, but that's just me. There's beauty in the little acts. Happy April Fools' Day!

    4 years ago

  • purposedesign

    Julie Pedersen from purposedesign says:

    Happy April Fools! Still love the watchguynyc gag the best, but this one is definitely a contender. At the end of the sharpening process, you must attend to the shavings. They are part of the pencil and, as such, should be returned to their rightful owner. that's gold!

    4 years ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage says:

    Interesting post!

    4 years ago

  • SoVeryCharming

    Kat from SoVeryCharming says:

    Oh my...I feel so very enlightened now! :P

    4 years ago

  • NikNakNook

    Susan M from NikNakNook says:

    Next time - How to erase with a pink pearl! Thanks for the laugh!

    4 years ago

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mr. Sal Phan, Bichon Frise from Mclovebuddy says:

    hmmm... what to do, i only use japanese-made mechanical pencils., .5, H.

    4 years ago

  • bramleycards

    Bramley Cards from bramleycards says:

    Yep.....Happy April Fools!!

    4 years ago

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage says:

    AWESOME! Amazing post!

    4 years ago

  • longwinterfarm

    Amanda from LongWinterSoapCo says: god...I bow down to you, masters. Happy greatest holiday ever declared!!

    4 years ago

  • amusebeads

    amusebeads from amusebeads says:

    A true artist. Although I believe that the properly sharpened pencil will never have same legions of followers as the unused crayon. Ah, well, as there are cat people and dog people, so there are pencil people and crayon people.

    4 years ago

  • gypsumrose

    Levi Emerson from gypsumrose says:

    im getting frightened by the craziness of the bold comments!

    4 years ago

  • gothicreations

    Joanna from RainGirlDesigns says:

    I just want to post in bold. this was very enlightening. I think I might have flunked at pencil sharpening. Now can you sharpen a crayon using the crayon sharpener in the box without breaking it?

    4 years ago

  • Starality

    Starality from Starality says:

    Lovin the article! Made for great read at work today. Made me smile! More Happy Moments at Etsyville!

    4 years ago

  • MySelvagedLife

    Heather Torre from MySelvagedLife says:

    I like my bic.

    4 years ago

  • trowelandpaintbrush
  • ArtsyFlair

    Michaela Bowles from ArtsyFlair says:

    Good read!

    4 years ago

  • kahatchie

    Kim Hatchie from kimhatchiedesigns says:

    Too Funny! My daughter actually went to Nationals with a Debate Oratory on sharpening pencils. She's very particular about her pencils.

    4 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    Kathleen from myvintagecrush says:

    Sweet! ..and a chart!

    4 years ago

  • MieleMelograno

    Liz Rishavy from HouseofRishavy says:

    LOL April 1 rocks!

    4 years ago

  • xxxRedStitcHxxx

    ioana weber from xxxRedStitcHxxx says:

    Happy April Fools!!

    4 years ago

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld says:

    I have an X-ACTO pencil sharpener that seals via vacuum to my counter with the flip of a lever. It's a joy to use, and I could use my sharpened pencils to perform emergency surgery if necessary. Anyone who needs a tracheotomy or a burst appendix removal should come to my house. We can have tea afterwards.

    4 years ago

  • indigonovember

    Indigo from IndigoNovember says:

    First thought: Finally, someone who appreciates pencils like I do! Second thought: Damn! It's probably just an April fooler. Third though: Well, I'm going to enjoy reading it anyway. Hmph. I'm love pencils the same way some people love pens. And I refuse to use an electric sharpener! *shudder*

    4 years ago

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle says:

    mmmm first thought- OCD!!?!!! Second thought : hmmm I've always thought pencil shavings are very festive looking...third thought: Indigo's is April fool's XD

    4 years ago

  • MelissaKojima

    Melissa Kojima from ArtistInLALALand says:

    Holy cow! He does make this seem like an art form. Even the beautiful pencil shavings! Partly funny. Partly lovely.

    4 years ago

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact says:

    Too funny! And so many brilliant commenters, I might add.

    4 years ago

  • PatternsAndSuch

    PatternsAndSuch from PatternsAndSuch says:

    I love pencils - real pencils, not the ones with replaceable blades. So I loved this article!!! LOL

    4 years ago

  • shabbyvintagemom

    Kristen from ShabbyVintageMom says:

    W O W. So glad this was an April Fools joke.

    4 years ago

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts says:

    This was great! Very funny to read and love all of the comments!!!

    4 years ago

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd says:

    Lots of time and patience needed. Right?

    4 years ago

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd says:

    Lots of time and patience needed. Right?

    4 years ago

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    How Funny!!! I kep reading with a big,"HUH???!!!!!???" and FINALLY got the april 1st !!!!!!!

    4 years ago

  • FunFancifulFlowers

    Kathy Othon from FancifulFlowersArt says:

    i have been in the market for a good pencil sharpener, most helpful.

    4 years ago

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    VERY FUNNY!!!!! You got me....

    4 years ago

  • ginacrg

    ginacrg says:

    This reminds me of when, as kids, my Dad sharpened all our pencils with his pocket knife. We even brought them home from school as we thought the sharpener at school, 'ate' our pencils up. Besides, each time we used our pencil, it was a reminder of our Dad who always worked hard & did this just for us. I enjoyed the article very much, I think my Dad would have found it a great read, too.

    4 years ago

  • limestone

    Rocket Ship says:

    I've always wanted to try sharpening pencils, but didn't know how to start. This article makes me feel like even I can do it! Thanks!

    4 years ago

  • GuajolotePrints

    Mr. Guajolote Prints from GuajolotePrints says:

    I knew this was an April Fool's joke the minute I saw the guy placing those precious shavings in a little plastic bag. LOL. Of course, if you're not using 18th century cardboard match boxes lined with sheep tripe to preserve them, you'll probably end up changing the delicate molecular structure binding the graphite granules to the wood shavings. I am sure that the intention of this article is all practical, and that the rush of having a sharpened pencil ready in 4 or 5 hours can trump any other interests. But what's the use of sharpening a pencil if you cannot be certain that in 80 or 90 years you will be rewarded with the rare treat of having wood pencil shavings from a tree most probably extinct by then? Etsy: Do you respect wood? Do you?

    4 years ago

  • CandidaEtc

    candida pagan from CandidaEtc says:

    Informative and Inspiring! : D

    4 years ago

  • chrisndan0202

    Chris Contri from chrisndan0202 says:

    LOVE this. I was sitting here reading it and giggling hysterically. Hubby finally looked over and asked what was so funny. He found it just as humorous. And some of the comments are even better!

    4 years ago

  • Sunshineshelle

    Sunshineshelle from Sunshineshelle says:

    AWESOME - I see this story being made into a movie by David Cronenberg - it's taken something like sharpening a pencil to a whole new world - surreal & spookingly insightful, attention to detail - friggin' classic, at first I thought OCD but then realized April 1 - LOVE IT :)

    4 years ago

  • xZOUix

    Zoui from XZOUIX says:

    cool that's what i needed ::::-)

    4 years ago

  • debbyhillberg

    Debby from DebbysHandmadeGoods says:

    I can't believe I read the whole thing!

    4 years ago

  • AdrienneLojeck

    Adrienne Lojeck from WingsOfClay says:

    my favorite line: "The sharpener should remain stationary throughout the process, barring extreme circumstances." a wonderful reminder that skillful, vivid writing makes reading about even the most mundane (or satirical) topic highly amusing! I need to get this book!

    4 years ago

  • twentytwotwenty

    twentytwotwenty from twentytwotwenty says:

    This has to be an April Fools joke. It's the only way to explain it.

    4 years ago

  • twentytwotwenty

    twentytwotwenty from twentytwotwenty says:

    ? This has to be an April Fools joke. It's the only way to explain it.

    4 years ago

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign says:

    Happy April Fool's Day yourself, Mr. Rees. Love figure 5.1, the table. Nothing says, "I am an expert," like a table. I hope we can look forward to more in this series, like "How to Make Toast," and "Hot and Cold Faucets - Studies in Contemporary Wrist Techniques."

    4 years ago

  • IvyTurtle

    Rose Marion from HeroineDesigns says:

    Great read, kept me guessing. #1 of the #2s! :)

    4 years ago

  • rootedphoenix

    Windy Johansen from rootedphoenix says:

    I love this. :D lol

    4 years ago

  • GBSCreations

    Sandra Bruce from GBSCreations says:

    HaHa! Love it!

    4 years ago

  • sandragrafik

    Sandra Vargas from sandragrafik says:

    So funny! Love Step 8 too! “Bagging the Big Game”... LOL! Happy April Fool's!!

    4 years ago

  • patsimmons

    Pat Gaillard Simmons from patsimmons says:

    I have a little red, plastic manual pencil sharpener that is more than 57 years old. I was five years old - just about the same age shown in my avatar. My father had just taught me how to read and my favorite crayon was blue-green. Written words, coloring books and crayons were my whole world. I've managed to keep it through moves, marriage, children, and now grandchildren - it just keeps showing up. Just wish it would sharpen pencils now though!

    4 years ago

  • theswanlake

    leyda from theswanlake says:

    Ha! Brilliant!

    4 years ago

  • madamtartarsauce

    madamtartarsauce from FrostBrite says:

    etsy, this was a big bowlful of hilari-os. so john hodgmanesque. :D

    4 years ago

  • gifteddesigns

    gifteddesigns from GiftedDesigns says:


    4 years ago

  • claireandjanae

    Janae from claireandjanae says:

    This is so funny! Love it and the comments!

    4 years ago

  • BeachHouseLiving

    BeachHouseLiving from BeachHouseLiving says:

    Thank you for the excellent tutorial. Would you care to take on the brave task of writing a tutorial on the sharpening of eye and lip pencils? Cosmetic pencils contain a mecca of waxes, pigments, and oils and possibly a synthetic shell. The remnants of which impede the sought slightly rounded point without breakage. There is also the tedious task of cleaning the sharpening blade.

    4 years ago

  • davidreespencils

    David Rees says:

    Hello, Etsy people! I wanted to thank you all for your kind comments re: my Artisanal Pecil Sharpening business, and to let you know that IT IS REAL. This is not an April Fool's joke -- if you have a dull pencil and $15, you should try my service! I hope you will be able to come to one of the live events on my pencil-sharpening tour; it promises to be very informative. Thanks again and have a great day. Sincerely, David Rees PS: Thanks to Meredith Heuer for the lovely photos that accompany the article. She is my official photographer and I think she did a great job. PPS: The key to sharpening eyeliner pencils is to freeze them first.

    4 years ago

  • thedots

    Dorothy Aldridge from thedots says:

    If you have a dull pencil and $15, go to a dollar store and buy a ten-pack of pencils for a dollar, and a three pack of sharpeners for a dollar, and a five pack of erasers for a dollar, then you'll have enough left over for coffee, a snack and you can give the rest to a homeless person.

    4 years ago

  • BijouxOdalisque

    Bijoux d'Odalisque from BijouxOdalisque says:

    LOL....The serious responses to this have me laughing tears. Thank you Etsy! Nice one.

    4 years ago

  • EnterpriseAmericana

    Enterprise Americana from EnterpriseAmericana says:

    The horror of it all is that I use a utility knife. Happy April 1st.

    4 years ago

  • CrossExtreme

    Lindsay Niles from CrossExtreme says:

    So glad this was an April Fools.

    4 years ago

  • LaurelCanyonBeads

    LaurelCanyonBeads from LaurelCanyonBeads says:

    when i was 16 I worked at a Newport Creamery as a very poorly paid particularly exhausting day, a party of four left me a metal single-blade pencil sharpener like the one my only tip. That sharpener is still in my's been indispensable... through 3 different art schools and 30 years! Thanks, unknown party of 4!

    4 years ago

  • Flowerleaf

    Jocelyn Pryor from FlowerleafStudio says:

    April Fool's jokes like these make me smile. I would like to know though... if this were real... what would the professional pencil-sharpener say about those who chew on pencils...

    4 years ago

  • Flowerleaf

    Jocelyn Pryor from FlowerleafStudio says:

    I have to add.. why did the font change from regular to bold? Perplexing...

    4 years ago

  • becca1642

    Becca Bowie from DizzyDisasterDesigns says:

    this is funny who goes to this much trouble for a pencil just sharpen it normally an dif it breaks toss it out and buy a new one

    4 years ago

  • becca1642

    Becca Bowie from DizzyDisasterDesigns says:

    Oh its a late april fools joke it says it was published today which is THE SECOND OF APRIL

    4 years ago

  • VortexStudios

    Piro from NamakoStudios says:

    It's refreshing to see pencils being properly sharpened by hand in a studio, rather than sharpened en masse in a factory by machine by underpaid, probably underage workers in dangerous and ill regulated sharpening factories. This is a perfect example of being the change you want to see in the world.

    4 years ago

  • siriussilver

    Sara Johnson from siriussilver says:

    I am reminded of an old SNL skit, with Phil Hartman...

    4 years ago

  • NannyMadeandfound

    Melinda from sixtybeansVntg says:

    all i have to say is, i love a good finely sharpened pencil. much preferred to mechanical ones. if the key to keeping it perfectly sharp is a simple single blade pocket sharpener, then i will be running out to buy one!

    4 years ago

  • Earendil7

    Shiloh Lenz from EarendilCollectibles says:

    Oh!!! It's a joke. At first I thought it was serious. My grandparents got married on April fools day. Isn't that weird?

    4 years ago

  • magicalbee

    Jennifer Mosley from magicalbee says:

    it's not a joke, I've read about him before. I love the passion he has for something that is a mindless task for most people. .

    4 years ago

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop says:

    Finally! The instruction I have been waiting for but it was too hard to master at once. Can you possibly do a tutorial or maybe it can be a great craft night at Etsy.

    4 years ago

  • slathered

    Sharon Moores from slathered says:

    I, for one, am looking forward to Mr. Rees' op-ed column on the harmful effects of the Crayola built-in sharpener on Americans' psyche at an impressional age.

    4 years ago

  • leslieholz

    Leslie Holz from leslieholz says:

    Happy April Fool's!!

    4 years ago

  • lifemeetsart

    Jolynn from lifemeetsart says:

    My 11 year old will be thrilled with this informative article. While she has mastered writing beyond her years, sharpening a pencil is the scourge of her day. She can often be found flinging sharpened pencils with the grafite broken off when attempting to get homework done. Do you have a pencil preference? We prefer Ticonderoga.

    4 years ago

  • slrose24

    Samantha Rosenkrans from HHMHolidays says:

    o wonderful!!! caught me right when i had forgotten what day it was ;) though...personally i do like the old metal school room sharpeners that you mount on the wall....never had a finer point

    4 years ago

  • 5gardenias

    kathi roussel from 5gardenias says:

    I have been duly schooled-- thank you David! and I'm not sure which I have a greater appreciation for-- the carefully and deftly sharpened lead and wood-- or the fine shavings. beautiful photos too...

    4 years ago

  • TheVeryCorner

    TheVeryCorner from TheVeryCorner says:

    To put a fine point on it, your spectacular erudition on sharpening the lowly pencil, was blunted only by your neglecting to mention the exquisite perfume emitted when sharpening a fine cedar pencil !! experience equally as valued as the lovely ruffled ribbon by-product.

    4 years ago


    LIAT kires from ATLIART says:

    It makes me smail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4 years ago

  • LCooperDesigns

    LC Cooper from LeMaisonBelle says:

    Now a couple of today's threads make SO much more sense...LOL! Great writing, BTW!

    4 years ago

  • looking4lilly

    Kristina K. from looking4lilly says:

    I'm enlightened and giggly. Nice work!

    4 years ago

  • cherrytreelanecards

    Tina Ilsley from cherrytreelanecards says:

    I hope some of the appreciative comments are as tongue in cheek as the post itself! Happy April Fool's Day! .....although I used to love the pencil sharpeners that were mounted on the corner of my teacher's desk....

    4 years ago

  • charlotticus

    Charlotte Howarth from charlotticus says:

    As someone who uses a very sharp pencil for my work, I find a pencil sharpener is just not good enough, it does not leave a long enough sharp point and the sharp point of the lead is always lacking. The sklled use of a scalpel however, gives a much longer, crisper point. Using a scapel to sharpen a pencil was an important part of my training during my apprenticeship. Perhaps David is now ready to move onto this more advance technique!

    4 years ago

  • bylauragraves

    laura graves from bylauragraves says:

    Thanks for the post, I had no idea...

    4 years ago

  • bylauragraves

    laura graves from bylauragraves says:

    Happy April fools everyone!

    4 years ago

  • mutable

    Helen says:

    Marvellous. Thank you.

    4 years ago

  • houseofwhitney

    houseofwhitney from houseofwhitney says:

    When my husband was a 10 year old schoolboy in the carribean, he sharpened his pencils by rubbing them on the sidewalk!

    4 years ago

  • LouFrancis

    Lou Francis from LouFrancis says:

    I love this article. My father used to sit me down as a child and would sharpen my colouring pencils with a knife - I recall the beautiful shavings he would create from the process. He was my hero and every time I see someone sharpening pencil with knife the memories come flooding back to me. Great article.

    4 years ago

  • BlueMoonlighting

    Pam Pinault from BlueMoonlighting says:

    Hello, Mr. Rees! As much as I appreciate your expertise, once again we lay- people are left having to muddle our way through a set of long-winded and sparsely covered instructions...and in the after-math, frustrated by the inevitable unanswered question that thwarted our attempts! What of the endless pile of broken leads, that result from the perfect tip suddenly breaking off at the collar upon removal from the sharpener, leaving me to repeat the attempts over and over again until I am left with pencils only useful at miniature golf facilities? Why did you not venture into that dark place? Afraid?

    4 years ago

  • MissingHeirloom

    Elizabeth Pickett from MissingHeirloom says:

    Lou Francis - my grandfather was the one - it would always blow my mind when he would pull out his pocket knife to sharpen my pencils. quite the dissertation on pencil sharpening - happy 4/1!!!

    4 years ago

  • messinabella
  • GregsFineArt

    Greg Matchick from GregsFineArt says:

    Great article! I thoroughly enjoyed it. - Greg

    4 years ago

  • nonesuchgarden

    Megan Baehr from nonesuchgarden says:

    Hehehe, this is wonderful. :-D

    4 years ago

  • aussiebushnutbling

    Lesley George from aussiebushnutbling says:

    A truly genuine pencil sharpener uses a scalpel blade to do the job . . . however, you seem to do a respectable job with your inferior method !!!

    4 years ago

  • catbun

    Akiko Chii from catbun says:

    Love the detailed instructions to a perfectly sharpened pencil!

    4 years ago

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas says:

    LOL...this really makes me smile!

    4 years ago

  • nanouke

    nanouke from nanouke says:

    Aha! Really cool :)

    4 years ago

  • ArtMadeByTammy

    ArtMadeByTammy from ArtMadeByTammy says:

    So Inspiring!

    4 years ago

  • Popogirl

    Mary Dixon from Popogirl says:

    LOLOL! Great April Fool's Day joke article! *Whew* for a minute I thought it was for reals and you would have Regretsy bagging on etsy for more than just treasuries arranged by color (the way insane people shop, so says their arduous research!), muted colors and mustaches.

    4 years ago

  • talktothesun

    riyo kihara from talktothesun says:

    wow! reminded me of my calligraphy teacher who was very specific about how to sharpen with his knife! mmm, interesting post.

    4 years ago

  • VintageFrocksOfFancy

    Michaelann from VintageFrocksOfFancy says:

    I have often lamented over pencil is an ongoing internal conflict that presents itself each time I attempt to write something on my calendar. This must be done in pencil just in case plans/schedule change. But to find a suitably sharpened pencil is quite a task. Once you are no longer school age and there are no close-by pencil sharpeners of any kind the dilemma comes from not only remembering to purchase one but then the task of, which one?! This has lead me to unfortunately not having a pencil sharpener. I don't remember when I'm at Target to buy one and if I did could I actually make one more decision when I'm there? So alas, I break down and use my daughters cheaply made, ill fitting, uneven pencil sharpening, plastic sharpener. It will do for the moment but in a few weeks the weight of a dull pencil will once again rest on my shoulders. Thank you for the inspiration and hope you have lent me through this beyond-thoroughly researched and passionately written book!

    4 years ago

  • DifferrentTogether

    Pui Th.K from DifferrentTogether says:

    woww you just care about a little thing and do it the best.....

    4 years ago

  • xoxoblythe

    Linda from xoxoblythe says:

    Happy April Fool's Day to you too, Etsy. Love it :)

    4 years ago

  • peterharvey

    peterharvey says:

    I am disappointed that Mr. Rees did not address the dangers inherent in pencil shavings flying hither and yon. While it may be all very well and good for the expert to ignore safety considerations, beginning pencil sharpeners should wear protective eyewear at all times! I believe this protection offered another Etsy seller should suffice:

    4 years ago

  • wildshehorse

    Raven from RavensNestScarfJewel says:

    Gmpfff ! I've been misled ! This was supposed to be an article on how to calculate and offer discount to those customers who insist on bargaining, also known, the world over, as "sharpening your pencil". Mr. Rees is CLEARLY not the sharpest pencil in the drawer. Ah well.

    4 years ago

  • ethnocity

    Rachna from ethnocity says:


    4 years ago

  • prendasbyenid

    Enid from prendasbyenid says:

    OMG! LOL!

    4 years ago

  • shreyasi22sharma

    Shreyasi Sharma from ShreyasiSharma says:

    pretty interesting!

    4 years ago

  • Walkingquail

    Terry Blair from Walkingquail says:

    thank you, I enjoy a good laugh before bed

    4 years ago

  • MaisJamais

    Jennifer from MaisJamais says:

    I have to admit, maybe because I didn't realize it was April 1st, I was thinking, "wow, so many folks are really geeky and quirky!" I still think that and personally love quirky geeks ;) but am relieved to finally 'get it'! That was hillarious. Thanks!

    4 years ago

  • myneedlehabit

    Carla Hansen from myneedlehabit says:

    The Devil's Dance. HA!

    4 years ago

  • pixeldustnyc

    Jenn Burland from pixeldustnyc says:

    Too bad this was posted on April 1 because as Mr. Rees states in the comments above, THIS IS REAL. I have a pencil that was sharpened in front of me, by David himself, along with all the accoutrements provided with it. Art at it's finest.

    4 years ago

  • pixeldustnyc

    Jenn Burland from pixeldustnyc says:

    Too bad this was posted on April 1 because as Mr. Rees states in the comments above, THIS IS REAL. I have a pencil that was sharpened in front of me, by David himself, and all the accoutrements. Wonderful art. Good pairing with my photo notebooks for sale here on etsy!

    4 years ago

  • thcreator

    John Spisak says:

    I rember when I was a kid I yous to take a file and file my pencils with a really long point about quarter of the way down all the kids thought that was really cool so I sold them for $2 each. I am still a kid . hehehe

    4 years ago

  • SusiesBoutiqueTLC

    SusiesBoutiqueTLC from SusiesBoutiqueTLC says:

    Nice post. Great work. :)

    4 years ago

  • thcreator

    John Spisak says:

    This is not accurate" you left out the part where you break the point a billion times and curse like hell .. also the pencil is way to long at the finsh it should be about the size of your little finger... lol

    4 years ago

  • yqsl66

    Ada Ada from idajewelry66 says:

    This is really interesting! like sharpening a pencil. Love it!

    4 years ago

  • PinkNeedleDesign

    Janet Martin from PinkNeedleDesign says:

    personally, i love the sound of sharpening a pencil. The little squeak, that let's you know your done.

    4 years ago

  • aussiebushnutbling

    Lesley George from aussiebushnutbling says:

    I saw this a few days ago and posted on YouTube but my conscience has made me feel that I must post again for all those out there who believe what they see or read to be Gospel . . . As a retired Graphic Designer from the Old School, a pencil is not sharpened correctly unless it is done with a scalpel blade. Now, there, I've said it again and my conscience is clear. I hope you younger ones ou there . . . get the point !!!

    4 years ago

  • thcreator

    John Spisak says:

    Thank god for mechanical pencils!

    4 years ago

  • loretta9243

    Loretta Maines from BobbinAround4U says:

    Oh my word, I have been sharpening pencils incorrectly for years! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It will take some practise, but I will work hard ot master all of your wonderful and helpful techniques. What a relief to have a complete nad consise guide to follow.

    4 years ago

  • karenunderwood1

    Karen Underwood from KarenUnderwoodArt says:

    Good read, and like many I also had a giggle!!

    4 years ago

  • calvertcottage

    calvertcottage from calvertcottage says:

    Have you sold the film rights?

    4 years ago

  • Pistoni

    Catherine Budincich from APRONLADIES says:

    I have lamented for years over the disgraceful job my electric pencil sharpener has tragically destroyed pencil after pencil. It truly is a pencil eater and not a pencil sharpener... however, with this expert blog I feel confident that within a few months I will have this technique mastered. Now, if only I can get my kids to use REAL PENCILS instead of those mechanical imposters. As a side note... real pencils are YELLOW!!!

    4 years ago

  • EggMoneyQuilts

    Vivian from EggMoneyQuilts says:

    Brings back fond memories!

    4 years ago

  • TheWritingWriter

    TheWritingWriter says:

    Uhh...happy April Fool's? XD

    4 years ago

  • WaxBeachArtist

    WaxBeachArtist from BeachAngelCharms says:

    He didn't really go over the sharpen, sharpen, sharpen, break lead inside the sharpener repeat technique which I often employ. Maybe that's a Wax Beach Artist original?

    4 years ago

  • RenataUniqueGifts
  • brainfart

    brainfart says:

    Etsys staff so cool !!!!!! Funny !!! I think I will keep the name brainfart after all ! It took me a couple of minutes ...........

    4 years ago

  • Wunof

    Charlene Heard from Wunof says:

    Now...I get the "POINT"....Ty for a wonderful article....

    4 years ago

  • gerrysminis

    Gerry De Cave from gerrysminis says:

    Brilliant tutorial, it instantly grabs you, you can't put it down, and are sorry when it is over!

    4 years ago

  • ByBunni

    Bunni Russell from ByBunni says:

    I am switching to pens :0)

    4 years ago

  • terribea

    Terry B from terribea says:

    snicker!! too much time on my hands" as the song says.

    4 years ago

  • fattybird

    Coco Berkman from StageFortPress says:

    Great Tutorial! I am constantly looking to refine my sharpening skills...the emery board finish is seriously intriguing and I will try it. Brilliant writing.

    4 years ago

  • joegalantinoart

    Joseph Galantino from joegalantinoart says:

    That was great. I just use an electric sharpener. Who knew I was doing it wrong all my life. Thanks again it was a great read

    4 years ago

  • DancingForestFox

    Judith Daley from DancingFoxStudios says:

    Thank you David... I am a luddite who believes that ideas flow more clearly from the point of a #2 Ticonderoga! As an ex-teacher, I also appreciate the gift of the #2 -- when a student needs a break from long addition, a broken lead is an automatic trip to the sharpener.

    4 years ago

  • tpanderson

    Tiffiney Anderson says:

    After my classroom electric pencil sharpener "went to a new home on the farm" and students kept breaking the cheapo plastic sharpeners, I finally found my soul mate....A sturdy, Boston Vacuumette from the 60s (purchased right here on Etsy!) Funny thing is, I have to teach them INDIVIDUALLY how to properly use an old-school, hand crank sharpener. A well-sharpened pencil is truly a thing a beauty and a joy forever. Well, for a few days, anyway.

    4 years ago

  • GoldenSpiralDesigns

    Lola Ocian from GoldenSpiralDesigns says:

    I second the query for advice on sharpening builder's pencils. As well, I agree that pencils of differing hardness require different technique. I've been amply frustrated with my pencil sharpening lately - namely the process of sharpening Prismacolor colored pencils, by hand. It may be the softness of the lead, in contrast to the hardness and irregularity of the wood (not often of the best quality). I find that my pencils perpetually break throughout the sharpening process, so that it takes me about 3/4 of the pencil (I kid you not!) to obtain a useful point. A friend of mine said this could be remedied by heating the pencil in a microwave for about 5 seconds. According to him, it's just enough to melt the wax in the lead and restore strength to the core of the pencil. This article is insane.

    3 years ago

  • CustomSculpture

    Rebekah Connors from FeltSculpture says:

    Terribly funny!!

    3 years ago

  • tphippen

    terry from TerrysThings says:

    I loved reading about how many steps there are to sharpening a pencil the "right" way. I love #2 pencils that are sharp at the point. I do feel that besides having an excellent sharpener, a person needs to have a quality pencil to sharpen. I have found that the ones made in China are as bad as they come. I am going to make sure I notice the next "perfect" pencil I sharpen and I might even enclose it in a display case for my ancestors to later appreciate!

    2 years ago