Thursday, July 30, 2015

New "Old School" Pencil Sharpeners, Part II

Xacto KS 8-hole, wall-mounted manual pencil sharpener

As I have explained in Part I of this set of posts, my vintage Panasonic Panapoint electric sharpener gave up its ghost (may she rest in peace). This was really hard on me because, no lie, it was part of the family before I was! Built back in the early 70's, this was a powerhouse machine made to last, and last she did for more than forty years. I have located other vintage Panapoints on the webs, but they all cost more than 100 bucks, which I cannot spend right now even though it would be worth every penny. As an artist, I sharpen pencils all day, almost every day- big ones, small ones, triangular, colored, graphite, woodless, all kinds imaginable, and I do not believe that any electric made today can come close to the vintage Panapoint. The $60 Bostitch lying at my foot is a good example. It works when it wants to, but slowly, and it sounds as if it is in pain.

Get to the point, Lady! Hurrhurr “point”

amazon pic of X-acto KS pencil sharpener
pic from listing
The Xacto KS got my attention because it is literally "old school", made of heavy metal, and does not have a motor that will die or have unpredictable fainting spells. Basically, this sharpener works on the same premise as the Panapoint (dual helical blades) just without the motor. Even better, I can sharpen pretty much any size pencil in it as well (Panapoint accommodated only standard or slightly smaller).
I bought mine at Office Depot, but you can get one at Amazon and a plethora of brick and mortar stores.

How does it work?

Farewell to a Classic, Hello New "Old School" Pencil Sharpeners part I

A little while ago, my beloved disco-era turquoise Panasonic Pana-point electric pencil sharpener bit the dust (RIP, my beauty!). In my experience, I have found that there is no comparison between the vintage (40+ years old!) Panasonic and any of the newer electric sharpeners on the market today, at least the ones within my budget. Another vintage Pana-point would cost about $140 from Etsy or eBay. For these reasons, I decided to get an “old school” crank sharpener. Actually, I purchased two: one Desert Song multifunctional adjustable model and the Xacto KS 8-hole, wall-mounted model.

As an artist, I keep a huge array of pencils- wax and oil-based colored pencils as well as graphite, pastel, charcoal, water-soluble and woodless types of all sizes and shapes (hex, triangular, etc). I also have an obsession with sharp points. Other artists may understand this, but I want to let readers know that I have very high expectations of a sharpener. Art supplies are expensive, so I use my pencils until they are impossible to sharpen any more. In the case of colored pencils, occasionally the cores fall out of their casings, and I will use the denuded cores in a lead holder until the holder can no longer support the remaining pebble of pigment. Sometimes I even remove the core from that last inch of wood casing myself. So, yes, I am serious about my pencils and their points, and I do not like to waste any of them!

amazon pic of desert song pencil sharpener
pic from listing
Desert Song  Model- portable and multi-functional

I was not expecting the Desert Song to accommodate all of my pencils since some have a really thick barrels, but I have been pleasantly surprised by this little dynamo! True to its claim, the DS sharpens pretty much any type of pencil as long as the pencil is actually dull and long enough to span the space between the sharpener's body and the extended "pincher" part. By using a pencil extender, I was able to sharpen shorter pencils and graphite and compressed charcoal sticks too.

Been a while, time to catch up with Amazon Prime and More Artsy Goodness

Um, yeah. "Been a while". How about a couple of years ? Shame on me, and that is all I can say about that. To be fair, it is not like I have subscribers who wait anxiously for my new posts. Maybe it is time to change that!

pic of one of my graphite drawings
(Graphite on med weight drawing paper)
Seriously, I only have this here to make
the post more appealing at a glance!
I have many new reviews to post, mostly art supplies and other stuffs that I think are under-appreciated. But before I get to the artsy goodness, may I sing praises for Amazon Prime? They don't pay me or anything- I pay them for this wonderful program. The Amazon site has plenty of information about Prime, so I won't bore you with a rehash of that. Having been a member for two years, I will share my own personal experiences.