how to sharpen pencils: the el casco pencil sharpener approximate price $400-$600 pending finish
x-acto 1700 series pencil sharpener $30-$50
blackwing dual blade pencil sharpener: this one requires you to 1- sharpen the wood, 2-switch blades to sharpen the lead tip… and now how cool is that? approx $10
the results of the 3 sharpeners on the worlds finest pencil, the blackwing 602 cedar wood pencils, are displayed below
from left to right:
1- using blackwing dual blade pencil sharpener
2- using el casco pencil sharpener
3- using x-acto 1700 series pencil sharpener
there is no question that the middle pencil using the el casco pencil sharpener wins
above the legendary blackwing 602 pencils about $2 a pencil sold in cases of 12
first a little about the pencil: the palomino blackwing 602 are considered the best pencils in the world and have developed a following amongst pencil geeks like us. they are made of cedar wood (easy to sharpen with out causing “chips”) and feature a firm and smooth graphite core that combines lead with wax that helps it deliver on its promise of “half the pressure, twice the speed”. its unique and iconic ferrule allows you to extend and replace its eraser after extensive use or for super nerds to even “hack” their pencil to give it a custom look. erasers come in black, white, red. the pencil was used mainly by artists, writers and musicians and when the pencil was discontinued years ago, known writers such as joseph finder and stephen sondheim tried to convince eberhard faber to continue production or at least said some warm words about the tool they were so used to. while the company says that other pencils with similar leads are available, the devotees are convinced that there is no adequate substitution for the 602s, and we must agree with those devotees.
now a little about the sharpeners used: while the el casco pencil sharpener does an amazing job it takes some getting used to and in my opinion its not worth the cost of $400-600. that said once you get the hang of it it does do an amazing job sharpening the lead to a steady point that makes the nib stronger than any sharpener you’ve seen…. not to mention that it also looks wicked on any desk. but for nearly $600 its disappointing that when you sharpen a pencil some of the dust falls out of the casing in the front area and that the pencil grip in the sharpener damages and marks your pencils stem. it is the best sharpener resulting in the best nib but not $600 better…
the xacto sharpener is in word a piece of “garbage”. very disappointing for a company that is known for making blades. the motor is a DC motor using AC current (meaning its equivelant to a battery powered one) and can barely shave a rod of butter. the weak motor combined with, let’s assume a layman’s pencil, using inferior wood, results in a saw dust hell of a point with chips and dust all around it. not worth the postage we paid.
this brings us to the $10 blackwing sharpener which has 2 blades and openings. one is used to sharpen the wood alone and does not touch the lead point. you then insert it into the 2nd opening and sharpen the lead. i love this sharpener for its detailed attention and simple production cost that makes it cheaper than any other sharpener on the market and resulting in a very acceptable nib. while we purchased all three because we hate pens here we recommend the $10 socialist version over any other. ok so now you know… you can go around and say what complete geeks we are… by uh+kt