Sharpeners and lead pointers are giant rabbit holes and I’ve barely touched the surface of the many amazing lead pointers out there. I happened to luck into finding the KUM-onit 233 and 250 pretty early on and they give me a very nice point that I like for my general use or writing and light sketching. The Kitaboshi is garbage for writing but it is nice for sketching particularly if you are shading. The KUM automatic with included lead pointers is okay in a pinch but not my favorite.
The 2mm lead in all image is Staedtler Lumograph HB, what I have on hand at this moment.
Here’s a little reference of points produced by long point sharpeners.
- Carl Angel-5
- KUM Automatic Long Point
- KUM 5L or Stenographer
- KUM Masterpiece
- Apsara Long Point
These are all sharpened on a #2/HB Ticonderoga of som sort. The natural wooden pencil in the various pics is a factory sharpened General’s Cedar Pointe #1
I purchased the Carl Angel-5 crank sharpener a few months back. It’s a great sharpener but I don’t want to be that kind of hipster asshole in the coffee shop with a hand crank sharpener. That’s just too weird for me. What I love about the sharpener is the wickedly long point. I can write for a page or two (depending on the pencil) without sharpening. Which is amazing. The KUM 2-hole is another favorite of mine, it also puts a nice long point onto my pencils but it’s 2-step process is somewhat annoying to do when I NEED a sharp point immediately. What I really wanted was a single-hole long point sharpener, so I ordered the KUM stenographer’s sharpener from PencilThings.com. It is often referred to as the KUM handheld long point, on a fancy European site I found it called the KUM 500-5L.
The bottom point is from the Carl A5 Top the Stenographer.
Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes for it. Sharpeners tend to be little blocks of metallic disappointment. I expected another sharpener that does little stubby points, not the writer’s block piercing points I adore. What I received was something between the KUM 2-step automatic long point sharpener and the Carl Angel 5. I wasn’t expecting the awesome point of the Carl A5 out of a handheld sharpener but it came as close as any other handheld sharpener. I can get- well over a page out of most of my pencils with this sharpener. Not bad when compared to other sharpeners I like, such as the Alvin Brass Bullet, which requires frequent use to write a page of text.
The one downside of the Stenographer is that it has these dumb wings to help one’s grip. This turns a great handheld sharpener into something that can only be carried in a pencil box or a bag, not in the pocket. That is, unless you like small pokey things in your pocket. I am tempted to take my dremel to the wings and grind them off. What I really want is a Bullet type sharpener that puts a long point onto my pencils. Is that so hard KUM? (Or heck Jon Fontaine, hint hint, make one and hawk it via kickstarter, I would PLEDGE the heck out of a pocket-able long point sharpener.)
Top: KUM Automatic 2-hole Middle: Stenographer Bottom: Carl A5
Top:Alvin/DUX Inkwell 2nd: KUM Automatic 2-hole 3rd: Stenographer Bottom: Carl A5
For anyone looking for a long point sharpener that is ALMOST pocket-able but certainly something easily carried in a bag, the KUM Stenographer’s is the way to go.
My least favorite of the pencils in the Pencils.com Palomino pencil pack is the Forest Choice. This “least favorite” business must be qualified with the fact it’s my least favorite of a group of spectacular pencils.
This is a very good looking pencil. It’s incense cedar case is lightly finished with a clear finish. the green imprint is crisp and includes the logo and website. The ferrule is a nice evergreen color and holds a pink eraser. The ferrule is fixed securely. Even after repeated use it doesn’t loosen.
The cedar sharpens with ease in any sharpener. The core holds a nice point with the KUM long point sharpener or a wedge. It’s labeled an HB and performs as such when compared to normal type pencils. In the Palomino world this would be rated an H as it’s the hardest of the group of pencils. As such it’s pretty good for underdrawings or taking notes, as the harder core holds a point better than a softer core. It will not give a range of shades nor a deep dark.
I like the look of this pencil very much, but wish it came with the standard Palomino core. This is a nice core but for my preferences not soft and smooth enough. Honestly though, if you are looking for an ecologically minded pencil for note taking or writing this is a great pencil. Even for basic sketching this is a great pencil.
I am excited to report that AC Moore stores are carrying KUM brand sharpeners and the prices are fantastic. I spotted my favorite KUM Automatic Long Point for about $6. Even though the long point is $6 on Jetpens, getting it locally for $6 is worth it because there isn’t any shipping. The other thing about AC Moore is that they offer monthly coupons. These coupons can be for 40%, 50%, and even 55% off. Taking any of those percentages off means that the price of the sharpener is even lower. They carry other KUM sharpeners. I snagged an Ellipse in orange. They are available in pink, yellow orange, green, and blue.
The Ellipse is a small smooth sharpener. The caps fit onto the sharpener securely on each end. inside is a small KUM wedge sharpener. The sharpener is plastic with a quality KUM blade secured with a screw, which makes it replaceable. (You can get replacement blades here.)
The sharpener gives a medium sized point, somewhere between a small blunt point and the KUM long point. The point is good for writing and drawing. But it does leave the point with a long needle point that breaks off, so you have to keep a close eye on the point to prevent over sharpening. It sharpens quickly and easily. A few twists in this sharpener and the point is sharp and ready for action.
The long smooth curves of this sharpener along with the secure caps make it ideal for pocket carry. It won’t poke or gouge into your thigh when carried in a pocket. For that matter it’ll be really great to carry in the pocket of a backpack or bag. It’s a terrific compact pencil sharpener.
Mine was purchased with a 55% off coupon for $1.70, which is a great deal on a good pocket sharpener. While this isn’t the best KUM sharpener (that would be the KUM Long point) it’s a good one for daily carry.