Tag Archives: long point

Review: KUM Masterpiece

I mention the KUM Masterpiece pretty often in my pencil reviews. With good reason too, it’s a fantastic sharpener. Compared to the dramatic teasing of the Pollux from M+R, KUM did the roll out for the Masterpiece juuuust right. Initially it was only available in Germany then someone was able to do a group buy for a decent price. Finally, CWPE was able to get them in stock.The Masterpiece is machined from a solid block of aluminum, possibly an alloy. With a sliding blue plastic stop for your lead. The stop also has a slot on the underside to hold 2 replacement blade, and arrives with 2 in the slot. The blades are standard sharpener blades. I use M+R blades that are available in 10-packs all over the place. The Masterpiece arrives swaddled in neoprene and in a hard plastic case. I’ve ditched my plastic and neoprene for a mini mint tin, but that matters not. It comes with a neat neoprene case for carting around in your bag in cushioned safety. To use the Masterpiece you first sharpen the wood away in hole 1, which is on the left side of the sharpener. On a pencil with a well centered core it sharpens only the wood away. After you’ve shaved off the wood you slide the exposed lead into hole number 2 to the right, using a light touch it shaves off the graphite to a perfectly pointy long point. With practice you can learn to stop before you get a needlepoint hat snaps when you touch it to paper. I’ve found that I can usually touch up my point 2 or 3 times without sharpening the wood again.

If the blade in hole 2 is dull it will take forever to get a point and occasionally the lead will snap off. I rotate my blades. So I’ll recycled blade 1, moving the dull blade 2 to hole 1 and putting a fresh blade onto hole2. Generally the Masterpiece will sharpen any pencil any time without issue. It just works 99% of the time, unlike the Pollux. Replacement blades are cheap.

The Masterpiece is available for $18 plus shipping at CWPE and $15 at Pencil(dot)com plus rather high shipping. You can also get it at JetPens for $22, and free shipping at $25.

Pricing aside, the Masterpiece is ready to go the moment you get it and it just works and works. This thing is a workhorse of a sharpener. Sharpening everything from the cheapest Dixon no name to the priciest Blackwing volumes. I love it. Continue reading

Review: The Classroom Friendly Sharpener

The Classroom Friendly Sharpener (from here on out, CFS) is a sturdy metal bodied sharpener with a guide that grips your pencils and draws them into the sharpening mechanism. It is sold by ClassroomFriendlySupplies.com As you turn the handle the pencil is gently pushed further into the blades until it has a fresh perfect point. Then it stops via an ingenious auto stop mechanism. Check out the video that demonstrates how the guide works.

The sharpener arrives in a sturdy outer cardboard box, with some paper packaging and big air pockets. Inside that is a sturdy plastic box that perfectly holds the CFS. The sharpener and clamp are inside their own cellophane baggies. The box is unbranded and has no stickers, just a few well placed bits of tape to hold the box closed. The sharpener itself is also remarkably free of garish branding. Rather the shaving bin has a tiny print of the website and the top has a  single small sticker with the website. Simple and clean branding.

My version is sky blue, with a shiny chrome faceplate and crank, with black plastic grips. The roomy shavings drawer is clear plastic. As a test to see how much the bin will hold, I sharpened 16 pencils- 8 from a factory point to CFS point and another 8 from unsharpened to CFS. I could have easily have sharpened another 4 pencils but felt the bin was pretty full. That is plenty of shaving capacity for a desk or a classroom. The clamp works well enough and securely holds the sharpener to my desk.

In use the crank rotates smoothly and the blades cut cleanly and fast. It took just a few rotations and few seconds to take an unsharpened pencil from flat to super pointy. Let’s talk about that point because it’s awesome the CFS point is the best bang for your pencil sharpener buck around. At less than the price of a M+R Pollux you get a similar point that lasts and lasts while you write. It’s slightly convex, and long. I love this point

The great thing about the CFS is that it works on expensive Blackwing Volumes, less expensive General’s Cedar Pointe #1, inexpensive Nataraj Trikone, to the el cheapo Wally World Casemates, and even the horrible pox upon the house of Dixon the unnamed #2 Dixon. It doesn’t care about the price of the pencil or what it is made of- it just grinds off the wood and shapes it to a perfect convex long point meant for ages of writing.

And, yeah, it’s pretty quiet.

The one complaint that I’ve read about this sharpener is that it leaves teeth marks on pencils, tiny little holes. If this bugs you, you can use the Welfle Method of wrapping a post it around the area where the teeth with grip the pencil, it’ll still get plenty of grip on the pencil, but not leave the holes. Or you can be like some of us and embrace the pencil as an ephemeral tool that you destroy to create art. Whatever floats your boat, maaaan

An additional positive of the CFS is that you can buy a fresh blade when yours dulls. This is awesome. The company makes these easy to find and easy to buy. Lose your clamp? Break your plastic shavings bin? They have that covered too.

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Comparison of Sharpeners: Long Point

Here’s a little reference of points produced by long point sharpeners.

Included are:

  • 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


Review: KUM Stenographer’s Handheld Sharpener

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.KUM Longpoint Handheld

KUM Longpoint Handheld

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.)KUM Longpoint Handheld

KUM Longpoint Handheld

Top: KUM Automatic 2-hole Middle: Stenographer Bottom: Carl A5

KUM Longpoint Handheld

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.

Review: Kum Ellipse Pencil Sharpener

KUM Ellipse       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.)KUM Ellipse

KUM Ellipse

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.

KUM Ellipse

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.

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