Sharpening Pencils

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Sharpening Pencils

Postby mjs » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:44 pm

I know that I ought to be embarrassed by opening such a stupid subject but in my defense I have one of my "every five years" super-cold and I'm doped to the gills with various potions intended to make me feel that my body is not slowly oozing out of my nostrils.

I just spent half an hour trying to sharpen an almost new Derwent Graphic 2B pencil in any one of several of my vast collection of hand pencil sharpeners (I have so far resisted buying an electric sharpener.) Every attempt ended with the pencil almost coming to a nice point, immediately followed by 2mm or 3mm of the lead breaking off and jamming in the sharpener. I amused myself by trying different sharpeners, different ways of holding the sharpener and the pencil... nothing worked until the pencil was very short at which time I decided that what I had then was "good enough" and quit to empty all the sharpeners in the trash.

What do you do to prevent this disaster, other than intelligent things such as using mechanical pencils or those oh-so-sexy steel lead holders all the interesting folks on Youtube use? Darn it, I like wooden pencils! *Sniff* Is it true that, as my wife of 36 years now says with a tolerant smile, "Yes, honey: you are the Most Clumsy Man on Earth. But we love you anyway. How about a nice nap?"

Also, why isn't the cherry-flavored stuff red?

Mike
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby Andre Jute » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:24 am

Mmm. There's a reason for those beautifully sculpted holders for the good thick 5.6mm leads: they instantly make you a better draughtsman. No, honest.

Image

You're not really supposed to sharpen wooden drawing /sketching pencils in a sharpener but by blade, with the finish being applied on the sanding strip. It just goes faster if you do the job halfway with the sharpener, then proceed to the blade, and do the last ten per cent on the sanding strip.
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby Alitogata » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:31 am

The proper way to sharpen a pencil is with a craft knife.

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You cut the pencil with the knife like this. With the side of the knife and outwards. ( take care not to cut yourself. Hold the pencil from the back and move the knife outwards).

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After you cut the one side turn the pencil a little and do the same all around the lead.

Look how my pencil looks like. It didn't took more than 20 seconds to sharpen it.

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Then if you want to make the lead a little more sharp you can rub it in the sides with a piece of sandpaper. There are drawing sand papers but any sand paper does the job.

ΕΤΑ Andre wrote how they called. Sand strips! (that's how they are called) :lol:
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby mjs » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:26 pm

The replies are interesting because that's how I sharpen charcoal pencils; trim away the wood with a very sharp knife, then sand the end to whatever shape is needed. I tried that a couple of times with ordinary pencils back when I first saw the Youtube video on sharpening charcoal pencils and remember that it didn't work very well. I no longer recall why I didn't think it worked, only that I didn't like the results. I still sharpen charcoal that way, but only because every other way I've tried is worse.

Like so much else I suppose that practice is the answer. I just need to make a habit of it and it'll likely start working out. But I'm going to keep bringing my pencil sharpeners with me when I'm out of the house. No telling what the fruitcakes would do if they spied a man sharpening a stick to a point with a knife (even a penknife.) :shock:

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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby Alitogata » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:32 pm

I think that you need to practice a little bit more because regular sharpeners can't make decent lead or charcoal points. And it is impossible to find anywhere these old bell shaped sharpeners that could sharpen pencils same as the knives can.
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby Andre Jute » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:48 pm

Make it a craft knife rather than a pen knife. I keep this Swann Morton Retractaway scalpel in my bags and pochade boxes:

Image

I know an artist who was locked up in the UK for several days for carrying a little pocket knife to sharpen his pencils. He was locked in a cell where there was no washbasiin and he had to wash in the toilet. He is an elderly man, and quite a well-known painter. The police simply wouldn't listen to his explanation that he is an artist, complete with a sketchbook and other art materials in his bag, someone they could look up on the internet. When at last he was brought before the magistrate, being shoved around by the police for being "slow", the magistrate apologized to him and let him go -- after he demonstrated how he uses the penknife to sharpen a pencil.
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby RajeshS » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:43 pm

Yes good point Andre and worth every person here noting.

Although the police behavior seemed rough - I think it was a reflection of the 9/11 attack in the US - which was triggered by the use of box-cutters - very similar equipment

I always remember to carry a simple plastic sharpener. It is worth remembering this in case anyone here travels - it can cause trouble like Andre has highlighted

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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby Alitogata » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:49 am

Andre Jute wrote:Make it a craft knife rather than a pen knife. I keep this Swann Morton Retractaway scalpel in my bags and pochade boxes:

Image

I know an artist who was locked up in the UK for several days for carrying a little pocket knife to sharpen his pencils. He was locked in a cell where there was no washbasiin and he had to wash in the toilet. He is an elderly man, and quite a well-known painter. The police simply wouldn't listen to his explanation that he is an artist, complete with a sketchbook and other art materials in his bag, someone they could look up on the internet. When at last he was brought before the magistrate, being shoved around by the police for being "slow", the magistrate apologized to him and let him go -- after he demonstrated how he uses the penknife to sharpen a pencil.


Surreal... :roll:
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby cestjeffici » Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:09 am

Those blades look dangerous!!
Here are my observations: blades in pencil sharpeners get dull after a while and then start to break the lead. So, replace the little blade or get a new sharpener every once in a while.
I use a KUM Automatic 2 Long Point sharpener. It has two holes. The first one exposes a nice long piece of lead. The second sharpens it to a point if that's what you want. I leave my softer pencils unpointed and the harder HB ones sharply pointed. I draw a lot, 3-5 hours a week of figures and something everyday. I need to replace the blades every 3 months or so. The sharpener comes with an extra set.
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby Andre Jute » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:35 pm

Yes! I have one of those KUM Long Point Sharpeners and it is my favorite, kept in my No 1 sketch case with my electric eraser and my fave 5.6mm clutch holder and a set of leads including various grades of graphite, sepia, sanguine, charcoal, oiled charcoal. It all fits in an old cigar case and hence into a pocket, very compact. The biggest problem, when I'm out an about, is finding somewhere to drop the shavings off the lead tips now that no-one smokes and there aren't ash trays on tables.
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby cestjeffici » Sun Jan 24, 2016 4:18 am

What ever is in your KUM sharpener is probably biodegradable. While I try to find a proper place for the shavings I don't feel too guilty just dumping them. When I was in the Navy and still smoking we used to field strip our cigarette butts and just make them disappear. The same thing happens to the shavings.
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Re: Sharpening Pencils

Postby Andre Jute » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:59 am

Heh-heh! I try to sit next to a pot plant...
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