Tool Tip: Pencil Sharpeners

I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently on what kind of pencil sharpener I use for my coloured pencils. For a long time I was using a basic metal sharpener, which did the job just fine, until my pencils started getting really short. Once they were about half of their normal length, the majority of my pencils would break when I tried to get them to really sharp points, which was incredibly frustrating. 

I went looking for a solution, and realized it was definitely a fault of the sharpening process, not the cores of my pencils being broken. Apparently as you sharpen a pencil, if you aren’t holding it perfectly straight, you’ll start sharpening it off-centre from the core. This difference is very slight but gets worse as the pencil gets shorter, so hence why it only affected my short pencils. 

A selection of my current pencil sharpeners. I definitely don’t use the big electric one for my coloured pencils, but it’s cool so I included it.

I was browsing my local art store and came across the Bostich Twist and Sharp, a cheap sharpener that has a ratchet mechanism that holds the pencil in place. It was fairly cheap so I bought it and wow, what a difference! I haven’t had a single pencil break since I’ve been using it, even my very short stubby pencils. We’ll see how it holds up over time, but for under $3 I’m very impressed. 

Update: I still love these sharpeners, but as with any sharpener, the blade inside dulls over time. Once the blade is dull it’s very hard to get a nice sharp point from the Bostitch sharpener, and as of yet I haven’t figured out how to replace the blade. Most sharpeners have replacement blades that you can change by undoing a very small screw, and the Bostitch is no exception. The problem is I haven’t been able to find any replacement blades that will fit my trusty Bostitch sharpener! If anyone knows where to get some, please let me know. 

On the whole I’ve still found this to be one of the best sharpeners I’ve used, and I would absolutely recommend them if not for the problem of replacing the blades. Right now I’ve simply bought a new one, though it’s now dull as well. It seems so wasteful to keep buying a whole new sharpener, so I guess I’m still on the lookout for a better sharpener. If you have recommendations, please share them! 

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Bostitch or get any money from the sale of their products. I just like their sharpener a lot.  

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