Get The Point

I most of my sketching with fountain pens so talking about pencil sharpeners isn’t what you’d call my strong suit.  At home I have an old, wall-mounted Apsco sharpener that still works well.  Still, when I’m out sketching, I do use watercolor pencils, regular colored pencils and, when I’m sketching statues in the museum I often use wooden drawing pencils.  So, while I don’t know much about sharpeners, I still have the need to generate sharp points on these pointy devices.

And for a street sketcher, who has to carry everything on his back, size and weight matters.  I also need to be able to sharpen very soft colored pencils (need short tip) and my drawing pencils (like long tip).  When I’m in a museum I need a sharpener that not only captures the shavings, but also keeps them inside.  All this adds up to a tough set of criteria – until I wandered into a Quebec “dollar store.”


I found this little device.  The blister pack says it is made in China and packaged by a company called Selectum in Montreal.  I’ve always been disappointed by these inexpensive sharpeners because they always yield short points.  KUM long-point sharpeners are an exception and I’ve been carrying one of those and a short-point sharpener but this single sharpener replaces both of them.


Each of the inlets, for the short and long sharpeners, has a slide cover so the shavings don’t fall out.  The top is spring-loaded and pops open when you slide the main latch to the right.  It’s small.  It works.  The long point isn’t as long as the KUM sharpener but it’s sufficient for my needs and best of all, this little guy only cost me $1.49.  I wish I could provide a place to buy one but other than driving to Quebec City, I can’t really point you to a source.  Anyone know of an online source?


2 thoughts on “Get The Point

  1. Lucky you for finding this! I’ve tried many small sharpeners, and while most work for a while, eventually a soft pencil (like a water-soluble colored pencil) will break off and the lead gets stuck inside, or it works fine with graphite but not with colored pencils. Ideally I’d love to find an electric to use at home to quickly sharpen everything before I leave, and then it won’t matter as much to have a good one in the field. But all the electrics I’ve tried are only good for graphite, not colored pencils.

    – Tina

    • I thought so. I bought five of them so I’ll have back ups 🙂 You touch on one thing that I forgot to mention about this sharpener. Each of the sharpeners has a little gizmo that, if a pencil breaks off, will clear the sharpener.

      For home you might consider one of the crank sharpeners. My old Apsco (like the ones we had in school) works well for my watercolor pencils, though I turn the crank a bit slower with them 🙂 The “Classroom Friendly Sharpener gets high marks from those who use them.

      Have fun in Brazil. — Larry

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