Regular-size pencil sharpener, long points possible

Regular-size sharpener, long points possible (charcoal and one drafting pencil, foreground)

An artist at a portrait workshop I attended was using one of these cute retro-looking red metal pencil sharpeners. I knew she was a student at Sadie Valeri’s Atelier and was surprised that she wasn’t using the traditional sharpening technique that Sadie demonstrates on this video. I told her I failed miserably when I tried that approach and was grateful for her recommendation to order one from the manufacturer, Classroom Friendly Supplies.

I received it quickly, watched their how-to videos and started sharpening my charcoal and graphite pencils. I got some nice, long points (see above photo) but also went too far several times, breaking the lead and having to repeatedly take the device apart to get the little chunk out (they have a video showing how to do that too). Once I figured out that 5 was the maximum number of handle rotations needed to get just the right point (fewer if it wasn’t too dull) I stopped breaking/wasting the lead. Some of the breakage might also have been from the lead being broken inside the wood casing from having dropped the pencils before.

Large diameter pencil sharpener (sharpens large and normal diameter pencils)

Large diameter pencil sharpener (sharpens large and normal diameter pencils)

When I discovered the opening on the sharpener was too small for my Conté pencils I inquired about Classroom Friendly’s large-hole sharpener and they offered me a complementary one in exchange for posting an honest review on my blog. I accepted and received the black and white model above. This large-hole version can sharpen both large and regular diameter pencils so is really all I would have needed. One difference between the two models is that this one has a stop that prevents extra long leads and associated waste from not stopping soon enough. In the photo above you can see the nicely sharpened Conté pencils.

Sharpeners, front view

Sharpeners, front view

20151016_Pencil_Sharpener_002

Sharpeners, side view, with the pencil-holders pulled out to prepare for inserting pencil

One day I will learn to sharpen pencils properly by hand, but until then, these Classroom Friendly Sharpeners are my new good friends,  making quick work of sharpening a dozen pencils before going to figure drawing and easily portable to bring to class.

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Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. Hi Jana, I just bought the large hole sharpener. I have needed a good one for some time. Thank you for the recommendation! A Christmas present for me!! God bless, C-Marie

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  2. Thanks so much, Jana. Just bought a large hole sharpener. They should give you a discount for all the orders that you may generate. It looks like a dandy and I liked the video about how to sharpen pencils. I hve been really needing this.

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    • Let me know how you like it. I’ve learned that turning the crank slowly works better than fast. My conte pencils are kind of fussy/fragile and I was able to sharpen a dozen without any breakage when I went slowly.

      On Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 3:40 AM Jana Bouc, Artist wrote:

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      • Oh, slowly? Thanks for the warning because I would expect it must go quickly. I already broke another company’s electric one on colored pencils. They just shipped yours from Friendly so I .am looking forward.to it. Really got a lot out of the video about how to turn the small hand sharpener rather than the pencil when I want to do that out in the field. who knew? I like this one of yours where you lock the pencil in and don’t touch it until you finished cranking. I am bursting with curiosity and HOPE…

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  3. Awesome. Thanks!!!! I know she did specify brining our own sharpeners to class. She personally uses and electric one (I took a class with her once before) but I don’t know the brand. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    From Nicole (Nickie) Gently Emerging Artist: http://www.artbynicolemonique.blogspot.com http://www.Facebook.com/nicolemoniqueart

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  4. November 20th, 2015

    Hi Jana. It arrived Thursday and it works wonderfully. This is much easier on my nerves than an electric one (though I do now have a new Bostich that seems very good but makes me nervous). So this Friendly sharpener is such a joy and RELIEF—so is the Slow Approach to cranking. I am comfortably at home with the Slow Approach to almost everything in life. 🙂 Thanks, again.

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