Classroom Friendly Sharpener

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series: Week 2 Review

The gorgeous Blackwing 211, natural finish with a brown eraser

The gorgeous Blackwing 211, natural finish with a brown eraser

Two weeks into my pen/pencil experiment and this week has been devoted to the Blackwing 211. I felt it was important to include some pencils in my mini series to really find out how much I enjoy using pencils.

The Blackwing 211 is one of my favourite Blackwing pencils. It has the firmest of the graphite cores borrowing from the Blackwing 602. I prefer a hard graphite core as I use pencils predominately for writing, not sketching. I have found using the 211 for a full week a mixed bag of feelings.

What works.

There is no doubt a pencil is probably one of the easiest writing implements to take on the move. It’s light, you’re not too concerned about damage, concerns about snapping the graphite can be solved with a pencil cap. They’re perfect for writing on the move, there is no fountain pen cap to unscrew, or a lid to keep track of. You just pull out the pencil and write. Easy.

I have really enjoyed admiring this pencil during the week. It’s such a simple classic design with a great natural colour palette. This isn’t your standard pencil, this is a special pencil.

What I haven’t enjoyed.

I have missed using a fountain pen this week. I found by day 4 I was wondering whether I should abandon the task at hand and just pull out a fountain pen to write my morning pages.

I have noticed that when I write with a pencil my handwriting looks pretty rubbish. There seems to be less places to hide with a pencil and the good and bad points of your handwriting are laid bare.

Sharpening has been a bit of a pain too. You just start finding your stride with what you’re writing down on the page and suddenly your pencil is blunt and you need to sharpen it. When sitting at my desk this hasn’t been so bad as my classroom friendly sharpener is to hand, but on the move it’s a bit more irritating. I had forgotten how good the classroom friendly sharpener is in comparison to the KUM long point sharpener. The long point you get varies dramatically between the two and the classroom friendly sharpener really gives you a smooth finish and the perfect long point.

Overall thoughts

After completing this week, with a pencil I really like, it’s probably safe to say I couldn’t use only a pencil all the time. I feel like my notes look more mundane and my weekly diary spread a little dull. I miss the fountain pen experience and the wide variety of inks that brighten up my pages. I guess I cannot really consider myself a pencil girl.

Week 3

For the coming week I will be using the TWSBI 580 RB with a broad nib and KWZ Honey ink. The broad nib is new on this fountain pen and not something I have used before. I have only ever used a broad nib on a Kaweco Skyline Sport and this wasn’t the best experience. I thought the trusty TWSBI nib would be more reliable and I am excited to see how I get on with a broad nib fountain pen for a full week.

The KWZ Honey ink is also new. This ink colour has been getting some praise online so I was keen to try it myself. The brown/gold colour inks are beautiful and coming into Autumn I think this ink colour could be perfect. I am really excited about this week and think it could possibly be a winner.

To read through this mini series from the beginning you can see the first post explaining what the mini series is about and my first week with the Kaweco AL Sport and J.Herbin Bleu Nuit.

Classroom Friendly Sharpener Review

The Classroom Friendly Sharpener looks like an old fashioned school sharpener that you would have seen years ago in school.

When visiting New York and CW Pencils in September this was one of the first items I spotted. The only colour options available were black and red so I opted for a lovely pillar box red and I absolutely adore it.

The best sharpener I have used

My desk set up

Obviously this is a desktop sharpener and not something that you can carry or move around very easily. I have this set-up on my desk at home and secured it with the handy clamp tool thats included in the box. On the whole this does work well but this sharpener is heavy and can move around quite a bit if not held down when sharpening.

The main benefit with the Classroom Friendly Sharpener is the amazing long point that you get. Before buying this I had used only the Palomino KUM two step, long point sharpener which I thought was good, but it’s nothing like the Classroom Friendly Sharpener. I have never had long points like this before and it makes such a big difference.

KUM long point on the top, Classroom Friendly Sharpener on the bottom

KUM long point on the top, Classroom Friendly Sharpener on the bottom

Benefits of The Classroom Friendly Sharpener

These sharpeners come in a range of colours and you can pick up replacement parts and supplies directly from Classroom Friendly Supplies. Therefore no matter how much pencil sharpening you do, you can repair your sharpener to achieve and retain the perfect point.

When sharpening your pencils the Classroom Friendly sharpener automatically stops once the perfect point has been achieved. You feel the resistance reduce which means the Classroom Friendly Sharpener won’t chew through your pencils unneccessarily.

Next up is the little tray at the bottom of the sharpener. It doesn’t take very long for this to fill up with lovely pencil shavings of all sorts, smelling very woody and intense. I quite enjoy this accumulation of shavings, it almost feels like I have achieved something and can look very pretty with hints of different coloured lacquer.

Some very small downsides

The clamp will leave teeth marks in your pencil. Some people may view this as ruining their pencil and will not appreciate the damage it does to the lacquer, however I love the long point too much to let this bother me.

This sharpener is also noisy when in use. You can’t sneakily sharpen a pencil if a family member is asleep or when on the phone at work. Again this isn’t a huge downside but something to be aware of.

Finally the Classroom Friendly Sharpener only works on standard width pencils. Anything slightly wider or thinner, or jumbo pencils cannot be used in this sharpener.

In Summary

This pencil sharpener is by far the best I have used. It’s not portable but if you regularly use pencils then I would highly recommend buying one of these sharpeners. For those living outside of the US you can order this sharpener online from eBay, the risk is solely in the customs and freight charges. Knowing what I know now I think it’s worth the risk.