I haven't been in the woodcase pencil game very long, but one of the first things I realized after buying a few pencils is that I didn't really have any pencil sharpeners. Thinking back, I hadn't owned a pencil sharpener since middle school, which makes sense given that's the time I was allowed to switch to using pens for class. And, just like the woodcase pencil world, there's a wide variety of sharpeners you can buy.
After trying a few, I noticed the Kutsuwa Stad T'Gaal sharpener on Jetpens. Besides, the difficult name, it sported a unique dial on the front that caught my interest. The benefit of this sharpener is that you can choose between 5 different sharpened lead core lengths. In other words, this sharpener can give you a short, stubby writing length, a long, pointy writing end, and three degrees in between. There are a number of reasons you might want different core lengths, but most of them boil down to preference. For me, it was mostly curiosity because I didn't really know what kind of length I preferred.
For less than $7, you can buy a sharpener that gives you an idea of what different core lengths do to a pencil. In a way, each length setting gives the pencil a different character.
So, how does it work? Simple: just rotate the dial to the core length you want (represented by the numbers 1 - 5), and sharpen away.
Setting 1 will sharpen the pencil to a short core length. This gives the tip a sharp angle that produces a stubby writing tip. I like this setting for some uses because after you wear down the initial sharp point, you have a wide, blunt tip to work with. This is great for shading or writing with a wider line width.
Setting 3 looks like the standard pencil core length you get from any other sharpener in school. It's the middle-ground setting, so that makes sense here. For most people, this will feel very familiar. It's a good setting for general writing.
Setting 5 produces the longest core length, accompanied by a very sharp tip. Obviously, you can get a very fine line with this setting, but it also makes the tip brittle.
Settings 2 and 4 are, shockingly, in between their surrounding settings. Is setting 3 too long, but setting 1 too short? Setting 2 might be perfect for you.
As an added bonus, there's also a "Closed" position on the dial that closes a small door at the sharpening hole to prevent shavings leaking out when being carried or moved.
When it's time to empty out all those shavings, there's a small door on the back of the sharpener. In my use, this door is a little small and needs help to empty the shavings, but it gets the job done. More importantly, this sharpener does a great job at keeping all the shavings inside while using it and carrying it in bags.
JetPens offer these sharpeners in four delightful colors: Orange, Green, Pink, and Light blue.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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