I'd heard legends of the Kum Masterpiece long before it landed in my mailbox. When it arrived, I was anxious to see if it would live up to its reputation--and the layers of packaging only served to heighten the anticipation. The handmade magnesium block sharpener sits inside a clear plastic box that slips into a neoprene sheath with a snap closure. Overkill? Maybe. Or maybe it's there to keep this precision device from sharpening the very air you breathe into stabby spears of oxygen death.
You see, this doesn't just sharpen pencils--it weaponizes them. It does this with a two-step process. Step one uses hole #1, the wider of the two. This blade strips the wood from around the graphite core. When the tip of your exposed lead touches the blue barrier at the end, you're ready for step #2. The second blade sharpens the exposed graphite to a needle point. It took a little practice to hold the pencil at just the right angle to engage the blade, but when you've got it lined up, you'll see a little pile of lead shavings appear.
Everyone has one of those pinprick pencil lead tattoos from where they accidentally stabbed themselves with a pencil, right? Well, you're about to get a few more. In fact, you might not want to give this sharpener to your kids, or junior's third-grade class might end up looking like the stone men from Game of Thrones.
I tried the sharpener on several brands of pencils of varying hardness. All the pencils I tried--from a very soft Blackwing, to a very hard pencil of indeterminate brand, to a Prismacolor Verithin colored pencil--sharpened beautifully. Each had a very small piece of the tip break off when I started to write, but the remaining tip was, in each case, still what I would consider an ultra-fine line. How long that fineness was maintained was more due to the lead hardness than anything, but the long narrow point that the Masterpiece creates definitely prolongs the writing session between sharpenings.
Things I will definitely use this for:
Sketching charts and diagrams for my knitting and crochet projects
Helping my son with his math homework
Sharpening all of my colored pencils into an arsenal of fine-tip fun
I'll also do my best to keep this powerful tool out of the hands of those who would use it for evil. Namely, the aforementioned third-grader.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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