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on November 10, 2012
I am a homeschooling mother of 6, and we go through pencils by the OODLES, using regular ones for schoolwork, and colored pencils for illustrating and coloring. We burned through two electric sharpeners and then realized we would need a manual sharpener. We went through two manual Xacto sharpeners, the ones that suction to the desk, which broke very quickly, even with careful use (as in, Mom was the only one allowed to operate it). We were frustrated, and definitely needed to find a pencil sharpener that could handle up to 20 or more sharpenings a day. We also wanted one that sharpened evenly, and I really was hoping to find one that made a shorter cone and a thicker tip, to prevent that initial "snap" breakage from the super-sharp points the moment they hit the paper (especially a problem with younger hands).

So, we researched manual pencil sharpeners for hours over a span of three days, reading reviews and making comparisons. We finally agreed on this pencil sharpener for several reasons. The main reason was because of the photos posted showing the tip of a pencil using this sharpener. It was a bit shorter, and slightly thicker and rounded, although still nicely sharpened. It seemed like we would have less breakage. Reviews in general said this was a sturdy/durable sharpener. We didn't find any other sharpener that had better reviews for durability. The price of this sharpener was certainly good, too. It was $10.95 when we purchased it.

We were all very excited when the sharpener arrived, and we had a back-log of pencils to sharpen. It was very easy to operate following the simple instructions included. You simply pull out the front panel (it is spring-loaded) and it stays in place about 1.5 inches out. Then you squeeze the top levers together and insert the pencil all the way into the sharpener. Next, you let go of the levers and the pencil is now held firmly in place. To sharpen, you simply hold the sharpener in one hand and turn the crank with the other. The front panel is now holding your pencil, and it gently pushes it in as the point sharpens. It stops moving when the point is done. Sometimes it goes all the way in, sometimes it only goes part way back in. But it seemed pretty easy to tell when the pencil is done by the feel of the hand crank--which feels loose when the pencil is fully sharpened.

We have sharpened well over one hundred different pencils at this point. Here is what we have learned:

PROS: We are all definitely pleased with the point that this sharpener makes. The cone is slightly shorter, and the point is slightly thicker and just the slightest bit rounded,although still quite sharp, to prevent snapping upon first use. Our breakage rate is definitely down to almost zero using this sharpener. It seems to sharpen evenly--moreso than other sharpeners we have had. It does not leave more wood on one side of the point unless the pencil is poorly made. Also, this pencil sharpener SEEMS durable. It feels well made--it does not feel light or cheap or fragile. However, I cannot report too much on durability at this time as we have only owned it a few days now. I will update on durability at a later date. My only opinion at this point is that is seems durable.

CONS: Not all pencils fit well into the holder. All our regular No. 2 writing pencils fit perfectly well, even the ones that are decorated with designs. Our colored pencils, of which we sharpen ten or more per day, don't all fit into the holder because they are too slender (we mostly use Prang colored pencils, but have some Crayola and RoseArt, too). When attempting to put a colored pencil into the holder, when we begin sharpening, the holder slides in, but it leaves the pencil behind because cannot clamp tightly enough around the pencil. This problem is completely solvable by not pulling out the front panel to use the holder. Just leave the front panel in, squeeze the levers to insert the pencil, and then sharpen it like a regular manual pencil sharpener. But for this scenario, the sharpener needs to be clamped onto a desk, because you need one hand to hold the pencil, and one to turn the crank (just like a regular manual sharpener).

We are all pleased with our decision. We think we definitely made the right choice. We are happy with the price, the point that is produced, the fact that it sharpens very evenly and smoothly, and that it seems durable. Originally I was going to give this a 4-star rating because of the fact this sharpener doesn't hold the colored pencils well, but I decided this is definitely worth a 5-star rating, because we are so happy with the results, even when we have to hold some of the colored pencils while sharpening them.

We completed an art project today in which we used a lot of colored pencils. The only reason we used the sharpener was to sharpen ones that got too dull with use--not because any of the tips snapped. That was fantastic! This sharpener makes great tips!

UPDATE ON DURABILITY: We have now owned this pencil sharpener for five months, and I will now confidently say it is quite durable! We sharpen about 30-40 pencils per day, on average (I have kept track--one day we sharpened nearly catching up the sharpening on our regularly used pencils), both colored pencils and regular No. 2 school pencils. The sharpener is still sharp, completely intact, and completely functional. I still love the size and shape of the tip and will say most definitely that it is cuts down on breakage. My three younger students are 3, 5, and 7, and they rarely snap the tip off of a freshly sharpened pencil. VERY nice. If I ever do need to replace this, I will get this one again, or as close to it as possible!
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on June 30, 2012
This sharpener is being used for regular pencils in my workshop and the occasional one I use in the house. It gives a very good tip on pencils that isn't so thin it breaks easily yet is thin enough to make decent layout lines on wood. Also, the sharpened area seems more smooth than what other sharpeners leave. It includes a clamp to attach it to a desk but I'll probably make something that will let me put it on the wall. The automatic feed mechanism is new to me but works very well so far. You just pull out the top front of the unit about two inches, squeeze the two levers on top together which opens the clamp in the center, then insert the pencil and release the levers and when you turn the crank the sliding section slides back towards the body of the sharpener as the pencil is cut down.

USPS nearly destroyed the packaging and dislodged a piece that holds the clamp out(or possibly faulty factory assembly). I took it apart and put the piece back in and it worked fine. Be careful if you have to take it apart because there are springs that will launch the screws far away when they are unscrewed. The sharpener comes off by twisting its collar so it can be cleaned if lead or debris gets jammed in it. It is relatively quiet, as advertised, but that's probably more of a concern to Japanese(the place of manufacture) than to us noisy Westerners. :D

I never pass up an opportunity to use some tools so I took some measurements for anyone interested in something arcane. The tip is 25° with a 1/32" wide point, the entire length of exposed wood and lead measures 9/16" with the lead taking up 2/16"(1/8").
review image review image
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on January 16, 2014
This sharpener does an excellent job for school work sharpening. It really is a well designed pencil sharpener but could be better built. Next time I will get the Carl A-5 I think. The pencils don't have a perfect pin point but that is best for writing anyway. The biggest problem is if children use it, it is very prone to falling apart, however so far I have been able to get it put back together each time it has happened.
**Update**
This sharpener finally broke beyond repair after about 8 months of almost daily usage. I ended up getting the Uni kh-20 by Mitsubishi pencil sharpener instead of the Carl A-5, because it was cheaper at the time, and I'm glad I did. I highly recommend that sharpener as it is much better made and does a better job of sharpening the pencils. Check it out, it's worth the extra couple of dollars, as it is going strong without any signs of wear after about 5 months of usage so far. I expect it to last for several years! Here is the link to the one I bought, but they're available in several colors so one of the other colors may be cheaper at any given time.
Uni KH-20 Hand Crank Wooden Pencil Sharpener - Blue (japan import)
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on May 5, 2013
The kids are always needing to sharpen their pencils for homework at home. The electric sharpener we had burned out. Pretty sad bc I expected it to last more than 6 months. Basically, I didn't want electric, and I didn't want those hand held twist types that break the tips. What to do? Well, I LOVE that this sharpener doesn't sharpen at such a dramatic angle causing the tip to be such a fine point that it breaks. It eats up FAR less pencil this way too! And the pinchers on top pull the face out from the box and it self feeds the pencil into the blade! Wow!

I would have given it 5 stars, except that the pinchers ontop have two plastic ends that come off ALL THE TIME. If those would stay put I wouldn't worry about them getting lost.
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on March 22, 2013
Works ok but the base doesn't hold it very well. At home it would last forever but kids are hard on it. My 7th grade students love it and even borrow it for other classes so I did buy another one to have as a backup. It's really quite so I was able to get rid of electric sharpeners. Overall its ok but not made for heavy use.
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on January 3, 2014
Teachers: This shrapenes pencils perfectly and creates a more solid point that breaks less frequently. The angle of the cut is broader so there is a wider point but less length (make sense?) I searched around and THIS is the best sharpener.
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on March 22, 2012
I bought it to use in a welding shop for soft lead metal marking pencils(Prismacolor silver art pencil). It works quite well, point breakage is now rare although the short angle means you have to sharpen more often. I am very happy with it so far. Really like the fact it holds the pencil for you and prevents wasteful over sharpening.
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on March 18, 2013
Using this product to re- sharpen golf pencils. Did about 40 pencils so far and it worked great with a cut length about 1/4" longer than the original factory cut. I'm happy with how close this comes to the factory produced cut.
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on January 31, 2013
Very disappointed. The pencil leads repeatedly get stuck in the cutting apparatus (which then needs to be removed & cleaned); the clamp does not fix the sharpener to the table securely; the point gets sharpened unevenly (meaning, if this makes sense, that after sharpening, the wood on one side comes up quite close to the point). I'm returning it.
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on April 4, 2013
it's not quite the short point I was expecting. It's more like the point in-between a standard sharpener and a golf pencil.
The product itself is great though. It's very lightweight yet the inside mechanisms seems sturdy and durable.
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