Thursday, December 9, 2010

More fine gifts



I use pens in my office, but at home I use pencils for most things (some of you may remember my tribute to an old friend).

I still haven't found a good pencil sharpener, either (the new X-Acto one we got is a POS).

So I was glad to learn of Mr. David Rees. This former political cartoonist quit his job to pursue a lifelong dream of being a professional pencil sharpener. I am not joking.

Now, I can't afford $17 for a hand sharpened pencil, but I have to respect someone for finding a career that hadn't existed before him.

Here's his site. Check it out. Even if you don't buy a pencil, it's worth the entertainment.

(Disclaimer- I don't know Mr. Rees at all, nor was I paid to put this up. But I do like his idea.)

28 comments:

Kim said...

Yeah, ok. I can think of better things to spend my money on. You know what? I have a manual pencil sharpener and I use it often. It cost me $1.25 at Walmart. Before that, for some reason, I did not have a pencil sharpener. When I needed a pencil sharped I used my pocketknife.

Lorelei Armstrong said...

Get one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Alvin-DUX-Glass-Inkwell-Sharpener/dp/B001BYRKCK

Only slightly cheaper, but the best pencil sharpener ever. I have mine in my woodshop, and in there if a line is in the wrong place you will end up kicking yourself in the head. I don't know how the Germans manage it, but this thing makes points you could use to stab rhinos, they don't break, and they stay sharp.

Glad to find a fellow pencilphile.

Linda said...

I use my potato peeler to sharpen my pencils. Hell no I don't cook.

Dr. J said...

Remember in grade school there would be that crank operated sharpener bolted to a shelf somewhere in the class? You could go over there any time and make your pencil perfect. Some years the class sharpener was a dud, it had a catch in it, a bent lever or a lousy bearing, but some years it was perfect. Grade 4, that was the year my class had a perfect sharpener, I'll always remember that smooth whirl and the perfect pencils it made...

Jules Someone said...

In the house where I grew up, there was a fabulous pencil sharpener (the school type) screwed into the wall in the utility room. I'm pretty sure it was there when we moved in in 1970. My mom left it there when she moved. I regret it all the time. I feel your pain.

Kim said...

Remember wasting time when going to those grade school crank operated sharpeners that were bolted to a shelf and ending up sharpening your pencil down to a stub?

Amy said...

Oh wow, I thought I was the only person who hated modern pencil sharpeners. They're awful. They don't sharpen worth a darn. What happened to the good ones we used to have back in the 80's?

Packer said...

Art supply stores have a variety, you folks should be able to spend at least a week trying to find the best---sheeeesshhhh

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

I like that guy's style.

Jon said...

Amy-or the better ones from the 50's and 60's?

Don said...

I'll probably get taken out to the Grumpy woodshed for this, but why not use mechanical pencils? They're cheap, and never need to be sharpened.
I use them a lot for preliminary sketches and markups on drawings. They have the advantage of being easier to erase than pen notes.
I will say that his site is interesting.

LindaB said...

I love the Mirado black warrior pencil. Just felt great in my hand. I took four years of Latin and Greek tests with those pencils. Not to mention the #2 bubble tests.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I use mechanical pencils, too. I just hate re-loading them. Those tiny lead sticks shatter all over the place.

Julie said...

love it ... wonder how much he charges to resharpen the pencil after you've used it?

my eldest hasn't got her "pen licence" yet at school so writes in pencil ... the number of times i've noticed that her work would be improved dramatically with the application of a pencil sharpener is frustrating!

The Mother said...

I've switched to the Sharpie Liquid Pencil. Perfect for puzzles.

Jane said...

David Rees was interviewed a few years ago on NPR's Weekend Edition about the aftermath of stealing a bottle of rum from another student at his five-year college reunion. The show page is at Weekend Edition but there's a better mp3 at another site also. Strange, strange guy.

(I took note of this because I'm an Oberlin alum too. However I never stole any booze while I was there.)

Obsessed Pencil Lover said...

@The Mother:
Seriously? Sharpie makes a LIQUID PENCIL?!?!!! I have an obsession with writing utensils of all kinds. I like a good smooth writing blue pen, all kinds of pencils, and Sharpies! Combining two of my favorites in one, I MUST have a Sharpie pencil! Where did you get it? Please enlighten me!

Anonymous said...

Yet another fine point that you have scored [shattering yet more *records* in the process?]

Stanley

CC said...

@Linda B - here's a review of the pencil you mentioned :p http://www.pencilrevolution.com/2006/05/review-of-papermate-mirado-black-warrior/

*astonished that there are actually pencil review sites...*

LindaB said...

@ CC - Wow.

Doris said...

Obsessed Pencil Lover...here you go:

Sharpie Liquid Pencil on Amazon

I actually prefer a pencil to pen if the softness is just right. I have taken to using fine lead mechanical pencils precisely because I like to maintain a certain width to the point.

It is good to see a craftsman take pride in his work...however, how the guy makes a living is beyond me. Still, the number of respondents waxing nostalgic about pencils gives me a clue there are a lot of closet pencil lovers out there!

Jacqueline said...

I do love myself a good pencil!

Anonymous said...

The mechanical pencils are never quite as sharp as a really well-sharpened wooden pencil. A pencil should be sharp enough to cause injury. I finally found some of those little rectangular metal ones that used to have their own spot in those zip-up pencil cases (you know, with the elastic bits that held the pencils and the eraser, and sometimes the eraser had that one end for ink that never worked right? I think sometimes a protractor went in there, too.). They work much better than any plastic sharpener I've found, the only problem being that they don't have a reservoir for the shavings, but that's what wastebaskets are for.

ERP said...

That had to have been lifted from "The Onion".

Swami Dil said...

I love that he even bags and ships the shavings along with the pencil. What would anyone do without them!

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like a perfectly sharpened Tigonderoga!!!
They've got the "fineness" and "hardness" down to a science!

You can Wiki "pencil" and get the goods on the "HB" issue and discover why some pencils are wonderful and others suck!!

lovinmyjob said...

OK no one mentioned the real "draw" of a wooden pencil and sharpener. There is a fragrance associated with them that takes me back to my childhood. I love that smell! The mixture of wood and graphite is heaven. I know; I need to get out more. I have mostly gone to mechanical pencils because of the sharpener issues, but at home I have an awesome sharpener. I found it at an old, family owned used office supply store.

Karanya said...

My dad -- who may be older than mechanical pencil sharpeners, he's pretty ancient -- would, I'm sure, be pleased to provide hand-sharpened pencils for much less. $5 perhaps?

He uses a pocketknife or paring knife. A couple of decades ago, when I was a kid, he always sharpened my pencils for me. I don't know what his secret is, but they wrote better (and longer) than the ones done with an actual pencil sharpener.

(And for those of you doing the math and getting confused, Dad is 85 and was 53 when I was born. Yes, my mom is much younger than he is.)

 
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