Saturday, 23 November 2013

Not the sharpest pencil in the box? How wrong can you be!

Have you got the right kind of point on your pencil? Do you know how to achieve the perfect point for the kind of work you need out of that pencil? Have you even got the right lead in your pencil? I thought not. What you need to read is a gem of a book by professional pencil sharpener David Rees entitled How To Sharpen Pencils: A Practical and Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths and Civil Servants.
In this book, part manifesto and part fully-illustrated guide to  the many, many, many ways to sharpen a pencil, Rees reveals the secrets of his craft. By the time you’re through this book, you will know how to get the perfect point on your pencil without injuring yourself. This indispensable manual answers all the questions you’ve ever had about pencil sharpening, plus thousands of questions you didn’t know you had, but would have eventually had if you’d thought about it for a really long time, like the author has. I learnt a lot from it and I don't think I'll look at a rod of carbon encased in a wooden shell in quite the same way again. I'd call it an essential read for anyone who aspires to use or who has ever used a pencil.

And it's not a joke. Deep in New York’s Hudson River Valley, craftsman David—the world’s number one #2 pencil sharpener—still practices the age-old art of manual pencil sharpening. In 2010, he began offering his artisanal service to the world, to the jubilation of artists, writers, draftsmen, Argos shoppers and bingo players everywhere. Take a look at his website - Artisanal Pencil Sharpening and see the man himself in action in the clip below. It's well worth spending 5 minutes or so to enter the world of THE pencil-meister.

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