Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Lost Art of Pencil Sharpening

When was the last time you sharpened a pencil, I mean really sharpened a pencil?  Most people I know have given up on sharpening pencils and have just gone all pen or mechanical pencil.  A good number of those people around who still sharpen a nice wooden pencil probably use fairly inexpensive pencil sharpener that whittles the wood to a nice cone, but doesn't do much to actually keep the graphite core sharp.  When I was last interested in proper drafting we used a lead pointer to make sure that the graphite was as sharp as possible to make sure our lines were thin, slim, and perfect.

I'm not going to lie to you, a #1 Dixon Ticonderoga is a seriously classy pencil, and deserves a little more respect than to be chewed on by an overly aggressive electric pencil sharpener.  Sure the pencils are cheaply mass produced and you can buy another dozen for less than cup of coffee, but why not cherish the moment and treasure the small things.  These days most drafting is even done with mechanical pencils, and I have to assume that there is no way you can get the same crisp lines of the old days.

One man has taken it upon himself to make sure that we as a country give a properly sharpened pencil the respect it deserves.  For a price David Rees will sharpen any pencil you send him, or if you prefer he'll pick a pencil to sharpen for you.  Is it a joke?  Maybe, but at the same time you are getting a unique one of a kind sharpened pencil that could pass as art.  There are enough people giving him money to sharpen their pencils, so clearly he's making some money so even if it is a joke it's a good one.


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