Review of Boston Bulldog Sharpener.

Gordon Coale was very kind in writing the review of the Boston Bulldog sharpener for us (which also appears on his site here).

Technical Information
Type: Blade.
Material: Plastic.
Shavings Receptacle: Barrel.
Point Type: Long-Point.
Markings: “BOSTON” (body).
Place of Manufacture: Made in China, by Hunt Mfg. Co.
Availability: Office Max stores and Mister Art, among other sources.

“The heartbreak of a pencil sharpener.”

This is the second time I’ve written this review of the hand held Boston rotating lid pencil sharpener.

The little Boston hand held sharpener has a lot of things going for it. This biggest thing is that it has a container to hold the shavings. Even better, it has a rotating top that keeps the shavings inside.

It’s big enough to hold a fair amount of shavings but small enough to fit in a pocket. It also puts a nice long point on the lead and the barrel shape makes it comfortable to hold while sharpening. However, there was one teensy drawback. I wrote the first review as I did this one, with my California Republic Palomino HB in my Moleskine notebook. I was almost finished when the little Boston sharpener started to eat my Palomino. The blade had gone dull.
No continuous curls of shaved wood — just sawdust and a broken lead. Oh, heartbreak! Was this relationship to end when it had barely begun? Apparently.

The blade was attached with a screw which means that the blade could be replaced if only I could find a replacement. I Googled high and low, and not a single replacement blade was to be found. I was looking for a long term relationship with my pencil sharpener, and now it appears that I will be forced into a series of short term relationships and one night stands as I search the seedy environs of drug stores and supermarkets for the cheap plastic thrills they offer. I can’t do this. I want a good sharpener that I can settle down with and make shavings.

So I Googled for a sharpener with replaceable blades. There isn’t much. Staedtler had some hand held pencil sharpeners with replaceable blades but I couldn’t find anyone who carried the sharpener and the blades. What has this world come to?

Then I found the hand held sharpeners at Alvin — a fine assortment of spiffy sharpeners and their replaceable blades. Unfortunately, Alvin only sells the sharpeners in blister packs containing many sharpeners. I’m afraid I can’t afford a polygamous relationship with many sharpeners. I am a one sharpener kind of guy. But they did sell the blades in affordable 3 packs. Alvin has Alvin and Kum sharpeners. The Kum sharpeners had a variety of models with containers. The Alvin brand has some nice metal ones including the sublime Bullet, a sharpener reduced to it’s essentials.

I searched the web for an Alvin or Kum sharpener and it’s replaceable blades. I only found two sites, and the selection on both sites was minimal. Oh, where will I find the sharpener meant for me? Maybe there is hope. I had an exchange of emails with Charles Berolzheimer, aka WoodChuck the pencil pusher, President of California Cedar Products Company, from whom all Palomino pencils flow, and I spilled my heart out to him about my fruitless search for a long term relationship type of pencil sharpener. He is going to see what he can do at the Pencil World Creativity Store. Good luck WoodChuck!

Maybe some day in the near future there will be the pencil sharpener of my dreams nestled in my pocket ready to make shavings. A guy can hope.

Many many thanks, Gordon! Be sure to check out Gordon’s other post about pencils and Moleskines.

[Text and images, G.C. Used with kind permission. First image, J.G.]

18 Responses to “Review of Boston Bulldog Sharpener.”

  1. I’ve had the same problem with my BOSTONs. The point is excellent for writing, but the blades seem like they can’t handle the angle. It’s handy to keep in your desk for emergencies, though:)

  2. Slywy says:

    I really like my Staedtler sharpeners — metal sharpener in a plastic catcher, or the ones without the catcher for times it doesn’t matter. I’ve ruined only one blade so far (nicked one).

    http://tinyurl.com/abumc

  3. Fun-ny!
    I was just coming here to lament the lack of pencil sharpener guides myself. And I find a well written article already stating my pain.

    What about the difference between battery operated and electric pencil sharpeners? Those new Boston X-Acto electrics look great. But then Woodchuck has some Battery operated Golden Bears that look delicious.

    I love my Palomino Pencils and the box of Mongols I found in the spare desk in the server room. But I hate walking across the plant to sharpen them up in secretary row.

    Anyone got any ideas? I read about those Krum pencil sharpeners, they sound great also. But I dont want to buy a Gross of them … the wife would kill me. But I would be more than happy to paypal someone for a couple. Or any other brands (say like those Alvins in the article)

  4. Krum … yes I had dessert on my mind .. i meant KUM .. doh!

  5. xunil.penguin:

    I find the KUMs at university bookstores and local art shops in Baltimore (when I’m on the East Coast anyway) pretty frequently. The double-hole version is much easier to find, and I’ve recently noticed that it makes a nicer point (longer at least).

    You can get them online, but they usually come in multi-dozen packs or boxes. I’ll keep checking, though.

    There are some other very nice wedges to be had. The Staedtler ones are usually sold at Staples with the drafting supplies, and you can pick up a $5 half-dozen (a steal!) pack of HB Lumograph 100s, too! :)

  6. WoodChuck says:

    Yes, it’s true I’m now in contact with KUM and evaluating a selection of their sharpeners to add to my Pencil World Store. Samples were shipped to me today. If I decide to move forward to become a dealer of these fine German made sharpeners I will be making these available on the store sometime after the first of the year.

    I’d be interested in feedback from fellow Revolutionaries as to what features seem most important. Are the following value added features something you would pay for or not.
    - two hole sharpeners for normal and jumbo diameter pencils
    - with or without containers to catch the shavings
    - higher quality “luxury style” desktop hand sharpener which includes container in Aluminim or Gold Plated finish as opposed to plastic container for shavings
    - magnesium vs. bronze vs. gold plated finish
    - any strong interest in a pointer sharpener to be used with mechanical pencils
    - any interest in cosmetic pencil sharpeners
    - would you really order replacement blades or not

    The Golden Bear battery operated sharpener we offer is actually a unique design which uses a typical plastic hand sharpener rather than other forms of rotary cutters. While this keeps the cost down the blade is not replaceable and when the batteries run down sharpening performance drops until you replace the batteries. The product is Made in China and was originally purchased to support a large promotion with a foreign distributor. I haven’t used one much myself. Frank C. bought one and perhaps may have something to say.

    At work I also have one of the finest electric sharpeners at my desk which is made in Japan allows settings for different sharpnesses of points and costs $150. It even has a guage showing the torque applied as the pencil sharpens. It gives a nice long point. Though the medium wedge from a good KUM hand sharpener is my personal preference.

  7. humdog says:

    first of all: gordon. i love you. i enjoyed your post tremendously.

    second. there *is* no pencil sharpener that actually works. i bought a little sharpener called “Mini Ace” at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Los Angeles, which makes the perfect point to me, but the blade does not last long. There is a plastic sharpener (the guts are metal, but the housing is transparent plastic) made by Staedtler that i like ALOT, and have been using the same one for over a year, so that one almost works. i also like the metal staedtler sharpeners from Staples (which probably have the same guts as my little plastic sharpener). but there is really NO ur-sharpener. for my leadholder (yes i am still using it) i use a staedtler lead pointer. i have an electric sharpener, but i like cranking the pencil and i wonder what is so hard about cranking a pencil in a sharpener that we need a battery assist for that. my electric sharpener cost way too much money. i have not seen a KUM sharpener around here.

    back to pencils:
    1. prospector is good.
    2. golden bear is better.
    3. palomino is the best. please put an eraser on the end and i might be in love.
    4. staedtler 4B is closer to blackwing than is the turquoise 4B.
    5. i want something that writes like the berol draughting pencil, but a thinner line. yes. i am dreaming. i know that.
    6. i want a set up like the faber perfect pencil thing but that does not cost more than 25 bucks.

    thank you. i feel better now.

  8. Humdog, Faber-Castell makes a “Perfect Pencil” in green plastic that runs $10-$15, for the 100th anniversary of the Castell 9000. It’s not as fancy, but it does the same job:)

  9. Humdog, here’s what I was talking about. The 9000 is a great pencil, but the HB runs a little light (comparable to a Mirado HB or GRIP 2001). The B is heaven, though:)

  10. Gabe says:

    Five Alvin Kum sharpeners at dickblick.
    dickblick

    KUM two-hole sharpener sold singly.
    click here

    Other KUM sharpeners sold singly.
    click here

    Some Dahle wedge and rectangular sharpeners.
    click here

    Cheers,
    Gabe

  11. Bill says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve had and used an Alvin KUM 0010 sharpener since about 1988 or ’89. The same sharpener. The same original blade. It is still sharp, and yes I do use it a lot. You may not need those replacement blades.

  12. Bill says:

    Humdog, funny you should mention the Perfect Pencil. I just bought two of them from Wet Paint Art online (wetpaintart.com). One for black-lead pencil, one for red. $10 each + S&H ($8.72, ugh, but they only do UPS, which is overkill for two little gadgets that probably don’t weigh more than 4 or 5 ounces together). Besides shipping costs, my only complaint is that I ordered before noon on Friday and the order wasn’t shipped until Tuesday. But I guess they are a small outfit and I can’t complain about the product price itself.

  13. Pencil Revolution said:
    The Staedtler ones are usually sold at Staples with the drafting supplies, and you can pick up a $5 half-dozen (a steal!) pack of HB Lumograph 100s, too! :)
    And to think .. I need to pass by there on the way home tonight! An opportunity to wander the aisles of an office supply store.

    Woodchuck said:
    I’d be interested in feedback from fellow Revolutionaries as to what features seem most important. Are the following value added features something you would pay for or not.
    - two hole sharpeners for normal and jumbo diameter pencils
    - with or without containers to catch the shavings
    - higher quality “luxury style” desktop hand sharpener which includes container in Aluminim or Gold Plated finish as opposed to plastic container for shavings
    - magnesium vs. bronze vs. gold plated finish
    - any strong interest in a pointer sharpener to be used with mechanical pencils
    - any interest in cosmetic pencil sharpeners
    - would you really order replacement blades or not

    Single hole, without container, magnesium or Bronze, Yes to the mechanical pencil sharpener, yes to the replacement blades.

  14. humdog says:

    my perfect pencil sharpener is not shiny. it is heavy. it looks like it means business. it makes a sharp point and does not take too much wood off the pencil when it is doing that. i’d also like to be able to sharpen a regular pencil into a flat point.

    ok so i dream alot.

    i REALLY like the california republic golden bear pencils.

    i got a tube of wood toned prospectors, wrapped them up with raffia in bundles of six and gave them away as holiday presents at a thing i went to last weekend. everybody LOVED them.

    i share this idea as a nice present for co-workers in case you don’t want to go broke.

  15. kat says:

    is there anywhere on line to purchase replacement blades for regular small pencil sharpeners – as in collectors sharpeners and bakelite? thank you.

  16. Ted says:

    Hi
    Do you know any Canadian Pencil Sharpner manufactorer?
    thanks

  17. tward says:

    I was also searching for a replacement blade for my Boston heavy duty pencil sharpener and ran across this site…. I just must say… I hope you all have pocket protectors!!

  18. Matt Petty says:

    You might try this place:
    http://www.manufactum.com/Produkt/0/1401325/DuxPrecisionPencilSharpener.html?suchbegriff=pencil

    I can’t vouch for the pencil sharpener, but they have many nice things…

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