Review of Dux Inkwell sharpener.

It’s been too long since we posted a review, and Ana from Snow Angels was kind enough to write a review of a great sharpener that I also own — and has taken some fantastic photos to boot!

Technical info:
Type: Blade.
Material: Glass and metal, mostly steel.
Shavings Receptacle: Glass inkwell, available in an assortment of translucent colors.
Point Type: Medium.
Markings: “DUX DX2580N Alvin Made in Germany” on the lid; “DUX Germany” (on sharpener body); blade is not labelled.
Place of Manufacture: Germany.
Availability: Art supply shops; online at Utrecht, Alvin Co., Daniel Smith and others.

Originally, when I saw the luminescent-colored, glass inkwells in the art supply shop, I was disappointed to discover that they were not functional inkwells. I do a lot of hand lettering for work and I was really hoping to find a solid inkwell to store my favorite inks. After I accepted that I would have to keep using cheap plastic bottles for my ink needs, I quickly warmed to the idea of an inkwell sharpener. The colors were beautiful, and the sharpeners had the weight and aesthetics to be genuine desk accesories.

Overall the sharpener seemed to be supremely functional. A standard, silver-metal blade sharpener is mounted into the black cap and is fitted with a stainless steel blade. The cap twists off easily to empty shavings. The sharpener fits easily into my hand and its attractive enough to earn a coveted spot on my desk. The sharpener also detached from the cap via two screws.

The true test of any pencil sharpener, of course, is how well it works and I am pleased to say that this is an excellent sharpener. It sharpens smoothly into long curls and sharpens to a good point — though, in a perfect world, I wish it would sharpen to a slightly longer point. The inkwell holds plenty of shavings and since the container is translucent, its easy to tell when its full.

I got my sharpener at Utrecht art supply for about $5. Many other online art supply shops list them for prices ranging from about $5 to about $8.50. Unfortunately, most online vendors do not offer shoppers the opportunity to select a specific color so I recommend scouting around your nearest art supply shop in order to pick your favorite color. The colors listed are red, blue, amber, or green.

I would recommend this sharpener to anyone looking for a nice, tidy desk sharpener. It holds plenty of shavings and look fabulous while doing it.

(Ed.: Extra blades can also be fitted and purchased from Alvin Co.)

[Images, (c) Ana Reinert, 2006. All rights reserved. Used with very kind permission.]

33 thoughts on “Review of Dux Inkwell sharpener.”

  1. This is a beuatiful thing, and it provides a solution to one of my great challenges as a dedicated pencil revolutionary, i.e., meetings at the office. Since I’ve been using woodcase pencils for taking notes in meetings, I have the problem of sharpening my pencil discretely. I have a handheld KUM sharpener but nowhere for the shavings to go. I could use a cup or some other disposable receptacle, but that just seems wasteful and draws too much attention. I have gotten around the problem so far by just taking more than one sharpened pencil into meetings. Now I can bring in my lovely little sharpener, a single pencil, and keep everything efficient and neat. Thanks for the review.

  2. I love these sharpeners and have all but the blue one, which Utrecht had run out of (I’ll have to stop by again in a few weeks).

    One minor correction—the top screws off rather than twists off.

    Lovely photos. They do look great on your desk, even without the backlighting. :)

  3. For a discreet sharpener for meetings, I recommend the Prismacolor black bullet — its loaded with a KUM sharpener and can be tucked in a pocket for sharpening on the go.

    I found my bullet sharpener at Office Depot for a few dollars and posted a photo in the Pencil Revolution pool on FLickr.

  4. Word on the Prismacolor bullet sharpener. Another [simple and obvious] way to deal with this is to bring more than one pencil to a meeting.

  5. Speaking of pencil sharpeners, I’ve been looking for a good hand cranked pencil sharpener. The kind that you bolt onto a wall or desk. I can’t seem to find any of them on the internet. Have the gone out of fashion?

    I have one at home now but it just chews the pencils rather then sharpens them. Any chance I could just replace the innards assuming if I could find out who made the one I have? Thanks.

  6. Pencil Revolution,
    Twisting is the motion of unscrewing, no? :)

    No, not exactly. Think of the difference between twistoff pop/soda/beer tops and a screw-off jam jar. The action is different, and most twist-off tops can’t be replaced so that they don’t come off agains. Screw-off ones can be replaed securely.

    That’s why I wanted to clarify this is definitely a screw-off top (the photos show the threads, which a twist-off wouldn’t have).

    And here I thought these details would be considered important . . .

  7. Point taken, but the “action” of twist-off beer bottles and jar of pickles is the same motion in the same direction — the difference being the nature of the closure system.

  8. I just couldn’t leave the twist / screw thing alone. My old engineering books would suggest this definition-
    A screw top has actual proper threads on the cap and bottle, a twist top has a proper thread on just one. In practice usually the bottle has the thread and the cap just has a formed or “dented” in section that engages into the thread on the bottle. Twist tops rarely have more than a 1/2 turn, screw tops usually have several turns to fully close them.

  9. The Boston Ranger 55 is without a doubt the finest sharpener I’ve used. However, you need to find an original USA made model off eBay – the modern ones are all stamped steel and significantly less nice. I got a 1950’s vintage one in today – it was a bit loose, but a few twists on the machine screws on the *cast* metal body snugged it right up. Puts a tip on a pencil that’ll make you cry. As fine as you want – I’d guess down under 0.2mm. Adjutable, too – blunt is about 0.7mm; medium is about 0.4mm, and fine, as I menioned well under that.

    Very long points too, for those that like that.

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  11. Can anyone tell me how the long point sharpener from KUM compares to the DUX-3 adjustable point sharpener? How ‘long’ is the long setting on the DUX compared to the KUM? Thanks!

  12. I like these sharpeners a lot.

    But … I’ve learned that there is no guaranteed consistency between sharpeners, even if they are of the same make and model. Spend another buck, buy a drawing quality H or HB pencil, and run it through several (or at least a few) sharpeners before walking to the register. See how well it works with a harder pencil, for softer pencils won’t call out a poor sharpener that breaks off a tiny bit of the tip.

    I am suprised to read of those who prefer long points. I noticed that the little KUM handhelds and Boston crankers really put a long point on. I usually use pencils for drawing, and a medium point seems much more comfortable to me – especially when drawing in a smaller scale. And I imagine it would be the same for writing, where tight curls and loops are made. To each their own though. To, a long point doesn’t even look or feel right – unless you’re planning to play darts.

  13. @pencilnostalgia: I just ordered one, and I have a KUM Long Point sharpener. I’ll review the DUX in about a month on my blog, once I’ve given it a chance to fail.

  14. This is the first sharpener I’ve owned — hand held or electric — that yields true needle-point sharpness, which is important for color-pencil artists. And it’s amazing how it does so in so few rotations.

  15. I bought one of the red Dux sharpeners a quite a few years ago. I was initially attracted by the color, but the blades made me love it. Unfortunately, (and maybe they have changed this since) the glass was not actually colored, but painted with a translucent veneer. I found this out when the paint started peeling off, and I ended up with a clear glass sharpener. Still works great, but I did love that color.
    Has anyone else had this experience? Mine was identical to the pictures in the reviews, but red.

  16. This pencil sharpener is horrible. The screws on top that held the blade to the black top got loose in like a week, and when you tried to tighten them they focused in half.

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