Review of General’s 3-in-1 sharpener.

This review is from Gary Varner from Inkmusings.  Many many thanks to Comrade Gary! 

The General’s 3-in-1 Pencil Sharpener:  Form AND Function?

What’s about $5, doesn’t make a mess, and even keeps colored lead shavings from staining your Palomino? Why, the General 3-in-1 Pencil Sharpener, that’s what! But before you run down to your local art supply to pick up one, there’s some good news and bad news.

First, the technical specifications:

Type:  Three blades, double receptacle.
Blade material: Steel.
Shavings Receptacle:  Two plastic snap-off cups.
Point Type: 5/16” pencils on colored pencil side, 7/16″ and 3/8″ pencils on lead pencil side.
Markings: “Made in Germany” on bottom, “Color” on colored pencil cup lid,”Made in Germany” on metal blades.
Physical size:  2-1/2″ high, 1-5/8″ wide.
Availability: Online at most art supply sites; local art supply; some office supply stores.

And now, the good news:  the General 3-in-1 definitely scores points for form. The halves snap together solidly and keep any debris from messing up your pocket or backpack. Snap the sharpener open, and there’s a side for colored pencils (yellow) and a double sharpener for non-colored (orange). Separation means your colored pencils won’t gum up the sharpeners for your serious pencils. The black receptacle caps snap off easily to empty the shavings cups, and while not holding a lot, they certainly help when you’re places you don’t want to make a mess. All of this combines into one compact, portable sharpening solution.

So does it score as well for function? Not exactly. The quality of sharpening is okay, but not great. Colored pencils seem fine, but harder lead tends to chatter a bit in turning, but with practice produces a decent point. And that’s the bad news, although not terrible news.

Ah, comrades, don’t despair: the Revolution is all about finding a better way. There is a simple hack that will make this sharpener with its snap-cups and multi-point versatility, a “must take” tool. With a flick of your fingernail lift the plastic stops (see photo), remove the orange double blade, and replace it with a KUM double-holed wedge. NOW you’ve got a heckuva sharpener, and you won’t incur the wrath of your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/roommate for getting shavings all over the carpet.

Life is good.

[Text and images, G.V. Used with kind permission.]

10 Comments

  1. humdog

    i got one like that only it is made by faber castell. it is ok but i am not in love with.

    what i AM in love with is a KUM double hole sharpener that has both a reg and a long point. i love the long point because i can make it write kind of like a stub fountain pen.

    yes.
    i AM nuts.

  2. I don’t like anything, really, that isn’t metal all around the blades. For some reason, plastic casing around the blades doesn’t work as well.

  3. I have the Faber Castell version of this and made the same hack. I’ve been meaning to write it up, but… Anyway, I actually replaced the color sharpener in mine with an orange one by General that came with some pencil caps. The hole is perfect for my Triconderoga’s wide body, but not large enough to let the pencil wiggle as I sharpen it. This hacked sharpener is always by my side.

  4. So does the KUM wedge sharpener fit in the Faber-Castell trio body? (coz I prefer non-plastic if possible)
    But even that is a senseless question, unless someone is kind enough to do some donkey-work for me. I live in New Zealand and noone will send these things from their US store. And no one store seems to stock FC and KUM, making postage ridiculous, even if it were possible. So….is there any benevolent American out there who would be willing to buy the FC trio sharpener and a KUM wedge, and perhaps put up an auction on Ebay with a reasonable buy-now, which I would snaffle up with much gratitude???? I can pay with paypal.
    If you can, please leave a comment on this blog – http://blogs.bootsnall.com/kiwifamily/ (it’s the whole reason we are looking for a portable sharpener coz we can’t fit our big sturdy reliable one in a backpack)
    Thanks ever so much – I wonder if miracles still happen.

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