Finally, another sharpener review! This piece is courtesy of our good friend and pencil champion Woodchuck.
KUM and California Republic Stationers have collaborated to introduce a special edition Palomino Long Point Sharpener. This is an adaptation of the premium “Automatic” Long Point sharpener from KUM that features a two step process to acheiving a perfect point. The first step sharpens just the wood leaving the graphite core mostly untouched for step two; sharpening the graphite core to a fine even point. Normally available in a translucent red finish this special edition is translucent orange to complement the Palomino graphite pencil range.
Type: Dual 8mm holes – to sharpen regularly-sized pencils in two steps.
Blade Material: 2 Steel blades (plus 2 replacement blades included).
Shavings Receptacle: Translucent orange plastic with clear plastic hinged lid; oval profile.
Point Type: Long Point (approx 2.3cm from sharpend pencil point to lacquer coat 0.5cm exposed graphite core).
Markings: “Palomino California Republic Stationers” is imprinted in gold on side of the sharpener; “KUM Automatic Long Point” appears on the clear lid with “Made in Germany” on the bottom.
Physical Size: Approximately 2 1/2 inches long X 1 1/2 wide X 1 inch high.
Availability: Palomino Limited Edition through Pencil World Creativity Store; standard KUM Automatic online at Pencilthings.com, Dick Blick and art and office supply stores.
Prior to being exposed to this two-step sharpener I was a devotee of the KUM metal wedge sharpeners favoring either the magnesium two hole or a block type one hole sharpener. I have several varieties of these, both with and without various container formats. I’ve even gone so far as to string a two hole magnesium wedge sharpener to a lanyard for use during fishing trips. I still enjoy the range of magnesium wedge sharpeners for the simplicity, and the clean, short points when I’m using a Golden Bear or Prospector around the house or office.
However, I’ll no longer touch my Palominos with anything but this Long Point sharpener. It provides a fine, crisp point that lasts longer between sharpenings than the wedge point. The feel and performance when writing or sketching is just great. While it does take a bit more care to protect the sharper point for the first few minutes of use than the more blunt wedge shape of other sharpeners, it’s worth the effort. This sharpener also makes the pencil look so much more of a premium product, much better than our initial factory sharpening which does the best job we can do without hand sharpening and creating a higher risk of damage during shipment. If I could find a way to provide the Palominos with this quality point straight from the factory without any damage I’d do it in a minute.
Each sharpener comes with two spare blades and a cardboard case with operating instructions on the two-step sharpening process. The blades are interchangeable, as it’s the design and precision milling of the light magnesium alloy that positions the pencil relative to the blade to achieve a perfect pencil point. The screw-mounted blades are held absolutely immovable, do not loosen, and the pencil does not wobble while turning. Since you’re sharpening the graphite alone in the second step, you can get to a great point purely by feel as you can really sense the lighter resistance of the graphite on the steel blade.
One thing I still don’t quite understand is the name “Automatic”. Though it was explained to me as something to do with the autostop feature so that the 1st step of sharpening the wood alone does not oversharpen the pencil, it seems to me this is really a manual sharpener. Thus the “Automatic” terminology seems a bit out of place, and for our purposes we have dropped the Automatic name from our eBay listing.
KUM produces two standard styles. A red version which is just the same as this Palomino limited edition and blue version which adds a 0.5mm mechanical lead pointer to one side. Both are available through PencilThings.com and other places online.
As far as this special edition Palomino Long Point version is concerned I was first introduced to this sharpener back in January at the Frankfurt PaperWorld fair during a meeting with KUM Owner and Managing Director Fritz Luettgens. I knew immediately I had to pair it with our Palomino pencils to ensure our users had the opportunity to experience the best sharpened point in the world with our fine quality pencils. The whole group at KUM was great to work with and patiently created a series of color variations until we got just what we wanted, a nice translucent orange with our gold California Republic Palomino imprint on one side.
[Images and text, Woodchuck.Â Used with very kind permission.]