Review of KUM Automatic Long Point Sharpener.

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.  Used with very kind permission.]

28 Comments

  1. I have two of these KUM long point sharpeners. They are the best things in the world. The blades are easy to replace, and the whole instrument is so lovely and compact. The only problem I have run into with this sharpener is that my Ticonderoga matte black pencils do not sharpen well with this otherwise wonderful and smart little tool.

  2. Dennis Dort

    I have written about my manual sharpening travails here before, but no more. The KUM long point is wonderful.

    I like the looks of the longer exposed wood. I also love using the second blade over and over to sharpen the graphite without having to touch the wood.

    I just wish it were brass…..

  3. Bill

    Unfortunately, the blade screw threads stripped out on one side of mine while replacing the blade after just a little over a month of use. I didn’t even tighten it very hard. My email to KUM was acknowledged but then never answered. They should make this with a metal body. It was fantastic while it worked.

  4. For Bill – I’d like to send your damaged unit to the KUM engineers for evaluation. I’ll trade you a new one for your damaged one. In fact, we offer the same replacement policy to all KUM sharpener owners — no matter where the unit was purchased. PencilThings.com has a big stake in making sure KUM users are 100% satisfied. Our address is Pencil Things, Inc., P.O. Box 2067, Santa Fe, NM 87504-2067.

  5. […] I want one of these sharpeners. Yes, I realize I already have five other sharpeners and don’t need another one, but it’s so pretty! I’m a sucker for limited edition writing stuff, especially orange limited edition writing stuff. _______ […]

  6. Jim G

    I’ll bet this would make a great component in a one-gross, incense cedar desktop box Palomino gift set for $99 or so.

    Just a thought. Father’s Day is right around the corner…

  7. Adam Schmidt

    Many thanks to Woodchuck and KUM for coming up with this ultimate sharpener. This is the perfect accessory for my Palomino’s and would do anyone good to own. If you are undecided about purchasing, go and do it now. Besides being fashionable, it’s easy to clean/maintain. A 5-star product from both companies!

  8. This is a great site and i hope that you will come up with another great idea for pencils and there should be a radio in the pencil like those pens and like e.t.c

  9. Robert Olliges

    I’ve had the long point sharpener for some time now and it’s created some great points and endless frustration. Most sharpening attempts abruptly end with snapped lead during the finer sharpener.

    What’s the trick? Different pencils? Different technique? TIA.

  10. kurt H

    A question on the sharpener, when I use it with a Mirado Black warrior the lead gets a spiral out of the first sharpener. Is this normal?

    thanks!

  11. Desert Mole

    pencil sharpner porn, love it! ummm, ahem, yes where was I? i know this is an old post, hope this gets updated. i love a good sharpner, too many cheap ones out there that just don’t do the job, and i have no patience for them.

    one idea for alternative use for sharpeners. i keep one in my emergency kit in my pocket/ backpack when hiking or camping. you can use them to assist making an emergency fire by sharpening a pencil or twig to make enough shavings to help start an emergency campfire if lost/forced overnight stay, etc…

    DM

  12. My hinge gradually got loose and eventually broke off a while back after a couple of blade changes, so I took it out of my portable sketching kit and just kept it for studio use. It is probably the weakest point in its design.

    • I wish they’d make the same two-holed design in metal, as a non-receptacle wedge. That might be the greatest sharpener ever, especially in brass. I currently favor the one-hole brass wedge, even though the points are shorter. It’s just a pleasure to use and to carry around.

  13. Shane

    Here’s a March 1942 Popular Mechanics hack, how to customize a sharpener to do step 1 of our modern long-point sharpener–cut the wood only, leaving the lead unsharpened. Then you could sharpen the lead however you like. The article talks about putting a chisel point on it with sandpaper, for example.

    LINK

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