A few months ago, Troy contacted us about reviewing the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener, a burr-type sharpener that boasts smooth and quiet sharpening and quality construction. We took delivery of this heavy-duty green sharpener this fall and have put it through lots of tests with lots of pencils. And, golly, we have not reviewed a sharpener in ages! This is a very worthy harbinger of further sharpener reviews. This machine is great.
Type: Single burr, 8mm hole.
Material: Metal body, mechanics and handle, with plastic tray and small parts.
Shavings Receptacle: Large, clear plastic tray.
Point Type: Very long.
Markings: “Pencil Sharpener”.
Place of Manufacture: ???
Availability: Official website and Ebay store..
This is, frankly, a big and heavy sharpener. I’ve heard tell of devoted Comrades carrying burr sharpeners around with them for their daily writing needs. I never do that myself. What I look for in a crank/burr sharpener is metal construction and heft, frankly. I like that this sharpener is burly and solid. It comes with mounting hardware, but I’ve never used it. Since the clips hold your pencil in place, you only need one hand to hold the body still while you crank out a nice, long (LONG) point. You can even hold the machine in your hand (or on your lap) with one hand, while the other cranks the handle.
One of the best features of this sharpener is its auto-stop. The teeth/clamp feed the pencil into the burr mechanism. You turn the crank. The pencil gets sharpened. If you are my age and remember the old sharpeners we had in school that would just eat your pencil if you didn’t stop turning the crank, you might be relieved with this sharpener. When the point is achieved, the feeder stops, and turning the crank doesn’t engage the blade any longer. I put this to the test with some completely new pencils. The auto-stop kept the pencils from getting shorter at all. On very close inspection, the graphite at the point still retains the flatness of its unsharpened state just enough to see with very good eyes. It’s sharp like a pencil, not like a pin — there are no minuscule points that will crumble immediately. This sharpener does not eat pencils.
Speaking of the point, it makes a KUM Longpoint look…stubby. If you like a really, really long point but are not particularly adept at whittling your pencils with a blade/knife, this might be just the sharpener for you. Below, from left to right, are unfinished “sample” pencils with points from: Classroom Friendly Sharpener; KUM 2-step Longpoint; KUM brass wedge. (Note the pin points on the KUMs which are ready to break off.
The smooth cranking action and sharp burrs really place this in the realm of very quiet sharpeners. When I think of the wall-mounted, decades-old behemoths that used to eat my pencils in grade school, I wish heartily that the good sisters of St. Thomas had one of these green beauties around. The wall-mounted monstrosities were loud enough to silence even very loud math lessons from Sr. Teresa Mary.
This machine is not flawless. If there’s one thing that bothers me, it’s the teeth that grip your pencil for sharpening. This sharpener might not eat pencils the way that some burr machines do, but it does bite them a bit. This varied from indentations in thickly lacquered pencils to mini-holes in old Mirados. However, since a pencil is a tool that, by its very design, gets sharpened away anyway, these bite marks are overshadowed by what a great point you can get and how nicely this sharpener is built. I showed this to my good pal, and he said the same thing as me: So what? It’s a pencil for writing/drawing. And, for the record, he sharpened his pocket pencil with it and immediately wanted to know where to get one.
As it stands, it’s my favorite crank/burr sharpener to date. I really like the vaguely retro looks of the chrome and green paint, and the metal body and heavy construction leave me thinking that my 8 1/2-month old daughter will wind up using this for school at some point. I keep mine out in the open because it’s a handsome piece, and I definitely intend to pick up a second unit for my office.