I Think I Should Carry Mr. Rees’ Torch.

Mr. David Rees, our favorite Artisanal Pencil Sharpener has hinted that he might hang up his Sharpener Hat:

When Rees started, he hoped every busted tip would lead the writer to pay for a sharpening. Instead, most customers order David’s pencil points and display them as artwork.
“The whole point of the business is to remind people to appreciate yellow, No. 2 pencils because they’re really cool and interesting,” he said. “And to make a ton of money.”
But at this point, work feels like work.
“You do anything long enough for money, it just starts to become a job,” he said.
So as he nears the nice round number of 2,000 sharpenings, Rees suggested that soon he’d like to clean out his sharpeners for good, leaving the world a much duller place.


I am not going to kid myself and assume that I could do quite as sharp of a job as Mr. Rees does, but I think I could come close with enough practice. Of course I have one of his specially-sharpened pencils (which I should write a post about one of these days). It is a point to which one might rightly aspire! I think I could do it, while still accomplishing everything I manage to Get Done in a day. One more cup/pint of coffee a day could enable me to Transcend the normal amount of hours in a day and become an Artisanal Pencil Sharpener. As it is, I generally flutter above my chair.

(Check out our review of Mr. Rees’ fantastic book.)

And, General’s, if you are reading this, you should totally send this apron to HQ! We LOVE (LOVE LOVE LOVE!) General’s Pencil Company at Pencil Revolution. I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t received some of your fine pencils from me at some point. I am not being ironic or snarky or sarcastic when I say that everyone in my hipster neighborhood will see my smiling face in this apron.

Finally, check out this video of the neighborhood in which Comrades can find Pencil Revolution HQ. Indeed, most of these locations are within a two-minute walk, and my personal favorite restaurant is featured (Golden West Cafe’).

6 thoughts on “I Think I Should Carry Mr. Rees’ Torch.”

  1. “As it is, I generally flutter above my chair.” Laugh, that made my day (stay away from energy drinks if you’ve already achieved liftoff, though). You’re more than a fair hand with hand-sharpening as I recall. I think you’d fill the artisanal space Rees has carved out very well, Comrade. I would also wear that smock proudly, or a teeshirt in Kimberly green with a gold logo.

    1. Thank you, Dobro! I need to sharpen up my old BSA pocketknife, circa 1990. :)

      When I defended my dissertation, I was on enough caffeine to actually levitate. Coffee-flavored energy drinks and espresso shots and a serious lack of sleep. I think I was hearing echos instead of my committee that day. I’ve cut myself back to only around three liters of French pressed coffee a day lately. :)

  2. Any plans how you would sharpen them (what tools, ..)? I think pre-sharpening them with a 0635 and finishing them off with some fine sand paper might be great, but maybe customers expect more than this Centaur approach to sharpening..

    Your neighbourhood looks great in the video (certainly when compared to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37JnZJSbiNM (where I live)). And I can’t believe they sell Uncle Joe’s in your neighourhood (someone put it in the basket). The typewriter did look a bit battered though: the keys looked rather stuck.

  3. Just buy yourself an Opinel carbone pocket knife and a sharpening stone (together that would cost about 30 Euros/ 40 USDollars or something) Sharpen it to a razor sharp edge ( very easy with Opinel knives, that’s why I suggest this particular knife!) And you can sharpen any pencil with ease! I always use my opinel when sharpening pencils (mostly 5.6mm leadholders) I couldn’t live without it! Matthias’ idea of using a bit of sanding paper to finish it off, is also quite useful, I always have a piece of sanding paper laying around!

    You’d probably become better than mr. Reese, considering your knowledge about pencils!

    1. In his book David Rees is writing about finishing his pencils off with sand paper etc, that’s why I mentioned it. I actually don’t finish knife sharpened pencils like that but I do use the knife on the exposed graphite in the end – without removing more wood ..just to be able to form a good point more easily.
      An Opinel “carbone” used for sharpening pencils can be seen at http://bleistift.memm.de/?p=2426 last picture (There was no stainless steel version yet when this one was made, so it isn’t marked “carbone”.

      1. I like the look of that high-carbon blade very much! I have a few stainless blades, but I really like the point I can get (and keep!) with some nice high-carbon. Plus I like the look of that metal. :)

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