KUM Masterpiece Instructions.

While the KUM Masterpiece is a fine piece of engineering and one of the pieces of Pencil Ephemera about which I have been the most excited lately, there is something missing that I hope we can add to the Pencil World. The instructions on KUM’s website are not great. The video is produced to a quality standard that does no justice to all of the research and work that went into this sharpener. I have practiced a bit, and I think I have figured out the best way to use this sharpener.

First, start with a quality pencil. This machine begs for at least a good Semi-Cheap, if not something premium. From there, follow these steps:

1) Use the hole marked 1 to sharpen away the wood. Do this until the graphite hits the auto-stop (the blue piece). You might notice that there is a piece of wood stuck to the long piece of exposed graphite on one side. What you want to do is push the pencil into the hole and gently against the blade again, and keep doing this until you encounter no resistance at all, i.e., there is no more wood being cut.

1A) Another option is to push the blue plastic out of the way before step 1. Then you can expose graphite to your Pencil Heart’s content. You can then proceed on to the shaping the graphite.

2) Use the hole marked 2 to sharpen the graphite. At the beginning, the exposed wood of the pencil will not fit against the cavity of the hole. You’ll have to do your best to center the burgeoning point. Turn the pencil, and watch fine pieces of graphite pile up on top of the sharpener. Here, you have a couple of options:

2A) Bring the graphite to a nice point, and then stop. You will have an odd-looking point that is not as sharp as the Masterpiece is capable of producing. But maybe you don’t want one that’s that sharp. Or maybe you are pressed for time. The advantage of this method is that you can sharpen the graphite again to a point without having the sharpen the wood again. You can skip Step 1 and just point the graphite at least one more time.

2B) Push the point into the second hole until you notice the blade cutting wood as well as graphite. It is this method which will get you the acute point that you see on the pencils at the top of this post, and this is the Insane Point for which this sharpener is made, I believe.

I hope this is helpful and not overly cheeky to KUM. If Comrades find better/alternate ways of using this sharpener, I’m sure we’d all be glad to read about them in the comments section. Also, check out Gunther‘s and Matthias‘s posts about the Masterpiece, with way better photos and more information about this fascinating sharpener.

17 thoughts on “KUM Masterpiece Instructions.”

  1. I see beautiful long points in the photo but I don’t think I would want points that long for writing. My preference is for B or 2B pencils and even good ones will have points which break easily if they are too long. Last week I noticed that my Palomino (KUM) long point sharpener seemed to have dull blades. Rather than use the spare blades I sharpened the old ones with a flat diamond blade sharpener. It works better now but with most pencils my electric Panasonic sharpener does a better job with fewer points breaking during sharpening.

    1. I love this Masterpiece sharpener and the long point for writing! I write 1-2 full pages (8.5 x 11, college ruled) per tip. Alfredo is right, the ultra sharp point breaks, so I don’t sharpen that far. I stop just before.

      I keep 12 sharpened pencils always at the ready. I write with a pencil until too dull, then grab one from the awaiting bunch and don’t loose the flow of thought. I accumulate dull pencils to the side, and at some point sharpen them to writing sharp (not artist sharp). I get 2 points per removal of wood. This is actually a great way to let ideas brew in their natural stall point, where they need to percolate before pouring onto paper. Grin.

  2. I wish the thing put out a nice point- I like long points, but I don’t like the way the wood and graphite transitions (does not look too pretty)

    1. Some of that might be user error because I stopped too soon. The Blackwing MMX is this sharpener at its full potential. The angle of the lead and wood are different, though. Gunther has more about this in his fantastic post (see above).

  3. Thanks for the link.

    Do you like it more than a the classroom friendly sharpener?

    I used step 2B in the past to improve my results on the Long Point – with good results.

  4. Pingback: Blackwing 725.
  5. Can anyone compare the points produced via the Masterpiece with those produced via the Dux Adjustable sharpener.
    I just got a new Dux via ebay, and the little beauty produces a point that seems as pointy and sharp as practicable, but I always wonder about what else might be out there ;-)

    1. The KUM MP produces a far more acute point than the DUX even at its pointiest setting. I measured the DUX at ~22.5 degrees, the KUM MP at 15.5, give or take a half a degree for both.

      Here is a graphic showing how long the points last on the DUX, Blackwing Automatic Long Point, and KUM Masterpiece, using a Blackwing 602 :


      I was writing out Chem solutions so there isn’t much on a page. This was a trial run so there is a lot of scatter for a few reasons (different papers mainly). But in any case it is clear that with the more reduced angle the point retention is increased, but it doesn’t appear to be trivially linear.

  6. Do you know what replacement blades the KUM Masterpiece requires? I just replaced the graphite blade with a “standard” “8010511 530A” KUM replacement blade sold by Pencils.com when I bought the Masterpiece. It is wider by two hairs than the replacement blades that came with the sharpener (which I remembered and tried, and hey! Presto! It works great!).
    Customer service note, Pencils.com acted like I was a moron for having this experience (I may be!) while CW Enterprises offered to look into it for me and get right back.

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