Noris shavings

I like the Noris shavings from KUM’s Masterpiece [1]I guess officially it should be ‘KUM’s The Masterpiece’ so much, I took them out of the waste bin to take a photo. noris-shavings


1 I guess officially it should be ‘KUM’s The Masterpiece’

Noris shavings Read More »

KUM Masterpiece


I have used KUM’s Automatic Long Point sharpener, a two-step sharpener, for six years now, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been very happy with it. In the end, it didn’t use it much at all – saying that: it is a good sharpener for Staedtler’s Wopex, though.


After reading Lexikaliker’s blog post about the KUM Masterpiece, a very similar sharpener with a magnesium body, I couldn’t resist and had to try it. I’ll spare you most details about the sharpener as I’d never be able to write them up as well as Lexikaliker anyway.

The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece is quite expensive. I paid €9.25. Luckily Lexikaliker was kind enough to help me get my hands on one. No wonder it’s expensive: There is a lot of manual work involved and that doesn’t come cheap in Germany (but in this case it’s much cheaper that products from another German company involving a lot of manual work).


It’s a two-step sharpener, meaning that in the first step you only ‘sharpen’ the wood away. You then move to the second part of the sharpener where you sharpen the actual lead of the pencil.

The Masterpiece comes in a plastic container that is in a neoprene case.

Stop removed
Stop removed

Actually, the first time I used it I damaged the lid of the plastic container that sits inside the neoprene case – closing the snap fastener needs so much force that the case under it got a crack.


I can’t say that I get much better results with the masterpiece – compared to KUM’s Automatic Long Point sharpener, but it was slightly easier to achieve good results. Another benefit of this model: You can also slide the blue plastic stop off to expose the lead even further before sharpening in the second step. One last point to mention: The Masterpiece has an even more acute angle. Technically the angle for wood and graphite are different. In reality, assuming you used the built-in stop to expose just the right length of graphite, you get an angle of just over 15°. This is the most acute angle I know.

Step 1 completed
Step 1 completed – look at the beautiful shavings from my Noris.

It’s a nice sharpener, top marks for beautiful shavings, and I’m sure it will see more use than it’s Long Point sibling, but I still prefer my Deli 0635.

Step 2 completed
Step 2 completed

KUM Masterpiece Read More »

Neon colours

Greetings from Germany. When I arrived I here was immediately reminded of stationery: Google Now wanted to show me how to get to M&R and KUM, it still does now after a few days here. Funny algorithms…

Neon colours seem to be all the craze this summer. There is of course Lamy’s fluorescent yellow Safari fountain pen. Then there are the neon Wopeces from Lexikaliker’s blog post and there are also the neon Ticonderogas comrade John told us about.

Personally, I’m not always keen on neon pencils.  I bought a yellow Caran d’Ache 844 pencil from Cult Pens, thinking the colour would look like it does on the web site where you can see a nice yellow. I didn’t realise that it’s actually a fluorescent yellow. I understand that the nature of fluorescent colours makes it difficult to reproduce them on photos, but the yellow on the web site it nothing like the real yellow at all. I really didn’t like the colour, but I also didn’t want to spend the money on the postage to send it back. My wife is now using it.

Faber-Castell Sneakers

Faber-Castell is also part of this summer’s neon colour invasion: a modified version of their grip pencil is available in fluorescent colours: the Faber-Castell Sneakers: instead of raised dots you get raised trainers.

I bought the pencils for 99c (~$1.30; 85p) each in our local Müller store. I haven’t seen them anywhere else yet. The orange KUM eraser, not fluorescent, but a nice, bright orange, was €1.09 (~$1.45; 95p). It’s a painted Magnesium sharpener. When I bought these I didn’t realise yet that neon colours are so big this summer, as I hadn’t seen the blog posts from Lexikalier and Pencil Revolution yet.

I wonder whether there’ll be more fluorescent stationery to discover…


Prices and exchanges rates: July 2013


Neon colours Read More »

Magnesium sharpeners

Unfortunately I don’t know too much about chemistry. Even though the Bavarian school system provided me with 13 years of education [1]I think this has now been reduced to 12 years., the type of school I went to and the modules I picked meant that I only ever had one semester of chemistry – so please forgive me and correct me if I am using the wrong words in this blog post.

A few days ago I noticed that my magnesium sharpeners look pretty bad. The surface is now very rough, not shiny any more at all, except for some small areas. The sharpeners have been stored together with a silver plated letter opener I bought very cheap from The Pen Shop. A few erasers were also next to the sharpeners for a long period of time. I’m now wondering what caused the corrosion/tarnishing of the magnesium.

Maybe someone who knows more about chemistry can tell me what happened – so that I can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Click to get a better look how the surface looks like now


My first idea what might have happened: A process similar to the one when aluminium is used to clean tarnished silver took place. The magnesium sharpeners kept the silver-plated letter opener untarnished, because magnesium is less noble than silver and therefore attracted sulphur or other chemical elements.

My alternative suggestion: Just like the chemicals from another eraser ‘ruined’ one of my wooden pencil boxes once, the chemicals from the erasers that were stored together with the magnesium sharpener changed the sharpeners’ surface, too.

Can anyone tell me what really happened to the magnesium sharpeners?


1 I think this has now been reduced to 12 years.

Magnesium sharpeners Read More »

Sharpening a Wopex …again

My previous experience with KUM sharpeners wasn’t very good. Some of the models I have are good, some are not so good and overall I usually prefer sharpeners from other brands.

You might remember that the Staedtler Wopex is a difficult pencil to sharpen. Nevertheless, I like it so much that on an average day it is my most used pencil. Even though sharpening it with a knife yields good results I thought I should try sharpening the Wopex in KUM’s Automatic Long Point 2M, a sharpener I haven’t used in a while because of the unsightly marks it leaves at the base of the exposed graphite [1]These marks are one of the reason why I prefer the Deli 0635 or the Eisen 402.. To my surprise I got fantastic results when I used it to sharpen a Wopex.

KUM’s Automatic Long Point 2M and Staedtler's Wopex

I get best results if I align the Wopex with the top of the sharpener during the second step. If you have a Wopex and the Automatic Long Point 2M try them out. My Long Point sharpener performs much better than the dedicated Wopex sharpeners I have.

Pencil talk has a review of KUM’s Automatic Long Point 2M.


1 These marks are one of the reason why I prefer the Deli 0635 or the Eisen 402.

Sharpening a Wopex …again Read More »