Just a few things I want to mention. I think there was something else I wanted to add, but I forgot…
Pollux spare blades
Thanks to Gunther from the Lexikaliker blog I got a set of spare blades for my Pollux when I met him last month at Insights X. Thank you!
Royal Mail’s 17th century pencil
Royal Mail’s Great Fire of London Special Stamps feature a 17th century pencil. I don’t have the stamp, but I have the postcard with the same picture, so I thought I show you this pencil (the red one on the left), together with a similar pencil – the one from Staedtler’s historic pencil kit. Petroski (1989, p. 47) Petroski, H. (1989) The Pencil writes that by 1610 black lead was used by artists and others to fit into their wooden pencil cases ..so a pencil being used in the planning of the reconstruction of London in 1666 seems realistic.
The photo of the Kaweco Tree Ornament has been taken from the Massdrop offer of this product. I believe that showing the photo in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
What an exciting day. I got two deliveries, one from Japan and one from Germany.
The parcel from Japan was sent from Yumiko, a friend of Sean, who helped me get a few things I couldn’t order myself …including Uniqlo’s Tombow t-shirts. I was able to get the Pelikan version here in Europe, but the Tombow version is not being sold here.
I was hoping that the Japanese XL will be similar in size to the European XL, especially since the t-shirts being sold here come with English/Japanese tags, but unfortunately it turned out that the Japanese XL is at least one size smaller than the European version – so the t-shirts won’t fit unless I lose a lot of weight. I guess I should see this as my incentive to lose more weight ..but I don’t think it’s achievable for me to fit into these anytime soon.
There was also something else in the parcel. Something very special.
Lexikaliker has already covered all important points in his blog post about the Pollux, so I’ll keep it short and will just add a few of my impressions.
Out of the box the sharpener did sharpen well, but it was tearing/ripping the wood more than it should. Strangely enough the graphite point was cut very well, so I am not sure what exactly caused this behaviour that only affects the wood, not the graphite part.
You can see what exactly happened in this video:
I tried fixing it by sharpening the blade, first on a Belgian whetstone. You might have seen this stone in my videos about the Little Shaver. Unfortunately it wasn’t abrasive enough or I didn’t try long enough. I then tried my luck with Spyderco’s Sharpmaker and I got great results. After soe work on the blade the Pollux sharpened like a dream. Before working on the blade it produced shavings with holes in it, because the wood was torn. The shavings themselves had a thickness of around 0.25mm. After my blade treatment the shavings were thinner, 0.15mm thin – very thin.
Here’s a video I made after I worked on the blade:
Like Lexikaliker I measured an angle of around 18.5° for the pencil points produced by the Pollux.
It doesn’t leave bite marks on the pencil, that’s a big advantage – or in my case even a necessary requirement. I don’t think I’d use a pencil sharpener regularly if it leaves bite marks – however good the sharpening mechanism might be.
The point it creates is quite nice and concave. Concave points look good, but I find measuring the angle more difficult. When I try to measure the 0981’s angle using my traditional method I get an angle of 20°. When I measure the angle on a computer I get an angle of slightly more than 21°. In any case the point produced suitable for most purposes, you can compare this angle to other angles on my sharpener page.
The crank features a dial, not uncommon for this kind of sharpener. If you dial all the way to the left you get a ‘full’ point, but you can also create a ‘flat’ point, more suitable for coloured pencils if you set the dial to the right. Any setting in-between both extremes is also possible (the difference between both settings is about 3.5 full turn of the dial (1260°)).
The drawer is of course removable, for emptying the waste created during sharpening. The cutting mechanism is removable as well.
I tried to sharpen a Wopex in the 0981, but the auto stop doesn’t work with the harder material encasing the Wopex lead – this is common for crank sharpeners.
Price and availability
When you search for this sharpener on the internet most pages you can find seem to be from Japan. I assume this means that this sharpener is more commonly available in Japan. You can however find some sellers in the West. In Germany you can get this sharpener for €10 – €15 (~$11 – $22: £7.50 – £15), which seems good value for money.
Price and exchange rates: October 2015
Please open the pictures in a new tab for a high-res view.