Sharpeners


Masuwa’s pencil knife 3

Masuwa “Pensil sharpner”

One of the latest additions to my assortment of pencil sharpeners is the rather beautiful pencil knife from Masuwa.

The pencil knife is available in different versions. This is the version that comes in a beautiful case in either cherry or walnut wood. I picked cherry wood as the walnut version, even though it is also very beautiful, looked a bit too serious for my current taste.

The set comes with a bit of ‘paper work’ (see image above), some little feet you can put on the bottom of your wooden case and it comes, of course, with the star of the set: the pencil knife (wrapped in paper in the image above and unwrapped in the image below) as well as the sandpaper-like surface at the bottom of the case (visible in the image below) that can be used to shape the graphite point.

I hope you agree that this set is stunningly handsome.

The blade comes with a notch similar to the one you can find on the blade of an electrician’s knife. It is also extremely sharp as you can see in the video I link to in this blog post [1]I actually linked to the video in the Reddit pencil group, but unfortunately the moderators removed it without any explanation..

The end of the handle shows the manufacturer’s mark.

The design of the box means that the knife disappears in a slot at the bottom of the case. There is an equivalent slot in the lid to enable the lid to sit perfectly on top. There is however nothing to securely hold the lid in places. If you want to take this case with you you will need to secure it with a rubber band or maybe with a more elegant solution I didn’t come up with yet.

The end of the case near the ‘sandpaper’ (more about that in my video) is lowered to create a nice angle when you use the ‘sandpaper’ and to hold pencil shavings if necessary.

The box is well made, not only on the inside, but also from the outside – and the lid fits exactly.

Be aware though, the look will change very soon. Any graphite dust will seep into and saturate the porous wooden surface and will be more or less impossible to get out. I tried to clean the wood using different (non-destructive) means and was unsuccessful. You probably best try to convince yourself that this is an example of 用美 [2]Lexikaliker wrote a blog post about Yo no bi. – beauty through use, like for example a nicely aged product made from leather that changes over time and shows signs of use.

You can also get a cheaper version of this knife with a much simpler rest instead of a case.

Thanks to Stephen who made me aware of this pencil knife.

To finish off: a video from the manufacturer:

References

References
1I actually linked to the video in the Reddit pencil group, but unfortunately the moderators removed it without any explanation.
2Lexikaliker wrote a blog post about Yo no bi.

More about the upcoming Noris 511 120 sharpener 2

The new sharpener on the block

When I saw the Noris 511 120 Sharpener, mentioned in the previous blog post, my first thought was that Helmut Hufnagl was probably involved in the development of this sharpener. Two reasons: like the 562 300 PB ruler it is suitable for left-handed users [1]no wonder Staedtler won an award for non-discriminatory corporate culture and like the 512 60C sharpener the 511 120 tries to provide a mess-free experience, thanks to the cap. The similarity to the Sonic Ratchetta is another thing to notice. The 511 120 , like the Ratchetta, has a ratchet mechanism. This also means you can sharpen without having to ‘regrab’ the pencil and it makes the sharpener easier to use for left-handed users. In the West, the Sonic Ratchetta seems to be more commonly available than other sharpeners of a similar design. Similar sharpeners are being sold under other names (Bostitch, Paperpro and more), but as far as I can tell the original version was not the Sonic Ratchetta but was the SDI Buggy, first released in 2013. (You have to watch that video!)

The maestro did it again

I feel lucky and privileged to have been able to not only get answers to my questions about this sharpener but to even some additional information, directly from Mr Hufnagl. As suspected this sharpener is really his brainchild and even though it is being produced at one of the two factories were Sonic Ratchettas/SDI Buggies, etc, are being made, the Noris 511 120 is a different product, i.e. has different specs.

Super 5 (top) vs Dex (bottom) the photo doesn’t help in understanding the differences

Super sharpener, Super 5

The whole ‘looks similar but is different’ situation reminds me a bit of the Super 5. The fantastic Super 5 fountain pen looks quite similar to Kingsley’s Dex and thanks to Scribble I found out that both of these, and also the Manuscript Master, use Helit bodies. These pens are however quite different in terms of ‘feel quality’ and even function: while the Dex feels cheap and plasticky the Super 5 is a great pen to use and has a very special nib. They are quite different even though both use Helit bodies. As mentioned previously, Helit is actually owned by Maped which brings us back to the topic of sharpeners: The 511 120 isn’t out yet, but I am looking forward to finding out how it will perform.

Testing

Mr Hufnagl asked different kinds of users to test the new sharpener. Doctors / GP practices and hairdressers were particularly impressed with this sharpener. Different employees were sharing pencils, e.g. to write down appointments, and ratchet mechanism made sharpening easy for left-handed users while the shape made the sharpener easy to clean (think Covid). Pupils from secondary schools also loved this sharpener.

I’m really looking forward to the 511 120. It certainly seems worthy of sporting the Noris’ colours and is a great addition to the Noris line in the Noris anniversary year.

Image © Staedtler

PS: You have to watch that video!

References

References
1no wonder Staedtler won an award for non-discriminatory corporate culture

Happy Birthday Noris 6

It’s 2021 and the Staedtler Noris, Staedtler’s pencil with the article number 120, is 120 years old this year.

One of the new anniversary sets from Staedtler’s web site, released for this occasion, looks extremely desirable: it contains a new sharpener that will be available soon. The article number will be 511 120, a nice nod to the Noris’ number.

Image © Staedtler

Staedtler’s keeps trying to allow your pencil case to stay mess-free: Similar to the 512 60C from 2017, the new sharpener can be closed to prevent graphite and wood shavings from falling out.

Are you sitting comfortably? Good: the 511 120 will display when the pencil is sufficiently sharpened and will have a ratchet function to make it suitable for left-handed users. I am not left-handed but like how Staedtler cares for all users – like they did when they introduced the 562 300 PB ruler. The sharpener will be suitable for pencils with a diameter of up to 8.2 mm. I can’t wait for the 511 120 to hit the shelves in the UK …finally some good news in these sad times.

On a more sombre note: if you are from the UK you might find the following article about Paperchase going into administration interesting.


Thanks to Ms Förster from Staedtler for providing additional information about the 511 120.


#1 Penknife pencil sharpening 2

Number 1 out of 50 things to do with a penknife [1]currently $4- $15 at Amazon.com and £7.72 at Amazon UK, according to the book’s author Matt Collins, is (… drum roll): Sharpen a pencil!

(Image © Matt Collins)
(Image © Matt Collins)

I believe that the use of this excerpt, taken from the book 50 things to do with a penkinfe by Matt Collins, falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service

References


Staedtler’s Mars 502 lead pointer tub 5

Many of my videos that were originally posted to accompany blog posts were kind of forgotten, i.e. were never mentioned here, even though I made them to be used in a future blog post. This includes one of my most popular videos with currently (July 2020) more than 64,000 views: a demonstration how the Mars 502 lead pointer tub works.

Originally posted because the 502 doesn’t come with useful instructions and the comments left under the video show that there is/was a demand for a video like this.