Written (and drawn) with a KUM Tiptop Pop-Line on Shangching‘s Tomoe River notebook (which is notebook you usually see if there’s a drawing in a blog post at Bleistift).
To celebrate Chinese new year there’s a series of China themed blog posts coming up.
Some links to previous Chinese New Year blog posts: 2016 (Monkey), 2015 (Sheep), 2014 (Horse)
Please don’t feel offended that I wrote Chinese New Year instead of Lunar New Year or keeping it country neutral as in previous years. The Chinese link this year is the series of China related posts and the Chinese text.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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…
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 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.
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.