Monday, 20 September 2010

KUM Long Point Sharpener

I recently bought a KUM long-point sharpener from Cult Pens, but I've had very mixed results using it. Some pencils sharpen well - such as the Staedtler tradition HB - but others break leads almost as soon as I turn the pencil. For example, the Faber-Castell 9008 Steno kept breaking.

I'm still new to this game so it may well be my own fault for being too rough or turning the pencils with too much force. On this design there seems to be a lot of pressure at the narrow end, more so than a conventional sharpener.

If any readers have tips on using this stenographer's sharpener, please let me know.


  1. I got one from Lexikaliker once. I always struggled to use it "properly", it never really worked as it should :(

  2. I've had a thought that the 9008, being a 2B, may be a bit soft to use in this sharpener. I'll have to try a harder grade like a H or 2H. I've got a Staedtler 4H I could have a go with.

  3. I’ve got a similar problem with a Tombow SM–200WN sharpener I got as a gift with an order to It has two blades — one for regular points, the other for long points. The regular one works just fine, but if I’m not extremely careful, the point breaks when I try to use the longpoint. It definitely seems to like harder leads better, but I think a big part of it is in the wrist.

  4. In my case it was the sharpener's fault as the same pencils could be easily sharpened with different sharpeners. I think there was a discussion about this somewhere once, maybe on Lexikaliker's site ...or on Pencil Talk.

  5. To be honest, I have given up the KUM 400 sharpener, mainly because of its pencil hunger – it chews away the pencil which is very bad especially with rare or more expensive pencils.

    I assume that the susceptibility for breakage is connected with the sharpener's generous cutting (so to speak); maybe the resulting force perpendicular to the lead axis is considerable stronger that the one with standard sharpeners.

  6. With a recent order from Cult Pens, I ended up getting one of these despite having read this review. I’m regretting it now, because it’s incredibly hit and miss. My Lumographs just get demolished by it — lead snaps almost every time. My HB traditions mostly survive it, but have a ragged edge along the point. The only pencil that seems to like it is the Mitsubishi 9800 HB; it doesn’t snap, and the raggedness is minimal. I haven’t binned it, but I’m pretty tempted to.

    I’ve gone back to my slightly blunt Faber–Castell “UFO” sharpener for the time being; the point isn’t as long, but it doesn’t shred the pencils when I use it.

    I’m looking into getting a good desktop sharpener that produces long points, but Bundoki don’t seem to have any of the Carl models in stock. I also loved the look of the Classroom Friendly Supplies sharpener, but I don’t think they ship abroad, and it may be ruinously expensive if they do. (Shipping from the US to the UK can be quite cheap, but a lot of companies don’t make the effort to find it; they just pick the expensive option and list that, probably to discourage overseas buyers due to increased hassle inherent in shipping abroad.)

    Anyone have any suggestions on a good, well-made desktop sharpener that’s available in the UK?