Pencil Sharpening Knives

When I was little, my dad and my brother always carried knives in their pockets wherever they went. They used them for all sorts of things – to open the packaging on tricky bags of gummy bears, to pop the caps off bottles, and even to sharpen pencils. If you’ve never sharpened a pencil with a knife before, this article is a useful resource. Although my dad’s and brother’s knives (as well as the one I now carry, for that matter) are all-purpose tools, there are knives out there that work especially well for sharpening pencils. Here are a few favorites:

Opine


1. Opinel

These small, sturdy knives fit nicely in the hand and provide for a good amount of control while sharpening. The come in various shapes and sizes and have a sleek, simple design. They are light-weight and durable, and the blade is a strong yet flexible carbon steel so it will stay sharp for long periods.

Benchmade


2. Benchmade

Benchmade knives are tactical knives, making them good multipurpose tools in addition to effective pencil sharpeners. The 770 is a popular choice, as is the 440. These knives have good grips and clips on the back to hook onto pockets, belts, etc. They are very lightweight and have specially-engineered locking mechanisms for safety.

Xacto


3. X-Acto

Oh the x-acto knife, a classic choice for sharpening pencils! The short, angled blade allows for maximum control and precision sharpening. A wide variety of handles makes it easy to find a grip that is comfortable and works for hands of all shapes and sizes.

Sharpening a pencil with a knife is a useful and even artistic skill, but it’s not necessarily easy to master. If you’re going to learn, remember to be safe! Cut away from yourself, be aware of the positioning of your fingers, and go very slowly. This video is an excellent reference for beginners as far as sharpening a regular pencil with a pen knife, and this video is a helpful resource for sharpening a carpenter pencil with a utility knife.

Do you have a favorite knife for sharpening pencils, or a technique that works wonders for you? Let us know in the comments!

 

3 replies
  1. Sean
    Sean says:

    Knives really can be a nifty multipurpose tool. I used a lesser knife as a makeshift screwdriver once. There is a plethora of different brands and designs out there to suit one’s needs. In my experience, it’s worth it to pay a bit more money to get that good blade. I’ve never used a knife for sharpening a pencil, but after reading this article it does seem useful, especially for artists. If one intends to carry a knife on one’s person in public, be sure to check your local and state laws on what is permitted. Another well written and enlightening article by Ms. Verrastro. Well done!

    Reply
  2. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    The Higo no Kami, a Japanese knife whose stated use is to sharpen pencils, is my favorite knife. The extremely sharp blade makes it a good all rounder too.

    Reply

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