Friday, January 20, 2017

Pencil Sharpeners

Went to Staples a little while ago to get a new pencil sharpener. Turns out Staples did not have any Staedtler sharpeners when I was there, so I was stuck with the four-pack of Staples-brand sharpeners. The pros of the Staples-brand sharpeners are…well, "is" actually because there is only one. The pro is they come in four different colours: Metallic Blue, Metallic Green, Metallic Purple, and Metallic Metal. If they had one that came in Metallic Metallica, I'd have something to write home (or you) about. Alas, this was not to be. But write you I shall, to warn you that if you ever need a pencil sharpener for coloured pencils, steer clear of the Staples-branded sharpeners. 
This is not a word of a lie: after one sharpen, the blade was dull, and was rendered useless for any further pencil sharpening needs. In fact, it is so bad, you are quite literally better off using your teeth for further sharpening. Coloured pencils entering this sharpener are in for a bit of a surprise when they are expecting a mere trim, yet are returned to me looking like they were used to stab a wolverine. I suppose the wolverine was polite enough to return it to me when he was done with it. 
So now I'm working on this drawing hoping that my Chinese made Staedtler will last until I'm done, or I can get to Cre8ive Art Supplies and get a new one. Or ten.
Hundreds of sharpens in the last couple days alone, and still gets my pencils sharp as a pin. 
Okay, so I'm just about to take a picture to show you a sharpening comparison, and what do I see? The Staedtler sharpener device is indeed made in China. But the blade is stamped, "Made in Germany." I stand both corrected and amazed (that a story that I'd thought to be maybe partly true was maybe mostly true).

And further, after all my bluster, I notice the logo on the "Staedtler" sharpener is not the Staedtler logo after all. Does anyone know who made this glorious sharpener?
Never mind, the internet is an amazing thing (depending on your outlook and interest in pencil sharpeners). Google "e with a crown over it pencil sharpener" and you will find this link
in the number one position.
While I don't own the Eisen 402, I do own an actual Eisen sharpener, which I find both irrelevant and fascinating. If you read from the link, you will learn that Eisen did, in fact, move some of their production to China, but their more expensive sharpeners are still manufactured at their factory in Franconia, a region of Germany. While this may seem, at first blush, rather unremarkable, what IS remarkable is that "nearly all other German manufacturers in the pencil and sharpener industry (e.g. Faber-Castell, Staedtler, Schwan Stabilo, Lyra, KUM or Möbius+Ruppert)" have factories in Franconia. Which is a bit like saying all of the world's greatest artists and performers come from an area of Southern Manitoba that lies between Winnipeg and Brandon, and the 49th parallel (soon to be known as The Wall) and Dauphin. So it's like we're sister regions really! No wonder I have such an affinity for my Eisen. I always knew that our relationship was more than just artist-sharpener.