Ask The Desk: Adjustable Pencil Sharpener

DUX adjustable brass pencil sharpener

Today’s question comes from Victoria at Paper & Type:

Most sharpeners I’ve come across sharpen to a depth/length of about 3/4″ to 1″. I’m looking for one that sharpens closer to just 1/2″. Am I making sense, & might you happen to know of one? I’d appreciate if you could point me in the right direction!

She was specifically asking about electric sharpeners but the only adjustable-depth sharpener that I am know is the Stad T’Gaal from Japan. The only other sharpener I could find on my exhaustive search with the rare DUX adjustable brass sharpener which is stunning but unfortunately out of stock everywhere I looked. The last-known stockist was Kaufmann Mercantile at a cost of $19.90.

Stad T'Gaal adjustable pencil sharpener

The Stad T’Gaal may not be as elegant as the DUX but it is infinitely useable and only $6.25 at JetPens. Each number on the dial indicates a different pencil length from a short stubby tip to a very long point. Its also available in a variety of candy-colors. I have an earlier model which seems to have vanished so I need to order a new one. The same sharpener is available from Holbein via Dick Blick or other art supply shops. Its a bit more pricey at $13.46. Bill Brandon wrote a review of the T’Gaal on Pencil Revolution which demonstrates its flexibility.

T'Gaal point comparison

I do use a Alvin/DUX inkwell desk sharpener which sharpens to a slightly shorter point than the average sharpener and is a bit more accessible than the brass adjustable. I reviewed the inkwell sharpener several years ago on Pencil Revolution as well.

KUM long-point sharpener

Other options are the KUM long-point sharpener if what you want is the longest point possible. The sharpener is designed to be a two-step process, first sharpening the wood casing then refining the point. Pretty much any pencil sharpener that uses the KUM blades will be a good sharpener, especially if it includes replacement blades or fits the standard replacement blade size.

Hope this helped!

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Love, love my T’Gaals (yep, plural) just for that #1 setting !
    As for the adjustable KUM, I have no prior knowledge. Possessing way too much curiosity, I see OOS on the big A, which I avoid whenever possible. However, the big E shows an availability from Down Under, if one is super serious to purchase. Acquiring minds want to know 🙂

  2. There are several hand crank sharpeners with point length/angle adjustments, including the Alvin auto-feed, which is about $20.

  3. The Dux brass adjustable pencil sharpener is now available (as of late Dec. 2012) at… Restoration Hardware. I can’t decide if that’s strange or predictable. In any even it’s also on sale, so here’s the link. Just bought one, and it’s really nice.
    http://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod2390020

    T’Gaal actually makes two adjustable sharpeners: one which has adjustable degrees of point sharpness, and the other which focuses on how long the sharpened area is. I’m personally more interested in ones that do different levels of point sharpness, for two reasons: 1) some pencil points break too easily if their point is extremely sharp; 2) I have a niece and nephew who automatically break the tips on their colored pencils when they’re very sharp. They really need a blunt tip.

  4. Just received my Dux Adjustable. Works very nicely.
    Just a note: the angle of the point does not change depending on the sharpener setting. What does change is the length of lead that gets sharpened to a successively sharper point.
    Whatever, it works well. Such a cool little item!!!

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