Pencil Sharpener Review: KUM Lefty Aluminum Can Sharpener

Review by Tina Koyama

Ana warned me. 

When I said I wanted to review the Kum Lefty Aluminum Can pencil sharpener, she said she had found it difficult to get used to reversing her hand when she used a sharpener made for lefties.

I was so tickled to see any sharpener made for lefties that I wanted to give the Kum can a try. And there was another reason that made me want to give it a shot: It has two hole sizes, and I’ve had good luck with conventional two-hole Kum sharpeners that accommodate my larger-barreled colored pencils. 

But dang it – Ana was right. Even though my hand is twisting in the natural direction, it feels all wrong! (Argh! We lefties spend our lives adapting to a righty world, so when something is made lefty for us, we have to re-adapt to being ourselves! End of self-righteous, I mean, self-leftist rant.)

Rant notwithstanding, I decided to give the sharpener a fair shake. Before I get to its function, though, let’s look at its design, which is strange, to say the least. It’s literally a small can that sternly proclaims, “for left-handers only.”

KUM Lefty Can Sharpener

The plastic pop-off top has a double plug (to match the double holes) that is awkwardly attached to the lid with what reminds me of the plastic tether attaching a hang tag to clothing. It does prevent shavings from leaking out of the holes, though.

Kum lefty 2-hole can sharpener

Once you remove the lid, the wedge-shaped sharpener, attached to the lid, is revealed. It looks identical to other Kum double-hole sharpeners – except the blades are reversed, of course. The lid keeps all shavings neatly inside the can, which has a larger capacity than most portable sharpeners. The lid is secure, and I’m confident that it wouldn’t pop off inadvertently in my bag.

Kum Lefty Can Sharpener open

I gave the Kum lefty my usual test pencils: a Blackwing (standard diameter), a Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle colored pencil (slightly larger than standard), and a Derwent drawing pencil, which has an even larger barrel. The Blackwing fits in the smaller hole and, as I’d hoped, both the Caran d’Ache and the Derwent fit in the larger hole. I was pleased to find that all three sharpened up very nicely. The Blackwing didn’t get a long point, but the average-length point is perfectly serviceable. For my purposes, it’s more important that the thick cores on the two colored pencils sharpened evenly and smoothly.

Kum Lefty pencil sharpener pencils tested

Though its appearance and design leave much be desired (Is it supposed to look nostalgic? Klutzy, as lefties are stereotyped to be? Or just ugly in a normal kind of way? I’m stumped), it does the job – and the job can be done with my left hand in a natural direction. Now I just have to train my left hand to remember what natural is.

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I loved this “Argh! We lefties spend our lives adapting to a righty world, so when something is made lefty for us, we have to re-adapt to being ourselves!” Brings back memories of using a right handed desk at university and then not being able to adapt to a lefty desk:-)

    1. Right?? Years ago, I got tendonitis in my left arm, so I started mousing with my right. I got over the tendonitis, but now I can’t mouse with my left!


      1. I have never been able to mouse with the left hand always used the right hand. On the other hand I can mouse and write at the same time:-)

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