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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.