Review by Tina Koyama
Well-known for its iconic notebook, Moleskine has been coming out with quite a few other analog stationery and art products the past several years. I recently reviewed the graphite drawing pencils and watercolor pencils. When I was choosing contenders for my Great Eraser Rub-Off Challenge, I included the eraser from the Moleskine Eraser & Sharpener Set ($5.95), but I was also interested in the sharpener because JetPens’ video showed it being used with a jumbo pencil.
The eraser was not particularly stellar against its formidable opponents; you can read about its performance in the Great Rub-Off. I didn’t say much about the eraser’s appearance in the challenge, so it’s worth mentioning here that it maintains the clean, matte black esthetic that is part of Moleskine’s trademark. The logo is printed in white. I found the slender bar shape easy to hold and use.
Now, on to the focus of this review: the sharpener. At first glance, the sharpener looks similar to many handheld sharpeners that are no larger than the blade. It has a matte black finish with a shiny black Moleskine logo. I gotta hand it to Moleskine: Everything the company makes looks good together.
The surprise comes when you look at its business end, which has a very large 12.5mm diameter hole. The package says the sharpener is “designed exclusively for Moleskine pencils.”
When I read “Moleskine pencils,” I thought immediately of the square-barreled drawing and colored pencils I had reviewed recently. Those pencils have a conventional size barrel, but I thought maybe the sharpener would accommodate its distinctive shape. It doesn’t; I mangled the collar and point badly (I’ll spare you photos of that butchery).
That’s when I realized that Moleskine is referring to its large, rectangular-barreled pencils. (They were obviously designed to look like the iconic notebook, but I’ve always thought they look like carpenter’s pencils dressed up for a funeral.)
Sadly, I don’t have those pencils to sharpen with the sharpener that was made “exclusively” for them. But I do have a wide variety of jumbo-sized drawing and colored pencils, many with triangular barrels, that I’ve never been able to find a sharpener for. Even my electric Bostitch QuietSharp 6, which accommodates every other pencil I own, doesn’t have a hole big enough for the humongous Koh-I-Noor Triograph drawing pencils or Koh-I-Noor Magic FX rainbow pencils. I also have a Marco Tri-Jumbo rainbow pencil, which has a slightly smaller-diameter barrel than the Koh-I-Noors but is also triangular. These are all pencils I’ve had to sharpen with a knife.
The Moleskine sharpened all three pencils beautifully – both the wood and the core. Traditional carpenter’s pencils do not fit (though I suppose they are intended to be knife-sharpened anyway). I’m very happy to finally have a portable sharpener (or any sharpener) that fits those crazy Koh-I-Noors.
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