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How to Use a Pencil Sharpener

by J.D. Wollf

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A hand-held pencil sharpener

Are you tired of dull pencils? Learn how to use a pencil sharpener. The most common types of pencil sharpeners are hand-held, hand-crank and electric sharpeners, as well as pocket knives. Hand-held pencil sharpeners are easy to buy and operate, but they do leave pencil shavings behind. Hand-crank pencil sharpeners are usually found in classrooms, while electric pencil sharpeners are an office staple. Sharpening a pencil with a pocket knife takes some practice, is messy and gets you suspended if you try to do it at school, but it's simple and allows you to tailor the tip of your pencil to your needs.

Electric Pencil Sharpeners:

  1. Plug it in. Make sure the electric pencil sharpener is plugged in and turned on.

  2. Get a grip. Firmly grip the pencil. It's important to keep a tight hold on the pencil because the sharpener can pull it out of your hand.

  3. Insert pencil. Place the pencil inside the sharpener.

  4. Remove pencil. Remove the pencil when it is at the desired sharpness.

  5. Clean up. To be safe, always unplug an electric pencil sharpener before removing the shavings.

  6. Hand-held Pencil Sharpeners:

    1. Insert pencil. Place the pencil inside the sharpener. Some hand-held sharpeners have two holes. Choose the one that fits your pencil.

    2. Hold on tight. Tightly hold the other end of the pencil sharpener.

    3. Turn the pencil. Turn the pencil inside the pencil sharpener.

    4. Remove pencil. Remove the pencil when it is at the desired sharpness.

    5. Clean up. Clean up. Throw away any pencil shavings.

    6. Pocket Knives:

      1. Choose a tip. Decide whether you want a thick tip that won't break and will last a while or a fine tip that's fragile but very precise.

      2. Shave excess wood. Remove as much wood from the pencil as you need to expose the amount of lead you want for your tip. Leave a sleeve of wood around the lead as you do this. If you expose too much lead before you finish sharpening, you'll probably snap the lead.

      3. Sharpen the tip. Place the tip of the pencil against a table or desk, and then sharpen the tip with downward strokes. Shaving your pencil this way reduces the chances of breaking the tip.

      4. Clean up. Discard any shavings you have created.

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