The quest for the perfect long point sharpener – where does it end?! With so many products to choose from, this task on a good day can be challenging. The price point varies greatly as well as the options available. Electric or Manual? Battery-operated or plug-in? Hand-held or desktop?
This review may not give you a definitive answer to all of those questions, but I can give you my opinion on this increasingly popular sharpener and what it may have to offer you in your quest!
The opinions expressed in this blogpost are my own and I have not been paid to give a favorable review. I, like many of you, rely on the reviews and feedback of people I respect and trust and there is no value to me to provide a review that is misleading or coerced. Please do however feel free to try this product for yourself and form your own opinions, as every artist will have slightly different preferences.
THE TEST SUBJECTS
I choose a selection of brands, barrel shapes, as well as open stock and pencils from a set. Some of these as you can see have barcode stickers on them. Typically this isn’t always an issue with most sharpeners, but I want to see how this one stands up against that factor.
AFMAT Long Point Sharpener Features:
- Designed for φ6-8.2mm sketching and drawing pencils
- Adjustable 5 knib settings from blunt to sharp
- Manual hand-crank sharpener
- Helical blade that can sharpen 3000 times.
- Large capacity shavings box
- 3.3″ long, 2.4″ wide and 4.9″ tall
- Automatically feeds pencils in and out when turning the handle
- Fast, labor-saving, lead not easy to break
No bells and whistles with the packaging for this product. It arrives in the box shown above and below with the sharpener wrapped in a singular plastic bag with a small user manual included. The simple black and white packaging is informational and to the point. The sharpener comes intact and fully assembled.
SHARPENING AND BREAKAGE
Most manually operated pencil sharpeners require that you use two hands and this is no exception. In fact, I found it imperative to hold the sharpener down with one hand while operating the crank handle with the other. Because this product is so lightweight you have to keep the body of it stable as you sharpen. Luckily the pencil feeds itself in while sharpening and out when you reverse the direction of the handle. If it’s working correctly you don’t have to worry about that aspect.
I like that this sharpener offers different settings. For the most part, my tests were centered around popular brands of colored pencils and most have similar-sized cores. To be honest I was also interested in seeing the extreme long points and how it would perform at that specific task.
I tested an unsharpened Prismacolor Premier pencil which was key for this test. I felt confident that the other brands would sharpen well but given Prismacolor’s recent history of being a pencil that notoriously breaks, I thought this would be a good test for the pencil and the claim the sharpener makes about avoiding lead breaks.
I have to say I was absolutely shocked at the result this sharpener had. Not only did it sharpen the Prismacolor colored pencil to a frighteningly sharp point it absolutely did not break. It doesn’t take many rotations to get it this sharp either. I even tried some test swatches with it afterward. With a fair amount of pressure, the tip did break off but I was easily able to use and hold it in varying different positions without issue.
I have long held a theory that breakage with pencils to some extent had a lot to do with the sharpener itself and so far this is supporting my theory. Has this solved the issue many Prismacolor users have with breakage entirely? No, likely not. But I’m excited to try sharpening more and create a piece to see if there is a true difference.
PENCILS NOT SUITABLE FOR THIS SHARPENER
Included in my test pencils were hexagonal barrels and open stock pencils with a sticker on the barrel near the sharpened end. The Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer pencil I tried did not want to auto-feed itself into the sharpener at all. That said, the Caran D’Ache Pablo pencil I tried with a smaller barrel and also hexagonal did with flying colors.
If you’ve purchased open stock pencils you know that they typically come with a barcode sticker on the barrel for the employees to scan at store level. These stickers sometimes come off easily and sometimes don’t. Word of warning, this sharpener does not like them and in my experience with it, prevents the pencil from being properly fed into the sharpener. I tried multiple times with the same result so I would recommend trying to remove any barcode stickers completely beforehand, including any sticky residue left behind. A quick swipe on a cotton pad with mineral spirits, GooGone, or even nail polish remover should help get rid of this.
EMPTYING AND DISASSEMBLY
The shavings box removed very easily and given how ground down the wood actually gets, it would definitely hold a lot of shavings before needing to be emptied. One this to note is that on AFMAT’s website it says that this sharpener comes with a small piece of sandpaper on the inside for refining the tip of the pencil. The one I purchased from Amazon.com did not have this feature and it didn’t appear to have a slot to add your own either. I’m not sure if I purchased an older version of this product or not, but by all other accounts, it seems like I got a legit one. This is just something to note if you are planning to purchase this product.
Removing the blade and crank mechanism was a bit trickier and at one point, I thought I may have broken it, with my “Hulk-hands” apparently. Thankfully, it was fine. The user manual does give some instruction on how to do this which I thought was a nice inclusion you don’t always see.
PRO’S AND CONS OVERVIEW
Overall, I was really impressed with this sharpener. I don’t think I’ve ever owned one that made me worried I would accidentally stab myself by accident with the pencils it sharpened. I’m being dramatic, but seriously, you can see for yourself the points on these are insane! For the price point, I think this sharpener is worth trying if you’re searching for something that will have this long point sharpening result.
A note to my Canadian readers, I ended up buying this sharpener off Amazon.com as opposed to Amazon.ca because even with paying exchange it was much less expensive. I’m not sure why but the AFMAT sharpeners listed on the Canadian site are astronomically priced comparatively.
– great price, more affordable than other similar products on the market
– sharpens really well and I did not experience any breakage (even Prismacolor!)
– light-weight and easy to use
– minimal sharpening required to get to the final result
– great for artists seeking a sharpener for fine details in their work
– more control using a manual version of the sharpener but the sharpener decreases resistance when the pencil is at peak sharpness as a safety
– you’ll likely eat through your pencils quicker
– personally do not recommend for people who like using mostly burnishing techniques
– two-handed operating system (not negotiable)
– some barrel shapes, sizes and things like barcode stickers will impede the ability to sharpen
the pencil smoothly or at all
– a bit awkward to operate at times
– people with existing wrist or hand issues may prefer the electric version
You can purchase the AFMAT Long Point Manual Pencil Sharpener HERE or check with your favorite retailer.
Check out my YouTube Demo & Review to see this sharpener in action!