Saturday, 23 March 2013

Derwent announces NEW helical pencil sharpeners

I'm a huge fan of pencil sharpeners with helical blades.  These are the ones which have a helical blade - that's the one where the cutting edge of the blade spirals around a core.  The reason I like them is because they cut cleanly, efficiently and very effectively.  The best points I've ever got have been produced by a pencil sharpener with a helical blade.

Three years ago Derwent produced a battery powered helical pencil sharpener which I did not recommend.  There were just too many problems (see (Product review: Derwent Battery Operated Helical Pencil Sharpener

However having been through that experience, I know they were working hard to understand why the problems had occurred.  As a result, although I've not see one yet, I'm confident that this next batch will be much better.  This time they've kept the helical blade but gone for the old fashioned hand crank rather than batter power.

NEW Product - Derwent Helical Pencil Sharpener - Super Point and Super Point Mini
I've not seen one yet.  This is what you need to look out for.

NEW! Derwent Helical Pencil Sharpener - Super Point and Super Point Mini
(note the hand crank i.e. NOT battery powered)

Features and Facts

Features common to both sharpeners

  • each sharpener has a durable helical blade.  This SHOULD enable you to sharpens pencils to fine points typically used for fine detail work.
  • both sharpeners can take pencils up to 8mm in diameter 
  • Shavings are collected in a transparent sliding tray reservoir.  Derwent says this is easy to empty. 
  • each sharpener comes with a desk clamp.
  • both pencil sharpeners come with a hand crank (the old ones had battery power)
I haven't got a clue what this mean "The extendable front plate has a self feeding mechanism which stops when the pencil has reached a superb point." as there are no photographs to demonstrate.  I think it means it has an auto-stop.


Super Point Manual Helical Sharpener

  • made of black metal which makes this both heavier and more robust
  • Super Point costs £21.95
Super Point Mini Helical Sharpener
  • lighter and a more compact shape
  • Super Point Mini costs £14.95

Beware of trying to buying these sharpeners on Amazon.  
  • The ones listed at present are the battery powered versions which I covered in my review - which simply are not reliable and do not work well.  
  • Look for the date the battery was introduced.  If it's not 2013 then it's one of the old ones.
Product reviews of Pencil Sharpeners

Below you can find my product reviews of pencil sharpeners.  I tend to err towards only reviewing products that I either do or do not recommend.

4 comments:

Malcolm Cudmore said...

Hi Katherine. I've been sent both these sharpeners by the SAA to evaluate for their catalogue. Both sharpeners have the same internal mechanism - essentially, it is the cases and pencil gripping system that varies with the two models. Both sharpeners function well and give a good, consistent point. The sharpening mechanism is easy to remove in the case of a broken core. There is an auto-stop moulded into the internal mechanism - although it is not always reliable (to be certain, you need to get used to the feel of the sharpener in order to not over-sharpen the pencil). When fully pulled out, the pencil gripper locks in place and is only released when the handle is cranked. This makes it very easy to operate. Like you, I am a confirmed advocate of helical sharpeners for all pencil work and have far too many of them (including battery and mains models). For ease of use, however, hand-cranked sharpeners are generally the most reliable and these are a useful addition to the market.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Hand cranks are fine - but only for sporadic use or by people who have bionic hands!

My problem with the hand cranked variety is I have tenosynovitis in my right hand - hence I really need a battery powered one when I'm doing a pencil sharpening session. I'm happy with hand cranked for occasional use.

Lots of people using artist grade coloured pencils are older people, many of whom may well have some degree of problem with arthritis - which is not unlike tenosynovitis. Like me they need to be mindful of how they care for their hands and manage the risks associated with undue stress.

Have you tried it with different size pencils eg the Derwent Drawing pencils which are rather large and difficult to fit in other sharpeners? This is where I find you really out whether a sharpener knows its business or not.

Malcolm Cudmore said...

Hi Katherine. Only just thought to look back at this! They are fine for pencils up to 9mm - I've now used them both with a range of 7mm hexagonal and 9mm round pencils and they are both fine for all of them. I understand that physical circumstances may make the use of a manual sharpener more problematic for some artists. I was simply referring to the general reliability of non-electrical sharpeners. My mains one overheats when used for much more than sporadic use. I bought it for bulk sharpening at or after workshops and it has singularly failed to be any use for that! My Derwent battery one is OKish but eats batteries and can seems to be prone to sharpening pencils off centre. Price wise, these new Derwent sharpeners are a useful addition to the market.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Thanks for the feedback Malcolm - I'm generally hearing good things about this new sharpener.

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