As there are various ways of skinning the cat, as they say, there are also a handful of methods you can use to sharpen the pencil.
The most convenient is using a pencil sharpener. Some will prefer to use a small knife for the skill and craft involved, but it is messy, especially for inexperienced hands. A pencil sharpener consists, in itself, of the art of pencil sharpening.
A dull pencil sharpener is among the minor inconveniences that can drive you up the wall, especially when there’s no other alternative. Most folks take the easy route out to get a new sharpener or electric pencil sharpeners.
But did you know that you don’t have to ditch the sharpener every time it becomes dull? There are a couple of tricks up the sleeves that you can use to sharpen the manual pencil sharpeners and make them new for your colored pencils.
Why Does Pencil Sharpener Get Dull?
Your sharpener getting dull is as sure as the rising sun. It’s just one of those things you are sure are going to happen one way or another.
Using the handheld pencil sharpener subjects the blade to friction which hastens wear, making it blunt. A couple of uses down the line makes the sharpener so dull that you cannot get a decent point from your pencil.
Some will throw the sharpener away into the bin, while others will go online and order a new blade, especially if the sharpener is one of those expensive devices you have in the office.
However, there are ways to push the usability of the sharpener further and make savings.
How to Sharpen a Pencil Sharpener Blade
Sharpening the pencil sharpener blade is as easy as having the right tools. The trick here is to have the right sharpening tools and some bit of patience while you are at it.
The process of disassembly, sharpening the blade, cleaning it, and reassembly requires some time on the hands. The best method depends on various factors, such as the pencil and the available sharpening tools.
Step 1: Prepare the Surface
Most people overlook this step, but it is as vital as the sharpening process. Find a solid and flat surface where you can do the sharpening without distractions and problems.
You see, an unstable work surface can cause inconsistencies or some damage to the pencil or even be an injury hazard. Make sure your sharpener is in a flat and solid place, with the blade facing up before moving on to the next step.
You will also need to free up your schedule at this time so that you can have sufficient time to ensure attention to detail.
Next, inspect how many blades there are, the fastening method used, and how accessible the edges are. Also, there are different pencil sharpeners, and each may have different characteristics.
But mostly, the blade is held in place by a screw, and how many they depend on the number of edges.
Ideally, pick a screwdriver that fits the screws. You may need to try a few before you get the right one, but it’s worth the effort. The screwdriver that slots in easily, such as the one from the eyeglass kit, will make the work so much easier and faster.
Typically, some sharpeners will come with a flathead screw, and you may have to search far and wide for the screwdriver. If you can’t find the right one, use a small flat object to fit into the screw and turn it.
It can be your Swiss pocket knife, survival blade, or even a paper clip, only that they will be tough to use.
Step 3: Unscrew All the Parts
Use the screwdriver to unfasten the blade and keep track of the screws. Some sharpeners will have different types of screws for various parts.
You will need to track back with the process to avoid challenges after sharpening the blade.
Flip the sharpener downwards to access the blade, and you may need to shake it a little to remove it. Repeat steps one through to three if you have several edges.
Step 4: The Ways to Sharpen
● Fingernail Clipper
A fingernail clipper, ceramic steel, or honing steel can be excellent sharpeners of your pencil sharpener blade. Unscrew the blade, soak a bit in the oil and rub it against the fingernail clipper.
Remember that the sharpener blade does not experience much wear, and a simple rub on steel may be enough.
Some use a small diamond spatula to restore its sharpness when you don’t have the time to disassemble and reassemble the blade. This ought not to take you more than 2-5 minutes.
If disassembly is necessary, especially in cases where the blade is too blunt, do it the right way, and inspect the slope or the angle of the sharpener blade.
Most of the edges are set at a 23-degree angle, 45-degree angle, or have a 20-degree angle, and you will need to maintain this for efficiency.
● Sharpening Stone
The pencil sharpener blades can be a challenge to hold and sharpen, depending on the sharpening technique, but it’s not impossible. All you need is some bit of persistence and attention to detail, and you are good to go.
Different sharpening stones will come with instructions that may be different from others. Don’t assume anything. Read the instructions, follow them, and you will have the best results.
For example, some sharpening stones will require wetting with water and others with oil before you begin.
Next, place the stone on a damp cloth to limit any movement.
Usually, the sharpener blade is tiny, and you will need to sharpen using the fine surface of the stone. Of course, some stones will have varying grits or coarseness in different parts. Higher grits are less coarse and better for the small blades.
The higher the coarseness, the more metal material it is going to rub off. It should not be too much for your small blade unless you want to destroy it.
But how do you hold the small blade?
Typically, you can use needle-nosed pliers or tweezers to hold the small blade and slide it on the stone at an angle. A mini vise grip or a piece of wood may also come in handy when you need to hold the sharpener blade better.
A few slides should be sufficient to restore the blade to working condition.
Step 5: Reassemble the Sharpener
Before the reassembly, you will need to clean the gunks off the blade.
Rub some alcohol on the surface and use a clean cloth. But be careful not to leave any moisture on the surface, or it will oxidize and corrode, making it unusable.
Usually, use the tweezers or the needle-nosed pliers to place it in place before fastening the screws. Remember to put it in the right way.
Some of us don’t have the time to follow the delicate steps, and you don’t have to. Indeed, you have the option of getting a replacement blade. Better still, you can purchase a new pencil sharpener or an automatic pencil sharpener.
Some people will opt to hold the sharpener blade with their fingers when sharpening. Please note the Single-Blade Pocket Sharpener blade is too small to do it safely, and it may cut the skin on your fingers.
If you can’t find tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to hold it safely, get a new blade or sharpener. It may not be worth the trouble.
But for some, the process of sharpening the blade is entertaining, as opposed to being tedious. If you belong to this category, then by all means, get the right tools and get to work sharpening the pencil sharpener blade. Just don’t overdo it, or you will end up with an unusable blade, and it will be a waste of time.
You may need to wear some leather gloves to protect your hands against cuts when sharpening.
Q: Can you sharpen a pencil sharpener with a knife sharpener?
A knife sharpener may not be designed to handle small blades, and in such a case, they are overkill. A better method is using waterproof sandpaper with a grit of between 300 and 600. Soak the sandpaper a bit with some oil and rub the blade on it a few times.
The main problem with sharpening the pencil sharpener blade is that you need to remove very little material. Overdoing it using tools such as the knife sharpener of a very coarse sharpening stone will move the center of the cutting edge and make the blade inefficient. This is almost the same as when it was dull.
Q: How do you clean a pencil sharpener blade?
Gunk and other debris on the blade can affect its working. You need to clean the edge.
You can use water or oil to clean the blade, but make sure to dry it thoroughly, or the moisture will damage the blade.
To access the blade better, you will need to remove or unfasten it from the sharpener and hold it well with tweezers of suitable pliers.
Q: How do you fix a pencil sharpener that won’t sharpen?
There are different pencil sharpeners, and how you handle one may not be how you take another. The quality of some pencil sharpeners may be low, and re-sharpening is not an option.
Different manufacturers will use varying metals on the blade, which affects its overall quality. Some metals are more durable and easier to sharpen than others.
But don’t expect to get this kind from the manufacturers. It is usually a case of trial and error.
Therefore, if the sharpener won’t sharpen, don’t stress too much, as getting a replacement blade or sharpener is much easier and convenient.
Q: Why does my pencil sharpener not work properly?
As mentioned earlier, the quality of the blade may not be that good, and this can affect its functioning. On the other hand, the edge may have seen better days and is succumbing to the forces of wear and tear. This may also depend on the quality of the blade.
In such a case, you have several options on your hands. You can sharpen the blade or get a replacement blade. What do you prefer?
A successful office has all kinds of tools such as pencil sharpeners. It can be very frustrating when these sharpeners get dull.
So what do you do?
You can use tools and techniques to restore the blade to its glory days, such as using a sharpening stone. Try it out, and the sharpener will be ready for the task you throw at it.