The Lost Art of Artisanal Pencil Sharpening Has Been Found

The “lost art of artisanal pencil sharpening” has been found at Artisanal Pencil Sharpening, Inc., a project by craftsman David Rees. For $15, Rees will not only hand-sharpen a pencil for you, he will also provide the pencil. Gothamist recently attended a free event at New York City’s Pete’s Candy Store held by Rees and learned just how serious he is about pencil sharpening.

…Rees also refuses to sharpen any pencil that is not a #2, and doesn’t even use pencils himself: “That would compromise my objectivity.”

But the man knows an awful lot about pencils: he can recount their history, the manufacturing process, his favorite brands. He lovingly speaks of the Palomino Blackwing, achieving the perfect “collar” of a pencil (a term he invented) and Shelbyville, Tennessee, or “The Pencil City,” home of the last major U.S. pencil manufacturer…

How To Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants is his new book which is available for pre-order with an April 10, 2012 release date.


If you start a pencil-sharpening business, you can expect to hear this question a lot. The short answer? No, this is not a joke. You pay David Rees money and he sharpens your pencils. It actually happens.

David Rees instructs a member of the audience at Pete’s Candy Store on how to properly sharpen a pencil.

via Andrew Mager

photo by Katie Sokoler for Gothamist