Right before Christmas, I ordered the full slate of pencils from Write Notepads & Co., as well as a couple of notebooks. After my visit to their headquarters last summer, I’ve become an even bigger fan than I already was. The jumbo pencils really intrigued me, but there was a problem—how to sharpen them?
So while I sharpened and used the other pencils—the maroon hex and the natural round—the jumbo pencils sat unused. Then, about a month ago, I noticed someone mention a large-hole sharpener available from Classroom Friendly Supplies. WHAT??!! Since I’ve yet to tackle “artisanal pencil sharpening” (by hand, via knife + bandaids), I knew that I’d have to get my hands on this sharpener. I should also add that I have the regular version of the Classroom Friendly Sharpener and use it almost daily. (Actually, I have THREE—one for home, one for work, and one for back-up.)
Where the regular sharpeners are metal and available in handful of colors, the large-hole sharpener is plastic and available only in a black and white version. No worries, though, it sharpens like a champ, and doesn’t leave “bite marks” on the pencils like the regular sharpener does.
Most importantly, it sharpens the Write Notepads & Co. jumbo pencils perfectly. These beefy, smooth, dark, and “made in America” pencils are now right up there among my favorites—the Palomino Blackwing Pearl and the Musgrave Test Scoring pencil.
I should mention that all of the Write Notepads & Co. pencils are “left-handed” pencils. When I first heard this I thought, “What?? How can a pencil be right or left handed?” Well, here’s the thing—branding on the pencils is printed in such a way that it appears right side up when held in the left hand, and upside down when held in the right. I’d never considered this before, undoubtedly because I’m right handed so the issue just never occurred to me. Chris Rothe—one of the founding brothers— is left handed, so this bit of whimsy makes perfect sense. Why shouldn’t left handed writers have pencil branding oriented for them?
When I hold one of these over-sized pencils, memories of elementary school, hot lunch, hissing radiators, recess, and learning to read and write all come flooding back to me. They conjure up thoughts of simpler times and simpler tools. They are the “comfort food” of pencils.
Wonderfully smooth, thickly painted, and perfectly branded, this is the pencil that I’m reaching for when I’m making lists, balancing my checkbook, and jotting down groceries. How can you resist a pencil that says, “THIS IS A GENUINE WRITE NOTEPADS & CO PRODUCT-TO COUNTERFEIT IS DEATH.” The cores are centered and sharpen without issue. Point retention is very good. I rotate my pencil a bit as I write and find that I can go for quite awhile without re-sharpening (and that’s one of my quirks—the need for a pretty decent point at all times.)
The gold ferrules are gorgeous and do a fantastic job anchoring the equally girthy erasers. When erasing, the bits left behind are strand-like, not “crumby,” and erasing is quite clean with just a faint ghost of the erased word visible.
Long point from regular sharpener (top) vs. short point from Long-Hole sharpener (bottom)
The Classroom Friendly Large-Hole Sharpener can also be used to sharpen regular size pencils, but the resulting point is shorter and more conical than the long point you get from the regular sharpener, as you can see in the photo above. But if you want a Classroom Friendly Sharpener that doesn’t put bite-marks on your pencils, the Large-Hole Sharpener is the one to go with, despite the somewhat stunted point.
The Write Notepads & Co. Jumbo pencils and the Classroom Friendly Large-Hole Sharpener really are the perfect pair. They go together like gin and tonic, bacon and eggs, Thelma and Louise. If you have one, you gotta have the other.