Pencil Pointers: the Foray Electric Sharpener

The average #2 yellow pencil on the street is of standard diameter – about 7mm around. Artists’ pencils, however, come in a variety of diameters depending on their maker, some up to 10mm. This can be inconvenient at best for artists looking for a sharpener that works for all of their various pencils, as most sharpeners are made to fit the standard diameter.

The Foray Multi-hole Electric Sharpener.

Foray, a private-brand label for Office Depot products, makes a multi-hole, helical-blade, electric sharpener that accommodates these larger-diameter pencils, their average-sized cousins, and a few sizes smaller and larger than I have yet encountered in Pencildom. The Foray Multi-hole Electric Sharpener, ordered online from Office Depot, was a great surprise – it was far less expensive, quieter (although not quiet) and makes a better (and beautifully smooth) long point for drawing than competitive brands of multi-hole pencil sharpeners sold by the art supply stores.

A slider guide adjusts for pencil size and holds your pencil steady
while sharpening.

Drawbacks are few, but include limited availability (it’s only sold through Office Depot’s web site, and not regularly available in their stores) and a slightly uneven sharpen (rotating the pencil each time it’s sharpened easily fixes this). The noise level, as mentioned before, is not quiet but not at all loud for an electric sharpener, and not as noisy as similar models I’ve used.

My high-tech arrangement for removing sharpening dust from pencil points.

Interestingly, the web text on Office Depot’s site describing the sharpener says that the “Adjustable design conveniently sharpens 3 pencil sizes.” As one can see in their product photo and I can vouch for from my own model, the sharpener actually adjusts to accommodate five different pencil diameters.

The sharpener easily accommodates average-diameter pencils (Prismacolor Verithin at right), as well as larger-diameter pencils (Caran d’Ache Grafwood graphite drawing pencil at center and the chubby Ticonderoga “My First”
#2 pencil on the left).

Having used the Foray sharpener with many brands of color and graphite pencils for close to a year now with no difficulties, I would not hesitate to recommend it.


July 18, 2011. Tags: , , , . Art Supplies, School Supplies.

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