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This book is bizarrely obsessive and fun, with just a smidgen of practical information. As you'll discover there's rather more to the apparently simple act of sharpening a pencil than most people every realise.
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on 27 June 2017
A must for anyone who has ever used a pencil, not just the artisan pencil user or sharpener. This book guides you through sharpening pencils from a basic single blade sharpener through to using your mind and every other type of sharpening implement in between.
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on 4 January 2017
I was given this book as a Christmas present and I think it was presented more as a joke present rather than something serious. I received it as a joke present. That is, until I started reading it!

Initially I thought that this is a ‘wind-up’ until I started following the references about pencil websites and the pencil museum. I also began experimenting with my own pencil sharpeners. I have a Softie Grip Magnesium II, Straedtler Noris (also a Christmas present from a previous Christmas) and a desk-mounted Gillott 200 which I believe dates back to the early 70s. I have had it for about 30 years and it is still in fine working order. Although I no longer have the box or operating instructions but after using it for sometime I think that I have got the hang of how it works. It was also marketed under the name of Boston 200.

Taking guidance from the author David Rees I have now disassembled it, given it a really good clean and reassembled it again. While I feel good about myself doing that I feel really bad about the neglect it has suffered all these years.

Reading this book has given me a whole new perspective about pencils and pencil sharpening, what’s good and what’s not so good. So much so that I have now swapped my love of pylons to pencils. I have even handed in my resignation of membership to the Pylon Appreciation Society so that I can concentrate on pencils and sharpeners.

The biggest advantage of swapping to pencils is that I can bring them home. For many years I have been unsuccessful in persuading my wife to allow me to bring a complete pylon home other than the Hornby model train ones. I will have to throw out my pylon insulator collection to make room for my pencil display though. Will probably sell it on a well-known online auction site.

I can thoroughly recommend this book to everyone, even if you don’t think it’ll interest you. It is quite a riveting read and a book I found difficult to put down except when my level of excitement reached such a pitch my wife being concerned about my health use to snatch the book from my hands.

I would have given this 5-stars except for two things: 1) The use of the word ‘site’ instead of ‘sight’ on page 96. 2) In Chapter 6 there is a reference to ‘display tubes’ but no guidance as to where they can be obtained which is quite frustrating. Enjoy your read.
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I must admit I first bought this as a joke gift for christmas; I skimmed a few pages of the hard copy version and decided I had to read it all on my Kindle. How to sharpen pencils is a light hearted look at the world of professional pencil sharpening. Over the course of the book you are instructed on the correct use of all manner of pencil sharpeners and how to deliver the perfect point to potential customers; or to astound small children.

Its whimsical but at the end of the book I actually googled to work out how much was accurate and found an entire world dedicated to sharpening pencils and pencil sharpeners that cost utterly crazy sums of money.

Its a fun read and worth your time.
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on 23 April 2016
I wasn't even aware that pencils could be sharpened until I got this excellent book, I must have thrown away so many blunt pencils over the years, if only I could have those pencils back again, I would have done things so differently.
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on 23 December 2016
The book's contents are great but it was sent to me badly damaged - the cover is torn and folded in various places. Late purchased xmas present so I have to keep it but I am unhappy.
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on 3 August 2012
This book is unbelievably informative and amusing. How anyone can produce such a lot of information about sharpening a pencil, I have no idea but David Rees has successfully done so. He deserves acclaim of the highest order!
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on 1 February 2016
Bought as a Christmas gift this book has been causing hilarity and beautiful, artisanally sharpened pencils since the present was opened. I hadn't realised just how much difference having a properly sharpened pencil could make to my life and I will never return to standard pencil sharpeners ever again. I am informed that the exercise section gives a well rounded and thorough work out for those who wish to take their sharpening just that little bit further and finding one of the bottles in the wine section to add to the gift was a wonder that will remain with me. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 16 May 2012
Well, as a technical writer, this book caught my attention. I use pencils every day. They are one of my most important tools for communicating. So when this book came along I, like most people, thought it was just another one of those 'joke' books. However it is most certainly not. This books tells you how to sharpen a pencil. This is a task we all have done at some point in our life but have you ever thought about the process? Well this book makes you think about the process. Along the way it also tells you about the world of pencils.

Yes, some of the detail does go too far but at the same time there is an almost zen-like process around this task, very similar to the ancient tea making procedures from China and Japan.

I would recommend this book for anyone who has any 'geek' in them or to any man-servants to wealthy people who have more money than sense and who want their pencils sharpened professionally.

This book made me smile.

David Rees is a nutter but a good nutter.
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on 27 September 2012
It is good.

It has helped me re-kindle my love for pencils. And for wine that pairs with pencils.

What a life saver.
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