After staying up past 1am reading this thread (
), I placed an Amazon order: a KUM Automatic Long Point sharpener, some Pentel Hi-Polymer Erasers and a box of 12 Black Ticonderogas.
I got my order today and I'm not a fan of the pencils I received. They are cheaply made in China. They don't even have DIXON printed on the barrel (instead there's what I assume is a batch number imprinted in the paint). I sharpened one and there's a visible gap between the two pieces of wood they sandwiched together to make the pencil. Another appears to have a groove mid-barrel where the wood obviously splintered at the seam. Those are just the two random pencils I pulled from a box of 12. Ugh.
Luckily, yesterday I bought a box of 24 Black Ticonderogas and a few tri-write Ticonderogas from Staples and those were made in Mexico and seem of higher quality. ¡Viva Mexico!
I never thought I'd ever devote this much mental energy to pencils...
By the way, loving the KUM sharperner. For those fanatics of this thread who watched the video with the guy who wrote the book on sharpening pencils, the KUM seems to do what he did with his two-stage hand-sharpening technique. It shapes the wood, and then you end up with the exposed lead, then you use the second barrel which sharpens the lead to a point. It also have a grove that stores the two extra sharpening blades. Oh those Germans!