How to Sharpen a Palomino Blackwing Pencil

or, How to Use your Palomino Long Point Sharpener.

Don’t laugh. There is actually a process to sharpening these beautiful pencils.

The Blackwings have wonderful lead that almost never breaks unless you’ve dropped the pencil and it’s landed on its tip. More likely, you would just be sharpening the tip to a point, but just for you, I have very generously sacrificed a Palomino Blackwing and broken its lead tip.

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Step 1:  Sharpen the wood. Insert the pencil into the left hold and sharpen like a regular pencil sharpener.

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There is actually a gap or trench between the end of the blade and the back of the sharpening area. Sharpen the pencil until it stops on its own – when the lead reaches the back wall.

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Lead just waiting to be sharpened!

Your end result will be a long, cylindrical piece of lead with a blunt tip.

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Sharpening the lead!

Step 2: Sharpen the lead. For this step, I like to be a little bit careful, as you don’t want to break the lead now. You’ll get quite a lot of lead shavings, and may even shape a bit of the wood.

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And your beautiful Palomino is ready to go!

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Trouble-shooting: if your sharpener isn’t giving you these crisp points, try tightening the screws holding in the blades – if they loosen, your points can break as you’re sharpening your pencil, which shouldn’t be happening at all.

Note: there are extra blades! They are tucked away by the hinge.

1 thought on “How to Sharpen a Palomino Blackwing Pencil

  1. scribbler

    (That’s good advice on adjusting the tension of the second-hole blade to point the exposed lead without breaking it.) Now here’s a neat trick. Avoid step two, don’t point the lead! Instead, using an emery board or fine rasp, carefully file the exposed length of graphite into a long rectangular flat and square off the point. The beauty of this tip is in the calligraphic effect it gives one’s writing, much like the alternating thin and thick strokes one achieves with the stubs, obliques, and flexinibs of fountain pens. True, the original Palomino Blackwing’s lead is so soft you’ll be touching up the tip quite often, but it is also so dark and creamy smooth you won’t mind. I was absolutely shocked how much this little adjustment transformed my very ordinary block printing and cursive into something attractive if not quite beautiful.

    Reply

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