Tip & How-To about Office Equipment & Supplies

How to sharpen a pencil so the tip doesn't break

When I was in school it would always frustrate me that the tips of the pencil were always breaking in the sharpener. It took many tries of turning the pencil and turning the sharpener, different amounts of pressure and I finally found the secret.

Sharpening a pencil is a very easy thing to do. When you are using a hand sharpener, either a small plastic one with a cartridge to catch the shavings or the really small ones that don't catch the shaving, your put the utencile end of the pencil into the sharpener keeping it has straight as possible.

Applying a little pressure turn the pencil in the clockwise motion (you can turn either the pencil or the sharpener both will work). The shavings will begin to fall off and you keep turning until either you are satisfied with the sharpness of the tip or the shavings stop coming off. Make sure that you don't put more pressure on the pencil to make the shaving keep coming off because that will make the tip break and get stuck in the sharpener.

Pull the pencil out and clean the sharpener, it should be good to go. What I discovered was that if I had dropped a pencil a few times then the lead inside the pencil would be broken and this would cause the tip to break after sharpening. Treating your pencils nicely will keep them from breaking tips when you sharpen.

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pencil sharpener won't stop running


probably a piece of lead stuck on switch. Unplug unit, shine a flashlight into it and see if you see anything other than the sharpening head(s).

Apr 01, 2014 | X-Acto XActo School Pro Electric Pencil...

1 Answer

Where can I buy a shavings receptacle replacement for my X-Acto School Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener Model 167X. Mine got dropped and broke.


This is a new answer for an old question. Just today, I emailed the Xacto company (contact us on their website) and they responded with " a courtesy replacement will be sent to the address below."

May 06, 2013 | X-Acto XActo School Pro Electric Pencil...

1 Answer

When I insert a pencil into my brand new school pro sharpener, the blades spin, but do not sharpen.


The website says to check and make sure its not jammed with pencil lead or something else. unplug it take the shavings bin out and flip it upside down so you can look into the sharpeners. Rotate them by hand till you can see the open side of the blade then use a unfolded paper clip and slide it in the path the pencil would usually take. This should knock anything loose the would be jammed in there. If it passes through to where you can see the point you should be clear. If you didn't dislodge anything or it still doesn't sharpen but the blades spin when you try to use the sharpener, then there is a tab that can get jammed back that needs to be in the foreword position. The tab is located where the tip of the pencil would point if it was actually being sharpened. if you run the paper clip through the machine (just like when trying to dislodge something) the tip of the clip will touch the tab. make sure its not jammed back (away from the opening/pencil) it should be as far forward as possible for the blades to engage. I hope this helps! This has been jammed many times by pencil shavings or gunk on my wife's (elementary school teacher) pencil sharpener.

Sep 22, 2011 | X-Acto XActo School Pro Electric Pencil...

1 Answer

The tip of a pencil is stuck in the bottom of my Westcott iPoint pencil sharpener. It won't sharpen pencils all the way now. Any way to get that out?


Use a small nail or pin to break up the piece that is stuck, then blow out the bits with a drinking straw, maybe one of the bendy ones.

Sep 09, 2011 | Vacuums

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