Friday, April 26, 2019

An Even Better Mobius + Ruppert Sharpener

Left: my new M+R covered sharpener; right: its brass uncovered counterpart

Several months ago, I reviewed the Mobius + Ruppert portable brass sharpeners, which have been serving me well, both at home and in the field. Their key attribute is that they accommodate my favorite Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle and other larger-than-average colored pencils, which won’t fit into most sharpeners.

In my review, I pointed out a design flaw of all its models: a hazardous exposed blade corner. In regular use, I also discovered an inconvenience that I didn’t have with the domed KUM I had been using previously: The M+R sharpeners are not covered, so I must take care to collect and dispose of the shavings. It’s a minor thing, but I have to remember to carry a plastic bag or tissue, and on more than one occasion, my shavings have blown away with the wind even as I conscientiously tried to contain them.

A bit larger than the "grenade" I had been carrying.
I may have solved both small issues with my only purchase during our recent trip to Victoria. As you’d expect, I poked around in three of downtown Victoria’s art supply shops (all within walking distance of our apartment!), and the best was Island Blue. There, I found an M+R sharpener with a plastic case that both captures shavings and – bonus! – protects me from the exposed blade corner.

The sharpener inside looks nearly identical to the double-hole wedge version except that it is not made of brass. I haven’t tried replacing the blades, but it looks like the same refills will fit. It’s a lot bulkier than the tiny “grenade” version I have been carrying since January, but unless I’m pressed for space, the convenience outweighs the bulk. I may switch back to the grenade when I’m traveling and need to minimize overall bag bulk. But as a daily-carry, it’s fine.



The M+R sharpener inside looks nearly identical to the double-hole M+R brass.

A "trap door" keeps shavings from spilling
back out.
A very nice design feature is a “trap door” in the holes, which keeps shavings from spilling back out into my bag. Boy, do I appreciate small but excellent features like that! (If I didn’t know M+R was a German company, I’d think this sharpener was made by the tidy Japanese.)

My new M+R has already served me well. I was in the Royal British Columbia Museum sketching the Legislative Assembly Building’s beautiful dome when I needed to sharpen several pencils for all those details. The M+R gave them perfect points and kept the shavings neatly contained.

Unfortunately, I don’t see the sharpener in Island Blue’s online catalog. If I need a replacement, I might have to make another trip to beautiful Victoria. A pity.

Sharp pencils for details

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