Finally found one that wasn't junk

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Review by Tedstor posted 04-04-2011 05:48 AM 5586 views 2 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Finally found one that wasn't junk No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I went to elementary school in the 1980s. Back then, every classroom had a brown Bostich mechanical pencil sharpener. Most of those sharpeners looked like they had been in service for decades, despite getting daily abuse from legions of careless kids. I have no idea what they were made of, but they were tough, well-bulit products that seemed to last and last.
Fast forward 20 years. Now I have kids in elementary school and all homework gets done in pencil. Up until recently, the only sharpeners we had in the house were those plastic .99 capsule thingys, that have one hole which you twist the pencil around in. They’re great for the first two pencils you sharpen with them; then they magically get dull as a spoon and become useless.
So after months of sporadic frustration, I started shopping for a pencil sharpener… the one I used to have in school. That model is actually still in production. Its one of the more expensive models, is now made in China, and the overwhelming majority of people that reviewed it say its complete garbage. Pity. I had high hopes. However, I did find a winner. The X-Acto 1031:
-All steel construction
-X-ACTO hardened steel cutters
-Wall or desk mount (screws included)
-8 hole adjustable guide
-10 year warranty
-Heavy Duty sharpener
-Desk Mount (Screws Included)

Whats not to like? I mounted mine upside down under a shelf in my garage. Works beautifully. Seems like a quality product. And the icing on the cake????........$12.69 from Amazon. It was actually one of the cheaper models, but also seems to be among the best. Great buy for someone that wants a quality sharpener and doesn’t want to leave an electric sharpener plugged in 24/7.

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37 comments so far

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347 posts in 3601 days

#1 posted 04-04-2011 05:59 AM

i bought one just like it at staples like 3 years ago.
i was using these triangle pencils that would not fit in anything but one of those. so i got one and then stopped using it because i started using different pencils, go figure.

now i have it in the shop, and i actually use it now. very nice as you stated. its also great to sharpen dowels for pegging things

-- Ben L

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143 posts in 3998 days

#2 posted 04-04-2011 06:56 AM

Here here!! I could not agree more. Picked up one of these old tanks (actually just built like an old tank) myself a few months ago after trying to delicately massage sharp points on pencils with a cheasy plastic simulation of a pencil sharpener for years. I can almost smell my old school classroom(s) when I use it and keep thinking that at the end of the day it will be my turn to clean the chalkboard and erasers. Using it feels like slipping on solid old shoes. Every shop should have one.

Thanks for the review Tedstor. Sometimes it is the less expensive ‘tools’ that have the greatest value.

-- Todos los dias aprendemos algo nuevo.

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29 posts in 3420 days

#3 posted 04-04-2011 08:16 AM

I’ve got one too. The distracting thing that I found was that there tend to be more battery powered sharpeners out there than manual ones like this. You have to look around to find a quality one, most often found in an office supply store.

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Joe Weaver

538 posts in 4455 days

#4 posted 04-04-2011 02:16 PM

Thank you for posting. Now I can get one for my grandkids. Had one like this when I was a kid back in the 1960s

-- Joe, Ga

View deeman's profile


379 posts in 3849 days

#5 posted 04-04-2011 02:17 PM

I love mine, I bought it at Staples for about the same cost

-- Dennis Trenton Ohio And life is worth the living just because He lives!

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3927 days

#6 posted 04-04-2011 05:07 PM

As a high school math teacher during my day job, I am on my third pencil sharpener this year…yes, same model.

For your shop, it might be good, but in a math classroom, so much usage will wear it out quickly…breaking the chassis that holds the spiral cutters.

I still think you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, this is what the school buys, so it’s what I keep getting.

-- jay,

View Paul's profile


226 posts in 4220 days

#7 posted 04-04-2011 05:21 PM

I bought an old, used, one off of ebay before I realized staples sells them.
FYI I also bought my old style ,hang on the wall, push button phone from ebay. It’s the only phone in the house that never breaks.
Something about the older Made in America items that never lets you down.

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5777 posts in 4000 days

#8 posted 04-04-2011 06:08 PM

Okay now you are making me feel old, I did the elementary school thing in the 1970s, and that X-Acto is at least the modern implementation (not sure if it is exactly the same model) of the X-Acto sharpeners that were installed by the door of almost every single classroom I can recall from elementary school, through college, and even post degree continuing education college studies are recently as last year… (Some classrooms had Bostitch or X-Acto models that seemed to be more, well.. Art Deco designed…)

Those things have probably been in production for 40+ years relatively unchanged, and why should they change? They do the job they are supposed to shockingly well… And while they aren’t the prettiest objects on the planet, they have an appealing enough aesthetic quality to them that for me at least, evokes a bit of nostalgia…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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Mike Gager

665 posts in 4035 days

#9 posted 04-04-2011 06:53 PM

ive started using mechanical pencils in the shop. always a fine point and never needs sharpening

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3904 days

#10 posted 04-04-2011 07:10 PM

I like my electric pencil sharpener. I have a knack for breaking off the tip while I’m working the crank.

-- Greg D.

View Deglazed's profile


18 posts in 3459 days

#11 posted 04-04-2011 09:34 PM

I use my belt/disc sander.

-- ~tomorrow should see more working and less figuring

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1130 posts in 3742 days

#12 posted 04-04-2011 09:39 PM

It is not just the sharpeners that have changed in quality, but the pencils themselves.
My kids seem to collect those colorful but extremely useless pencils with colorful wrapping on them…barbie or hotwheels, NHL etc etc
The graphite led in those things is so weak, it will either break during sharpening or snap off deep inside the wood itself. COMPLETELY useless and yet still we get more at Chistmas and Halloween..; I am sure there will be Easter pencils too. Now don’t get me started on pencil crayons and even crayons themselves…everything breaks after the first use!!!!
I bought the kids some made in England pencils from LeeValley…after a good long rant about how poorly things are made and quality is a bad word now and how expensive everything has gotten blah blah blah I basically turned into MY father. Gosh I hate getting older.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

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199 posts in 3902 days

#13 posted 04-04-2011 10:09 PM

I salvaged an old Swingline pencil sharpener about 40 years ago when we started using mechanical drafting pencils (the old, fat lead ones that you still had to sharpen the lead). I also got a replacement cutter head at the same time. I used this pencil sharpener in three different shops and two offices. The cutters finally wore down at the graphite cutting area and it now only sharpens to the lead, and leaves a cylindrical piece of lead exposed. I had been using it that way, finishing the job on a piece of sandpaper, until I recently ran across the spare cutter head still unused in it’s original box. I doub’t I’ll be around another 40 or 50 years until that thing wears out. The body and ring gears still look nearly like new (other than a little patina). By the way, Tedstor, it looks just like yours.

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View TLMiller's profile


6 posts in 3667 days

#14 posted 04-04-2011 10:46 PM

I have one too. I keep is screwed down to a shelf that also holds my LOG-LOG DUPLEX Pickett 10” Slide Rule. It makes the kids crazy.

-- Tom, Tyler, TX

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Don Johnson

726 posts in 3549 days

#15 posted 04-04-2011 11:54 PM

Talking of pencil sharpeners, I saw one the other day that was for sharpening carpenters’ pencils – the flat ones – which made me wonder how effective it would be. I don’t actually use carpenter’s pencils so I didn’t buy the sharpener, but do such devices work ?

-- Don, Somerset UK,

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