Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Art Product Review - The Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

Welcome to my first official product review! I was extremely excited to get a sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies to test in my classroom. (Especially after my rant earlier in the year about the low quality and reliability of other sharpeners on the market.) This sharpener is marketed by an actual teacher. I will start out by saying that I wasn't able to put the sharpener into full classroom use. I got the sharpener toward the end of the year when we were super busy and fighting to get projects done before the art show and the end of the school year. I simply didn't have the time for students to play with this sharpener as I knew they would want to. I did have select students sharpen about a hundred pencils with it to put it through a bit of a test. I'll update my post after a couple months into next school year when the sharpener gets full use.

The Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener bases its design on the old crank model. I have one of these old sharpeners mounted on the wall in my classroom. Even older students can sometimes have difficulties sharpening their pencils with this sharpener because there is no mechanical way of ensuring the pencil goes into the sharpener perfectly straight. Additionally, some students keep sharpening away long after the pencil is ready to come out of the sharpener. The Classroom Friendly Sharpener solves both of these major problems. It is designed in such a way that the student isn't even holding the pencil while it is being sharpened. A mechanical holder grips the pencil and pulls it into the sharpening mechanism when the crank is turned. The pencils go in perfectly straight every single time and it automatically stops pulling the pencil in when it is sharp. I achieved an amazingly sharp pencil every time I used it. It works equally well on regular pencils as well as colored pencils. As you may know, colored pencils can be a death sentence for an electric sharpener, so I was thrilled to see that this sharpener can handle them. 

Three different pencils - all equally and amazingly sharp.
The Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener is solidly constructed and the shavings can be easily emptied. When I went to mount the sharpener on the table where I traditionally keep my sharpeners, I ran into a problem. The sharpener has mounting hardware similar to that of a drawing lamp. The counter where my sharpeners go is a little odd and isn't built to go with the sharper mount that came with the sharpener. I contacted Troy with Classroom Friendly Supplies and it turns out that I wasn't the only person who was having this problem. He now sells different mounting hardware that screws directly into the surface of the table. I'll definitely be ordering one of these mounts for the coming school year. 

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener. With the addition of the new mounting hardware, the sharpener will work perfectly in my classroom. The sharpener is designed to work for life. The sharpening mechanism can even be swapped out for a new one for a little over $10. (A little better than dropping $50 for a new electric model.) The best non-sharpening aspect about this sharpener is that it is super quiet. There are sometimes two electric sharpers buzzing away simultaneously in my room. It's enough to drive even the most calm teacher a little batty. I'm planning to purchase another Classroom Friendly sharpener to compliment the one I already have. I'm looking forward to putting them both to good use next school year.