Friday, June 7, 2013

A Very Average Essential Art Tool: The Max Pen 521A 2 in 1 Sharpener (Mostly) Works.

The Good: Inexpensive, Generally works
The Bad: Larger sharpener is very hard to use, Can tear apart pencils as easily as it sharpens them.
The Basics: The inexpensive Max Pen 521A 2 in 1 Sharpener works for the most part, but can really tear apart comparably priced colored pencils.

In advance of my wife’s twenty-fifth birthday, I began work for her on a book dedicated to her. It was a children’s book and when I went to illustrate it, I discovered that she had no colored pencils around the house. So, I went out and bought a whole bunch and I had to purchase a pencil sharpener as well. I had a limited budget at the time, so I went for something inexpensive and that took the form of the Max Pen 521A 2 in 1 Sharpener!

The Max Pen 521A 2 in 1 Sharpener was locally available for $2 and it is an inexpensive plastic sharpener. It is a two part pencil sharpener with a sharpener and a reservoir. At 2 ¾” tall, 2 3/8” wide and ¾” thick. The red top has two holes into which one places pencils and when the pencil is turned, the reservoir collects the shavings from the wood and graphite. It is very easy to see when the reservoir needs to be emptied because the bottom half of the Max Pen 521A 2 in 1 Sharpener is clear.

Using the Max Pen 521A 2 in 1 Sharpener is very easy. Simply place the pencil in the smaller of the two sharpener holes (for most pencils). Push gently and twist the pencil. This shaves off the wood on the pencil and sharpens the tip. The Max Pen 521A 2 in 1 Sharpener shreds wood about as often as it shaves it. The bigger hole rips apart wood and the smaller one actually sharpens the graphite well. The inconsistent results make it feel a little cheaper (as opposed to inexpensive).

The good thing is that the blade in this does not get dull with prolonged use. If it does get dull after even more usage than I already have given it, it is cheap enough to replace. This is an adequate basic sharpener, but serious artists will need something more refined.

For other tools, please check out my reviews of:
Xacto X73610 Needle File Kit
ACCO 3-Hole Punch
MasterMechanic #50 drill bit


For other tool reviews, please visit my Tool Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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