Putting a fine point on it

Woolgathering and Widdershins

When I began reading “How To Sharpen Pencils” this week, I felt sure that author David Rees was turning my crank.
Rees begins his little pencil-yellow book with “The Pencil Sharpener’s Tool Kit,” listing, among other items, his favorite sharpeners, including the Alvin Brass Bullet single-blade pocket sharpener; the Palomino-KUM, a two-step pocket sharpener that he says “produces a lovely, long point”; the Dahle 166 single-burr hand-crank; and the El Casco double-burr hand-crank. “This is the finest hand-crank pencil sharpener in the world,” he says. Okay, so this smacks of parody, I thought, suspecting he invented those names to convince gullible readers those sharpeners truly exist, like the bit at the end of the movie “American Graffiti” that tells each character’s history subsequent to the movie to add realism to the story. But I found every sharpener on Amazon, so that shoots that theory. Maybe he is serious, I thought.

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