Kum Pencil Sharpeners – Ultimate Guide

Kum Pencil sharpeners are widely regarded as the best pencil sharpeners in the world. They are manufactured in Germany, and we show you why they are so good with their unique curved blade technology and a little bit more about the company’s history.

We also give details about all their current models with the Kum 410 Magnesium Sharpener being their most popular standard pencil sharpener.

Kum is renowned for its long point sharpeners and the Kum Masterpiece long point sharpener is the ultimate long point sharpener to get a long point on your pencil. It achieves this with a two-step sharpening process and we have a great short video showing a pencil sharpened to a long point with a Masterpiece sharpener.

Kum Pencil Sharpeners Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

1. Kum Pencil Sharpener History

Kum is a German company that is based in Erlangen and is a short distance from Nuremberg, which is renowned for its long history of manufacturing pencils dating back to the 1600s.

In 1919 Kum was founded by Fritz Mußgueller and Adam Klebes to manufacture pencil sharpers. They chose the name Kum as it is derived from the German names of the two materials that they made their pencil sharpeners from “Kunstoff” which is plastic and Metall which is obviously metal.

Kum Globe Pencil Sharpener

By 1928 they had manufactured many different sharpeners and launched their iconic globe sharpener which is still in production today.

In the 1950s Kum brought its manufacturing in-house by designing and building its own tool and injection molding equipment.

In 1956 they started to incorporate drawing instruments into their product range.

Today they are still renowned and best known for their pencil sharpeners but they now manufacture a wide range of products including school and office products as well as a range of art and graphic paintbrushes.

2. What is so Special about Kum Pencil Sharpeners?

Kum Pencil Sharpener and Blades

Kum Pencil sharpeners are widely regarded as the best pencil sharpeners in the world but what is it that makes these sharpeners stand out from the rest? The simple answer is the hardness and sharpness of their blades, design features, and high-quality materials combined with a precision manufacturing process.

2.1. Extremely Hard Sharpener Blades

Kum Pencil sharpener blades are made from high carbon steel which measures 65hrc on the Rockwell scale. This is a hardness scale based on the indentation hardness of a material. It is the same hardness rating as a top-quality carbide drill bit or a premium kitchen knife.

The reason why the blades need to be so hard is that pencil lead is a mix of graphite and clay and is a very hard material. For more information check out Where Does Pencil Lead Come From?

2.2. Razor Sharp Blades

Kum pencil sharpener blades are not only very hard, but they are also razor-sharp. This is achieved by using a felt wheel as the final stage of the sharpening process to produce the ultimate mirror finish polished edge. Felt is used as although it is soft it is a soft material it is firm enough to produce a razor-sharp edge while adapting to the curved shape of the blade. Blunt sharpener blades are one of the main causes of pencil leads easily breaking. Check out Why do Pencil Leads Break so Easily for more information.

2.3. Curved Blade Design

Kum Pencil Sharpener Blades

In a lot of pencil sharpeners, the blades are riveted in place which if it becomes loose this makes the pencil sharpener unusable as the blades need to be held firmly in exactly the right place to sharpen. Like most quality pencil sharpener manufacturers Kum pencil sharpeners hold the blades in place with a screw.

Unlike using a rivet to secure the blades by using a screw the sharpeners blades can be tightened or the blades can be replaced. Kum sharpeners have a special curved blade design that acts in a similar manner to a spring. The curved blade applies constant pressure to the screw which prevents the screw from becoming loose.

The other benefit of Kums’ unique curved blade over traditional flat blades is that it moves slightly up and down as the pencil is rotating adapting to the wood’s surface as opposed to ripping through it. This produces a smoother cut and as the blades are set at a narrower angle than other sharpeners it produces a longer sharper pencil point.

2.4. Precision Manufacturing

To achieve a longer sharper point the pencil sharpener needs to be manufactured to fine tolerances. Kum metal sharpeners are made from magnesium which can be milled to the very fine tolerances that are required. Whereas other manufacturers’ sharpeners are made from cheaper materials such as aluminum or have a die-cast metal body that cannot achieve the same precision.

Another benefit of using Magnesium to make the body is that it is a long-lasting material and by polishing its surface it not only looks great but resists corrosion.

The same care and quality control have been put into the manufacture of their plastic pencil sharpeners. They use a precision injection molding process that accounts for the slight amount of shrinkage of the plastic as it cools down once it is removed from the mold. link

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3. Kum Standard Pencil Sharpeners

Kum pencil sharpeners are regarded as the best in the world, their standard-sized pencil sharpeners have the exceptional build quality and precision engineering that you would expect from a German manufacturer.

As with all Kum pencil sharpeners, it is the superiority of their sharpening blades that really sets them apart from other manufacturers’ pencil sharpeners. This combined with the high build quality of the rest of the sharpener and the fact that the blades can be replaced means that these sharpeners will provide years of reliable hassle-free and consistent sharpening.

4. Kum Magnesium Pencil Sharpeners

Kum Magnesium sharpeners have a lightweight strong body made of magnesium alloy. They are fitted with high carbon replaceable razor-sharp blades. We will go into more detail later about what makes these blades so special for sharpening pencils.

There are several different types of Kum Magnesium sharpeners which are:

4.1. Kum 400K Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 400K Magnesium Sharpener

The Kum 400K Magnesium Sharpener (104.00.01) is the most basic sharpener in their magnesium range. It is a simple single-hole sharpener with a thin wedge profile that can be used to sharpen standard-size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter.

4.2. Kum 400-1K Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 400 1K Magnesium Sharpener

The Kum 400-1K Magnesium Sharpener (104.01.01) is like the 400K in that it is a single hole sharpener with a thin wedge profile. However, where it differs is that has a vertically ridged grip zone cut out on each side of the sharpener.

This allows you to get a better grip and have more control when sharpening. It can be used to sharpen standard-size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter.

4.3. Kum 400-1 Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 400 1 Magnesium Sharpener

The Kum 400-1 Magnesium Sharpener is a single hole sharpener with a rectangular block profile. It also has a vertically ridged grip zone on each side of the sharpener that allows you to get a better grip and have more control when sharpening.

The Kum 400-1 can be used to sharpen standard-size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter. Kum also makes the 400-1E sharpener and the only difference between this and the 400-1 is that the 1E is supplied with 2 spare blades.

4.4. Kum 410 Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 410 Magnesium Sharpener

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The Kum 410 Magnesium sharpener (104.05.01) is a double hole sharpener with a wedge profile that has the sharpener’s holes adjacent to each other.

The smaller diameter hole can be used to sharpen standard size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter. And the larger diameter hole can be used to sharpen oversized round or hexagonal shaped pencils with a barrel diameter up to 11mm.

The Kum 410 Magnesium Sharpener with its classic double hole wedge profile is one of their most popular sharpeners for everyday office and school use.

4.5. Kum 410-SG Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 410 SG Magnesium Sharpener

The Kum 410-SG Magnesium sharpener (104.42.31) is a double hole sharpener with a wedge profile that has the sharpener’s holes adjacent to each other. It has the same profile as the Kum 420 sharpener and can sharpen pencils up to 8mm or 11mm in diameter. However, there are two main differences, the first is that the sharpener has a special Kuminox coating. This protects the sharpener’s magnesium surface keeping it in pristine condition and gives it a silky matt finish.

The other is that it has a “softie grip zone” which is essentially a grip area made from soft black foam rubber.

4.6. Kum 420 Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 420 Magnesium Sharpener

The Kum 420 Magnesium Sharpener (104.07.31) is a single-hole sharpener with a rectangular block profile. Where this differs from the Kum 400-1 is that instead of the grip zone being a cut-out ridged area in the side of the sharpener. The 420 sharpeners grip zone is a series of horizontal ridges that run the full length of the side of the sharpener.

The Kum 420 can be used to sharpen standard-size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter. Kum also makes the 420E sharpener and the only difference between this and the 420 is that the E is supplied with 2 spare blades.

4.7. Kum 420-SG Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 420 SG Magnesium Sharpener

The Kum 420-SG Magnesium Sharpener (104.41.31) is a single hole sharpener with a rectangular block profile. It has the same profile as the Kum 420 sharpener but there are two main differences. The first is that the sharpener has a special Kuminox coating this protects the sharpener’s magnesium surface keeping it in pristine condition and gives it a silky matt finish.

The other is that it has a “softie grip zone” which is essentially a grip area made from soft black foam rubber. The Kum 420-SG can be used to sharpen standard-size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter.

4.8. Kum 425 Magnesium Pencil Sharpener

Kum 425 Magnesium Sharpener

The Kum 425 Magnesium Sharpener (104.09.31) is a double hole sharpener with a rectangular block profile and the sharpener’s holes are at each end. The smaller diameter hole can be used to sharpen standard size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter. And the larger diameter hole can be used to sharpen oversized round or hexagonal shaped pencils with a barrel diameter up to 11mm.

The Kum 425 sharpener has a grip zone that is a series of horizontal ridges running down the full length of each side of the sharpener. Kum also makes the 425E sharpener and the only difference between this and the 425 is that the E is supplied with 2 spare blades.

5. Kum Plastic Bodied Pencil Sharpeners

Kum makes 3 plastic-bodied sharpeners for those who are on a budget. They may be cheaper to buy but they still use the same excellent sharpening blades that are fitted to their more expensive sharpeners.

5.1. Kum 100-K Pencil Sharpener

Kum 100 K Pencil Sharpener

The Kum 100-K Sharpener (101.21.21) is a simple plastic bodied single hole sharpener with a thin wedge profile that can be used to sharpen standard size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter.

5.2. Kum 100-1 Pencil Sharpener

Kum 100 1 Pencil Sharpener

The Kum 100-1 Sharpener (101.02.21) is a single-hole sharpener with a rectangular block profile. It can be used to sharpen standard-size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter.

5.3. Kum 410K Pencil Sharpener

Kum 410K Pencil Sharpener

The Kum 410K Sharpener (101.05.21) is a double hole plastic-bodied sharpener with a wedge profile that has the sharpener’s holes adjacent to each other.

The smaller diameter hole can be used to sharpen standard size pencils with a round or hexagonal-shaped barrel up to 8mm in diameter. And the larger diameter hole can be used to sharpen oversized round or hexagonal shaped pencils with a barrel diameter up to 11mm.

6. Kum Long Point Pencil Sharpeners

Kum Long Point pencil sharpeners are widely regarded as the best long point sharpener in the world. Their main rival the Blackwing One Step long point pencil sharpener may be more aesthetically pleasing and have a big brand name attached to it. However, it is far more expensive and quite frankly nowhere near as good as any of the Kum Long Points.

The Kum long point sharpeners produce a superb long point on a pencil but as it is made from graphite it can be broken if dropped or just rolling about in a pencil case. I highly recommend using a pencil cap to protect the point of your pencil. Check out The 7 Best Pencil Caps to Protect Pencil Points for further information.

6.1. Kum Masterpiece Long Point Pencil Sharpener

Kum Masterpiece Long Point Pencil Sharpener

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The Kum Masterpiece Long Point Pencil Sharpener (105.72.11) is the ultimate long point pencil sharpener and is favored by professional artists and draughtsmen. The Masterpiece produces the ultimate long point in a two-step process. The sharpener has two holes the first hole removes the wood and the second then sharpens the pencils lead to produce a superb long point lead. You can see the Kum Masterpiece in action in the following video.

As you are maybe able to see from the video the Kum Masterpiece Long Point pencil sharpener is made from magnesium and has a blue plastic end cover. If you want an even longer point, then you can carefully remove the end cover which exposes the sharp blades, and continue sharpening in hole 2 to get an even longer point.

6.2. Kum AS2 Long Point Pencil Sharpener

Kum AS2 Long Point Pencil Sharpener

Perhaps the best known of all the Kum long point sharpeners is the Kum AS2 Long Point Sharpener (105.30.21). It is enclosed in a plastic case with a waste container with 2 sharpening holes and uses a 2-step sharpening procedure.

The pencil is put in hole 1 and turned which removes most of the wood from the core. Then the pencil is put into the second hole and turned to produce a lovely sharp long point. It can sharpen both round and hexagonal pencils and has an automatic brake to prevent oversharpening

6.3. Kum AS2M Long Point Pencil Sharpener

Kum AS2M Long Point Pencil Sharpener

The Kum AS2M Long Point Pencil Sharpener (105.31.21) is enclosed in a plastic case with a waste container and is nearly identical to the Kum AS2 as it uses the same 2-step sharpening process. However, it has a very handy added functionality as it includes a lead pointer that can be used to sharpen 2mm and 3mm leads.

6.4. Kum 202-24 Stenograph Long Point Pencil Sharpener

Kum 202 24 Stenograph Long Point Pencil Sharpener

The Kum Masterpiece may be the ultimate long point pencil sharpener however the Kum Stenograph (303.57.21) is a good quality single hole long point pencil sharpener and can be picked up for less than $5.00.

It is made from magnesium and has a single sharpening hole with a rectangular block profile. It also has a vertically ridged grip zone on each side of the sharpener that allows you to get a better grip and have more control when sharpening.

7. Kum Pencil Sharpeners with Waste Container

Kum makes a wide range of pencil sharpeners that have a waste container. They come in a variety of colors shapes and sizes and can either be single or double holed sharpeners. As for the sharpeners, some are plastic-bodied at the cheaper end and others are made from a magnesium alloy and are slightly more expensive.

7.1. Kum 4 in 1 Pencil Sharpener

Kum 4 in 1 Pencil Sharpener

Probably the most versatile Kum pencil sharpener (102.83.21) with a waste container is the Kum 4 in 1 pencil sharpener. It can sharpen all pencils from 7mm – 11mm in diameter. It is available in standard, pastel, and metallic colors.

7.2. Kum Cub3 Pencil Sharpener

Kum Cub3 Pencil Sharpener

The Kum Cub3 pencil sharpener (105.76.21) is ideal for desks as it has a handy square waste container and can pretty much sharpen everything you need to. It has a double hole sharpener that will sharpen pencils up to 8mm and 11mm and they have even built in a 3.2mm lead pointer.

7.3. Kum Glass Bottle Pencil Sharpener

Kum Glass Bottle Pencil Sharpener

The Kum Glass Bottle Pencil Sharpener has stood the test of time with its classic design. It has a single-hole high-quality magnesium sharpener built into its lid. The sharpener can sharpen pencils up to 8mm in diameter and the lid easily unscrews when you want to empty the shavings out of the jar.

7.4. Kum Pencil Pal Sharpener

Kum Pencil Pal Sharpener

The Kum Pencil Pal pencil sharpener (102.47.21) is another very popular sharpener. It has a large waste container to catch all the shavings and its flip hole cover keeps the shavings safely secured when the sharpener is not in use.

It is a double hole sharpener with a smaller hole suitable for standard-sized pencils up to 8 mm in diameter and the larger hole can sharpen pencils and crayons up to 12mm in diameter. It is also available in left-handed, pastel, and metallic versions.

7.5. Kum Softie Pencil Sharpener

Kum Softie Pencil Sharpener

The Kum Softie is one of their most popular sharpeners with its super squeezable waste container that has been constantly developed with the changes in technology since it was first launched over 50 years ago.

8. Kum Large Diameter Pencil Sharpeners

Kum makes 3 large diameter pencil sharpeners which will sharpen oversized or thick pencils such as those used by kindergartners. Check out the 10 best pencils for kindergarteners to see our recommendations. Each of the three sharpeners is designed for a different pencil diameter and these are 12mm, 16mm, and 17mm.

8.1. Kum Big 12R Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener

Kum Big 12R Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener

The Kum Big 12R Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener (303.60.21) is probably the most useful of the range it is a plastic-bodied sharpener and as the name suggests is used to sharpen pencils that are 12mm in diameter.

8.2. Kum Big 16R Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener

Kum Big 16R Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener

The Kum Big 12R Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener is a plastic-bodied sharpener and as the name suggests is used to sharpen pencils that are 16mm in diameter.

8.3. Kum 100-70 Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener

Kum 100 70 Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener

The Kum 100-70 Large Diameter Pencil Sharpener (105.01.21) is a plastic-bodied sharpener that is designed to sharpen pencils with a 17mm diameter.

9. Kum Colored Pencil Sharpeners

Kum makes two sharpeners that are suitable for sharpening colored pencils and a sharpener for wax crayons. Each sharpener is designed to sharpen different diameters.

9.1. Kum 208 Colored Pencil Sharpener

Kum 208 Colored Pencil Sharpener

The Kum 208 Pencil Sharpener (102.72.21) is a dual-hole sharpener with a built-in waste container. It can sharpen color pencils up to 8mm in diameter and also color pencils with slightly wider barrels between 8 and 10mm in diameter. It can be used to sharpen triangular and hexagonal-shaped colored pencils.

9.2. Kum 218T Colored Pencil Sharpener

Kum 218T Colored Pencil Sharpener

Kum 218T Colored Pencil Sharpener (105.04.71) is a dual function 2 holed sharpener. It has two sharpening holes one for regular pencils and the other for color pencils up to 8mm in diameter and has a built-in waste container.

9.3. Kum 226 Wax T Sharpener

Kum 226 Wax T Sharpener

The Kum 226 Wax T Sharpener (105.05.71) has been specially designed to sharpen wax crayons with a 12mm diameter. The sharpener has a built-in waste container and produces a nice rounded point.

10. Kum Lead Pointers

For those who are not familiar with what a lead pointer is they are a special type of sharpener that is used to sharpen the lead in clutch pencils which are also known as lead holders. This type of pencil is a mechanical pencil that typically contains either 2mm or 3.15mm lead. Pressing the button at the top of the pencil allows the lead to fall freely out of the end and this is rounded to a point using a lead pointer. Kum is renowned for the quality of its sharpening blades which makes the Kum lead pointers an excellent choice for artists and designers.

10.1. Kum 233 Lead Pointer

Kum 233 Lead Pointer

The Kum 233 lead pointer (303.58.21) is a simple and straightforward pointer that is used to round the end of a 2mm lead.

10.2. Kum 250 Lead Pointer

Kum 250 Lead Pointer

The Kum 250 Lead Pointer (105.11.21) can also be found branded as the “Easy Point” (105.71.12) it is the same pointer just sold in different packaging. whatever one you have they are a high-quality lead pointer with a waste container that can be used to round 2mm and 3.2mm leads to a point.

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