Have you ever been stuck somewhere filling out important paperwork when suddenly your pencil breaks? Or maybe it’s just getting dull and you don’t have any way to sharpen it because there’s no sharpener in sight. Think you’re out of luck? Think again!
You just need to learn how to sharpen a pencil without a sharpener!
Perhaps you’re wondering, “How can I possibly sharpen a pencil if I don’t have a sharpener?” It’s actually an easier task to accomplish than you may think. You just need a few everyday items. These helpful tips that are sure to do the trick!
How to Sharpen a Pencil with a Knife
Imagine that you’re sitting at the park sketching some beautiful scenery and your art pencil breaks. Suddenly, you realize you forgot to bring your manual pencil sharpener.
You don’t want to lose the inspiration of the moment. So what’s an artist like you supposed to do in this situation?
If you have a pocket knife handy, you can quickly take care of the problem. Simply open up the blade and rub the wood part of the pencil along the sharp knife edge. It’s exactly like whittling a stick. Your pencil will be as good as new in no time!
You can learn how to sharpen a charcoal pencil without breaking it by using a knife too. This is a good thing to remember if your pencil isn’t broken but simply dull. You simply take the dull tip and run it along the blade until it gets to your desired sharpness.
A few words of caution are in order when it comes to using a knife to sharpen your dull or broken pencil:
- Don’t bring a knife to a place where they’re prohibited to use as a pencil sharpener!
- Dont face the blade toward any part of your body while sharpening the pencil!
- Don’t forget to put the knife back in a safe place after using it to sharpen your pencil!
So what if you happen to be somewhere where you don’t have access to a knife? There are still plenty of other ways you can sharpen your dull or broken pencil. It’s easy if you know the following hacks.
Pencil Sharpening Techniques
If you’re looking for a way to sharpen your pencil without a sharpener, look for any type of surface that would cause the right amount of friction to get the job done.
Sharpen Your Pencil With a Rough Object
There are plenty of items with rough enough surfaces to scratch down either the dull tip or the wood portion of your pencil. If you rub it along one of these surfaces, your pencil will soon be nice and sharp. Here are some ideas of rough objects you could use if you’re without a sharpener:
- A brick or mortar
- A piece of rough stone
- A nail file
- The side of a building
- Concrete or blacktop pavement
As you can see, there are all kinds of different rough objects you could use to sharpen your pencil. Your technique will be slightly different depending on the object you choose.
For example, if you’re out in your garage you might find a piece of sandpaper to sharpen your dull pencil. All you need to do is rub the pencil tip along the sandpaper’s roughest surface until it gets sharp.
Just be sure to turn the pencil ever so slightly from time to time as you rub it on the sandpaper. That way you won’t end up with a lopsided pencil blade.
With proper rotation, your pencil will turn out almost as symmetrically sharp as it would if you used a sharpener.
The Best Way to Sharpen a Carpenter’s Pencil
Have you ever used a carpenter’s pencil before? They differ from regular pencils in several ways.
- They’re shaped differently
- They’re easier to hold onto
- The lead is more dense than typical pencil lead
- They allow you to draw both thin and thick lines
- They won’t fit a standard pencil sharpener
These pencils are shaped differently than a standard pencil you would use at school or home. Instead of being designed with a hexagon shape, they’re usually shaped like a rectangle or ellipse.
This shape makes the pencil easier to grab and hold onto. It also makes it less likely for the pencil to roll away if it’s accidentally dropped or set down.
The extra dense lead makes these pencils ideal for use on a job site. They can mark on all kinds of different surfaces including rough boards or concrete.
You can use these pencils to write both thick and thin lines by switching turning them. If it’s laying on the long side of the rectangular surface, it will make a thick line. If you turn it onto the narrower side, it will make a thin line. That’s pretty ingenious, isn’t it?
You can even make a groove in the center of your carpenter pencil’s lead to create an awesome effect. This allows you to draw parallel double lines at the same time!
One of the only drawbacks to this amazing pencil is that it probably won’t fit the pencil sharpener you already own for your home or office. Not to worry! You can still sharpen it if you follow these simple steps.
- Firmly grip the pencil
- Leave a few inches between your hand and the tip
- Point a chisel or utility knife at the pencil a 45 degree angle
- Keep the sharpening object one half inch from the end you’re sharpening
- Whittle off the narrow sides of the pencil
- After the narrow sides are finished, do the same to the wide sides
- Always keep the sharpening tool pointed away from you
- Finish sharpening the tip with sandpaper
How to Sharpen Chalk Without a Sharpener
Now that you’ve learned how to sharpen a standard pencil and a carpenter’s pencil without a sharpener, what about chalk? Chalkboard lettering is all the rage these days. The problem is that school chalk typically comes in a box with completely flat ends. That dull shape makes it hard to write crisp, precise lines.
Thankfully, you can sharpen chalk very easily even if you don’t have a sharpener. Just use a sharp surface like a knife or scissors to chip away at the edges of the chalk in each direction. If you don’t have a sharp object, simply rub the chalk on concrete, blacktop, or another rough surface on all sides until you get it down to a thin, pointed tip. Because chalk is so soft, it will sharpen up nicely in no time!
Keeping a few extra pencils or a small handheld sharpener handy is also a good idea, especially if you’re in school. That way you won’t have to constantly raise your hand to go use the classroom pencil sharpener. But in case you forget these items, you can use this practical advice.
Now that you’ve learned how to sharpen a pencil without a sharpener, you don’t need to panic next time your pencil breaks. Simply remember to find a rough surface or sharp object to take care of the problem. These same tricks also work wonders for carpenter’s pencils and chalk.