Finally – a modern design aesthetic applied to the desktop pencil sharpener!
The Bungu Ryodo BR-05 from Carl is a marvel – it costs less than some handheld sharpeners from Faber-Castell and KUM – and it performs amazingly well and has a compelling modern design.
The mechanism is easily understood, and offers two point choices – blunt or sharp. Both are in the “wow” category compared to most available sharpeners. The pencil shavings are held in a removable tray.
The little touches are just amazing – the point adjustor switch itself looks like a pencil crown – there are tactile dots on the grip points – every small detail has a consistent look.
Did I mention that the retail price is $21?
I find it to be just amazing. The pencil is inserted and clamped, and the handle is rotated. Sharpen, and you’re done when there is no feedback pressure. That’s it.
Here are the results with both ‘sharp’ and ‘blunt’ sharpenings:
It has a single rotary blade cylinder which is applied against the pencil. I don’t know how long the blade will stay sharp. The sharpener is lightweight, and the whole unit has to be gripped while sharpening, unless it is attached to a desk surface. It does have clamping-capable infrastructure, though no clamping hardware is supplied with the unit.
It is definitely a functional office accessory that also looks great.
35 Replies to “Carl Bungu Ryodo BR-05 pencil sharpener”
You did not mention how the actual clamping mechanism works (inside) – and the pictures don’t reveal this. Is it one of those metal teeth-of-death mangle types? Or, the more gentle angled edges covered with rubber padding?
I really don’t like the “mangle” type: it bites into the pencil wood and damages the pencil – something quite unnecessary. That would detract from the other nice features.
Dion, there are three cylindrical rubber coated grips that hold the pencil. They did not leave any marks that I was able to discern. The photo shows Eyeball Hi-new pencils, but I also tested with other brands. No pencils were damaged – just sharpened!
Wow. That looks fantastic. Is there an English-language site or internationally-shipping online retail source? I think I need one of these, for sure.
This looks like a great sharpener, the DAHLE sharpeners seem to mangle the finish of the pencils. I have the model 166, which was disappointing in the design of the point adjuster which is a small cheesey knob.
I found out that there may be a distributor in North America for this sharpener. Here is the URL for the company website in English.
Thanks for the review and the great pictures!
This sharpener seems to be perfect. I have a Carl sharpener too, namely the “Decade”, and is has the rubber coated grips as well. I wasn’t able to find a desktop sharpener in Germany that doesn’t have “teeth of death” – even the one by Faber-Castell (which is sold for amost twice the price of the Carl models) leaves severe bite marks on the pencil.
I would like to add that the Carl sharpener is sold in a very nice box and takes pencils with a slightly larger diameter as well, e. g. the Caran d’Ache Grafwood that don’t fit into a standard sharpener.
That looks pretty cool! ;-)
I have just tested my Carl Sharpener (Decade DE-100) thoroughly and was happy to see that this one – as well as yours – produces a slightly concave tip (I assume that both share the same internals). Although this isn’t really necessary it gives the pencil an extra something.
Regarding Dahle: I have their electric sharpener 0230, and although it looks quite promising it is a little disappointing all in all – it wobbles so the resulting tip is never exactly axially symmetric. This may be nitpicking but at the price of about 20 Euro I wasn’t expecting that.
Yes, yes, where can one buy online? I can’t find it, though . . .
Diane, they are here at bundoki.com.
And the model Gunther has is here.
I’m so intrigued I almost talked myself into hoping I was clicking on the right buttons, but at last sanity prevailed.
Diane, I think you want this English language ordering description page. Sorry, I probably should have mentioned it.
My name is Daniella Boscariol. I would like to buy this pencil sharpener. Can you tell me where i found a store in Brazil? I live in São Paulo.
Carl office is a Japan based company. This site may be convenient for those who wanted to buy. http://www.carl.co.jp/world.html
Around $20 in Japan.
Japanese site claims they will ship over seas, I’m going to try to order one.
They take the order via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
and you pay with paypal.
Well, I’m placing an order inquiry for Spain…
By the way, I’m still using my inherited Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co. “Chicago” model from 1915. To my knowledge, the two rotary blades have never been replaced.
Got mine yet :)
I just got a manual rotary pencil sharpener at Kinokinuya that I think is amazing. I’d love to hear your take. It’s a Mitsubishi KH-18 and it cost $33. It was a risk, since I can’t seem to find any info on it anywhere on the internet but it paid off huge. I think it’s awesome.
It doesn’t have an adjustable point, but does have the rubber-cushioned pencil grippers — seems like a far superior version of the Dahle sharpener type. The long points it produces are surgically sharp. I haven’t gotten the Carl yet, but I bet they are comparable. I can’t seem to find it anywhere but Kinokinuya. Anyone else?
They also have it (pictured) in this pdf catalogue, for a much reduced price:
Hi Jeff, thanks for your comments. I’m sure a few of us will be looking out for the sharpener you mentioned. I see Mitsubishi desktop sharpeners here at Amazon Japan.
Also, see this post at Lexikaliker for discussion of the Dahle 133 and Möbius + Ruppert 0981 sharpeners.
They can be purchased direct from Carl … the bummer is the freight. $23 for the sharpener and $67 for postage, unless you buy $200 of merchandise. Perhaps we can pool together an order for several???
Here’s the link: http://www.carl-officeproducts.com/Bungu/eng/product.aspx?id=792
Fort Collins, CO
You can get them from Bundoki in Japan—postage is fast, maybe a little cheaper than $67, especially if you also order some of their great pencils….Also, the Manhattan Kinokuniya carries other lines of Carl sharpeners that are equally good. Carls are the best sharpeners that I have ever tried, to the point that I carry one in my bag with me every day. Nothing else comes close to the kind of sharp point that Carl sharpeners achieve.
I just received my Carl BR05 sharpener a couple days ago and am extremely pleased with it. It lives up to all the advance praise, which is remarkable in itself. The fact that it produces a slightly concave tip is a real bonus, because it permits many more needle-point sharpenings with emery cloth before returning to the mechanical sharpener. Since I regularly use such surgically sharp pencils to create my drawings, the Carl is a welcome new tool. My old workhorse, the Xacto electric, also produces very sharp points (not concave) but at times it can be less than gentle with pencils.
They are sold out of all of the links posted so far. I found the product page for it: http://www.carl-officeproducts.com/Bungu/eng/product.aspx?id=792&cid=30
and it looks like you can buy direct for $23 USD, but I am unsure what their shipping cost is, anyone know?
The shipping to Germany is about $61 USD which prevents me from ordering directly at Carl.
Just wondering if anyone has found a good source for getting this sharpener shipped to the US? As an aside, I just got a model A-05. Sharpens great, but it has the metal teeth that mangles the finish.
At this blog and elsewhere, Bundoki.com has received much praise for their great service. I unreservedly concur.
They seem to be sold out of CARL sharpeners at present, but feel free to enquire about future availability. They respond very quickly to consumer enquiries.
The Mitsubishi KH-20 recently added at JetPens seems to be from the same bloodline as this Carl BR-05. It too has rubber coated jaws in the clamping mechanism and selectable sharp/blunt finishes. The KH-20 is my first experience with a nice pencil sharpener, and I am astounded at how much more pleasurable it is to use a long point on a pencil. Thanks for the original review and thanks to all who contributed to the ongoing discussion.
I’ve just received the Mitsubishi KH-20. I am a longtime user of a Dahle sharpener that does an excellent job of sharpening but that leaves bite marks on my pencils. I’m not sure if I like the Mitsubishi KH-20, because although it does not damage the finish of my pencil it does produce a freakishly long point. It makes the KUM longpoint sharpener points look short by comparison. What’s more, it doesn’t handle jumbo-sized pencils
Brian, Kelly, thank you for the information about the KH-20. Perhaps someone would be willing to write a review for pencil talk?
I just picked up a Kikkerland “Camera Pencil Sharpener” locally. For $C14.00, it looks great, though feels a bit flimsy.
The Uni KH-20 at jetpens has the identical mechanism. The two brand new pencils I sharpened with it have points identical to the pair pictured. The illustration of the mechanism for this Carl and jetpen’s Uni are also identical.
So what would that mean? Do the mechanisms of all these desktop sharpeners originate in the same factory?
This is my favorite pencil sharpeners. I have not used anything better.
You can get them from here: