El Casco pencil sharpener


From El Casco, here is the M-430 chrome plated and black pencil sharpener.

I’ve heard good and bad things about these sharpeners for years. I also don’t seem to ever have read a review or heard a personal account from an owner. An online retailer recently had a very good sale, and I decided to purchase one.

The sharpener is handmade in Spain by a former gun manufacturer. One complaint is that the handmade parts can be finicky, and must be sent back to the manufacturer if a repair is needed. I’ll say some context is needed here. Who else even guarantees sharpener parts or offers repair? I suspect El Casco is the last desktop sharpener manufacturer in the entire world outside of China.

Another reason for the purchase – they are made to unusually high standards, compared to almost anything one might find in the entire commercial stationery realm.

The price is also cited as prohibitive. The story here is that Deskstore had a May 30% off sale, and refunds VAT to foreigners (they are a Swedish company), so the $US319.00 M-430 was $US178.64. I know, most of us don’t spend $178 on our pencil sharpeners. Some of us even balk at $175. But if you’ve bought a fancy handheld sharpener which easily could be $50 to $250, you’ll see that this peak of craftsmanship at this price is a true bargain.

In the box:
El Casco pencil sharpener

It turns out that the giant polishing cloth is not excessive:
El Casco pencil sharpener

There is a lot of very nice chrome to be maintained:
El Casco pencil sharpener

The surfaces are like a mirror, so it was hard to make sure I was photographing the sharpener, and not reflections:
El Casco pencil sharpener

The camera lens inspired opening for the pencil:
El Casco pencil sharpener

The viewing portal, which is mesmerizing in use:
El Casco pencil sharpener

What pencil would you sharpen first? Which pencil did you think I would select?
El Casco pencil sharpener

Not sure if I need more practice, as a ring of graphite is noticeable. The point is remarkable:
El Casco pencil sharpener

The blunt surface at the end of the point makes the pencil even more usable and break resistant, in comparison with needle points.

Some further points, especially about aspects of the sharpener that can’t be inferred from photos:

The base has a suction clamp and lever. This is essential, and seems to work better with kitchen counter tops and very smooth surfaces. My pine desk does not get the greatest grip.

The reason this grip is needed is that two hands are required to operate the sharpener. One hand must feed the pencil – the entry hole is not a vise grip as in the Carl sharpeners. It is just a guided entry point. For a right-handed person, the right hand must rotate the handle while the left hand feeds the pencil in.

Larger diameter pencils can be accommodated. I am not sure of the limits, but I just sharpened a LAMY plus and a large diameter Ito-Ya, and wow, wow, wow – the results are amazing – they are the finest looking points I’ve personally seen with large diameter pencils.

The tray has an edge with a file for further shaping a pencil point. One of those little details that confirms the thought put into the product.

I’m really looking forward to using the El Casco. The beauty is not just on the surface!