My first child started school 7 years ago. That day was the beginning of my quest for a quality pencil sharpener. I have purchased dozens of cheap, plastic manual sharpeners with varying results. Ultimately they all fail in some way and end up in the garbage.
A few years ago I broke down and bought a small electric sharpener. The children managed to break the power cord in two after only a few months!
This year alone I have purchased 3 manual sharpeners, all are broken or lost. And school started 2 weeks ago!
I have looked at department stores for an inexpensive, quality pencil sharpener with no luck. They are all crap!
I used to work in a pencil sharpener factory. Seriously. I spent 2 summers working as a temp at Hunt Manufacturing, makers of X-acto knives, Speedball art supplies and Boston pencil sharpeners (among other things!)
It wasn't a bad job. I worked in the paint room for a short time, putting metal parts on the paint racks and stacking them in crates when they were finished. I also worked on an assembly line with 3 other women making electric sharpeners. We rotated positions every two hours. I might be adding a power cord, putting on a cover or packaging the finished product for shipping. I liked this too. It gave me time to think about whatever I wanted while doing the same simple tasks over and over.
One thing I remember about these jobs is the quality control. Each station checked the products for quality. If there was a problem, it went back to the previous station to be corrected. We all took pride in our work and tried to present a quality product.
My family had an old Boston sharpener (similar to this X-acto model) that my dad had rescued. Someone was going to throw it away because it didn't work. (It turned out it was just REALLY full of shavings. I suspect it had never been emptied and the owner probably didn't even think of that.) I loved that machine! It worked great! I felt really proud to play a small role in making similar products.
This background in the pencil sharpener industry makes my current failures even more frustrating. I know there are good products out there. I know there are people who care about the quality of their work. Now I must seek out the fruits of tehir labors and, hopefully, reap the harvest!