Yes, I’m a bit of a geek, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was really wasting a lot my pencil by keeping the point sharp or not. Yes, I can keep writing with the thing until it’s as blunt as it can be, but like most people I prefer to write with something a bit sharper.
So as the point gets a little dull, and the line starts to spread a little, I feel the temptation to touch up the point even though I know I’m wasting some of the pencil. Does it really waste that much?
Yes, it does.
If you let a pencil get complete dull, and never sharpened the graphite, you’d be using 100% of the lead for writing, but if you keep the point, say, fairly sharp – 1mm in diameter – you end up wasting over 90% of the lead in a pencil with a typical 2mm diameter lead. If you like to keep the point sharper, say half a millimeter in diameter, it’s more like 98% that is wasted.
So if you’re trying to make that stash of Blackwings last as long as possible, learn to like a dull pencil.