At school, it can be annoying when you have to go up to sharpen your pencil because it has broken. I have tried using it more gently. Any other ideas? What should I do?


6 Answers 6

  1. Don't overly sharpen them
  2. Don't bang them on the desk or drop them on the floor
  3. Try to hold them as straight as possible whilst using the sharpener

Mechanical pencils. Even though they may break more it's not an issue. But seriously, from a pure time-efficiency standpoint if you can deal with how the mechanical writes I'd go with that instead of normal pencils.

Maybe I'm just bad at using them though. x.x

  • 1
    This doesn't really answer the question being asked. It's kind of like someone asking "how do I make my car more fuel efficient" and you suggest "ride a bike instead" Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 19:14
  • 2
    It doesn't go with the 'title' of the question being asked but the question posted: At school, it can be annoying, when you have to go up to sharpen your pencil. I have tried using it more gently. Any other ideas? What should I do? In particular "Any other ideas?" Since a pencil and a mechanical pencil are functionally nearly identical and the issue seems to be annoyance/inconvenience for "having to go up and sharpen your pencil" I think this is an appropriate response.
    – Abraxas
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 20:21
  • 2
    This answers the question perfectly since OP didn't specify mechanical or wood pencils.
    – ssaltman
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 2:44

You can use carpenter pencils. They are more rigid and don't usually break at all. Also, they are sharped using a knife which I found to be more readily available then pencil sharpeners.

from wikipedia

  • I have used an ordinary pencil and a good pair of scissors to do this too.
    – Mary ML
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 0:35
  • Is this practical on a daily basis ? Sharpening a carpenter pencil is not as easy as pushing a regular pencil into a sharpener and winding it.
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 18:26
  • @VarunKN Well, yeah. At least I didn't have trouble with that. otoh, I'm a guy who carries a viktorinox multitool with him every day, so maybe my concept of "readily available" is skewed for the knife :) Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 20:44
  • haha, all right. There is no doubt that a carpenter pencil is much sturdier than a regular pencil. +1 for that.
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 5:20

Don't sharpen it as much to start.

You should sharpen it to be useful but not so much that it is particularly pointy. This will give it more support and have it break less often.

It should look more like the first than the second

(source: theinterneteducator.com)


I prefer mechanical pencils, but the quality and grade of the pencil will determine how durable it is. Pencil lead is a mix of graphite and clay, sometimes with additional materials to hold it together. Higher quality pencils may have something like "chemically bonded" printed on them, which indicates that there are extra adhesives in the lead to make it stronger.

Pencils also have a grade marked by the letters H (for hard) and B (for black). The most common grade is HB which gives a good compromise between well defined lines and darkness of the line. If you choose a B grade, maybe B2 or B3, the pencil will be softer and less likely to break because although it is softer, it is less brittle.

Take care of your pencils. Dropping them or shaking them around in a pencil case with other pens and pencil can cause fractures in the lead that aren't apparent until you've sharpened them down to that point.

There are many pencil sharpeners available that catch and store the shavings. If you use one of these, you shouldn't need to move from your desk when you have to sharpen a pencil.


If you need to not have a broken pencil, just dip it in water for a few minutes. Your pencil will not have to be pushed down as much, therefore it will not break as easily.

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