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This article is for people who need a better way to keep their pencils and erasers sharp. I’m often told that I’m a pencil geek, and in this article, I’ll show you how to sharpen the most common pens and pencils.

How To sharpen

In order to sharpen and extend the life of your pencils and pencils erasers make sure you’re working on a surface that is not too dry. If you have to sharpen them you’ll need to do so with a high tension wire, such as this one from the National Paper Company.

The tip of the sharpening wire should be near the end of the sharpening loop, making it easier to grip. Use a pair of scissors to cut around the tip of one of the sharpening wire loops, and with your hands you’ll be cutting away at your pencils and erasers.

The trick to getting the sharpening loop to cut smoothly is to make sure that the loop is set so that when it comes time for the pencil to write on it will be straight and cut without any twisting and turning.

If you’ve got an eraser or pencil that hasn’t been sharpened, you can take it to your local sharpening center, because most of us just don’t find the effort worth the time or cost.

When sharpening a pencil I generally use a sharpening wire (Nike® #13) that has a steel core, so the wire is held in constant tension, and it ensures that its tip stays at a 90° angle. This is what guarantees that the tip of the pencil will stay straight during the sharpening process, but if your pencil has an eraser (Pentel® #1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10) and it just does not look right, you can always try to sharpen it yourself.

For more detailed information on sharpening pencils and erasers please download our PDF guide below.

As we celebrate the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration on Friday, as well as Black History Month. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

This week in The Washington Post’s inaugural coverage, four columns recounting the day:

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