El Casco M430 Sharpener

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At first glance the El Casco M430 is as beautiful as you can imagine. It’s rather heavy, feels very solid, and the polished surfaces are striking against the black lacquered body:

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Upon closer inspection though, I’m not so sure about this storied pencil sharpener. In the photo above you can see the difference in finish between the drawer and the rest of the body. In the photo below you can see that the tolerances between the drawer and the body aren’t the tightest:

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The crank handle is where you set the length of the point. The very tip of the point it makes is actually flat, which can be further shaped against the rasp found in the opening of the drawer—something that is a bit messy and seems more complicated than is necessary.

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If you look closely though, you can see the finish is uneven here on the crank; there is an area that is spotted and thin compared to the rest of the handle:

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It is overall a beautiful item but after trying it out, I couldn’t help reaching for my $15 Carl sharpener. If I had paid anywhere near full price for this sharpener (it was new old stock at a bargain basement price) it would already be on its way back. It’s not as if it doesn’t work, but there is a bit of “the emperor’s new sharpener” about it.

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5 Responses to El Casco M430 Sharpener

  1. memm says:

    Congratulations! What a great sharpener (probably more in terms of look, mechanics, feel than performance).

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  2. Gunther says:

    Thank you for showing your El Casco. It’s a pity that this expensive device has such manufacturing defects! I hope that it is not typical but an isolated case.

    Re the drawer: I have heard that if you lose the drawer you can’t simply buy a new one but have to return the machine to the manufacturer so that a new drawer can be made and fitted in. – Although I don’t think that such a drawer can get lost easily I am a little surprised about this procedure (it’s like in the early days of the automobile where interchangeable parts didn’t exist).

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  3. kingofcleves says:

    I bought one of these about ten years ago on clearance from an Office Depot store for $20.00 For that price, I can’t beat it. It does sharpen well, but it also has the same poor fit of drawer to body that yours does. It is a beautiful piece of machinery, but you are right, I would not have paid anywhere near full retail price for it.

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  4. memm says:

    $20!? (Sorry, my android can’t display or type an interrobang) – I wish I’d have been there…

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  5. John Frye says:

    The fit and finish is unusually rough. Mine is absolutely perfect. For some reason, yours looks like a Chinese knock-off version. Where did you acquire it? https://www.flickr.com/photos/21389193@N00/7225298356/in/photolist-c1sJM1-c1se2G-c1sf5L-c1txtA-c1seK9/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/21389193@N00/7225044732/in/photolist-c1sJM1-c1se2G-c1sf5L-c1txtA-c1seK9/

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