Review – X-ACTO 3-hole binder Punch

Sometimes you need to do stuff with your art that isn’t art stuff. Sometimes you need to file it away, or keep it safe in a cover, or organize it in a binder. If you’re looking to do the last one, then you might need the X-ACTO 3-hole binder punch.

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This semi-sturdy piece of transparent plastic is designed to fit in a binder and easily punch holes through a few sheets of paper. I stress a few because on the box it says the limit is three. And yes, even three sheets is very stressful to this thing, and after that it just starts tearing the paper.

I said it was plastic earlier, but the punching apparatus is actually a nice metal piece on a hinge. It is easily as sturdy as any other hole punch I’ve used. The hinge, though, is so close to the paper that it is what you have to use to get a nice clean straight punch line and because it is a hinge this is very difficult.

Off to the bottom there is a guide that you can place your paper on and it works well. There is also a flimsy piece of loose-fitting plastic that I assume is supposed to act as a guide so the paper stays down, though it will hardly do this job well and seems as if it will snap at any moment. It also jiggles unnecessarily. On the front is a 10-inch ruler, which would be nicer if it was ruled correctly, as it is, it is about a quarter of an inch short.

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And finally on the back are a pair of fold-out binder loops that will allow you to stick this thing in any 3-hole binder you desire, though they will make a horrible grating sound and the plastic they’re screwed into looks like it can break in a hurry. They will never break off the binder rings on their own though.

Really this is just a cheap hole punch. The actual punch is quite nice, but its housing is lacking. If you only need to punch a few sheets every once in a while this is alright. Any more hole punching and this thing will be useless. It will certainly break within a year or two but it is quite cheap. So if that is what you want or need from your hole punch, go right ahead, otherwise try something further up the ladder.

Review – Westcott rulers

Well, when one is drawing, or drafting especially, it is useful, if not necessary, to have a ruler. And one might think that all rulers are the same. But they’re not. Some rulers have uneven edges, or mis-marked inches.

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A cheap ruler might cost half a dollar, and a good one might cost a full dollar. It’s not much difference and definitely worth it. The Westcott rulers that I have here are very functional, durable, and standard. Then have straight edges and correctly marked inches. One is clear acrylic and the other is steel. I use the steel for inking and the clear for sketching. I would recommend two rulers for that reason. And these are flexible, and the markings are wear-resistant. My only real complaint would be that the acrylic ruler scratches a bit too easily.

This sounds much more like a recommendation than a review, and it is, sort of. It’s a no-brainer to get a ruler. Getting a good one is not much more expensive than a cheap one, and these work great, they’re some of the best I’ve used.

Review – Swingline Personal Pencil Sharpener

Some people might not consider a pencil sharpener an art supply. But we’re using my definition of an art supply and if it in any way helps you with art it is now an art supply. Okay, maybe not exactly, but let’s just get into this Swingline Personal Pencil Sharpener.

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The sharpener itself is a chunky bubble of plastic with unappealing curves. It’s designed to be different rather than practical. It’s got a dust- and scratch-attracting polish on the front and a pleasing matte finish on the back. Also in the back are several fairly useless pencil holders. Back on the front is a dent that guides your pencil into the sharpener, or more likely just breaks your lead as you try. There is also a clear plastic shaving container that can be easily removed from the front.

The entire assembly is heavy and barely moves when one is sharpening. It feels solid and almost unbreakable. And with some nice rubber feet on the bottom it stays where you put it.

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The sharpening itself is alright. There is no swaying or destroying of the pencil. It sharpens fast and without any clogging problems. The point, however, is not as fine as it could be. It gets the job done and definitely counts as a sharpened pencil, but I generally prefer the finest of pencil tips for my work. These are simply sufficient for me.

Overall it’s a pencil sharpener, what do you expect nowadays? The build quality is nice if misguided, and the sharpening is good but lackluster. It’s sadly one of the better sharpeners on the market, beating the X-ACTO sharpeners you see in schools and offices. It doesn’t come close to a good Boston sharpener though and if you really want to get some sharpening done that’s what I’d recommend. This is only for people who just want a decent sharpener.