Review: the Dahle 50 Fifty Rotary Pencil Sharpener

This is my first attempt at a video review! Apologized for the slightly crooked shot framing.

The Dahle 50 Fifty makes very little waste, so a newly sharpened pencil is almost as long as an unsharpened one.

The website I referred to was here, what seems to be a gallery of Dahle sharpeners, including some really cool midcentury modern cast iron models.

Summing up the video, here are some strengths:

  • Tray fits into the base well
  • Easily removeable blade for replacement
  • Grinder chews up very little wood, to prolong the life of your pencil (see image to the right)
  • Produces a short point, for easier control during writing
  • Unlike a lot of rotary sharpeners, the exposed wood on the point is very smooth. No splinters or rough edges
  • The adjustable barrel holder can hold oversized pencils, and guides them into the grinder, keeping the pencil straight

Some weaknesses:

  • It’s rather awkward to extend the guide, open the hole, and insert the pencil with just two hands
  • The shavings tray is loose, and rattles
  • The whole unit is plastic and feels cheap
  • Mounts to the wall or a table with a Command Strip, which might be knocked loose during sharpening a particularly hearty pencil

Overall, I give this pencil sharpener 4 stars out of 5 — I will enjoy using it because of the great point it creates, with a minimum of waste.

As I said in the video, leave a comment if you find somewhere that sells this model!

8 thoughts on “Review: the Dahle 50 Fifty Rotary Pencil Sharpener

  1. Sharpeners that are built around a similar design are pretty ubiquitous where I live…most big stores will carry a few cheapos, and you can occasionally get lucky and find a rather nice Carl or similar. The only ones I’ve tried produce a beautiful long point, which is fortunate for me as that’s the only kind of point I like, but my lack of exposure to short points may be because I haven’t tried the cheapest or cutest models. The hole in the bottom, if it’s at all like my SDI sharpener, is for a desktop clamp. My sharpener actually came with the hardware for that, though I don’t use it.

    My SDI is pretty generic and is designed much like products from Carl and may just be a copy (as is frequently the case with East Asian office supplies), but it performs like a champ, has 2 blades, and seems to get results similar to the more-expensive Carl sharpeners. I just got it because it was the nicest one I saw in the store I was in when I decided to get one.

    Too bad pocket sharpeners never get points as nice as a good rotary sharpener can get. I’ve long since given up on them, including the Kum Automatic Long Point, and instead just sharpen with a knife when I’m far away from a rotary sharpener.

  2. Great video. Thank you.
    In the video, after you sharpened the pencil and turn it around (~3:44), it looks as if the sharpener left some marks or indentations on the pencil. My Dahle 155 has the same problem, so I don’t really use it. My Deli sharpener on the other hand ( ), less than $4 new, is fantastic. A soft rubber grip prevents pencils from getting any marks.

    • memm, Ooh, that Deli is indeed a good sharpener! I will try to track one down.

      Upon closer inspection, you’re right — it did leave a small indent. I think that because the light caught it in just the right angle, it was highly visible. Normally, though, it’s pretty small.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Pingback: The classroom-friendly pencil sharpener | Woodclinched

  4. I think the hole on the bottom of the sharpener would be used for a desk mount, similar to the mount that accompanies some “swing-arm” lamps. I couldn’t find a picture of it online (shocking, I know) but they are usually black plastic and have an ‘s’ shaped piece of steel running through the middle. One end of the s shape goes through the bracked and under the desk, the other would go through the hole in the bottom of the your pencil sharpener. Just a guess.

    • Anthony,

      You’re right! I do have a little mount for it that I don’t use because it’s pretty unwieldy, and I completely forgot to mention it in this review! Thanks for the mention.

      • Thanks!

        Also – the design of that pencil sharpener is not something new. I bought a vintage desktop pencil sharpener off of ebay last year, circa mid 50s to mid 60s, and it has the same clenching device to hold the pencil and the springloaded mouth. I got mine for about $20, but there were other examples, much older, that were going for $250+!

        Nice review! Just found the site, I’m a fan.

  5. Anthony,

    True that! I was just given an old one (A Boston, perhaps? I need to take some photos and blog it) that operates in a very similar way. It’s old, dull, and eats up the wood like I mentioned in this post, but it’s very pretty and very, very heavy-duty.

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