New York man sharpens pencils for $35 a pop - Fox 2 News Headlines

New York man sharpens pencils for $35 a pop

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Someone just paid David Rees, of Beacon, N.Y., $35 to sharpen a pencil.

"I think people think: 'Wow, I can't believe he actually did it,'" Rees said. "I wasn't sure what would happen when I sent this guy my money."

Now before you write him off as some con-artist whittling away on pre-packaged No. 2s from a farmhouse upstate you should know Rees is a sharp guy.  He considers himself an artisanal pencil sharpener.

"Internet commenters have definitely made this argument before," Rees said. "Now, a pencil is a completely transparent communication tool. There's no secret to it."

As for his pencils, he began sharpening those after leaving a job as a political cartoonist to work for the 2010 Census, where he spent all day recording his findings with a No. 2 pencil.

"I thought there's got to be a way to get paid to sharpen pencils for people," he said.

1,804 flawlessly sharpened mostly No. 2 pencils later, Rees has penned a book on his art form, collected an arsenal of different sharpeners, and taught classes to students who sharpen better than he does.

"I'm always really simultaneously happy for them and always really intimidated," he said, "like please don't go into business against me. You're going to crush me."

But after two years of collecting pencil shavings with tweezers for his customers, Rees is nearing his breaking point.

When Rees started, he hoped every busted tip would lead the writer to pay for a sharpening. Instead, most customers order David's pencil points and display them as artwork.

"The whole point of the business is to remind people to appreciate yellow, No. 2 pencils because they're really cool and interesting," he said. "And to make a ton of money."

But at this point, work feels like work.

"You do anything long enough for money, it just starts to become a job," he said.

So as he nears the nice round number of 2,000 sharpenings, Rees suggested that soon he'd like to clean out his sharpeners for good, leaving the world a much duller place.

His website sells his book and sharpened pencils. The books ship quickly, the pencils take approximately six weeks to ship, and cost more than the book.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:37:29 GMT
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
  • Trench collapse traps workers

    Trench collapse traps workers

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:56:22 GMT
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
  • Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:42:28 GMT
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices