New York man sharpens pencils for $35 a pop - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

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>>

  • Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

    Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:05:38 GMT
    Congressional investigators say the government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it...
    Congressional investigators say the government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it...
  • Police: 10 arrested in North Country heroin bust

    Police: 10 arrested in North Country heroin bust

    Authorities say they've arrested 10 people accused of selling and possessing heroin and other drugs in northern New York.
    Village of Malone police, state troopers and members of the Franklin County border narcotics task force conducted raids Monday night and Tuesday. Officials say the suspects had been selling narcotics in communities near the Canadian border in northern Franklin County.
    Authorities say they've arrested 10 people accused of selling and possessing heroin and other drugs in northern New York.
    Village of Malone police, state troopers and members of the Franklin County border narcotics task force conducted raids Monday night and Tuesday. Officials say the suspects had been selling narcotics in communities near the Canadian border in northern Franklin County.
  • Police: Man drives off NY bridge, dies

    Police: Man drives off NY bridge, dies

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:10 AM EDT2014-07-30 10:10:33 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    Police in Westchester County are investigating whether a man who died was drag racing when he drove off a bridge. They say the victim was driving northbound on the Saw Mill River Parkway when he exited and drove off the Ashford Avenue Bridge in Dobbs Ferry around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. The man was alone in the car.
    Police in Westchester County are investigating whether a man who died was drag racing when he drove off a bridge. They say the victim was driving northbound on the Saw Mill River Parkway when he exited and drove off the Ashford Avenue Bridge in Dobbs Ferry around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. The man was alone in the car.

Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

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