Some reader comments I wanted to highlight,
regarding the lead holder I mentioned in this post.
Rivkah: I have that exact same lead pointer for my turquoise pencil leads, and contrary to what the reviewer says, the leads break easily (until you really get the hang of it), and any time I put one of these in my bag, I end up with blue dust all OVER my papers and supplies, to the point I've started keeping it in a plastic baggie. I even tried putting an eraser head in the top opening, and still the shaving somehow manage to leak out. They also don't come with instructions, so for someone who's never used one before, they're downright confusing. Which hole does the lead go in again? ;D
In spite of its flaws, however, it's still the best pointer on the market, and once you get the knack of it, they're easy to use and the leads don't break so easily. Just use some cheaper leads the first few times you use it.
Raluca Z: there's a cheaper version of the lead pointer which I use.
it's home-made but then again homemade tools are sometimes better.
It uses sanding paper - fine grain, the ones you usually use for sanding wood boards.
You go find yourself a small size cilindrical recipient with a good sealing cap. The best ones are shallow. Cut the sanding paper and stick it to the circular walls of the recipient. And here you go- your own lead sharpener.
It doesn't leak dust 'cause of the sealing cap. It's pretty straightforward to use, it offers many style of lead pointing depending on the inclination of the lead. When you wear the sandpaper you just take it out and stick another one.
Personally I use a small tomato juice tin can as a recipient and as a cap - a Carlsberg beer plastic cap. I discovered it fits. It is pretty rudimentary but it does its job and most of all - it doesn't leak dust.