For teachers or artists who use a lot of pencils (here) in their job, a pencil sharpener is an essential tool. With so much use, sharpeners break down and become dull in time. The blade is the first piece of the sharpener to encounter problems, but can be easily fixed. Instead of throwing out a quality sharpener that cost a cool fifty dollars, a good sharpener can be fixed and saved at little to no cost. Even handheld blades can be sharpened. See Sharperthepoint- Electric Pencil Sharpener for more.
Sometimes the blade is not the problem, but there are some diagnostic characteristics to look for when the blade breaks down: if the pencil does not sharpen or takes a very long time, if the wood around the lead is choppy or shredded, if the lead keeps breaking, or if there is extreme resistance when sharpening.
When the blade becomes dull or dislodged, handheld sharpeners and electrical ones come apart easily a with a few tools like a screwdriver. Once the blade is removed from the unit, handle it carefully. Like with a knife or scissors, a sharpener blade can be renewed on a file, sharpener stone, or simple rock. Simply run the blade along the flat side of one of these stones. Place the blade flat against the stone and run it along the surface of the stone, at a slight angle so that the end of the blade is being reduced and sharpened. Essentially, the edge of the blade is being worn away to produce a finer and sharper edge on the blade. Once the edge is sharp and fine again, very carefully replace it into the electrical or handheld unit where it came from.
This method saves a ton of money in the long run. Instead of taking a trip to purchase a whole new unit, a tiny bit of elbow grease and ingenuity can make a pencil sharpener like new again. It is perfect for those on a budget or who do not have easy access to new units. In any case, always exercise caution when handling sharp blades, but to re-sharpen a pencil sharpener should be no problem at all.