I am looking for a good quality electric pencil sharpener for my pastel pencils. I have been using disposable sharpeners but the blades dull so quickly and I loose alot of the pastel. Any suggestions?

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Hi Lori,

I did a bit of research and found that quite a few pastel pencil artists use X-Acto brand electric sharpeners. Another brand that is commonly used is MultiPoint Professional, but I think those are only available as hand-crack sharpeners.

Here is one artist's detailed review of these 2 different pencil sharpeners that she used for her pastel pencils:
http://karitirrell.blogspot.com/2010/04/pencil-sharpeners-for-paste...

Description of the MultiPoint from the Pastel Artists of Hawaii website: http://www.pastelartistsofhawaii.org/reviews/products/pastel_pencil...

This X-Acto sharpener has a positive review from an artist who uses it to sharpen her pastel pencils:
http://www.amazon.com/X-Acto-Deluxe-Heavy-Duty-Electric-Sharpener/d...

(This is a direct link to her review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R4HDSLBZY0B9O/ref=cm_cr_dp_cmt?ie=UTF8...)

If you want to try an inexpensive hand sharpener, I've heard good things about cosmetic/eye pencil sharpeners.

Hope this helps you get started in finding the best electric pastel pencil sharpener for you!

Thank you so much for the help with the research on electric pencil sharpeners. I feel more confident in purchasing one now.

I'm glad someone else brought up this subject. I have read that pastel pencils are too brittle or fragile to sharpen with any kind of sharpener (finding out myself that it's really easy to break the tip off the core) So I had to resort to using a utility/X-Acto blade to sharpen them.  Nice to see I'm possibly wrong, and that links have been provided for this subject. Thanks, guys! :D

I have been searching for a sharpener, electric or manual, that would work for pastel pencils. The Multipoint Professional worked great but had a very short life before it was too dull to do much. I just received my latest, Carl Angel 5, a manual sharpener which sharpeners to an incredible long, sharp point. So far it has been the best so far. I found that I need to stop after about 4 turns to reduce tip breakage. Some points still break off, but it is easy to remove cutter and poke broken point out. I use Cretacolor, Faber Castell, Derwent and  Stabilo CarbOthello pencils. It works on all of these but not on Conte because they are too large. Hope it lasts for a while.

I used to use an electric. Really, any grinder-type sharpener is pretty good for pastel pencils and soft colored pencils. BUT, that said, I eventually got annoyed at it being One More Cord. I had too many electric appliances around and decided to try the often-recommended Professional Multi-Point hand crank sharpener, which I got from Jerry's Artarama. It's a bit less costly than most of the electrics. 

But it is one huge step better in how gently it sharpens Prismacolors and pastel pencils. Prismacolor Premier is the pencil that suffers most from dull sharpener blades, matched by Carb-Othello pastel pencils. Ow ow. The cores break way too easy. But grinder type sharpeners continually resharpen themselves if cleaned by running a graphite pencil through them every dozen times. That cleans out gunked up chunks of core or pigment (a bigger problem with soft colored pencils like Prismacolor or Coloursoft.)

It's adjustable from short cone to long tapered point shapes. It's super gentle with the points. It takes very little strength to use, I have used it on days when my arthritis was screaming. It sharpens weirdly fast, it's something about the internal design that makes it work so well and swiftly. That was the only startling thing about it, unlike the old hand crank ones from school I went around a couple of times and boom, there it was, the pencil was done. It stops working when it's done, the handle spins freely. You can't overdo it and grind off half an inch of pencil by being too enthusiastic because the pencil clamps into place and presses in mechanically instead of your manually pushing it in.

You put it in place, close the release, clamp it and let the springs inside pull it taut, then turn the crank once or twice and it spins freely and you're done. I have yet to lose a point on anything in it. It will baby pre-broken cores and sharpen them till there's practically on the crank - though if the crack falls just right you may have to wind up changing the shape to resharpen it because it seems to test whether it's done by how it fits against the guide inside.

I've had this for three years now, never had a problem with it and of course have one less cord around my art and writing area. It works during power outages and can be thrown in a backpack for when I go out.

Have you tried cleaning your Multipoint Professional by sharpening some HB pencils in it? Mine's been going for three years now with no problems but I got told by the person who recommended it that I should clean it by sharpening a No. 2 pencil every dozen colored pencils or so. If you use it for Prismacolors or anything like that too, they will tend to leave a wax buildup on the grinders that needs to be pushed out by the graphite.

Most manual sharpeners are pretty good as long as you change the blade as soon as it has any dullness. I stocked up on manual sharpener blades for years, when I couldn't get blades by themselves bought the cheap General's Little Red All-Art ones - their shallow cone was a little gentler on pastel pencils and I got the bulk-price deal knowing I'd use them up.


Ebb A Berry III said:

I have been searching for a sharpener, electric or manual, that would work for pastel pencils. The Multipoint Professional worked great but had a very short life before it was too dull to do much. I just received my latest, Carl Angel 5, a manual sharpener which sharpeners to an incredible long, sharp point. So far it has been the best so far. I found that I need to stop after about 4 turns to reduce tip breakage. Some points still break off, but it is easy to remove cutter and poke broken point out. I use Cretacolor, Faber Castell, Derwent and  Stabilo CarbOthello pencils. It works on all of these but not on Conte because they are too large. Hope it lasts for a while.

I use X-Acto Electric Sharpener which I have bought it from Jerrysartarama's store. It works with many size pencils and from very hard to very soft leads and pastels.

I use the same sharpener and was told not to sharpen more than 3 or 4 at a time as the motor gets hot and the colored shaft will break.  Therefore let motor cool and to clean the sharpener  run a plain graphite pencil thu it after about 12 pencils to clean the blades.

I bought a "Swordfish" from Amazon and it is incredible. I used to sharpen my pastels with a blade but this does the same job in a second. You can actually decide if you want a blunt point or a sharp one. Love it!

Hiya Lori,

Pencil sharpeners just don't work with pastel pencils (believe me, I've tried 'em all). Stick with a utility knife for paring away the woodwork, and a flat fine-surface diamond knife sharpener to create a point.

Mark

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