Sharpeners for Pastel Pencils

The first time I stated started painting with, I damaged several electric sharpeners before I could get satisfied with the pastel point. The pastel would cut off and get jammed inside the sharpener, and I couldn’t access the blades to dig them out nor get them out completely. I visited several bookstores and online shopping platforms looking for a pencil sharpener that suit my needs and I settled on Creative Mark MultiPoint. After one year and a half, the blades became dull and wouldn’t sharpen well.
Evidently, I needed a new pastel sharpener as workmanship of my work is very critical. While I was planning to order another MultiPoint Pastel Sharpener, I came across Ray’s videos on YouTube talking about her pencils. Check the video out if you haven’t seen it yet. She had an eye catching review and her pencil points were very nice and I was tempted to ask her about the amazing sharpener she used. She told me that she uses the X-Acto Powerhouse Sharpener. I was intrigued to buy one and right now I am using one of them which I bought yesterday.

You might be in a dilemma on which type to use. Well lean back and let me explain the advantages and disadvantages of each sharpener to help you make an informed decision.
I will begin with the MultiPoint Sharpener which I bought at Tony’s Artarama for approximately $25.
• It accepts pencils of standard to thick lead from 8mm – 12 mm in diameter
• It accepts either triangular, round or hexagonal pencil shapes
• It gives you the choice to have a flat – razor shape point
• If a pastel lead cuts off, you can poke it out with a sharp object by opening the shavings receptacle
• It is very rare that a pencil will break off
• The clamp is unstable and I couldn’t get it to stand on anything. Most of the time I used to put it on my knees while sharpening.
• The claim that it’s a “one hand operated” is a joke. Yes, the automatic feeding clutch works (most of the time), but since the clamp isn’t stable, one hand is forced to hold the sharpener in place.
• The clutch chews up the exterior part of the pencil, which may or may not be a bother to you.
• It is programmed to give a certain sharp point (not what you want) and stops sharpening automatically
• It has no warranty therefore prepare to replace it every year and less than a year if you are a frequent user.

Having talked about MultiPoint Sharpeners, let me embark on the X-Acto Powerhouse which I Purchased from Office Max at $33.

• The sharpening results are amazing
• It is designed with suction feet that make it stand firm on the working table.
• It features high performance motor that sharpens even the tough wood with precision and speed.
• It has a Safe Start that prevents blades from functioning when the receptacle is removed.
• The manufacturer offers 2 years of warranty
• It doesn’t accept different standard of pencil sizes

So far I that’s the only disadvantage I could identify.

I also bought different brands of pencil to add to my stock of pencil/pastels. I have a full set of Creatacolors, Pitts, Contes, General, Derwentsand CarbOthellos. When you get used to one brand of pencils you might think it’s the only one in the market with superior qualities. Well, you might need to rethink that and try out the above brands.

Just to mention some properties, CarbOthellos fit very nicely to the sharpener, Derwents are snug but will go in with some force and it takes some other force to remove them as well, Pitts go in faintly easier than Derwents, but not as CarbOthellos, Creatacolors and general go in with ease, and Contes will not go in at all.

The sharp tip produced by the X-Acto Powerhouse is exciting and the two years warranty is attractive. I might buy another MultiPoint as a backup, and for the Pitts pencils if I have to buy another set (Those Pencil are very superb!). Enjoy any pencil/pastel by always keeping them sharp and shaped.

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