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Old 12-22-2013, 12:41 PM   #1
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Default Sharpening watercolor pencils?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone,

I was wondering if you can advise on the best way to sharpen watercolor pencils. I have a CM hand sharpener that usually works great, but not on my watercolor pencils. I have the SU and also the Prismacolors. I have not tried our old, wall-mounted Stanley sharpener in the garage because I don't want to peel off more color than I already have.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:39 PM   #2
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A lot of artists swear by sharpening the pencils with a scalpel or exacto knife or very sharp small knife. Less wastage of the precious colours then. Little scrapes better and constantly turn the pencil. Too many sharpeners waste precious paint from the lead. Also they tend to be softer leads so can break easier. There are even YouTube clips on how to sharpen if you want to watch
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Old 12-22-2013, 02:28 PM   #3
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I was going to suggest a plain small sharpener with the screwed in blade.

I wonder if your blade is dull and that is why you are having issues.
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:55 PM   #4
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I use an old electric panasonic sharpener for all my pencils. If the lead of any pencil keeps breaking it could be that it is broken down in the wood somewhere. If the pencil was dropped it could have several breaks inside.
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Old 12-22-2013, 05:08 PM   #5
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I was going to suggest a plain small sharpener with the screwed in blade.
This is exactly what I recommend as well. It works great for me.
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:11 AM   #6
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A lot depends on the pencil brand used. Some can be difficult to sharpen, like the very expensive Albrect Durers. I've found that a small, handheld metal sharpener sold by artists' supply stores, not craft stores, works best in preserving the pencil's longevity.

Suggest that you take one of your pencils to an artists' supply store and ask for their advice. Some sharpeners are brand-specific and they work well. I'm not a fan of scalpels and razor blades for routine sharpening. They can dig too deeply into the wood surrounding the lead and destabilize or break it. They can also slip and cause very nasty injuries.
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:05 AM   #7
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I was going to mention that you can drop the shavings from Watercolor pencils into water to disolve the paint, remove the wood shavings with tweezers and then let the paint dry. Like any watercolor medium it just needs a little bit of water to make it useable again later. Use one of the cheap plastic paint palets that has several wells for each color.
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Old 12-23-2013, 02:21 PM   #8
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How to Sharpen a Colored Pencil: Discover How to Keep Your Pencils Sharp and Prevent Breakage great link for lots of thoughts on sharpening pencils
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Old 12-23-2013, 02:52 PM   #9
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Good article, but it concentrates on soft-core Prismacolor pencils. Pencils with harder cores require different types of sharpeners.
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:38 AM   #10
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I sharpen my SU watercolor pencils with a 99 cent sharpener I bought at blicks. It's just a normal small one, with a razor blade inside. Works great.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:44 PM   #11
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subbing to read later cuz I'm getting kicked off the computer by my 11yo!
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:49 PM   #12
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subbing to read later cuz I'm getting kicked off the computer by my 11yo!
oh ratsidoodle.. dang kid!
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:02 PM   #13
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I also use a small handheld with the razor blade. I will say this invest in a couple and change them out as they dull. A dull razor will only ruin cause you to over sharpen and even ruin the watercolor inside.
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