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Old 02-15-2010, 01:38 PM   #1
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Default How do you sharpen a prismacolor pencil?

I know this is a silly question, but I have to ask...how to sharpen my pencil. I've tried handheld, holding it both vertically and then horizontally and an electric, both recommended by the company website. I now have 1/2 a pencil left and haven't got a point or colored one line! Each time it gets to half the point the lead just falls out of the pencil. I'm certain this shouldn't be so difficult. I have the Koh-i-noor set that I love but I needed a special color and it's really frustrating.
thanks in advance,
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:58 PM   #2
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Oh dear... maybe you got a bad batch and the lead is all broken inside. You're right; it shouldn't be that difficult.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:47 PM   #3
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I've had luck with the hand held sharpener that came with my tin of pencils and only use that. I've heard that if they've (either the entire tin or an individual pencil) been dropped the lead inside may break which can cause the situation above.

Is it just that one pencil or more?
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:07 PM   #4
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I have read somewhere, maybe even here, to use a German made hand held sharpener. I went with that advice and have not had any trouble. HTH!
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:11 PM   #5
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My mom and I both had the same problem. I used the small Prismacolor pencil sharpener. I was very disappointed.
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
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Default Sharpening Prismacolor

I've always used an Xacto electric sharpener that has a self-stopping device. It has never failed me. I agree with previous poster that your pencil may have been dropped at some point and the lead has broken inside. I've heard that you can sometimes microwave the pencil so that the lead will melt a bit and perhaps fix the broken part(s). Hope this helps and that you find a good sharpener.
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:24 PM   #7
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i have a very old Panasonic electric sharpener, its heavy and awesome!
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Old 02-15-2010, 07:31 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your suggestions, my husband finally got it sharpened enough that I could finish coloring my stamp. He used a old fashioned bulldog sharpener. I know it will raise his eyebrows, but I'm thinking I will toss it in the microwave just to melt and then try again to get a sharp point.
Thanks again for your time
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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another trick you can try is using super glue to glue the tip that brakes off in the sharpener back into the pencil. I have a couple of prismas that break frequently and this has worked well.

when you get to the end of the pencil and it is too short to keep sharpening/holding you can carefully super glue the stub to your new pencil of the same color - carefully lining them up - then you can keep sharpening and coloring away. Waste not want not!
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:01 AM   #10
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I kept the 5 "points" that fell off, so I will try that, also. I didn't realize these pencils were high maintainence!
Thanks
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:21 AM   #11
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I have the same problem with the Prismacolors, I quit using them because of it. At times, I have trouble sharpening the Ko-i-noor also
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:14 AM   #12
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they are really worth the trouble and most of the colors I have no problem with. I've heard that if you contact Prismacolor they will replace the pencil though I haven't tried this. Depending on where you bought it, you might want to try to take it back and explain, they may exchange it.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:21 AM   #13
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Boy-O-Boy! Prisma's are so wonderful to color with, but I was getting so disgusted with sharpening them, I was ready to give them a free flying lesson right out the door!

Then, I settled down and got to looking at them. I have an excellent sharpener, but I couldn't get my Prismas to work in it. I could only partially sharpen them, which was ok most of the time. Often, when coloring, a less sharp tip is better. There are times tho, when I need/want a sharp point. Couldn't do that in my sharpener. It would snap the lead off.

I started laying some of my other, cheaper pencils down next to the Prismas and was looking at the leads. The Prismas have a thicker lead. A-Ha! There was my problem. My sharpener apparently is made for pencils with thinner lead.

So I trotted to the local art store in town. I explained my problem to them. They instantly knew what I needed. They fetched a sharpener that would solve my problem. The sharpener is made by Faber-Castell. There are others like it, but this is what my local art store has in stock. It's a few inches tall and has a rounded triangular shape. It is hinged and opens in the center. When you open it, one side is for regular pencils and stumps. The other side is labeled "Color", for colored pencils.

Skeptic that I can be...I didn't really want to pay the price for this thing to get home and find out it doesn't work worth shuckins either. They let me give their sharpener a try on a bowl full of their colored pencils. Wow! I didn't hesitate to buy it once I tried it.

This thing is sweet! I fast found out it takes VERY little pressure, and barely a full turn to put a needle sharp point on a Prisma pencil.

I don't know if the art dept. in Micheals, JoAnnes, Hobby Lobby, etc. carry these. I never looked. Those stores are 40 miles away in Green Bay. I wasn't running to Green Bay for this, so I just went to my local art store here in Sturgeon Bay.

I love that store! I go in there often for needed things. They're close and they are a very well rounded store. The owners are artists, and Door County is nearly wall to wall with artists and galleries. The Artists Guild carries a little of everything so they can supply the local artists.

If you can get hold of a sharpener like this, you are going to be tickled plum pink with it.

Sadly, I have several Prismas that were dropped...or something along the way, before I bought them. Prismas have a very soft lead which is what makes them so wonderful to work with for blending and shading. It's that very feature that causes trouble if the pencils aren't handled or stored carefully. A pencil that drops to the floor can end up with the lead all busted up inside the pencil, which will cause the lead to just fall out when in use or being sharpened.

I carefully keep and handle my Prismas. However, who can say what these pencils go through during shipment from place to place? Have you ever watched how the post office, UPS, or any of the others handle packages? It'll make your hair stand on end the way they toss, drop and bang things around. I don't imagine that sort of treatment is very good for any package containing a shipment of Prismas.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:32 AM   #14
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Quote:

Originally Posted by kauffmanpakView Post
another trick you can try is using super glue to glue the tip that brakes off in the sharpener back into the pencil. I have a couple of prismas that break frequently and this has worked well.

when you get to the end of the pencil and it is too short to keep sharpening/holding you can carefully super glue the stub to your new pencil of the same color - carefully lining them up - then you can keep sharpening and coloring away. Waste not want not!

Love this idea!!! I will have to remember this! I love my Prisma's and so far haven't had any problems with them. I also use the little sharpener that came with my pencils.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:39 PM   #15
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also i was told. the 2 holes on the sharper are for 2 different purposes
the smaller of the 2 is when you need to sharpen the lead.
the other is for when you need to remove more of the wood.
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:28 PM   #16
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I had a lot of problems with sharpening them, but I brought a Prismacolor brand hand-held sharpener and it works so much better. It is designed for the thicker leads and works so much better.

They had them by the checkout in Hobby Lobby and probably back by the fine art supplies also.

You can get them from a number of online suppliers. I order from Dick Blick often as they also have all the pencils open stock, so you can order just the colors you need, and they carry the whole line of colors. See all the colors here:
http://www.dickblick.com/products/pr...lored-pencils/

Here is the pencil sharpener from them:
http://www.dickblick.com/products/pr...cil-sharpener/
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:38 PM   #17
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Dunno if this sounds crazy, but I was first introduced to Prisma colors in High School. My art teacher taught to use an Exacto knife to shave off the wood thus leaving more of the lead on the pencil to be used. I don't think I have ever wanted a sharp point on my lead so this works for me.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:40 AM   #18
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Quote:

Originally Posted by lynnephelpsView Post
I had a lot of problems with sharpening them, but I brought a Prismacolor brand hand-held sharpener and it works so much better. It is designed for the thicker leads and works so much better.

They had them by the checkout in Hobby Lobby and probably back by the fine art supplies also.

You can get them from a number of online suppliers. I order from Dick Blick often as they also have all the pencils open stock, so you can order just the colors you need, and they carry the whole line of colors. See all the colors here:
http://www.dickblick.com/products/pr...lored-pencils/

Here is the pencil sharpener from them:
http://www.dickblick.com/products/pr...cil-sharpener/
That's teh same one I bought at Hobby Lobby, found mine in tha art section. it's also the same sharpener that comes in the tin with the pencils this one is just in a plastic holder. I love mine and have alread had to replace it a couple of times because it has a tendancy to walk off my scrapbook table all the way into my daughter's room and of course she has no idea how it got there lol
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:20 AM   #19
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I just purchased an electric one for in the $20.00 range at Office Depot and used it to sharpen all my 132 pencils...I was lucky that none of them had broken leads and the sharpener was perfect for the job.
blessings.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:01 AM   #20
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I use an xacto knife to take the wood away. The thing I found is not to make a sharp point. The point should be rounded so you get a soft even layer of colour. It makes the blending much better when using odorless mineral spirits. It is much better to build up layers of colour rather than try to get deep colour in one shot! At least that has been my experience.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:39 PM   #21
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I went to the university art store and brought a metal pencil sharpener with the prismacolor name. They actually had two different ones I think. One was a little fancier, like in a plastic black case and such; the other was a simple metal pencil sharpener. I can't think it was more than a buck or two. Works great though. Never had it ruin or crack anything. I would recommend going to a nice art store and asking them about a sharpener.

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Old 03-09-2010, 08:18 PM   #22
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Another thing to remember about the little hand held Prisma sharpener is that the cone part that holds the shavings is very little so empty it out fairly often. When it gets full it can break the lead. Also if the point breaks in the sharpener use a straight pin or something like that to get the broken point out.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:25 PM   #23
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I've tried so many different ones. I had an electric one that worked pretty well until the sharpening "insides" got gummed up from the wax of the pencils. I haven't found a hand held that I like - including the prismacolor one. I did recently purhcase this one with my Christmas money:

http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/...rpener-365551/

It comes apart enough that the insides can be cleaned with a paperclip. I love the ability to get everything from a broad to a needlfine point and I have had little problem with the pencils breaking while or after sharpening. It is a bit of a pain to use though because you have to manually open the "hole" width in order to insert the pencil - that's how the sharpness of the point is determined. Also, when sharpening, the gripper that controls the hole doesn't let the pencil rotate, so you have to manually release the pencil, turn it over and then reinsert it in order to keep the wood even. Still, I particularly like that it seems to use very little of the pencil - only one or two turns of the handle to get a nice point and that it is so easy to get an etremely fine point for those small areas or a broad tip to make covering large areas easy.
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:45 AM   #24
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Putting your pencil in the microwave will cause the paint on the pencil to bubble up and get all yucky. My Artichoke pencil is like that. I can still use it, and it did melt the lead inside, but it feels awful holding it!
When I have a pencil that keeps breaking off lead, I use some sandpaper to sharpen it instead of a sharpener.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:49 AM   #25
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Prismacolor lead is very soft, which is why it blends so well- it has a lot of wax. you may want to switch to another brand, as it is easy to get a bad set that has been dropped and then the pencil is broken inside.

if you want a pencil whose led does NOT break try the Lyra Colorstripe:

http://www.dickblick.com/products/ly...lored-pencils/

Gorgeous pencils, IMO
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:58 PM   #26
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i honestly have not read all the posts...so plz forgive me if i repeat what's been said

i bought the prisma pencil sharpener(the one that's black and shaped like a cone sort of and there's a silver band with the words prisma on it)....i did try other sharpeners and i just got disgusted with it and i too was about to throw my prismas' out. so i figured that since it was "prisma" brand it will work better and for me it did. i hope you found or will find oe that works for you
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:15 AM   #27
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If the lead still breaks after you microwave it, if may be that the lead isn't centred in the wood barrel. If that's the case, it won't matter what type of sharpener you get. It would be best then to use an exacto knife to sharpen a pencil that's off centre.
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