I have recently had a lot of discussion about sharpeners both for wax type coloured pencils and - particularly - pastel
pencils. This paragraph is an update on what is available and what could be ‘best practice’ for pastel pencils.
I still hold by my recommendation that you try to get used to sharpening pastel pencils with a craft knife.
It is economic to use and once you get the technique, it produces the most reliable point in the shape you want without
the risk of breakages from a machine, HOWEVER many folk find sharpening with a knife difficult.
So what are the alternatives ?
Firstly I can suggest what NOT to use.
Powered sharpeners with spiral cutters do work for a while, but they tend to jam up the cutters with powder and when a
fragile lead breaks in the cutters they can be very difficult to take apart to clean out the point space.
Some machines like the Jakar 5151 ( referred to in my wax pencil sharpening topic) can be taken apart, and the cutters
replaced, but the operation is not easy. The Big Swordfish machines referred to in the same article are impossible to
strip down to clean out.
Overall, the Powered machines tend to apply too much vibration to the fragile colour strip in a pastel pencil and
considering the buying expense involved and the need for a power source, I will discount them.
This leaves us with hand operated machines.
Ones with a single blade will blunt quite quickly against the abrasive content of pastel pencils, and a blunt blade will be
likely to break the point being cut.