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View Full Version : Sharpening my CarbOthello's! ARGH!!!


Bethany_Fields
01-28-2015, 03:24 PM
I am having the hardest time sharpening my pencils without the tip not breaking off in the sharpener. I have a great prismacolor sharpener and go slowly and carefully. It ate up one of my CarbOthello pencils almost half way and I finally gave up trying to get a point. I use these pencils to sign my work. Any tips? What am I doing wrong??

robertsloan2
01-28-2015, 03:45 PM
Probably because the blade in your Prismacolor sharpener has gone dull. Hand held sharpeners need blade replacement at the first sign of any difficulty. The first time a core breaks is when to swap the blade out.

Cheap two-hole pencil sharpeners will behave better using the wide hole - as long as the blade on that side hasn't been used. I tend to get the All Art little red pencil sharpener in batches ofa dozen to take with me if I'm using the pencils when out, but at home I use a grinding sharpener. The MultiPoint sharpener from Jerry's Artarama has a crank and a good mechanism, I have only ever lost one point in it and it works great. Those grinder types are self sharpening but the electric ones go a little fast and can eat up a lot of the pencil versus the Multi Point, also they need you to use yet another plug.

The very gentlest way to sharpen them is using a craft knife or razor blade. Derwent has a sharpening holder that you can set the pencil into hold it while using a craft knife, they discontinued it but I have one in my cart at Blick. Haven't tried it yet but a lot of professionals just use teh knife and hold it in their hand. I didn't because that takes a bit of hand strength and steadiness I don't always have. Things that take more effort generally don't get into my habits as I'd rather have a few more minutes painting and drawing instead.

water girl
01-28-2015, 03:49 PM
If I've dropped one of the pencils, I find that the tip keeps breaking. That may be to internal breakage. You could try Staples Office Supply brand of battery operated sharpeners. I've had success with that one. Or the Dahle 155 manual sharpener you can find at most art supply stores like Blick or Cheap Joe's.

Blayne
01-28-2015, 05:09 PM
I just resorted to using an X-acto knife and keep a piece of coarse sandpaper handy to sharpen the point as needed. I fold a sheet of sandpaper in half and slip it inside a "window" envelope I made by taping an old 5" x 7" mat to a cardboard backing.

seņorsloth
01-28-2015, 08:01 PM
i use the plastic red "general" brand hand sharpeners, they seem to be the best, obviously no electric type should ever be used, and even with the hand sharpeners you have to be careful to not push it in too hard or at an angle, i see people break a lot of leads by not holding the pencil straight throughout the process...

also like water girl said, you have to be extremely careful with pastel pencils, and charcoal pencils, as they are made deliberately soft, and the leads will break into a million little pieces internally if they are dropped too much, bent, or otherwise miss handled.

if all else fails use a brand new exacto blade and sharpen it manually, the sharper the blade, the better it will work, so for experiments sake use a new blade, many hand sharpeners are sub par, i bought a handful of blick ones, only to throw them out that same day, very dull blades, they destroyed a nice charcoal pencil that i really liked before i had tried almost all of them to make sure it wasn't just one bad sharpener.

Equus Art
01-28-2015, 08:58 PM
I have to chime in and say that my most success has come from using a small utility razor knife that has a long, retractable blade that you can snap off when that part of the blade gets dull for a fresh one. And then finish the point with sandpaper. It can be a real scientific learning curve to whittle, turn, whittle turn evenly so you don't slip and cut the point of the pencil off, but it can be perfected.

I did purchase the Multipoint sharpener that Robert wrote about and I was delighted for about two months of use. After that, the confounded machine started to go wonky and break leads left and right. I gave up in disgust and went back to the tried and true whittle method.

Just call me Whittler's Mother!

Cat

Grinner
01-29-2015, 11:23 AM
Bethany, I was having the same problem. Here is a thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1317328) I posted here a while back (with photos) and it might be useful to you!

Bethany_Fields
01-29-2015, 11:33 AM
Thank you all! I'm so glad I'm not the only one that's had difficulties sharpening these pencils! You'd think that would be an elementary problem!! I felt kind of like an idiot! haha. I'm going to try the exacto solution as I don't feel like spending money. :) Hope it works!!

JustinM
01-29-2015, 03:03 PM
The MultiPoint sharpener from Jerry's Artarama has a crank and a good mechanism, I have only ever lost one point in it and it works great.

I agree. I actually love the multipoint although I believe that after a certain time it too will dull. Jerrys recently had them at a ridiculous blowout price ($9 each!) so i bought 4 of them. I know they will dull over time but Ive never seen a sharpener that will consistently sharpen Conte pencils properly. Even the M&R brass hand held will usually only get 4-6 pencils through it & then need the blade changed. Im not sure if Conte uses some exotic wood or something but if it werent for the fact i love the texture I would probably have stopped using them long ago.

Interestingly, I find that both Design Bruynzeel and Giacondas sharpen amazingly well in my old panasonic electric sharpener. Ive sharpened hundreds this way & never had any problems whatsoever. I really like the Bryunzeel (and I can get them at a very reasonable price through my office) but Im still waiting on my lightfast tests as I am unsure how they will hold up over time so I use them sparingly right now.

SAS Designs
01-29-2015, 06:55 PM
Another vote for Creative Mark Multipoint sharpener. Sharpener parts can be replaced, new blades.
It's the BEST. Jerry's Artarama

robertsloan2
01-29-2015, 09:19 PM
I had trouble with my Creative Mark Multipoint Sharpener once, it caught a broken blue pastel pencil point stuck in it and didn't function well for weeks. Eventually I took it apart, rolled the grinder around till I could see the obstruction and carefully removed it with a bent paper clip chipping it away - it was pretty solidly stuck in there. Cat, if you haven't thrown yours away, clean it and inspect it carefully, especially the inside. When something's stuck in the grinder that can mess it up. Though it'll work fine after the obstruction's cleared - it's been a year and I never had the problem again.

JustinM
01-29-2015, 10:05 PM
I had trouble with my Creative Mark Multipoint Sharpener once, it caught a broken blue pastel pencil point stuck in it and didn't function well for weeks. Eventually I took it apart, rolled the grinder around till I could see the obstruction and carefully removed it with a bent paper clip chipping it away - it was pretty solidly stuck in there. Cat, if you haven't thrown yours away, clean it and inspect it carefully, especially the inside. When something's stuck in the grinder that can mess it up. Though it'll work fine after the obstruction's cleared - it's been a year and I never had the problem again.

Robert - i agree that most of the time these types of sharpeners have issues due to blockage but in the case of my contes it sure seems like the blades themselves got dull. Im tempted to take it to my friend who sharpens saw blades for a living & see if he might try to sharpen it but for now im fine with my hoard of creative marks :P

Equus Art
01-30-2015, 07:02 AM
Robert - i agree that most of the time these types of sharpeners have issues due to blockage but in the case of my contes it sure seems like the blades themselves got dull. Im tempted to take it to my friend who sharpens saw blades for a living & see if he might try to sharpen it but for now im fine with my hoard of creative marks :P

I have had the sharpener apart DOZENS of times. Each time there has been a sharpening fail, I take it apart and of course, there is a chunk broken off in the blade cylinder. Use a dental pick to get the broken piece out, but the thing back together, stick a pencil back in, sharpen and then.........rinse and repeat. Also, now the gadget in front that you pull out when you put a pencil in that is supposed to slide forward with the pencil, no longer slides forward. As much as I loved the sharpener when I first got it, is as much as I dislike it now. :envy:

Cat

Mettaphorica
02-02-2015, 03:56 AM
I found that the actual Carbothello sharpener included in the set pretty good. You can buy them as open stock. And also the hand-crank sharpeners. But not if a pencil has been dropped; then it just keeps breaking no matter what method I use.
HTH
Donna

Schappell
02-02-2015, 08:07 AM
Man do I sympathize with the frustration if sharpening pastel pencils! So many of mine are dull because I sometimes feel the need to mentally prepare for the chore of sharpening! (So much grumbled cursing) sometimes I'll just take a sharp utility knife to certain brands then sand them to a fine point.

jackiesimmonds
02-06-2015, 09:48 AM
NEVER drop a pencil. the lead breaks inside the wooden shaft and it is FINISHED.

I always use a craft knife and finish off with sandpaper. It is vastly better than using any of the sharpeners I have. Always support the "lead" carefully with your finger or fingers as you sharpen with a craft knife because downward pressure on the lead will break it. It takes practice but is worth it.