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Old 03-17-2010, 11:46 AM
G.W. G.W. is offline
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Prismacolor Quality Control

Has anyone else noticed a gradual decline in the quality control of Prismas over the past few years? I find it increasingly challenging to find straight pencils with no bowing and/or pencils with the lead centered in the casings.

I shop at a high-end, quick-turnover art store where the Prisma display case is protected and stock is quickly replenished before the pencils have time to warp. Last week, I had several dozen pencils on the store's counter, rolling them around and sighting down the barrels... felt like I was shopping for billiard cues!

Don't say it's just me... ??
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:52 AM
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RobinZ RobinZ is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

I've just never noticed that bowing or offcenter leads made a bit of difference, I think it's a colored pencil urban legend!

I guess if it was WAY out of kilter it might not sharpen properly but of the hundreds and hundreds of pencils I go through in a year, I can say honestly that I've only had a few that had any issues.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:08 PM
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jumpmaster jumpmaster is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

G.W. if you take a look back throught the threads you will find many complaining about the same thing. I have seen it but when shopping for pencils now I know to check for bent shafts and off centerness.

This does not discourage me however just makes me a bit more picky.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:30 PM
G.W. G.W. is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinZ
I've just never noticed that bowing or offcenter leads made a bit of difference, I think it's a colored pencil urban legend!

I guess if it was WAY out of kilter it might not sharpen properly but of the hundreds and hundreds of pencils I go through in a year, I can say honestly that I've only had a few that had any issues.

I go through about that many in a year as well, and have for the past 12 years, or so. I hadn't really noticed anything until recently (past 2-3 years) when several pencils wouldn't sharpen properly in my electric sharpener. On closer inspection, the bowing and/or off-centered lead was noticeable, and I had to resort to my hand sharpener to chomp through the wood-bias side.

It's NOT a big deal, just irritating now that I have to sort through the stock to find the good ones and it seems my sorting time is increasing.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:32 PM
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maxibleu maxibleu is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

I just purchased a set of the Lightfast Prismas and noticed that the wood barrel colors are different -- same insides and color names as previously, but different colored barrels!!

Donna
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:27 PM
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Sage66 Sage66 is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Prismas charge alot of money for pencils that you have to sharpen yourself (you know they know there's a problem when you have to sharpen a 132 box set), when you sharpen them they can just crumble and fall apart and then you're left with half a pencil if you're lucky.

I'm saving my money for Caran d'Aches next... don't think I'll buy another Prisma set.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:26 PM
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donnarie donnarie is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

Laura, I have a set of Pablos and I absolutely love them. They are much different than the Prismas, though, so for me anyway, they aren't a replacement.

As far as the Prismas go, I have noticed that the quality isn't the same as it was, say, 25 years ago. I used to use them as work and still have a few vintage 1980's pencils from my original set. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I haven't noticed and real increase in lead breakage or sharpening problems. Consequently, I'm not too fussy when I buy them--the warped ones work just fine for me.

It sure would be nice it they came sharpened, though!
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:54 PM
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnarie
Laura, I have a set of Pablos and I absolutely love them. They are much different than the Prismas, though, so for me anyway, they aren't a replacement.
Interesting to know. I am glad they aren't like Prismas.

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Old 03-17-2010, 10:13 PM
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Hoofnpaw Hoofnpaw is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

I still love them and use them, but YES you are right! More and more pencils come to me (via mail order) that are really just warped and the lead is crooked, or break incessantly...does not matter how you sharpen, they are not usable!

TG Dick Blick is amenable to replacing them!

Sean
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:27 PM
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Delofasht Delofasht is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

Far to the contrary to most, I prefer the pencils NOT come sharpened. They are already fragile enough, I just see pencils sliding around in their boxes while being displayed at the art supply store and broken pieces of lead all over the inside of the boxes. . . blah. Not at all what I would want.

As for the quality, Sanford disappoints me from time to time, it may be a isolated area thing, or perhaps just one manufacturing plant thing. I recall hearing that the pencils are manufactured in several locations and that the location of their origin can be found on the box, open stock may have a batch number that refers to which location they are manufactured at. Hopefully it's only one manufacturing plant. As an aside note, you can send dysfunctional pencils back to Sanford and get free replacements.
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:34 PM
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AnnGarlough AnnGarlough is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

Del, count me in as one who will object loudly if Prismacolor ever does that pre-sharpening thing! Right now it is the only brand that I can use from start to finish by simply gluing a stub onto the next new pencil. All other brands I have to throw away stubs and that adds up to a lot of wasted CPs!

As far as their attention to quality control, I think Rubbermaid doesn't see them as their big moneymaker and that attitude shows through in many ways. Just last Tuesday a student brought in one of the new Ginger Root pencils she had ordered to have several on hand. The paint on the barrel was the same as we expect from Ginger Root and the name and number were correct. The lead of the pencil however, was a lovely shade of green, and not close to any greens offered by Prismacolor!
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:50 PM
G.W. G.W. is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delofasht
Far to the contrary to most, I prefer the pencils NOT come sharpened. They are already fragile enough, I just see pencils sliding around in their boxes while being displayed at the art supply store and broken pieces of lead all over the inside of the boxes. . . blah. Not at all what I would want.

As for the quality, Sanford disappoints me from time to time, it may be a isolated area thing, or perhaps just one manufacturing plant thing. I recall hearing that the pencils are manufactured in several locations and that the location of their origin can be found on the box, open stock may have a batch number that refers to which location they are manufactured at. Hopefully it's only one manufacturing plant. As an aside note, you can send dysfunctional pencils back to Sanford and get free replacements.
Interesting info, Delofasht. Maybe the pencils made for international shipments are manufactured in a particular plant and, unintentionally, it's the plant with 'loose' quality control...?? (Naw... now I'm sounding paranoid.)

The art store here is meticulous with their displays and the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful and obviously care about quality and customer satisfaction; I doubt very much the problem lies at this end - at least with regards to warpage.
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:00 AM
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Delofasht Delofasht is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

Shipping and distribution companies could have a hand in it too though, distribution companies are known to have large warehouses where heat and moisture controls are not present. If one of them were to have a fairly damp storage facility that holds the pencils and just somehow some of the moisture were able to get in the containers, well. . . that could account for some of the warpage of the pencils themselves. Nah, paranoid? me? conspiracy of the distribution companies to get me to change pencil brands?? LOL

But it is a serious possibility of what is going on with some of their pencils right now. Economic pressures could be affecting the company too though, or the distribution companies. . . maybe those distributors used to keep stuff in climate and moisture controlled environments but don't do so now because of cost?

Well either way, don't give up on 'em. See if you can get your pencils ordered through a different distributor first, see if they are perfect then.

EDIT:: You know. . . I never thought of the distributors as an issue before today. It just struck me all of the sudden. I can't be sure, but it really may not be Sanford at the heart of this issue, and this is from someone who has changed brand due to issues with their pencils in the past (I'm a firm Polychromos guy now).
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Last edited by Delofasht : 03-18-2010 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:01 AM
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robertsloan2 robertsloan2 is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

I've noticed this problem too gradually over the years. I started using Prismacolors in 1971 and so I've seen them go through a lot of changes, but this tendency toward warping and off center cores and damaged pencils is rising. Thanks for mentioning the distributors, Del, that does make sense. But it's just the Sanford ones, it doesn't seem to happen to other colored pencil companies.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:09 AM
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RobinZ RobinZ is offline
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Re: Prismacolor Quality Control

I hve to say, I buy all of mine in person. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by good art stores, Blick, Utrecht and independents. Pearl closed down recently, though.
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