Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Two new sharpeners - from Prismacolor and Panasonic

When you use coloured pencils a lot, as I do, sharpening tools and instruments become a whole new passion! ;) Especially as artist quality coloured pencils just don't seem to work at all in very many pencil sharpeners.

I'd like to share the two new sharpeners I got while visiting the USA

First is the Prismacolor Sharpener. I assume since it's from Prismacolor that it's been specifically designed to sharpen Prismacolor's wax-based coloured pencils.

It's about 3 inches in length and comes apart in the middle. One side is a cover and the other contains a sharpener. The shavings go into the bottom of the half which contains the sharpener - which is not very big - so fine for the odd sharpen but less good if you need to use it a lot. It's handy size if you've got maybe a small pencil case or can pop it in your pocket. It isn't really a heavy duty 'around the home studio' sharpener for those of us who need to sharpen a lot of pencils frequently.

Oh - and it broke my new Prismacolors which I got at the CPSA Convention. I have a problem here because Prismacolors are known to break - so whether it's the sharpener or the pencil I really don't know.

Next is the big success - my new battery powered Panasonic sharpener - the KP 4A.
According to Panasonic the KP-4A has
A hardened steel cutter blade provides a perfect 16-degree point. Features include semi-transparent shavings receptacle, safety switch, and auto shutter.
What can I say - I'm in love! It's lightweight and compact - but uses 4 AA batteries which make it somewhat heavier. It has a funny grooved cutter thing (rather than a conventional pencil sharpener blade) which rotates extremely fast. This is just like the one in my big heavy duty 'sharp as needles' electric sharpener. When I got home I even caught myself using it in preference to the electric one as I always have leads and things to arrange with that one.

The even better news is that you don't have to depend on the vagaries of your local art store as Amazon stock it on amazon.com here. It's getting 5 star reviews from everybody except for one person in France - when it broke. Personally I've found it to be extremely reliable so far.

A Staples version which looks remarkably like this (so much so that my guess is Staples gets Panasonic to make it for them) was recommended by Dianna Ponting for sharpening charcoal pencils at the pastels workship I attended last month. I gather that might be cheaper.

However my new Panasonic does have an appetite. If used to sharpen coloured pencils, it needs to be fed a graphite stick every so often in order to keep it silky smooth in operation and in tip top condition - juts as I have to do with my electric sharpener. I now buy graphite sticks just to feed these sharpeners and keep them happy - and they just swallow them!

Links:

Sanford Prismacolor - sharpener
Panasonic Sharpener - KP-4A

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1 comment:

Darla, Pencil Portrait Artist said...

I saw that Prismacolor sharpener in the latest DickBlick.com catalog, and I thought that it looks like a nice one, comfortable in the hand. You may already know this, but if you sharpen your Prismacolor pencils and the 'lead ' keeps falling out over and over, it's probably because the 'lead' is broken in pieces all inside the wood shaft. I think that one thing that helps is to get a pencil case that holds each pencil individually, instead of using any kind of case in which the pencils can rattle around. The insides get broken from too much bumping. Sometimes they're already broken by the time you get them, but if they aren't broken yet, the cases can help keep them unbroken. I bought a leather case zips and holds 120 pencils in elastic straps. It's also really nice for keeping colors sorted. The battery operated sharpener looks really nice. I just keep buying $10 electric sharpeners...sometimes in the after-school sales, they can be found for $6. The waxy pencils are really hard on sharpeners I've noticed. I love your blog! ~Darla



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