I splashed out a while ago and bought a wonderful set of 12 Caran D’Ache pastel pencils, which are really lovely to use, I definitely want to buy more colours eventually. However, one of the biggest problems was I just couldn’t sharpen them properly. I tried using your standard metal pencil sharpener with the big hole, as well as trying to use a sharp knife but I just ended up breaking the pencil tip or getting a lovely bulb shaped snub-nosed point! I then watched a YouTube video by Jason Morgan (him with the lovely Welsh accent) and in it, he recommended (amongst other products), the M+R crank-handled sharpener (made in Germany).
And whilst this set me back about 20 quid (including postage and packing from Uncle Amazing), it was money well-spent. It’s easy to operate, clean and also fix if anything gets jammed (like broken pencil tops). It comes with a clamp to secure on your desk or work table if you so prefer and easy to follow instructions (even for mechanica-phobes like me). It is adjustable for various sized pencils. Caran D’Ache are notably thicker than other pastel pencils and whilst their wood casings are very hard, the centre pastel is soft, which makes them very difficult to sharpen without the pastel crumbling away or breaking completely.
Here’s the Jason Morgan’s video: