Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple

15 04 2014
Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus

Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus to some poor sap not smart enough to be using a Jetstream

What’s better that a Jetstream? Several Jetstreams rolled into one. Thank you to JetPens for providing this sample!

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

The body is simple and professional, with tasteful silver accents. The markings to denote refill colors are unobtrusive—quite appreciable, as multipens are ever in danger of looking like rainbow vomit with their many-colored plungers.

I like how the pencil is referred to as "0.5mm SHARP"...it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

I like how the pencil is referred to as “0.5mm SHARP”…it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

The sticker on the body was easily removable and left no residue. Coupled with the subtle branding imprinted on the clip, you’ve got a pen that looks good and keeps distractions low key.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

The pen itself is nicely balanced, with the majority of its light weight focused lower, in the grip. The grip section is metal, with a nice grippy rubber on top (though it would be PHENOMENAL to have the grip be Alpha Gel instead, that would probably make the pen unbearably wide, and would collect more debris than this grip does). The upper half is mostly plastic (excepting the clip), and the overall composition of the pen makes it pretty comfortable for a longer writing session.

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

Normally I’m not a fan of easily-lost caps covering uselessly tiny erasers, but this cap hold surprisingly firm to the pen. It’s not going to get lost unless you set it down and forget to put it back on. The eraser itself isn’t much to speak of—more of an emergency provision. The pencil component is deployed by pressing down on the clip, and lead is advanced by pressing the deployed clip down again. It’s a wise design choice, providing a larger plunger for easy use of the pencil while concealing it design-wise in the clip. The only improvement I’d like to see here is for Uni to find a way to shrink the Kuru Toga mechanism into the size of a multi pen refill. A multi pen made of Jetstreams and a Kuru Toga would be unstoppable.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn't have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn’t have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

I’ve had some problems recently with certain Jetstream color models not living up to the Jetstream name—consider this pen redemption. All colors perform smooth and vibrant, as a Jetstream should. The 0.5mm provides crisp lines that glide onto the page with almost no pressure whatsoever. The barrel is a bit wide, as almost all multipens are, but it’s not unwieldy—only if you really prefer a slim pen will it be something that might bother you. And, after handwriting out this whole review, the side of my hand is clean. This is the Jetstream I know and love.

If someone at Uni isn't feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don't know good money

If someone at Uni isn’t feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don’t know good money

If you use red, blue, green, and black ballpoints on a regular basis, you’ve got to give one of these a try. I’m thinking especially professionals and students in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, plus anyone who needs to mark up papers, or just likes having access to all the traditional pen colors at once. The refills are smooth, the mechanisms solid, and the pen looks good. Classic Jetstream goodness!

Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple at JetPens





Pentel Jolt Mechanical Pencil – 0.5mm

26 02 2014
It comes with normal lead, but what's the fun in leaving a writing utensil unaltered? Gotta make it yours, though sometimes all that means is just putting in a different color lead

It comes with normal lead, but what’s the fun in leaving a writing utensil unaltered? Gotta make it yours, though sometimes all that means is just putting in a different color lead

Ever since the Kuru Toga came into my life, I haven’t tended to give much thought to mechanical pencils. But the Pentel Jolt has kept a stylish place in my heart, and it’s high time I got around to reviewing it.

Especially since I first mentioned the Jolt almost 3 years ago

Especially since I first mentioned the Jolt almost 3 years ago

Style style style style STYLE. I love the look. I love every part of the look. I love the faceted nosecone (and I love that it allows the tip to be retracted).

It's a pretty subtle faceting until you get right up onit

It’s a pretty subtle faceting until you get right up on it. Minus 2 points for me not having fully retracted the lead/tip in this picture

I love the zigzags indented in the grip, which is a nice grippy black rubber that doesn’t grab up a bunch of debris. And that shaker mechanism window, bright white spring popping against the black tube—

I could stare at this all day

I could stare at this all day

Just a solid YES. Even the branding looks good.

Probably named as a nod to Jolt Cola, that highly caffeinated beverage of my youth; consuming Jolt Cola will aid and amplify in the use of the shaker mechanism

Probably named as a nod to Jolt Cola, that highly caffeinated beverage of my youth; consuming Jolt Cola will aid and amplify in the use of the shaker mechanism

A++ on this design, Pentel. Please call up whoever worked on this design and remind them of what a good job they did.

This is a real eraser. None of those useless little crumbs that companies like hiding under an easily lost plastic cap

This is a real eraser. None of those useless little crumbs that companies like hiding under an easily lost plastic cap

Not content with mere aesthetic mastery, the Jolt hits as many functional points as it can. Number one in my heart is this extra large, wide black eraser. The only improvement there would be for Pentel to make it out of their hi-polymer black eraser material.

I don’t have many shaker pencils, so I don’t know exactly how to evaluate them. You shake the pencil, and like you’re some kind of wizard having a fit, lead magically advances from your flailings. Or, if you’re more traditionally inclined, you can advance the lead by pressing down on the eraser.

Strong lead for a strong pencil

Strong lead for a strong pencil

I forget what kind of lead it came with; I loaded it with Pentel’s Ain Stein enhanced 0.5mm blue lead. It’s smear resistant, with a reinforced silica core. Plus it makes all your drawings look cool.

Also comes in a lime green body for the 0.5mm; pink and orange bodies with white accents are for the 0.7mm

Also comes in a lime green body for the 0.5mm; pink and orange bodies with white accents are for the 0.7mm

At a little under $3 and widely available in regular office supply stores, the Pentel Jolt is probably one of the best-looking mechanical pencils you can get out in the wilds of the American market.

Pentel Jolt Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm at Pentel

Pentel Stein Enhanced Silica Pencil Lead – 0.5mm – Blue at JetPens






Ink Drop Soup: Category Killers

3 08 2013

I want to do a brief lineup, a shout-out and nod to products so exceptional that it becomes almost impossible to review anything in their category without mentioning them, without adding a disclaimer acknowledging that the product under review certainly isn’t a so-and-so. Compared to the category killer, everything else lags behind in a competition for second place.

Mechanical Pencil: Uni Kuru Toga

Alpha gel grip for bonus points

Alpha gel grip for bonus points

It rotates the lead as you write. There’s an Alpha Gel grip model. All other mechanical pencils can go home because for me, this pencil reigns supreme.

Ballpoint Pen: Uni Jetstream

As close as a ballpoint can get to perfection

As close as a ballpoint can get to perfection

Your mileage may vary. I’ve heard some people complain that the Jetstream is too smooth, in what I assume is much the same tone that rich people use when they complain that they just have too much money. There may be good competition in the super smooth world, tolerable substitutes even, but a ballpoint pen can’t fall in my hand without being measured against the Jetstream.

Convenient Fountain Pen: Pilot Vanishing Point

  CLICK click CLICK click

CLICK click CLICK click

I love a lot of different fountain pens, but when it comes to convenience, the Vanishing Point is the undisputed champ. I own three now. Send help.

There are still categories out there where a single winner hasn’t seized my heart. Gel pens, rollerball pens, felt-tip pens, hardcase wooden pencils (though the Palomino Blackwing is pretty strong), lead holders (though I have a soft spot for the Ohto Comfort Sharp), highlighters … I don’t yet know the end-all champion in those realms (gel pens may never be settled, as there are many good gel pens). But now, henceforth, you all know when I review a mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, or fountain pen touting its convenience, unless that product is the new category killer, it will go without saying that it isn’t in the same league as these fantastic writing utensils.





Pentel Libretto Pen & Pencil Set — and GIVEAWAY!

20 12 2012
Pens AND pencils---TOGETHER?!?!?

Pens AND pencils—TOGETHER?!?!?

You know how these things start. I get an email that begins with “do you want—” and I’m already shouting YES PLEASE as I reply with my mailing address before they can even get out the words “free pen sample.”

Does this desk look dimly lit to you? Or do I need to change my contacts?

Does this desk look dimly lit to you? Or do I need to change my contacts?

Usually I’m skeptical of gift sets when it comes to the world of writing utensils. No good reason for it, really. If I don’t like something, there’s usually a good reason. Gift pen and pencil sets are the exception. I distrust them without any justification.

The subtle accents somehow seem festively appropriate. Or maybe that's the red felt. Maybe the accents really indicate the number of times the pen was distilled. 150-proof pen, ladies and gents.

The subtle accents somehow seem festively appropriate. Or maybe that’s the red felt. Maybe the accents really indicate the number of times the pen was distilled. 150-proof pen, ladies and gents.

But I’m glad I gave these a shot. They’re simple yet elegant, with classy accents and a nice feel in the hand. I’d take them to a dinner party; wouldn’t you?

Pencil? Bueno. Rollerball? Not so bueno.

Pencil? Bueno. Rollerball? Not so bueno.

The pencil I found myself reaching for time and again on recent craft / notebook-making projects. The pen, however, is a bit of a let-down. It doesn’t apply well over pencil, meaning it’s a no-go for art use, and I had some occasional skipping. Not to fear though.

I doubt Pentel appreciates me kicking their refill out for a Uni-ball Jetstream refill, but maybe I wouldn't have to if they'd stock the Vicuna in American retail stores.

I doubt Pentel appreciates me kicking their refill out for a Uni-ball Jetstream refill, but maybe I wouldn’t have to if they’d stock the VIcuna in American retail stores.

Joyous wonder, the Jetstream refill fits in this body. So you can have a fancy all-fine-occasions pen with a delicious Jetstream center (and if you love the person you’d be giving this to, you WILL open it up and put a Jetstream refill in the pen).

 

For all your favorite gift-based holidays!

For all your favorite gift-based holidays!

Now, on to the good stuff.

 

******************************

THE GIVEAWAY RULES!

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  1. To enter, just leave one comment on this post any time between now and Thursday, December 27th 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Since I’ll be sending this myself, and I’m not made of loot and dough, I’m limiting this contest to U.S. residents only. Sorry!
  2. One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Make any kind of comment—but only one comment! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. Because my blog doesn’t seem to number the comments on its own yet, and I STILL don’t will probably never have time/the willpower to fix it, I will again hand-number all the entries in Photoshop like I did here. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. I’ll post the contest winner on Friday, December 28th. Winner will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar.

Good luck everyone!

Many thanks to Pentel for providing these sets for me to review and for the extra to give away!

Pentel Libretto Pen & Pencil Set

 

 





Pilot AirBlanc Mechanical Pencil – 0.3 mm – Green

21 09 2012

I DON’T REALLY KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MECHANICAL PENCILS I’M SO SORRY

A pencil is a pencil is a pencil. As far as I can tell, they’re all going to work about the same when it comes to standard mechanical pencils. There are rare, exceptional cases, but for the most part the pencil will be judged on aesthetics and comfort, with writing sample factoring in as a strong WHATEVER. But I’m not a pencil aficionado, so maybe I’m just missing something.

When a pen doesn’t write, it’s probably crappy ink. When a pencil doesn’t write, it’s probably out of lead.

The AirBlanc is a peaceful-looking pencil. Very fresh. Very springtime. The kind of pencil a clucking rabbit might hatch. All that green, plus the translucent-pearlescent upper casing…just lovely. The clip especially is a nice piece of design work.

Try to act like that isn’t neat. YOU CAN’T

Unfortunately, I don’t have a heat chamber where I can test the alleged cooling properties of the grip, and the typically sweltering Southern weather in these parts has begun its autumnal temperature descent. I will assume that if it’s hot enough for me to desire a specially aerated grip, it will be too hot for me to want to do any writing.

Though JetPens assures me that I do have a constant hothand problem that this pencil will fix.

As for writing, well, it writes. What else can I say?

HOORAY IT WRITES!

The lead it comes with sufficiently transfers itself onto the paper when applied. Nothing particularly phenomenal, nothing problematic presenting when used. Maybe one day I’ll learn pencil nuance.

Until then I’ll just keep buying pencils and probably underappreciating them

All in all, a neat little pencil. Be sure to keep it in mind when your favorite springtime gift excuse holiday rolls around.

Thanks to JetPens for providing this sample!

Pilot AirBlanc Mechanical Pencil – 0.3 mm – Green at JetPens





Tombow Olno Body Knock Pencil – 0.5 mm – Clear White

29 06 2012

The ever elusive pencil review!

The only need I have for mechanical pencils anymore is when I want to psych myself into thinking I want to take a bunch of scan-tron tests. When I need pencils for drawing, I’ve been going for lead holders and wooden pencils, and I have no normal need to write with something so irredeemably smudgy as graphite. It takes something truly peculiar to make me want to go get my hands on a mechanical pencil.

Truly, something peculiar

This is the first and only grip I’ve encountered that covers every point where my hand touches the pencil. It looks a bit unbalanced, but it feels great. And inside this grip of exceptional dimensions you’ll find the most fantastic little innovation this side of the Kuru Toga.

According to JetPens, ‘OLNO’ is a play on the Japanese word “oru”, or to fold/bend. I will generously assume the pun is much more enjoyable if you know Japanese.

In addition to the snoreatorium standard method of lead advancement (a.k.a. clicking on the eraser end), the Olno allows lead access by applying pressure toward the upper part of the grip.

IT MAY BEND, BUT IT WILL NEVER BREAK! Actually don’t lay down the violence too harshly—I’m sure it will eventually break.

At first it seems unnatural, as if you’re violating the sacred trust between you and a $5 writing utensil that you shouldn’t be manipulating as if to snap in half. But once you get over that feeling and realize you’re not manhandling the pencil to pieces, it’s a pretty efficient maneuver. It’s just a slight upward squeeze of the thumb for me, and it doesn’t disrupt my grip of the pencil—intuitive stuff.

Also includes non-intuitive stuff

The only thing that doesn’t make sense here is the eraser. The semi-circle clip-like object doesn’t keep the pencil from rolling away if it has any momentum going. And you can’t really clip it to anything because it pops right off—that’s where the eraser is hiding.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

Standard mechanical pencil-sized eraser, but in a less than convenient format. You can smush it in upside down, and it will stay put—as long as you don’t actually use it. Then it pops right out. Pretty sure this is bad for the plastic.

One day I will learn how to make fine, snobbish distinctions so as to be like a wine connoisseur of pencil leads. For now it’s pretty much THIS WRITES or THIS DOESN’T WRITE WHICH MAKES NO SENSE BECAUSE LEAD ALWAYS WRITES

Just leave the eraser secured in the top (for emergencies) and use a separate eraser. Otherwise you’ve got an unwieldy little choking hazard on your hands. Eraser aside (or capside), it’s a neat little treat to write with. No problems with the lead or general use of the pencil.

Public Service Announcement: the lead goes in here

For your general reference, to refill the lead, pinch at the top of the grip and the bottom of the clear part and twist the two apart. Don’t worry—the pencil is designed so that the little red-orange bit doesn’t fall out.

Without opposable thumbs or a written system of language, Tobi has a hard time using the Tombow Olno pencil.

Many thanks to JetPens for providing this sample to review!

Tombow Olno Body Knock Pencil – 0.5 mm – Clear White at JetPens

Tombow Olno Body Knock Pencil – 0.5 mm – All the other exciting colors at JetPens





E+M Workman Pocket Clutch Lead Holder – 5.5 mm – Red

13 06 2012

Needs more drawings

Still needs more drawing…

OK PERFECT! STOP. No more drawings.

I have a love/fear relationship with art supplies. I love acquiring and making art with them, and I’m afraid that I won’t make art good enough to do justice to the art supply I’m reviewing. And there you have the reason why I put off this review for about two weeks.

Fun fact: the background is the inside of my favorite hat

The construction of the E+M Workman pocket clutch lead holder is eminently pleasing—this is a nice, solid object, full of wood and metal and class. The wood is smooth—no splinters—and the extra-thick barrel is just long enough to fit perfectly in my hand.

Not pictured: how perfectly this pencil fits in my hand

I’m no expert on these clutch mechanisms, but this one seems pretty sturdy. It’s got an eternal death grip on the lead, and I haven’t had any trouble with it projectile launching its contents to the floor, even though it’s the same basic clutch style as my Prismacolor Turquoise lead holder (that style being where the only place that the lead is held into the pencil is that metal clutch at the tip, as opposed to being held by some other mechanism in the barrel such that lead can be advanced one click at a time, like typical mechanical pencils).

I’m sure there are specific names involved, but I’m not in the know as far as lead holders go.

The clutch clasps back down on the lead almost instantaneously after the button is released, such that it’s pretty easy to catch the lead exactly where I want it, instead of drastically overshooting it like I do with the Prismacolor Turquoise.

Simple, clean, efficient, modern German design.

No clip, which is great for slipping into a pocket, and terrible on any minutely inclined surface. I’m torn on this point; I don’t want it to have a clip, as that would no doubt get in the way of my grip and general aesthetics, but I also don’t want my nice art supply making constant suicide attempts off of tables. There’s just no winning. At least it’s a bright, easy-to-spot-on-the-floor red.

Includes one HB (“Hot Business”) lead

Even when the tip is dull (I haven’t bought the lovely matching sharpener yet), there are still sharp angles to be found on the vast surface of this lead. And being HB, it’s got a good value range for sketching—easy to make light marks, but still capable of getting decently dark.

While this isn’t one of those “absolutely need it to live, breathe, and make art” items, it’s an absolutely perfect treat—either for yourself, or some lucky someone who likes lead holders—that, at $15 (at time of writing), doesn’t necessitate shelling out serious dough/pleading with your ATM that no really, just one more major cash withdrawal, I promise this is the last day of this pen convention and then I’ll quit (not that…I did any of that…at the Raleigh Pen Show, cough, cough, no). Good price, well made, quite the handsome little piece.

E+M Workman Pocket Clutch Lead Holder – 5.5mm – Red (and other colors) at JetPens

Thanks to JetPens for providing this sample for review! :)





Ohto Comfort Sharp Lead Holder – 2 mm – Gray Body

17 03 2012

Testing a new out-and-about portable scanner for these writing sample scans. The jury remains out on how color-reliable the combination of scanner + mini laptop (using GIMP instead of Photoshop) is, compared to the desktop. Thus ends a caption full of minutia that you probably didn't care about!

Prior to the Ohto Comfort Sharp / Comforcil (why JetPens calls it one name while the pencil calls itself another is beyond my understanding/Googling capacity), my only experience with lead holders was an art-store whim purchase: the Prismacolor Turquoise Lead Holder. Lead holder, it turned out, was a misleading name. The Prismacolor Turquoise is really a Lead Projectile-Launcher. To give you an idea of how often that comes in handy when sketching, note that I have no idea where the Prismacolor Lead Holder even IS right now. It probably launched itself into the sun.

The pencil obviously self-identifies as the Comforcil. Seems a little rude to not respect that, no? Gotta stop being so PENdernormative (HYUK HYUK SOMEONE STOP ME)

Given my experience with the Prismacolor weapon, I came into the Comforcil thinking that lead-shooting was just some peculiar norm of lead holders. I don’t want to overgeneralize, with a sample size of only two, but I can confidently say that the Comforcil exhibits no such violent behavior.

But it does have a strong clip. And a baby-smooth body. Some kind of soft matte finish?

Once you get the Comforcil clipped on, it isn’t going ANYWHERE. I don’t know if that rigor mortis grip will get any weaker over time, or if the plastic holding the metal will just break off, or what, but I’m hoping it will at least get to the point where I don’t need two hands to clip it on and take it off. Many times I have tried to pull the Comforcil out of the pen pockets of my Nomadic bag, only to remove the lead sharpener, leaving the rest of the pencil behind. The clip is pretty much my only complaint though. Let me get the other out of the way: there’s a crack in the plastic, you can just start to see on the bottom of the picture above, that sort of abnormal-looking line in the light grey. I’ve had this pencil for a couple of months now, and is has been in heavy rotation since I picked it up. Maybe this won’t be one of those structural-integrity-compromising problems. But if it is, this pencil is only $3.30 to replace.

Useful bonus: instead of a microscopically tiny eraser hidden under an easily lost bit of plastic, you get a lead sharpener!

Now, I’m not an architect, draftsman, professional artist, or whoever lead holders are normally intended for. The number of lead sharpeners I own: one.

Warning: lead-sharpener plastic may be very delicious to cat teeth. Try to take commemorative photos of your writing utensils before leaving them laying around in feline territory.

There it is. You’re looking at it. I’ve seen some people complain that the Comforcil yields an uneven or unreliable point. I can’t advise on that, professionally speaking. However, as an amateur sketch user of this lead holder, I feel it satisfactorily does exactly what I want it to. It sharpens the lead. Observe:

Open side windows to conveniently sprinkle graphite dust into a trashcan, if you're responsible, or onto the floor around you, if you're me.

Extend lead. Insert lead into sharpener. Twist. Continue twisting until lead is sufficiently pointy.

Make sure to push the lead back in after you sharpen it. Trying to draw with half an inch of lead sticking out can be cumbersome and awkward.

For writing, meh whatever who cares. I don’t use this pencil for writing (except writing captions and speech on doodles). I use this pencil to draw, and for drawing, I LOOOOOVE it. The thickness of the lead (like a wooden pencil in this respect) facilitates quick, smooth drawing (mechanical pencils, being so much thinner, can be a bit scratchy, and tend to make me draw on a much more cramped and smaller scale). The knock mechanism eliminates the biggest drawback of the wooden pencil (CONSTANT SHARPENING—lookin’ at you, Palomino Blackwing) while retaining its benefits. I am drawing more, because this pencil makes drawing that much more convenient.

DRAWINGS! Again, from the mobile scanner. Cream colored paper, you seem so classy, but you make scanning and color balance so awkward.

Bonus! Have some of my personal art. Trying to come up with a new hairstyle for a character a couple months ago.

Once more, with feeling: I LOVE THIS LEAD HOLDER. Whenever this one kicks it, I’ll be buying another. If they ever threaten to discontinue it, I’ll stockpile. It’s an excellent value for a great performer. And if you try it and don’t like it, then give your Comforcil to me.

Ohto Comfort Sharp Lead Holders – 2mm – at JetPens





Palomino Blackwing Wooden Pencil – 602 Model

27 01 2012

WORDS ARE BORING; I LOVE SKETCHING

I did not know the original Palomino Blackwing pencil, but I could not miss the reverential and longing mentions of it around office supply circles, and I certainly couldn’t help noticing the adorational fanfare showered at its return, for the graphite savior of all that is wood-cased walks writes among us again. Not that I could afford to bask in its presence—$20 ($19.95, if you want to be nitpickingly precise) is a bit steep of an entry price in my books, and twelve pencils is a lot to commit to, considering I don’t even know if I’ll like the thing. Luckily, Brad at JetPens kindly offered to let me sample a brand-new spare Blackwing 602 he had lying around, thus saving me from an eternity of wandering, lonely, in a Blackwingless world.

The prodigal wood-case wonder

Fairly normal-looking pencil body on one end, bafflingly peculiar paintbrush-like eraser on the other end. We’ll break it down one piece at a time, starting with the body.

Branding CAN be beautiful!

One side is stamped with the brand name and model.

...than what, a regular pencil? This I can neither confirm nor deny.

And the other side is stamped with a slogan/promise. Notice on both that the gold lettering actually lines up with the stamping, unlike so many ten cent pencils of my youth. The extra money you’re paying is going toward making a higher quality product (rather than toward, say, Palomino’s champagne and cigar fund). And can we take a second to admire this paint job?

More class than an entire K-12 educational system

I didn’t know it was possible for something to be sparkly AND classy, but somehow they’ve managed it. This is some premium paint with a polished shine. And I believe that Office Supply Geek was right—it looks like there are two coats of paint on this pencil.

See the line of black underneath the silver? Two coats.

Now, I haven’t written with wooden pencils since probably about the time that Beanie Babies were popular and the Backstreet Boys were relevant. Pencils smudge, wooden pencils maliciously so—or so it always seemed to me. Having the side of your hand be totally silver after writing an essay is not as cool as you might think. So how does our Palomino Blackwing 602 stack up? Pretty well, I am surprised to admit, in spite of my pencil prejudice. In writing up this review by hand (with the Palomino Blackwing, of course), I’ve done almost 3 pages in a 6.5″ x 8.25″ Clairefontaine notebook, and though there is noticeable silvering on my hand, it’s not as much as I’d expect for lead this dark. And the lead itself is silky-smooth. None of the scratchiness you get from cheap leads (which, I presume, are riddled with little airholes which leave small sharp surfaces throughout the lead….but I could be making that up).

Not actually a paintbrush...unless you want to paint graphite OFF some paper

Saved the best for last—this absolutely odd eraser, which turns out to be an entire miniature block eraser. Just pull on those little curlicues, and out comes the eraser. You can extend it as it runs down, and replace it if it runs out.

This kind of extendability/replaceability is typically only seen on the uselessly tiny little crumbs they dare to call erasers and send standard on the end of most mechanical pencils, protected beneath an easy-to-lose little plastic cap

Performance of the eraser is not 100% what I’d like—you can still see the ghost of what was written, especially if I wrote with a sharp edge or pressure. The plasticky, polymer erasers I have do a better job of erasing. It’d be nice if Palomino offered a polymer refill, but I might just grab an X-Acto knife and make one of my own.

This is unwieldy. You'll probably break the eraser. I do not recommend using your eraser like this

As I mentioned in the written sample, even a pencil as nice as this one isn’t going to convince me to start back at being a pencil writer. And as sharp and snazzy as this number looks, it’s not invincible—I’ve already got some dings in the wood. But I like it for drawing; with lead this smooth, nice, and dark, it makes a great sketch pencil. Having to carry a sharpener around is a bit inconvenient, but not the end of the world.

If you like writing with pencils, you’ll probably love this pencil. If you like sketching, this is a good drawing pencil with a high capacity on-board eraser. If you’re not a pencil person, or just don’t care for wooden pencils, then save your $20. The cost is a little prohibitive, but the Palomino Blackwing 602 is a high quality pencil.

Thanks again to Brad for the sample!

Palomino Blackwing Wooden Pencil – 602 Model – Pack of 12 at JetPens








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