Palomino Blackwing Slate

27 03 2017

In my mind, I’ve only made it to sometime around October of last year. It really isn’t, nor can it possibly already be, nearly the end of March 2017. This is some kind of trick of the light, or perhaps part of a marketing campaign by some cringeworthy brand that thinks making any type of commercial with the phrase “going viral” is gold, rather than something that should be quietly placed in a fire and never spoken of again. Surely not part of actual reality.

No, it really is reality, and I really took way a bit too long to getting around to this review

So, about six moons ago, I received the Palomino Blackwing Slate Drawing Book from Pencils.com for review. If you’re working on reviewing a Palomino Blackwing Slate, I suggest quickly getting over the first month of reverent adoration in which the notebook feels too pretty to open, or even touch. The wear-resistant polymer cover has a wonderful smooth matte feel to it, that I can successfully verify after several months of rough transport in an overstuffed lunch suitcase (it can’t really be called a box when you could probably pack a week’s worth of clothes in it) really is wear resistant.

Classy

The canvas spine is a simple design element that makes the Slate stand out from all your other typical black notebooks. The pages are sewn-bound together to form a block, then the canvas spine is sewn-bound to that block for a spine that is strong, sturdy, yet flexible that opens quite flat without hassle. But the really stand out feature is that elastic holster on the spine. It comes loaded with the fantastic Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil, but what else can fit on there? Any pen or pencil of comparable thickness of course, but pushing the limits I was surprised to fit (one at a time, of course!) a Rotring Art Pen, the Akashiya Bamboo Brush Pen, a Pilot Vanishing Point, and even a Lamy Al-Star (though that was really pushing the limit, and might wear down the elastic more than a less girthy pen). I like the spine as a convenient, handy, yet out of the way place to stash a drawing implement so the notebook is never alone.

Don’t mind the show through and such. It means nothing to me

This paper. This 100 gsm paper. This delightfully smooth, cream colored, wonderfully chosen paper is beyond what I’d hoped for. This paper is GREAT with fountain pens. I’m talking crisp lines, shading, sheen, no feathers, no bleedthrough. Let’s move in for a close-up.

I can’t pick just one. Must look at all

Delicious. Also did well with watercolors/water brush pen, Kuretake and Koi brush pens, and PITT artist pens. Not so great for Sharpie markers, Copic markers, the Pilot Twin Marker, the Sakura Gelly Roll Gold pen, and the Pentel Tradio felt tip pen, all of which showed signs of bleedthrough. The downside to this paper is that there is showthrough so significant it almost defies logic. But you get 160 pages, in a slim and easy to transport format. It’s a tradeoff. For sketching and brainstorming, I prefer thinner drawing paper, and especially prefer fountain pen friendly paper. And with all the Hobonichi Techo use in my life, I have come to fully accept a world of showthrough. But if showthrough bothers you, this might not be the notebook for you.

Clever little pocket, how could I have doubted you?

 

The Slate also has all your typical features: ribbon bookmark, elastic closure, unobtrusive branding on the back, and a back pocket…with a slot cut into it whose purpose I could not intrinsically divine. Apparently, it’s a pocket-in-pocket for holding things like business cards in a more accessible place. I was very suspicious of the functionality. It seemed like a dangerous set-up just asking for a business card to fall out. But then I actually tried putting a card in for photographic purposes and discovered that there’s a lip there for the card to tuck into.

Accept the corgipillar

In summary and conclusion, I love this notebook. Would I change anything? Not that I can think of. I guess you could make it in other colors?? Other sizes? But I really like this size, not too big and not too small–perfect for portability and usability. You’ve got me stumped. Good work, Palomino.

 

Palomino Blackwing Slate at Pencils.com

(Pencils.com provided this product at no charge for reviewing purposes–opinions entirely my own)

 





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