Pencils

Palomino HB Pencil Review

The Palomino HB pencil

The Palomino HB pencil

I received the Palomino HB pencil as part of the Palomino Collection Pack from pencils.com. This collection included a number of Palomino branded woodcase pencils. Initially with the other pencils included within this starter pack I had ignored the Palomino HB, a little unimpressed, and because there were other prettier, shiner pencils to play with.

The Palomino HB is a simple pencil. There are no frills but that doesn’t mean that this pencil is lacking in any way. I have the very pretty orange lacquer barrel. There is a blue barrel option which makes them seem like the big premium brother to the Palomino Golden Bear. Personally I think that the orange is gorgeous but I have not seen the blue pencil in the flesh.

The Palomino HB pencil next to the Golden Bear and a Caran d'Ache, for redness comparison purposes 

The Palomino HB pencil next to the Golden Bear and a Caran d'Ache, for redness comparison purposes 

The branding on the pencil barrel is simple with just the Palomino HB wording printed in gold. There is a ring of gold foil stamping near the ferrule to finish this off. This used to exist with the Palomino MMX which very recently we have seen disappear, therefore the Palomino HB may suffer the same fate at some point, but that’s a small aside. I like the simplicity of the Palomino HB barrel design. Some pencils come with so much wording, barcodes and different coloured printing that it can ruin the pencils design. The Palomino HB does not suffer with this problem.

The only branding found on this pencil

The only branding found on this pencil

The Palomino HB comes with a white eraser that sits in a slightly rose gold looking ferrule. The eraser is not the best, but it’s also not completely awful. Using this pencil on the move it’s fine to rely on the pencils eraser, but it won't completely remove the graphite from the page. I rarely use the erasers on the end of pencils as they seem to be pretty poor on the whole.

Handwritten review 

Handwritten review 

In terms of the writing experience, I have grown fonder of this pencil the more I have used it. The graphite is smooth on the page and holds a point ok, but its not the best. You will be sharpening this pencil every few written lines. HB pencils are not my first choice as I usually prefer a harder grade pencil but the Palomino HB isn’t too shabby.

Overall I can’t get excited by this pencil. It’s a simple design, totally inoffensive and does write well. I feel like this pencil is too simple for me. When there are so many lovely pencils available all with interesting and cool designs I will always find myself reaching for one of those over the Palomino HB. However that being said this would make a good staple to any pencil pot and I would consider buying a 12 pack just have some lying around. I guess you could say they are a reliable pencil choice.

Generals Kimberly Pencil - F Grade Review

I first heard about the General Pencil Co. Kimberly’s pencil from the Erasable podcast. It seems to be one of Johnny’s favourite choices and as with most things on stationery podcasts, when I have no idea what the hosts are talking about I resort to Google to see what it looks like, read some reviews and then usually find out where I can my hands on one/some.

With the Kimberly’s pencil getting hold of these pencils in Europe is a bit tricky. There are a few pricey options through Amazon but they were not available in my preferred pencil grades.

Therefore when visiting New York last year and the delightful CW Pencils I decided to add one of these pencils to my shopping list. My mistake really was only buying one!

The fancy pencil end cap

The fancy pencil end cap

I really like the look of the Kimberlys pencil. I do think I have a soft spot for dark green lacquer pencils, as I also quite like the design of the Faber-Castell 9000. Kimberly’s has a nice little extra with a small brass cap on the end of the pencil. This gives it some protection and a little bit of additional weight, presumably with the aim to make it more comfortable when writing. I think it works well and looks very nice. Green and brass compliment each other very well.

F grade pencil comparison

F grade pencil comparison

In terms of the F grade pencil it is darker than other F grade pencils I have used. Using this alongside Staedtler, Caran d’Ache And Mitsu-bishi F grade pencils, the Kimberly pencil does have a darker graphite. I am not sure if General's pencils come up a little darker than other brands on the market but I feel like this F grade pencil feels a bit more like a HB grade that I am used to.

Full written review 

Full written review 

I think the Generals Kimberly pencil in F grade is a really nice woodcase pencil. It looks good, has a really nice smooth graphite making it really nice to write with and I always enjoy using it when I grab it from my pencil pot. I kinda wish I had grabbed a couple of additional pencils.

A Week with the Blackwing 24

The latest Blackwings volume release is the stylish Blackwing 24. It is a nod to John Steinbeck, designed alongside his son and is a representation of his ideal Blackwing. Steinbeck wrote with Blackwing pencils preferring a firm, dark graphite pencil and a dark pencil barrel.

Below is the promotional video which tells the story behind the Blackwing 24.

The Blackwing 24 in theory should of been a contender for my ideal pencil. It was a Blackwing, a brand of pencils that I enjoy, and it had extra firm graphite! When the 24 was announced it was like a dream, a pencil design that had everything I wanted. Therefore when my box arrived I decided to use one of these pencils for a full week, something I wouldn’t normally do, however I really wanted to get a feel for this pencil and understand if it could be my perfect graphite writing implement.

Blackwing 24 packaging - simple and stylish  

Blackwing 24 packaging - simple and stylish  

Looks

I won’t go into the packaging on the Blackwing 24, other than to say that it follows the standard beautiful Blackwings packaging. Inside you get a nice clear sheet of paper with information on the edition and why it was produced.

The Blackwing 24 is a blackout pencil. Black barrel, black ferrule, black eraser, black branding. It’s all black. It’s different and catches peoples eye. One small anomaly is the metal clasp that the eraser sits in is aluminium rather than black. So this does contrast with the rest of the pencil. It’s not a huge deal but when so much detail has been paid to the rest of the pencil it would have been nice if these were blacked out as well.

I like this look of the Blackwing 24 but I don’t think it’s the prettiest Blackwing pencil available. I really like the style and look of the Blackwing 211 and the Pearl’s sheen on the barrel is always personal favourite. Regardless of the looks Blackwings pencils all have a high level of design style. The rest is just personal preference.

My Blackwing line-up - the Pearl, MMX, 602, 725, 211 and the 24

My Blackwing line-up - the Pearl, MMX, 602, 725, 211 and the 24

The graphite

When I received the Blackwing 24’s in the post I decided quite quickly that I would use this pencil alone for a full week. I really wanted to get a feel for it and decide if the graphite was extra firm. I have written a normal amount during the week. I have been using the 24 in my Field Notes for general note taking, in my Hobonichi Techo and in my Travelers Notebooks. Pencils and Field Notes always work well together so I have no complaints there. There is some printing on the page and a bit of smearing but nothing too substantial. In the Hobonichi Techo the graphite glides over the Tomoe River paper and does appear a lot lighter. I usually write with fountain pens in my Techo as I get to enjoy the ink on that gorgeous paper, but graphite use is non-existent. However with the Blackwing 24 it was lovely. The 24 also performed well with the Travelers Notebook refills, but I wouldn’t really expect anything less.

After using this pencil for a week I do think that the graphite is firm, but I wouldn't say it’s noticeably firmer than the Blackwing 602. The differences are marginal. In my photo below I have shown writing samples of each of the different Blackwing pencils. As you can see they all are pretty dark and the differences between all the writing samples are small. The eraser test performed well leaving only a small hint of the previous line.

Overall thoughts

I like the Blackwing 24 a lot. I have learnt during this week that I cannot use a pencil alone for a full week. I miss colour and using my fountain pens. If I was forced to use a pencil for a full week again this would be a good option but it wouldn't be my first choice. The graphite is firm and the quality of the pencil is compatible with other Blackwings. However when looking at the full line-up of Blackwing pencils that I own I don’t think this is my favourite option. I still think the 602 and 211 are better pencils.

The firmness of the graphite didn’t meet my expectations. Extra-firm was a bold claim by Blackwing and I don’t think this has been met with the 24, at least not to my tastes. I would still like to see a graphite firm enough that you could easily see and feel a difference against the 602 straight away.

Tombow Mono 100 HB and 2B Review

The Tombow Mono 100 is a premium quality Japanese pencil. To reflect this quality the pencil design is really smart and slick. It has a deep black lacquer complimented by lovely gold embossing on the barrel. There are a lot of different font types on this one small pencil barrel and it comes with a lot of information. I do however love the small gold dragonfly that you see on the Tombow pencils, it's so pretty.  

As with most other pencils you do unfortunately get the ugly barcode on one side of the hex which is a bright white, contrasting dramatically with the black lacquer.

Ugh!! 

Ugh!! 

The cap on the Mono 100 is different to other pencils. Its rounded rather than following the hex of the pencil. It has a thick white line going across the middle of the cap which makes it very handy to spot in your pencil pot. 

As I mentioned I have had these pencils for some time, so I don't actually have a Mono 100 in my preferred graphite grade. Both the HB and 2B graphites are dark. The point holds fairly well but it does require sharpening regularly when you write with this pencil for longer periods of time. 

You do get some smudging with the HB and 2B pencils as well and some printing on the page but that is to be expected from any pencil with a dark graphite. Both pencils write really smoothly when paired with a nice quality paper stock, as you can see from my photo below. 

I think the Tombow Mono 100 pencils are really nice to use. They're not my favourite but I tend to gravitate to some of the more alternative pencil options on the market. As a higher quality pencil I think the Mono 100 is a solid option. I really would like to try one of these out in a H or F grade because these are my preferred grade options. I am sure after using one of these I would like it even more.