Pencils

Worther Shorty Pencil Review

The Worther Shorty pencil was sent to me by Pen Heaven to test and review here on the blog. Thoughts shared in this review are entirely my own.

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I was not familiar with the Worther Shorty when it was sent to me by Pen Heaven. Mechanical / pencil holders were not on my radar, but apparently the Worther Shorty is a popular choice.

Shorty Specifics.

As the name implies this is a short and chunky hexagonal pencil. I have the Rosa colour but there are loads of different colour variations to choose from. The design of the pencil holder is really simple with no branding despite a tiny hint at the brand name on the top of the knock.

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The pencil holder has a soft touch finish to it that really helps with the grip and honestly is one of my favourite features on this pencil holder.

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Finally there is a teeny tiny pen clip in case you want to use it. I am not sure how effective this would be, but it’s there.

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Graphite.

Now onto the filling...the Shorty holds some chunky graphite (3mm, 7B lead). I am a harder graphite user normally so adjusting to the 7B was a little strange, but when using it for sketching it works quite nicely.

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The graphite rests within the pencil and by suppressing the knock and very carefully up-ending the pencil the graphite appears. You then adjust the length in a similar fashion to a traditional mechanical pencil. You also get a few sticks of graphite with the pencil which is helpful and they come pre-sharpened.

As you use the pencil, understandably, it loses it’s pointy tip and wears down with use. I don’t have a tool to sharpen these graphite sticks but even though this is a 7B I haven’t found it wares down too quickly.

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Using the Shorty.

I have enjoyed playing around with this graphite holder. The size works well as it fits into most pencil cases or bags, despite the chunk. Plus it’s really light to hold which means if you’re sketching for long periods then you’re not going to suffer from wrist ache.

I will be swapping out the filling on my Worther Shorty for a coloured lead, red or blue, as I am finding it far more enjoyable to use for sketching. I also need a sharpening tool of some description.

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Overall thoughts.

I really like my Shorty and I’m pleased it was introduced to me. It’s a simple, compact lead holder that can be adapted to the users requirements and I plan to make some changes. The tactile feel of this pencil is also really nice. It instantly makes this pencil better to use.

I want to thank Pen Heaven for sending me this product to review.

Baron Fig School Set Review

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Baron Fig sent me a copy of their limited edition School Set to review here on the blog. I have been using these for a while now and have thoughts to share with you. Although Baron Fig provided me these items to review this is no way changes my opinions shared.

The Baron Fig School Set is the first time we have seen a limited edition release combining two of Baron Figs staple products, the Flagship Vanguard notebook and the Archer pencil. The School Set pays homage to traditional American school classics, the composition notebook and the yellow pencil.

The three colours of the School Set notebooks

The three colours of the School Set notebooks

The Notebooks.

If you are American there is no doubt these notebooks will be tinged in nostalgia and perhaps a bit of a marmite release for Baron Fig. For those outside of American your view on the composition notebook design and the classic yellow pencil will probably be very different. Personally I find the mottled design of a composition notebook busy and not particularly appealing. The colour choices used in this edition make it far more appealing to a broader audience and was a clever move by Baron Fig. Three black composition notebooks would have been very dull.

Inside these notebooks, and I believe this is a Baron Fig limited edition first, we have lined pages. (Hurrah!) If you're doing any sort of long form writing whether it's morning pages, writing your next great novel, or recording your thoughts in a journal then I don’t believe you can beat lined pages.

Generous, well-spaced lined ruling

Generous, well-spaced lined ruling

The paper is the normal Baron Fig stock that I enjoy using. In this release there are some school related extras on the inside covers of the notebook. The inside front cover has a place to record your personal information and the inside back cover has punctuation definitions and uses, speech and a conversion table. All very relevant to a School Set theme and actually quite useful.

The inside back cover of the composition notebook

The inside back cover of the composition notebook

The Pencil.

The Archer pencil is the traditional yellow American pencil colour with a green dipped end. The main different between the School Set Archer and the traditional school yellow pencil is the lack of ferrule and eraser. The yellow and green contrast one another beautifully, it's a match made in pencil lacquer heaven.

Standard Archer pencil and the School Set pencils.

Standard Archer pencil and the School Set pencils.

The Archer pencil included with the School Set I would guess is identical to the standard grey Archer pencil, just a different paint job. It is a HB grade that has good point retention, even on the Baron Fig toothy paper, and a lovely smooth graphite. I used these pencils for writing during NaNoWriMo and thoroughly enjoyed them. The pencil weight is perfect as there is no ferrule and eraser, making it extremely comfortable. The graphite was smooth to write with and paired alongside the School Set notebook it was a really nice writing experience.

Writing sample of the Archer pencils. 

Writing sample of the Archer pencils. 

Overall thoughts.

I have finished all three of my School Set notebooks during this years NaNoWriMo. Personally I really liked the colours and it was nice to see a limited edition with a lined ruling. The School Set is a solid release from Baron Fig perfectly planned for the back to school period adding a Baron Fig spin to an American classic.

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Thanks again to Baron Fig for sending me the School Set limited edition to review.

Camel HB pencil review

It has been a while since I have done an actual review here on the blog and to kick off the new year I thought I would start with a pencil review.

The Camel HB pencil is one I have been pining for. It’s a beautiful looking pencil and the more I saw and heard, the more I wanted it. But there is one small issue, in the UK it is impossible to come by. The only place I have seen this online is from CW Pencils and the international shipping rates for the few pencils I would want to buy was something I couldn’t justify. Then a few months later, as if by magic, in stepped Priya from The London Parchment. A colleague of hers would be visiting the US and she was going to place a CW Pencils order and she wondered if I would like to add anything. Obviously I jumped at the chance!

After pining for quite some time, waiting for this pencil to arrive, actually holding it in my hand and using it, it doesn’t disappoint. I was expecting to find faults with it because I had built it up so much, but it turns out this pencil is wonderful.

The design is classic. It has a natural finish barrel with a clear lacquer on the barrel giving it a protective sheen. The branding is minimal and embossed in white which makes the pencil look clean.

Beautiful colours and very simple branding - classic Japanese style

Beautiful colours and very simple branding - classic Japanese style

The distinctive feature with the Camel HB is the eraser that sits flush to the pencil barrel. There is no ferrule. I haven’t seen any other pencil like it. Because there is no ferrule this pencil is really, really lightweight making it a pleasure to write with. Personally I prefer a pencil without an eraser due to the weight, so this fits perfectly.

When it comes to actually using the pencil you’re not disappointed. Point retention is great, it sharpens beautifully giving a nice clean finish on the wood. The graphite writes really smoothly on a wide variety of different paper types.

In terms of how the graphite prints on the page, its colour is nice. Its a dark enough grey, but not too dark and it doesn’t smudge or print on other pages.

I am sure you have guessed, but I like this pencil, a lot. It’s a beauty. I am so pleased I managed to get my hands on a few of them. It’s just such a shame that these pencils are so hard to come by. I’d love to see European distribution of the Camel pencils.

The camel against the Blackwing 211, both very similar in barrel finish

The camel against the Blackwing 211, both very similar in barrel finish

Alongside the natural finish I also took the chance to grab some of the pastel finish pencils. I have not used these much at all but I would presume they perform in the same way. The pastel colours are so pretty and come in some gorgeous colours. I picked up the mint, purple and pink giving myself a nice stock for my pencil usage.

My pastel Camel pencils. Beautiful colours.

My pastel Camel pencils. Beautiful colours.

Dixon Ticonderoga Pencil Review

The Dixon Ticonderoga represents the iconic American pencil with its yellow lacquer and pink eraser. I was sent this pencil by Priya from The London Parchment, along with some other goodies, and I immediately started using it to see how it compared to my favourite pencils.

Iconic design

As mentioned this pencil design screams AMERICA! It's everything I would associate with American basic stationery. In Europe we don't really have any solid yellow lacquer pencils therefore the Ticonderoga is a novelty. The standard European school grade pencil is the Staedtler Noris with its bumblebee yellow and black striped design but this feels completely different to the Ticonderoga.

The barrel has a bright and vibrant yellow lacquer with the branding printed in a metallic green. The green is supposed to match the ferrule, however the colours are completely different. In part this is due to the cheap and poorly made ferrule which has a rubbish paint job letting down the overall design. The final element of the pencil, the classic pink eraser, stands out against the rest of the pencil.

That ugly green ferrule!

That ugly green ferrule!

This iconic pencil design renders this pencil a bit of a classic. Its bold and vibrant colour scheme is iconic and because of this I have a degree of fondness for this pencil. The other Ticonderogas I've seen shared in the Erasable Facebook groups with black or brightly coloured barrels don't appeal to me in the same way and take away from the novelty of this classic American pencil.

Pencil performance

Graphite comparison

Graphite comparison

I am impressed by how the Ticonderoga writes, which I wasn't expecting. It has a light grey graphite and good point retention, two things I like from a pencil. It feels less like a HB grade pencil and more like an F grade pencil.

On the downside the eraser is poor, so poor that it doesn’t serve a useful purpose at all. It would be more beneficial to remove it completely, or else replace it with a better eraser. It just feels unnecessary.

In terms of the wood I am not entirely sure what is used to make the Ticonderogas but it is not the same level of quality that can be seen with Blackwings or Staedtlers. The Ticonderoga wood is pale and reminded me a little of the Wopex. Regardless of this these pencils sharpen fairly well and the ones I own have a well centred graphite.

The very light wood on the Dixon Ticonderoga reminded me of the Wopex

The very light wood on the Dixon Ticonderoga reminded me of the Wopex

Overall thoughts

The Ticonderoga is an average pencil, but then it's supposed to be. My enjoyment of this pencil centres around the iconic American design rather than actually being a high performing pencil. It’s not a pencil I will have multiples of, which is handy as being in the UK I can’t get hold of these easily.

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to Priya for sending me over this pencil to test. Without her generosity I wouldn’t have come by one of these pencils at all.