Palomino

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.

Palomino Blackwing Volume 211 Limited Edition Pencil

The Blackwing 211 is the second Volumes edition from Palomino released in September 2015. The 211 was slow to hit UK shores arriving only a few weeks ago however it is still available at a couple of online retailers including The Journal Shop and Bureau Direct so there is time to snap up some of these lovely pencils.

The 211 Backstory. 

The Blackwing 211 pays homage to John Muir and the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park. Blackwing describes the 211 as "subtle and subdued" and I couldn't agree more. The promotional video below pays homage to that. 

Gorgeous Packaging. 

The Palomino packaging has always been impressive. The perfectly sized sleek black box is wrapped in a white sleeve with the Volumes branding and a photograph of the pencil inside. It's a clean and simple design, dare I say it Apple like, and helps to give an impression of quality. 

The black box itself made from a heavy card stock and includes a black Blackwing logo on the exterior and simple hex pattern on the inside cover. The pencils themselves, unsharpened, fit snuggly in the box with a tiny bit of wriggle room.  

Included with the Volumes edition pencils you have a small leaflet explaining the story of the 211. On the reverse of the 211 leaflet there is also a small map of the Jon Muir trail in Yosemite National Park. It's a really nice touch and shows a high level of thought and detail went into designing this edition. 

The Palomino Blackwing pencils are at the high price end of the pencil market. I bought this pack for £26. But with this you get 12 high quality pencils with a gorgeous finish (more to come on that below) and well thought out added extras surrounding the branding. Some people may say this stuff doesn't matter, but it certainly helps to create an air of quality and also a little bit of mystique. 

Stripped back design.

The Blackwing 211 is a natural finish with its branding etched in brown. You have the usual Blackwing golden ferrule and this edition pencil comes with the not seen before brown eraser. I have also enjoyed using a Blackwing pencil however this particular edition really is stunning. It's not groundbreaking or wildly different like the Volume 725, but this could be my favourite Blackwing pencil. It takes the humble pencil back to its core and keeps everything simple. The visible grain on the pencil is lovely. You see minimal variation between the pencil barrel and the sharpened section showing that there is very little treatment on this pencil. It must have a light finish to give the pencil protecttion, but it does not compromise on the natural finish in any way.

The Blackwing 211 seems to be the perfect partner for the Field Notes Shenandoah edition notebook. Both give a nod to nature and both embrace the simplicity of their function and design. 

A Firmer Graphite.

The 211 comes with a firm graphite which personally I prefer. I did buy the Volume 725 which was compared with the Blackwing Pearl. The 211 graphite is firm but still gives you a nice dark line on the page. Perhaps this volume edition is similar to the 602 which is the firmest of the Blackwing line.

A small negative. 

The downside of this pencil is definitely the eraser. Whilst the colour option suits the pencil story and look so well, functionally it's pretty poor. For use on the go this eraser is fine but if I can I opt for a better eraser such as the Carta Pura. 

In Summary. 

It's almost a shame that this is a Volumes limited edition pencil. I think the 211 is a really lovely pencil with a classic design and would make a fab addition to the permanent Blackwing line up. Hint hint. 

If you have a chance to buy these pencils then snap them up wherever you see them. I have really enjoyed using this pencil and regularly grab this from my pencil cup. 

Palomino Prospector Review

The Palomino Prospector is a fine pencil. There are a lot of benefits to the Prospector - it looks great, nice graphite, fantastic price. Pros pros pros. 

Both colour options 

Both colour options 

Name 

The main man himself - The Prospector 

The main man himself - The Prospector 

This stumped me for a while. Palomino Prospector is a great name for a pencil! I have tried to find out the origins of the name but have drawn a blank, if anyone does know anything on this please leave me a comment, I'd love to get to the bottom of it.

My childish side also comes out with the name of this pencil. It reminds me of one of the best Toy Story characters ever, and then gives me a little giggle every time I reach for 'The Prospector' (said in Kelsey Grammers iconic voice of course).

Design

We all love nice looking things, and many of us who adore stationary love it when something not only works well but looks good too. For me the Prospector ticks these boxes. The colour options on the Palomino Prospector are a great bright green or a natural colour. I have one of each due to the famous Palomino Collection pack, which is where most of my pencil related reviews have come from. The green gives you a lovely pop of colour but the Prospector also comes in subtle natural finish for those who feel the green is too bright. Both pencils have a sheen on the barrel due to the coating on the pencil. This also gives the natural Prospector more of a finished feel. I think it's great that the Prospector comes in these two colour options. They're giving the people what they want. A delightful light gold ferrule and white rubber top off the pencil. Gold lettering adorns the side of the pencil barrel with the Palomino and Prospector branding side by side. A great big USA logo is also found on the pencil, reminding customers that these pencils are made in America. 

Close up of the logos on the Prospector - there are quite a few

Price 

The price of the Prospector pencils are a huge bonus. For a very reasonable $1.95 for the natural option or $2.25 for the green for 12 pencils is quite unbelievable. I'm not sure you can get a coffee for that price. These prices are based on what is currently shown on pencils.com as I am not aware of any UK or European retails who sell these pencils. 

Writing Style

The Prospector holds up well for those with the heavy hand. This pencil is perfect for people who are using it for extensive writing or note taking. The graphite can hold a heavy hand very well and you do not need to sharpen the pencil too often in order for the Prospector to hold a point. The graphite is a cool soft grey that looks great on the page and incurs minimal smudging. The written review on the right does not do the graphite justice, the Rhodia bright blue lines dull the colour of the graphite. 

Summary

What are you waiting for? Buy the Palomino Prospector pencils and fast! They really are a lovely pencil to use. 

Palomino Blackwings Review

The Palomino Blackwing pencils seem to have an aura that comes with them, almost like they are the holy grail of pencils. The infamous Palomino Blackwing pencils are things of times gone by and creative dreams. They come across as the ultimate pencils. Or is this just clever marketing?  

Aesthetics 

The Blackwing range are some seriously good looking pencils. From top to bottom these pencils are very attractive. The barrel colours are great, black, grey and white - all simple colours that work well within the range. The gold lettering on the Blackwing and 602 looks really good contrasting the pencil barrel. The Pearl has black lettering to stand out against the white finish. All in all well thought out yet simple design.

The ferrules on the Blackwing pencils are distinctive from other pencils available within the market. They are much bigger and wider adding weight to the pencil. The rubbers on these pencils are actually really good. They are not the same colour as the original Blackwings, however they still work well with the updated design and are very inoffensive. Everything here again has been thought through and no corners have been cut resulting in a high quality pencil. 

There are alternative rubbers that you can buy to make these look like the original Blackwings, and also some different crazy colours just for fun. I have not tried any of these so cannot comment on them but I am sure the standards will be the same. Pencils.com have also just announced a special edition series of the 602's in conjunction with Chuck Jones which take the distinctive old school pink rubber and combine it with the popular 602 pencil. 

Huge ferrules 

Huge ferrules 

The Palomino Blackwing. 

This is the first pencil I managed to get my hands on. I found these online at a UK online seller, Pedlars, where I bought 4 singles. The Palomino Blackwing has a dark soft graphite, which doesn't hold a sharp tip for very long. I can imagine if you are someone who sketches this could be a good pencil for you, however personally for me I use pencils mostly for writing and this does not suit my requirements. I have found that when using this pencil in notebooks there is a lot of smearing and my handwriting seems to become huge to account for the soft graphite wearing down very quickly. Beautiful pencil, but not for me.

Palomino Blackwing Pearl.

Written comparison of the Blackwing pencils 

This pencil is the last one of the Blackwing range that I bought when it came with part of my Palomino Collection Pack. This is the best looking of the three Blackwing pencils. That white pearlised finish looks great in the flesh, you really cannot beat it. You get hints of pink and purple when the light catches it at times, it's truly gorgeous. In terms of use, this one sits in between the Blackwing and the 602. The lines are not as dark but if you wanted to sketch something out then it also works pretty well. The Pearl is fine if you are using the pencil at home, but if you are on the move then there is too much sharpening mantainence for me which king of knocks off a few points. If nothing else I'm happy for it to look pretty in my pencil pot.

Finally, the Palomino Blackwing 602

This is the best of the three for me. Its a lovely pencil to use and has everything I like. The grey pencil barrel is not my favourite but it still looks good. The 602 comes with a nice little message on the other side of the barrel which you don't get on the other two Blackwings. 'Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed' really does sum this pencil up. The graphite is much lighter on the 602 when compared to the Pearl and original Blackwing. It also feels like its the strongest too and can take a heavy hand like mine. The 602 is the pencil I happily will carry round with me and chose to write with on a daily basis. 

Palomino Blackwing written reviews 

SUMMARY

To me there feels like there is an element of Moleskine style marketing with the Blackwing series of pencils. There is a degree of 'glamour' with the Blackwing series owing a lot to their history as a favourite from some notable figures. When you first use any of these pencils there is already an expectation in place, which can in a lot of cases, lead to some disappointment, if only initially. That was my experience with the Blackwing pencil, however the more you delve into this brand and try out all the Blackwing options there the more you can enjoy these pencils. 

 

For UK readers, Pedlars have both the Blackwing and the 602 available in singles. These guys have great delivery service too so you won't be waiting too long. For the Pearl I could only get this through Pencils.com which does mean there is a bit of a wait and without buying the Collection Pack you can only get these in packs of 12. These are just friendly hints, I am not being asked to promote these online retailers.