pencil

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.

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil: Week 6 Review

This week I have been using the Staedtler Mars Lumograph in F grade. Before starting this week I held this pencil in high regard starting to think that it could actually be my favourite pencil to use. Every time I used this pencil I realised how much I liked it, therefore it was a perfect candidate for this mini series.

The good points

This week I have really appreciated using the Mars Lumograph in terms of portability and generally how easy it is to use. Pencils are so light and slim making them really easy to use on the go and they’re perfect for jotting down simple notes and to dos. I have enjoyed using a pencil this week but I think that is because of the pencil I am using.

The Mars Lumograph also looks pretty sweet. The blue lacquer on this pencil is dreamy and I love the white stripe and black cap on the end. It finishes off the pencil really well and highlights the beautiful blue. My Mars Lumograph has worn really nicely. The barcode has disappeared and the branding is fading, showing a lovely worn look. I only own this one F grade pencil, but I think I will be buying a dozen of these pencils so I can have them in multiple places and also give a few to friends and family to try out.

The worn pencil barrel

The worn pencil barrel

I think what I am working towards is that I may well be in love with the Mars Lumograph. I love how it looks, I love the price, I love how it writes. The graphite in the F grade is perfect for me. It holds its point really well making it a perfect writing partner. The graphite is light, but not too much just right at the sweet spot for me.

This weeks irritation

The one constant bug bear I have with pencils is the need to sharpen the pencil a lot to retain a sharp point. I love my classroom friendly sharpener and pretty much use this exclusively. This works fine when I am writing at home but when out I have to deal with a blunt pencil as I don’t have anything portable that’s as good as the classroom friendly sharpener. Now I could solve this with the KUM Masterpiece, or by taking multiple pencils. But I have had neither of those this week, so I am being a little grumpy about it. You don’t get this problem with a fountain pen.

Overall thoughts

It is quite possible that the Staedtler Mars Lumograph is the perfect pencil for me. I always enjoy the excitement around trying new pencils and new pencil releases such as the Blackwing volumes. But the despite this every time I use the Mars Lumograph I enjoy it, it feels nice to write with and comfortable. If you were to force me to choose only one pencil to write wth for the rest of my days I think it would be this one. I haven’t been able to say that about any other week during this series.

The final week - week 7

For the final week of this exercise I will be using the Tactile Turn Gist with a fine nib and Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai ink. I am finishing up with this fountain pen and ink combination for a number of reasons. First up the Tactile Turn Gist is a fountain pen that I have not used for a solid period of time. I feel like I should really like this fountain pen but there are some reservations. Therefore by using this for a full week I think I may be able to organise my thoughts more coherently. The fine nib on this pen is a European fine and therefore has a good line width which should work perfectly with one of my favourite inks, the Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. I have sometimes thought this ink would be the one I would choose above all others if I were forced, this week could test that theory.

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.

Staedtler Wopex Pencil Review

The Staedtler Wopex is a unique pencil that divides opinions and won't be to everyones tastes, however there is something appealing about the Wopex pencil.  

My 2 Wopex's - 2B and HB

My 2 Wopex's - 2B and HB

The Wopex has a strange thick waxy coating on it's barrel that is not like the traditional lacquer paint you would find on other pencils. The Wopex is made of a dense combination of woods and plastics that result in a weighty pencil. The wood used to create the Wopex is from 'PEFC-certified sustainably managed forests' which makes this an environmentally friendly pencil. You can find out more about the make up of the Wopex and it's materials here in this helpful link. 

PEFC branding on the pencil barrel

PEFC branding on the pencil barrel

It is perhaps due to the combination of materials and the resulting design of the Wopex pencil that could deter people from using it. It's a different pencil and for some traditional pencil users these differences could be a barrier to using and enjoying the Wopex. In my opinion there are some positive elements that I think makes it a joy to use. 

The Mars Lumograph next to the Wopex

The Mars Lumograph next to the Wopex

The Wopex writes really well. It's smooth on the page and I love the lighter tone of the graphite. I have a HB and 2B pencil that are lighter than other Staedtler pencils of the same grade. I have compared the HB Wopex to the HB Mars Lumograph, which you can see in my handwritten review, and there is a distinct tone difference. The Wopex site actually describes the graphite as 'velvet soft' and 'smooth gliding lead' (yes it said lead!). I agree with this, there is something sort of velvety about the graphite in the Wopex which I don't think it present in other Staedtler pencils and it definitely writes smoothly on the page. It also states that the graphite in the Wopex is more resilient and less likely to shatter. I have noticed that you can apply quite a bit of pressure when writing without without the graphite snapping. The Wopex is all round sturdy! 

Wopex handwritten review in a Word Notebook

Wopex handwritten review in a Word Notebook

One small downside with the Wopex is it cannot be used with my Classroom Friendly Sharpener. Due to the materials of the pencil the sharpener churns right through and the auto-stop feature does not work. My 2B Wopex has fallen fowl to this problem. 

In the UK the Wopex is well distributed. I have seen these in the traditional stores such as WH Smith, Staples and even on Ocado's online shopping. For such an unusual pencil the depth of availability is a little surprising, but there must be a level of demand and people must be buying this pencil otherwise the retailers would not stock it. 

Overall I enjoy using the Wopex pencils and would happily buy more of them. They're not my most used pencil and they do have a very different feel to the traditional woodcase pencil but sometimes different is good and I really enjoy writing and doodling with the Wopex.