pencils

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series

My writing implements of choice

My writing implements of choice

Lately I have been wondering how I would feel if I could only using one writing implement for a prolonged period of time, say a week. Would I like them as much as I think I do if I could only use them exclusively? I have numerous fountain pens inked up at a given time and what I have found is that I don’t use any of them enough. I rotate through the different pens and inks but don’t fully appreciate what I am using because it doesn’t get used enough. Similarly with the pencils that I have to hand, they rarely get a proper look in as the fountain pen usually wins.

With this in mind I have decided to spend dedicated time with one writing implement. I will use one pen or pencil for a week. This should give me enough time to use the pen or pencil in different notebooks and scenarios allowing me figure out how much I really like them and how practical they are.

I have chosen a selection of writing implements that I believe I enjoy using from a range of fountain pens, pencils and gel ink pens.

The final list includes:

  • Kaweco AL Sport F nib with J. Herbin Bleu Nuit
  • Staedtler Mars Lumograph F grade pencil
  • Lamy Safari EF nib with Lamy Dark Lilac ink
  • Karas Customs Retrakt with Pilot G2 refill in black
  • TWSBI 580RB B nib with KWZ Honey ink
  • Blackwing 24 pencil
  • Tactile Turn Gist F nib with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai ink

Each week after I have finished using the writing implement I will share my thoughts here on the blog. I will generally be looking at how I have found using that one writing implement for the week and what I have liked and disliked about it. Using one writing tool for a week long period will I’m sure throw up lots of issues and honestly I don’t think I am a one pen kinda girl.

This mini experiment will help me to decide how I feel about each of the different writing tools selected. But overall this experiment is supposed to be a little bit of fun.

So first up…the Kaweco AL Sport with a fine nib and J. Herbin’s Bleu Nuit.

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.

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.