Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fountain Pens

I have always loved writing and writing instruments. For a good long while I was enamored of Fountain Pens and searched them out in the new and used market, pen stores and swap meets. I fell in love with old Parker Vacumatics and the 51, had a new Duofold, a Montblanc and many others.

Most were drippy and finicky and pretentious. Those aren't character traits I want to associate myself with. I'm much more a functional, easy and useful kind of person and I want my life and objects to reflect those characteristics.

After decades of misadventures and ink leaks in my breast pocket I have now succumbed to the simple elegance of the pencil.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blackwing 602 Revival

If the world needs a Hipster pencil, this is it - the Blackwing 602.

It was a wonderful pencil that had a lot of acolytes extolling its virtues in its day.
It has a nice replaceable rectangular eraser, feels nice in the hand and is wonderful to write with.

The manufacurer, Eberhard Faber, was acquired by Faber-Castell and the pencil's production was ceased in the 90s. The Palomino Blackwing line was started anew in 2011 and now we have three beauties to choose from;

The Blackwing - very black and soft, a great art pencil,
The Blackwing 602 which is a great writing pencil with a sumptuous dark and soft lead,
The Blackwing Pearl which is in between the two.

The Palomino Blackwings cost about $20.00 a dozen. You will find them in fine art stores or online.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Another beauty

The Staedtler norica.
This pencil is just a very satisfying beauty.
Maybe I just like all pencils but this one is a real delight. I picked up a pack of two dozen for about $8 at Staples. What a deal.

Very pretty. Writes nicely with a firm but dark lead. Keeps a sharp point for quite a while while feeling very smooth.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014


We need to sharpen our pencils and there are a lot of ways to get the job done.

Our image of a crank operated wall mounted box is a great memory but in fact I don't like them.

They have grinding burrs in there that grind off a lot of wood and graphite. They make a lot of noise and you don't know when to stop. With softer lead pencils they just crumble them into dust. Not my favorite.

The electric pencil sharpeners are more of the same with the advantage that they don't have to be bolted down to a desk or wall. Not for me.

You can sharpen with a knife or razor. It's a nice contemplative way to get the job done and gives you a sense of pride when done well. That's nice.

My preference though is a simple sharpener like in the photo. Small, inexpensive, easy to carry and effective. They remove a very small amount of wood and shave the graphite to a nice point. Simple and effective. It makes me smile everytime.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Greatest Pencil Ever.

This pencil is a game-changer. The concept is a graphite stick with no wood sheath. Some other companies have done this but not with such wonderful results.

Behold the CRETACLOR MONOLITH 2B. This has a better lead feel than any pencil I use. It creates a dark line like a soft pencil but the graphite isn't soft so it stays sharp and feels sharp. It is heavier than wood pencils and has a very solid hand feel.

It is really great and very recommended. I got mine at Blick Art Supply and they are about $1.47 each. HB - 9B.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Mechanical Question?

I know that those who appreciate the wooden pencil might not like mechanical pencils, but I do. I think they are wonderful to write with and easier to transport. Certainly they lack the magic connection to the Earth that their woody brothers have but they are absolutely useful and efficient with all the feel of graphite to paper that is so sensual.

I like that you can choose the hardness/softness of the lead you want to use and have a pack of replacement erasers on hand. You can go into a Staples and get some B or BB leads for them much more easily than trying to get a #1 Ticonderoga which in fact you have to special order from the website.

Your big choices are the width of the lead. 0.5mm is the thinnest and excellent to write with. 0.7mm is a bit bolder but not messy. 0.9mm starts getting to be a bit much and I don't really recommend them. This is a personal choice or course but I recommend sticking with .5 or .7.

This pencil has been with me for years and I like it a lot.
I do detest disposable mechanical pencils. They just take all the fun out of the game and feel like awful pieces of plastic and, worst of all, they lack character.