Review of Dixon Ticonderoga Classic.


Our review today comes from Tom Leininger, a professional writer and photographer based in Lafayette, Indiana. Tom also has a blog on which you can see some of his amazing photos. We know that Tom is a huge fan of the Dixon Ticonderoga, so we asked him if he would review them for the Revolution, and we want to thank Tom at the outset for a great review and wonderful photos.

The technical stuff:
Material: Incense cedar.
Shape: Hexagonal.
Finish: Non-toxic yellow, high gloss.
Ferrule: Dixon’s famous green with yellow stripes.
Eraser: Soft pink rubber.
Core: HB (#2) graphite.
Markings: Green Foil. “U.S.A. Dixon Ticonderago 1388-2/HB Soft.”
Packaging: Varies. The box I have had 10 in it. Also available by the dozen and multi-dozen.
Origin: Manufactured in USA of California cedar; Company is based in Heathrow, Fla.


It was not until college that I understood how vital a pencil is to my chosen profession. I was sitting in my first journalism class at Western Kentucky University when the professor said we should always carry a pencil with us. Or, just use pencils all the time. They work in the rain, when ink runs. They work in the cold when ink freezes.

So, I have always had a pencil at hand, I just never really wrote with them all the time, until recently.

Before I found this blog I had been trying to go back to the fountain pen I bought when I was in college. I liked the fact it was messy and pretentious. It must have gotten lost in all of my moves. The disposable ones I tried did not always work. Since most of my writing is done in small notebooks standing up, I needed something simple.

The pencil. It was staring me in the face all along. I always kept one in my car, for when it rained or was extremely cold. I thought this might be what I am looking for.

So, I grabbed a generic one from the drawer at work, but was disappointed. A couple of people mentioned the Pilot G2 mechanical, which I tried. These let me down.

Coming home one day I found the rather patriotic box of Dixon Ticonderogas sitting on the desk. My wife, a former first grade teacher, said they were best for her kids. “I know you are reading about pencils,” she said with a smirk. “They are the best.”


So I sharpened one to a nice point. Unlike the mechanical one, the lead does not break easily. With pencils and keyboards, I am a little on the rough side. It works well writing in small notebooks standing up, or crouching down on the ground.

I gave one to a pencil wielding editor at the newspaper I work at. Maybe it is even better when used at a desk. “It’s a good pencil,” he said. It required one sharpening for a day’s worth of work. The generic he had been using needed to be sharpened every five minutes. He also noted that pencil has a more rounded feel to it. It does not leave creases in your hand.

“Another thing about that stupid pencil,” he said leaving the office. “It is strong and does not break.”

I have realized it can’t write on everything. My hand or checks to be cashed for example. At times it is not always easy to carry. These would be the biggest drawbackws to the wooden pencil.

Most of the time I will tuck it behind my ear, leading to the phantom pencil syndrome. At the end of the day, I still think it is behind my ear when alas, it is not. Luckily, it tucks into my Newswear chest vest and Mountainsmith Tour lumbar bag easily.

I do wish it came in a size that would fit a shirt pocket well. Sharpening is a breeze. The point is solid. They taste like wood. The eraser works well. And they can write on napkins. What more could one ask for? For one thing, these are right handed pencils, I am left-handed. So, all of the printing is upside down when I am writing.

The Dixon Ticonderoga has earned a spot in my kit. That is saying a lot, since I am kind of picky.

[All photos and text copyright T. Leininger 2005.]

83 Responses to “Review of Dixon Ticonderoga Classic.”

  1. Ashley says:

    Thanks for mentioning the Ticonderoga–my favorite pencil. The only pencil I like more is the Cretacolor Monolith woodless graphite pencil in either 4,6, or 8B. But these are so soft it is downright decadent to write very much with them. Plus, they don’t have an eraser, and they need a cap to keep them tidy. So the Ticonderoga is still my favorite!!

  2. frank c. says:

    Another great review; because of it I went out and bought a box. I just sharpened one and gave it a try, and I really like it–it writes a smooth, dark line.

    Any chance of a review of the Faber Castell Grip 2001?

  3. PRevo says:

    Absolutely, Frank. That’s definitely in the works for the near future:)

  4. pla says:

    “I do wish it came in a size that would fit a shirt pocket well.”

    A solution for that exists… “Sharpen” it down to around 4″ long, the size of a golf-pencil (but much higher quality and with an eraser). I keep just such a writing implement in my wallet, an even smaller space than a shirt pocket (and while I don’t always have pockets on my shirts, I always have my wallet).

  5. Ron says:

    That might be kind of wasteful, pla. Some companies do sell shorter pencils with erasers for pockets and such. But not the American companies.

    I usually just keep the pencils that get short through using them and then I have some shorter pencils for my pocket, without wasting any:)

  6. Tangerine says:

    The Dixon Ticonderoga has been my favorite for years because you can sharpen it to a killing point and it will last forever.

  7. Rich Whittle says:

    I sorry, but I have to disagree with you. The World’s Smoothest Writing Pencil is the Mirado Black Warrior.
    How do I know it’s the World’s Smoothest Writing Pencil? Because it says it right on the box and it’s guaranteed. Have you ever seen a pencil come with guarantee that if the pencil fails to perform to your satisfaction you can get a refund?

    They are round and will roll away from you, but they have great ‘hand feel’and they’re made in the USA.
    Try one, I think you’ll like it.

  8. PRevo says:

    The Mirado series (Black Warrior, Classic and Woodtones) will certainly be reviewed soon. Personally, of the three, I really like the Mirado Classic.

    You’re right that the Mirados are smooth, but I find that they are not as dark as a Dixon, not that it’s a bad thing, since I use different pencils for different things.

  9. David Earls says:

    DT is by far the best. I’ve used one since my school days. I’ve had affairs with expensive mechanical pencils, I’ve even experimented with pens, but I always come back to the wholesome DT.

  10. matt leclair says:

    Any fan of the Dixon Ticonderoga #2 MUST read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. The DT2 plays a key role as the narrator’s favorite pencil.

  11. Ed T. says:

    “…these are right handed pencils, I am left-handed. So, all of the printing is upside down when I am writing.”

    Excellent point. I’m working on an adaptor that will convert right-handed pencils (and possibly pens) for left hand use, but currently the prototype is a tad unwieldy as it is constructed of schedule 40 PVC pipe and diamond plate sheetmetal. I’ll post here when I have a more workable solution.

    BTW, loved the review and the pix!

    Cheers,
    Ed T.

  12. M.M. says:

    The Dixon Ticonderoga is a fine pencil (and has an awe-inspiring name). The Mirado Black Warrior is another great one, but my favorite remains the Mongol #1 – I’m a musician and they’re the best for marking scores.
    I’m also thrilled to discover that there are so many other pencil afficionados out there!

  13. Russ Morris says:

    Have any of you folks tried the Ticonderoga tri-write?

    It’s quite nice, easy to hold, doesn’t roll off the desk and is essentially the old #2 in a new shape.

    Cool and worth a try.

  14. PRevo says:

    Russ,
    That’s one of the pencils on the review list for the future. I have a friend who swears by the Tri-Write:) I like them a lot myself, and I’m glad to see that they’re availability is growing.

  15. Chris says:

    The eraser on the Ticonderoga works well? The eraser does the job, but hardly as well as a Magic Rub does. Most pencils I’ve used sadly have rather poor erasers.

    Will you review erasers as well? (Or is that for Eraser Revolution?)

    Keep those reviews coming!

  16. PRevo says:

    Eraser reviews to come soon:)

  17. Kaizer says:

    This is an excellent review. Why not rate pencil sharpners as well? After all, the second longest period of time one spends apart from putting pencil to paper is putting pencil to sharpner.
    Possible points of evaluation could be (not in any particular order):
    A] The noise it makes while sharpening
    B] How many “twists” or rotations it takes to give a fine point.
    C] Whether there is a point “sculpting” device. That is, to make a point round and blunted or sharp and pointed.
    D] color of the sharpener / aesthetics / taste, smell, feel…you get the idea?

    Have a great day

  18. ‘Tis an awesome pencil.

  19. tomleininger says:

    I just wanted to add that I gave the pencil a “wet” test today. I had to write down names during a rainy football practice. It worked like a champ.

  20. Brad says:

    I have spent years looking for the perfect pencil. Like you, I am very rough with my writing instruments and tend to snap a lot of leads.

    In my quest I have discovered The Holy Grail of pencils: the Pentel PS 535. You can put several pounds of pressure on the tip and the lead will not break. The secret? The finely engineered sliding sleeve that covers the lead and retracts as the lead wears away.

    It takes a little getting used to at first because you cannot see the lead as you write. You only see the metal sliding sleeve. As you write, and the lead wears away, the sleeve gets pushed back up into the barrel of the pencil.

    When you apply pressure, the metal sleeve is what protects the lead from breaking.

    They are a little pricey compared to the other mechanical pencils they are usually displayed with ($9 or $10 compared to $2 or $3), but they are well worth the investment. Try one for a week, and I guarantee you will never go back to the wooden ones, or any other mechanical pencil for that matter.

  21. Josh says:

    As far as non-mechanical pencils go, I could not agree with you more. The Ticonderoga is a great writing implement. These days, however, my weapon of choice is the newly-redesigned Staedtler 925 (in .3 and .5mm). I think the Pilot is a smooth writing pencil, but they show signs of wear rather quickly. The 925 is a high quality pencil at around 6 dollars.

  22. cswingle says:

    I’ve recently re-discovered the wooden pencil after many, many years with the same Pentel mechanical. Yesterday I went out and got a box of the Ticonderoga pencils reviewed here, as well as a blister pack of Mirado Classic pencils (both 2 HB). I scored a baseball game using the Ticonderoga for one side and the Mirado for the other (The A’s won in the top of the 11th BTW).

    Both are nice pencils with high quality graphite that didn’t break, both wrote crisply and smoothly (even on the crappy OfficeMax paper the scorecard is printed on), and both erasers worked well when needed.

    Differences: the fit and finish on the Ticonderoga was better. The Mirado I pulled from the blister pack was slightly bent at the eraser end and the eraser band seemed to be unceremoniously jammed onto the top of the pencil.

    The Ticonderoga is softer than the Mirado, so it writes darker, but becomes dull faster. The differences aren’t very large, but by the ninth inning, I was itching to re-sharpen the Ticonderoga while the Mirado was still sharp enough to comfortably record the balls and strikes on the scorecard. The erasers are also different, with the Mirado eraser being harder and more abrasive. Both erasers worked well, but I suspect that like the pencil itself, the Mirado eraser might last longer because it’s harder.

    Conclusions: Both excellent pencils, with a trade off between softness / darkness and point longevity. If you want a nice smooth dark line but don’t mind sharpening it more often, go with the Ticonderoga. If you want a slightly harder pencil that lasts a bit longer, use the Mirado.

  23. karl s says:

    God I love the blog-o-sphere. A blog on pencils! Yes! A like-minded community. I found this via 43folders.com and it plays into my recent obsession with pencils. I too have, and still use fountain pens (a Lammy 2000 I’ve had for countless years, but recently lost), but pencils have become my writing instrument of choice. For nearly 20 years, I’ve kept journals with fountain pens, written novels and screenplays that way, but now, I am switching.

    The Ticonderoga is one of my faves, but I do love the Mirado Black Warriors because of being round and black. That said, it’s harder to misplace a yellow Ticonderoga. And whenver I pick one up, I think of that upstate New York town.

    Just as an FYI (and a question), Staples is selling 72 yellow no.2 pencils for $2.99. A fantastic price. I felt it was overkill so bought a dozen to test them out. They seem to be very close to the Ticonderogas and may actually be manufactured by them. Does anyone know? I know there are many imitators out there.

  24. ronin1516 says:

    Was watching the Travel Channel last night when I saw a shwo whose name I dont remember. Essentially, it has John ratzenberger ( Cliff the postman from Cheers) goes to various American companies who are still making various items in the USA, and have chosen not to move overseas. So, yesterday’s episode covered John’s visit to Versailles, MO, where the Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are made. Wonderful show – I highly recommend it. Cheers

  25. Graeme Payne says:

    Did I read correctly that one of the people in that blog entry uses a pencil to write cheques (British English) / checks (American English)?

    Surely this leaves the cheque/check open to erasing and alteration by a fraudster?

  26. pencil princess says:

    In your review you forgot to mention one of the most important things about my favorite pencil, the mouth feel factor. Come on, everyone has chewed on a pencil at one point or another. But my precious dixon holds up to the wear of the human tooth. I’m not talking about eating pencils, that’s just weird. I’m talking about those times when you run out of hand space and your pencil finds its way into your mouth. Or, the times when you are in deep contemplation and you give your pencil the occasional bite. Either way, the Dixon is not so hard where you might hurt yourself, nor is it too soft where it might crumble in your mouth. It is the baby bear of the pencil world.

  27. Steve says:

    I have a love affair with this pencil. I always felt inferior because everyone around me had mechanical pencils. Their work was supposedly neater. I didn’t care, I just love the feel of the wood and the way it writes.

  28. Slywy says:

    For the Black Warrior and other rollaways (indeed, for several pencils), I use grips. Triangular grips turn any pencil into a triangular one, too.

  29. jeremy says:

    I second the call for a sharpener review.. I use a nice old electric Panasonic Point-o-matic when at work.. but have yet to find a good portable manual sharpener that is small enough to take everywhere.

    Anyone have a fav portable point maker, especially one well suited to the Ticonderoga?

  30. jw says:

    Sharpeners? C’mon people. People who love wooden pencils have only two sharpeners: the basic tapered-hole-and-blade model (with various devices for catching the shavings) and a pocketknife. Any grinding mechanics — and never mind the horror of electricity! — cannot provide the control, the elegance, and the simplicity of a simple sharpener. I keep a simple sharpener in my bag at all times, and simply make a delicate pile of shavings on my desk.

    The Dixon Ticonderoga eraser is indeed a very good eraser, so long as it’s fresh. Once it dries out — as all rubber will eventually do — it’s lousy. If you’re using it consistently and have a fairly fresh pencil, it’s just the thing. And you can’t beat the convenience.

  31. Piper says:

    What and awesome site! And this nice lengthy review of my all time favorite pencil, the “Dixon Ticonderoga Thirteen-Eighty-Eight dash Two, HB Soooft…” Most people seem to find it funny-strange that this is my answer when asked what my favorite pencil is, every time. I’ve even had people look at my pencil to see if I’ve said it’s full name correctly (not hard since I’m a lefty as well, and someone to my left can read it easily).

    I just don’t like mech pencils. I’ve had many, used them, and always feel disappointed either by it’s lack of softness, it’s crappy line quality, or just the generally impersonal feel of it. I always come back home to the Dixon Ti.

    They also have it in “natural color,” and black. I’m sure it will come as no suprise to anyone here that I have one of those large plastic cigar box things FILLED with all three. Don’t wanna run out!

    Peace

  32. I’m with you on that, Piper. I have a STASH of the Black Dixons at home — one of my favorite American pencils for sure:)

  33. brandon says:

    ticonderoga is the best. I love that they always have different types of pencils out. like the, woodgrain, laddies, begginers, and the millienium editon.(dont think I spelled it right)

  34. Tavin Adair says:

    Has anyone ever used one of the rare Dixon Ticonderoga round-barrel 1388’s? They can only be purchased individually, at about 35 cents apiece, from special dispensers. They are thicker, with a denser coating of smooth paint. In my opinion, these pencils have superior handling than the traditional hexagonal 1388. (Handling-wise, they feel even better than the Black Warriors from pre-Papermate days!)It is a pity that Dixon does not make these wonderful pencils available in boxes or blister packs. The only cosmetic drawback: because the pencils are sold individually, the upc code is printed on the shaft, spoiling the lovely lacquered yellow. But, this soon vanishes as you sharpen…

  35. Matt says:

    Dixon tichoderoga #1s are impecable. I rate them just under the palomino and mongol. any musician should have a few handy.

  36. Harry Plums says:

    I was writing the other day with my dixon nicaragua DB5000 when the lead cracked and split all over my paper. It was at this exact moment that I realized that pencils were out. I marched straight to staples the next day and bought a fashionable hot pink gel ink bic pen with a double barrel exhaust retractable pin point. I haven’t regretted by decision a day since!

  37. April says:

    I am so shocked to find so many people that love the very pencil I adore, but then again, why should I be shocked at mutual love affair with one of the best pencils ever made! I am most excited to mingle with other bloggers at a site dedicated entirely to pencils! What an amazing and wonderful find here in blogland!

  38. Karl Hanson says:

    I read in the Cedar Institute’s web page that pencils were standard issued equipment for Civil War soldiers. I can’t find any references regarding that fact on any Civil War site.

  39. Jon Streeter says:

    I sent an e-mail to Tom, and then I discovered the comments below. Great review, Tom. It was loads of fun to read.

    It’s a bit of a heart-warming experience to discover the ways in which we are connected to others, no? Who would have thought pencils would evoke such an emotional response in so many people. And yet, now that we’re out of the closet, I realize I have a relationship with pencils myself.

    Wood pencils, it seems to me, are to mechanical pencils what fountain pens are to ballpoints. Wood pencils turn handwriting into art. As the words flow from the writer’s mind onto the page, the point dulls and must be resharpened. A rhythm develops, like the alternation of night and day, that becomes a part of the experience of creating.

    My favorite pencils have been, for years, the Dixon Ticonderoga Nos. 1 and 2 and the famous and much lamented Blackwing 602.

    I remember as a youngster thinking how cool the name “Ticonderoga” sounded. I do not remember a time in my life in which the world was without that yellow pencil.

    The No. 2 is great for the moment when my patience runs out with the No. 1’s point dulling too fast. Then I switch back to the No. 1 when I just can’t take the (relatively) hard feeling of the No. 2. I have some Palominos on order, and I eagerly await them.

    The Blackwing was in a class by itself. I discovered one in an office I was visiting and bought one from the owner. Its eraser alone was worth the price of admission. It did not, in my opinion, erase really well, but it was so outrageously clever in its design.
    It appealed to me because I didn’t have to be so stingy with my eraser on a Blackwing because you could extend it, and then extend it again until it was down to a nubbin, whereas all the other pencils were constructed so that when the eraser was worn down to the ferrule, the user was presented with a very unpleasant scratching sensation.

    Did you bite the ferrule to squeeze out just a little bit more of the eraser? That’s what I did. True, one could always put on one of those pencil erasers that slips over the ferrule, but part of a pencil’s appeal is the way it looks and its perfect balance. And a pencil is not graceful or balanced with that growth on the end.

    As I mentioned to Tom in my e-mail, if you visit Pendemonium.com, and other sites, you can find an ink called Noodler’s which comes in many colors, some of which are waterproof, not water resistant, but waterproof. The ink reacts with the cellulose in the paper and nothing known will remove it. And, get this, the inventor of that ink has developed an ink that will not freeze. It’s suitable for use in Antarctica.

    But there’s something comforting about the simplicity and dependability of a pencil. Pens may leak or be empty or broken. Mechanical pencils may malfunction, jam, or be out of lead. But a wood pencil, now, there’s something you can depend on. If you can see a pencil, you know you have something that will write — even if you have to sharpen it with your teeth.

    And when you get the urge to draw, well, the pencil’s unsurpassed. I swear that some of my best drawings have been with a Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 in my school notebook during class when I should have been paying attention. But, hey, handing a world-class pencil to an artist is like handing a straight line to a comic: you’re on autopilot.

  40. Brad Thompson says:

    Are you people aware that the all-American Ticonderoga Pencil Factory has now moved to good ol Mexico? So much for patriotism.

  41. Michael says:

    Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are a good example of American practicality and sturdiness. I use mechanicals and woodcase pencils every day, including Caran D’Ache Fixpencils and a Pentel PG5, Eberhard-Faber Black Velvet 2’s and Dixon Ticonderoga 2’s. My favorite, however, is a Lyra Orlow in B grade. Great review!

  42. Petie says:

    It is the eraser that got me hooked on the Ticonderoga. It is so soft that is always picks-up the lead instead of smearing it and destroying the paper. I too, am a convert.

  43. Samuel Fu says:

    I like Ticoderoga woodgrains the best because they are high quality and are low priced. Other brands like Papermate are very cheap especially if you by the Papermate American. The American is made from cheap wood that snaps easily, and the older versions have a sucky eraser. Also, on the American, when you sharpen it, especially with grind sharpeners, the wood right behind the lead is very rough. The only drawback to Ticonderoga Woodgrains, is that the eraser part will occasionally fall off due to the binding. But then, you can just sharpen the other side and have dual points.

  44. Gordon says:

    Does anyone know what kind of metal is used in the DT famous green/yellow ferrule? Some pencils seem to use brass, but I don’t think so here. What are pencil ferrules made from? Thanks!

  45. Gene Justin says:

    I like the Dixons but noticed a change. I purchased a twelve pack recently, and the barrels of several pencils were warped and not true. And they are no longer made domestically. If you read the packinging carefully, you find that they are made “for” American writers, drawers, and so on. They are no longer actually made in this country. They are made in Mexico.

    I’ve seen the Black Warrior, situated directly above the Mirado Classic, at my Jewel grocery store. I buy the Classic. I used to think Dixon pencils were the best.

    A hex pencil is good, for when your points are not perfectly symmetrical, you can use the sides of the pencil to establish relativity to the pencil’s point.

    The strangest thing I observed was the consistent quality of a cheap, plastic pencil sharpener – a Fiskars sharperner carried inside a small plastic cup. I bought Kum sharpeners, and the ones that are made purely of metal for Dick Blick at 99 cents a pop, and sharpeners with beautiful glass ink-well bodies. Yet the cheap Fiskars puts a nice point on; I’ve lost more than one in my lack of organization, yet when I buy a new one (after buying more costly ones), the quality is actually consistent. You cannot get more Chinese when it comes to pencil sharpeners, yet SOMEHOW these generic sharpeners sold at Jewel put on a nice symmetrical and sharp point.

  46. Toconderoga #2 says:

    Thank god! People DO recognize the Dixon Ticonderoga as the greatest pencil out there!

  47. Eccoz says:

    I was at work and got out a pencil to write with, and was like “man, this is an excellent pencil!” I became so inspired I googled that exact quote + dixon and found your page. Man, I am bored. Quite the pencil though, it is perfect for drawing sketches as it sharp enough to make fine detail and soft enough to properly shade.

  48. Brenda Anderson says:

    I have found an old box of Dixon Ticonderoga 1388 No 3 pencils. It has a Revotionary-period soldier on the front of the box. Can you date these pencils for me?

  49. grampa dick says:

    i am most sr type – plus left handed
    i love “the round yellow ticondo” there is nothing like the feel – where can i purchase the round / like a box
    today – i’m starting my art 101 for kids. i use a hex form graphite stick first – to get the feel of drawing
    i am using a wood egg #1 / move on to #2 an apple – which they can eat !
    comments welcome – for first timers – grampa dick

  50. tyler says:

    I could reccomend a good handheld sharpener Jeremy. It’s the Staedtler Oval sharpener. It works good on my Ticonderoga hexagon shaped pencils. What I don’t like about it is that it ruins Tri-conderoga pencils in the oversized slot. It makes the points nice and sharp-but not too sharp so that the tip of the lead crumples when you write. It is also quality. A lot of the other handheld sharpeners were bad and just ruined the pencil, but this one doesn’t.

  51. 18Bravo says:

    I personally think that ever since Ticonderoga moved their manufacturing plants to Mexico, their pencils are now…junk. The quality control is terrible. I bought a box of 48 pencils.
    Here are my complaints:
    1. The pencils came out of the box with a strange grayish dust. Doesn’t bother me alot.
    2. The lettering on most of the pencils (more than 70%) was either printed off center, the letters were cut in half, or the letters globbed.
    3. I sharpened my first pencil, as soon as I write with it, the tip breaks off. Most of the lead inside the pencil is not one continuous stick, but rather made of (probably broken into) 1.5 cm long segments. Not good.
    4. The amount of adhesive to glue the two wood halves was below minimal. You could see the wood crack in half. Near the tip, where the lead was, you could see the wood splitting with the least amount of pressure.
    5. Not only was the wood cheaply bonded together, the wood was also not properly bonded to the lead core. This resulted in wood separating from the lead, making a very weak point.

    Now, I do have to agree, the eraser on the pencil is phenomenal. It outlasts the pencil itself.
    I used to use the Ticonderoga Woodgrains. They look nice, and the quality was great. But now they aren’t sold at the stores near me, and I think that they too are now being made in Mexico.
    I’ve been trying to find better pencils that are cheap enough that my dad will actually buy for me (asian parents are penny pinchers). I’ve been using mechanical pencils for a while, but they lack the balance as well as the long lasting point. I’m now trying the Mirado Classic.

  52. Simon says:

    Unfortunately, it seems that Ticonderogas are not made in America anymore. What a pity.

  53. Matthew says:

    I purchased a large 48 pack of DTs and was dissapointed with the quality, i looks at the barrel closely and realized something was missing, it no longer says Made in USA. Looking at the box. Mexico!

    I am so dissapointed, how can I stick up on these older USA ones before they are all gone?

  54. Zoasterboy says:

    I’ve heard the Mirado Black Warrior vs. Dixon Ticonderoga battle for a long time, but I think the Tri-Conderoga defeats them both.

  55. KDAWG says:

    I prefer pencils of the mechanical variety. Ticonderoga has gone way downhill since the buyout by Dixon…

  56. Frank Korb says:

    Without a doubt, the Dixon Ticonderoga is “The World’s Best Pencil!” As a drawer, I cannot do the same with any other. While yes, it is true, I have been seen with other pencils, making marks on paper or wood, or whatever my drawing surface happens to be, the Dixon is such a remarkably versatile mark maker. In addition to being a drawer (and painter and etc…) as an art educator, I will give my students nothing other than the Dixon Ticonderoga. They come in packages of 96 now (I ordered 3 packages for the upcoming school year).

    An every day Joe or Jane isn’t going to really understand the difference in “pencils” until they take one out for a spin and see what it can do. It’s like taking a test drive one car over another, or a $4.00 wine over a $40.00 wine (although… I don’t know what a $40.00 wine is like to be perfectly honest).

    I have an entire presentation I do for my students when it comes to the quality of the Ticonderoga. I’ve gone as far as trying to get an official Dixon Ticonderoga Sales Rep shirt (as polite as they were in Florida… I have not gotten a shirt… or any gratis materials. Oh well… the pencil STILL rocks!) The Dixon is the last part of the day one give-a-ways at school. The sketchbook, the two erasers and then I bust out the pencils! WHOA… hold me back! Whether the kids agree with me or not, they see passion!

    In fact, they have left broken pencils on my desk when they are mad at me and have gifted me super sized Ticonderoga’s that also serve as a bank. i have received “My First Ticonderoga” that is still in it’s plastic sealed cardboard baked package, proudly taped to my classroom door. I was the proud recipient of two full boxes of what seem to be very old, dare I say, vintage Ticonderoga pencils. I also, on occasion, receive full boxes (24) of new pencils and kids will even give me the Black Ticonderoga as gifts. I love them.

    We have seen the Dixon Ticonderoga no. 2 in the Broadway play “The Producers,” I have seen Jamie Hyneman use then on TLC’s “Mythbuster’s” and I have scared tourists in Mexico who draw on the beach by asking and then pointing out to them “Do you know what you have in your hand? That, my friend, is the World’s Best Pencil… you have a Dixon Ticonderoga 1388/2 HB Soft pencil. Good Drawing!” I am anxious to now read Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” to see how it plays out.

    To the men and women at Dixon, makers of the World’s Best Pencil – Thank you! I cannot wait to share this blog with my students. Rock on Ticonderoga, rock on!

    Frank Korb

  57. Sydney says:

    hey, I just found this website, and literally I know nothing about pencils, but I will say that I find this site and the comments to be both refreshing and amusing at the same time-pencil enthusiasts-no way! But, please please please don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that you all love pencils so much. For me it is simply the feel of wood and the smell of a box of a new box of pencils that solidifies their magnificence in my mind, but I feel my view is more romantic and less romantic that the majority of the comments. Any who, just wanted to say kudos. And that I am super happy to have stumbled upon such a quirky site.

  58. Gator says:

    Ticonderoga erasers smudge badly and I erase a lot!. Black warrior erasers have been the only not smudging I have found, so I love them. Nice to find so many people who care about their pencil as much as I do!

  59. ltiu says:

    The smell. The smell. Oh the smell. Any of you smelled the pencil, specially the shavings after sharpening? The Mirado Classics smells really good. Same is true for the more expensive brands. The cheap ones may write the same, but smell it, and you can understand why one pencile is more expensive than the other.

  60. ingrid says:

    Staedtler Rally #2 HB. Have you tried one of those? I like them for the white eraser, which doesn’t leave marks the way a pink eraser sometimes can. As for sharpeners, the Koh-I-Noor Nr.983. It has three holes with different length blades to sharpen different parts of the pencil tip!!! I draw everything with these two tools.

  61. Maili says:

    The Mirado Classic is hands down THE best pencil I’ve ever had the pleasure of using! It feels wonderfully natural in my hand. I drop it and it stays put, no rolling(weird huh?), and for any artists who draw with pencils, it seriously can’t be beat, the lines are clean, the shading is superior, and the eraser never smudges or tears!!! I will never draw with another pencil again!!

  62. Tom – you’re a photographer so a couple of photographer notes.
    There use to be a pencil that you could use to spot prints. We use to all have them at the newspaper.
    I use a pencil to mark the back of archival fibre based prints. It doesn’t fade and it doesn’t bleed into the print and it leaves no residue which would effect the archival quality of the print.
    A couple of other notes.
    In addition to cold and wet you can write upside down with a pencil.
    I love the term, above, “rollaway” in referring to the Mirado Black Warrior.
    The pencil I cannot locate nor remember the name of was the one all copy desks at newspapers used on stories (yes, back when stories were edited on paper). They had a soft lead and the outside of the pencil was reddish brown and had no eraser.
    Good job, Tom, on pencils.
    John Fulton

  63. Colin says:

    This review and most of these comments miss something: Dixon puts total crap into their leads after the first inch or so. Forget using the pencil after that — go ahead, try and sharpen it — you will be carving it down to a stub. The yellow Ticonderoga is great for nostalgia, and the eraser isn’t bad, but if you actually use pencils to draw and work, don’t buy anything from Dixon.

    • Editor says:

      I’ve never found that to be the case personally, but I also can’t get past the end of US production on an American icon. Makes me sad.

    • bob hakun says:

      I totally agree-

      By the time you reach the middle of the pencil trying to re-sharpen is a waste of time: the lead breaks almost every time. It didn’t used to be like that.

  64. Jonathan says:

    My favorite pencil as a child. Tossed all the other cheap pencils into the ceiling. They are so heavy they stick in just right. Ticonderoga for life!

  65. Bob H. says:

    As a child, I did two things to pencils: (a) wore the eraser down so that I had to use a Pink Pearl and (b) wore the pencil itself down until it was barely able to fit in my hand before replacing it. In those days (mid-’70s) I used a yellow Ticonderoga, even when my friends were using psychedelic-colored wood pencils.

    Today, the Ticonderogas I recently purchased were not quite up to par. The line is too faint, too pale to read. I switched to artists’ sketch pencils of the 2B grade. I’m using what’s readily available at the local big-box store, the Sanford 3800 and Ebony models. Both are smooth, dark and highly legible. I wonder if other writers end up having to use artists’ pencils?

  66. [...] have never seen so many reviews — glowing reviews — of a pencil. There are entire blog posts (long ones) dedicated to the Ticonderoga. One blog post has 51 comments, almost all of them also [...]

  67. Cathy says:

    I am a kindy teacher and the Ticonderoga pencils break all the time. I have several boxes of them in my cabinet. In the past week I have had to throw several away because the lead just fell out and I was grinding them down to nothing. I have an expensive electric pencil sharpener and am so disappointed with the Ticonderoga-it’s just not the pencil of my childhood anymore!!!

  68. mary says:

    I am a stay at home mom with a fix income,when I bought my daughters school supplies I bought her several packs for school ,and extra for home.Out of a pack of 8 you might be lucky to be able to write with three ,I just set down and tried to sharpen a few to have around after going through 5 I was able to get 1 pencil to keep the lead from breaking.When I was a child this was the only pencil I would use ,now I am so frastated at this brand of pencils .

    • Editor says:

      I’d send Dixon an email. They have to have some kind of replacement policy. If not, they need one, and your email might help. (I wish I had a contact there to help you out.)

  69. Jean Lalonde says:

    I been using mirado classic pencils for ever and still do, but whats with the erasers, they are all dried up, cant use them, whats going on ..”%&&*%?$%/”/ HELP

  70. [...] Go retro: Let’s face it, the constant push to have the latest, greatest, fastest, sleekest, most lightweight piece of space-age technology is enough to make any sane person dream of joining up with the Amish. But there are less drastic ways of getting in touch with your anti-technology self, and they’ll still meet your business needs! In a recent poll of small business owners, more than a few entrepreneurs said their “can’t live without” business tool was a pencil and a good notebook — a paper notebook. You can take notes no matter where you are. You don’t have to worry about the battery running out. And your eyes will thank you later. But you don’t have to give up on all the fun when you go retro. Look on Etsy to find a seriously cool, retro (and handmade!) notebook, and splurge on some “Made in the USA” Ticonderoga pencils, which were recently rated as one of the best pencils out there by the “everything-pencils” blog, Pencil Revolution. [...]

  71. [...] in pencil. I have used and loved Palomino Prospectors, Helix Oxfords, Mirado Black Warriors, and Dixon Ticonderogas will do in a pinch. All are American made pencils from real American incense-grade cedar with real [...]

  72. Neeltje (the Netherlands) says:

    Hùh? Are you joking about pencils for left handed people? Explain please!!!!
    Neeltje

    • John says:

      Left-handed pencils would have the printing “backward” so that it would be read right-side-up while writing/drawing — like a lot of old Staedtler pencils were.

  73. Neeltje (the Netherlands) says:

    Thank you John, i found out that i acted too fast: the answer was all in the text ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
    For me it would be no problem: as a teacher in elementary school i read lots of books upside down, while showing the class the pictures.
    I found this video about left-handed pencils:
    http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/acatalog/left-handed-pencils-5.html
    Like the weblog!!!!!

  74. Neeltje (the Netherlands) says:

    Just found the poem
    ‘The Stupid Pencil Maker’ from Shel Silverstein, ha, ha, ha!

  75. […] American-Made Ticonderogas (reviewed by Comrade Tom) […]

  76. Jason Rohrer says:

    Was at the campus store yesterday. Sweet! They have Ticonderogas!

    Now wait a minute… the wood on these Eco Ticonderogas feels cheap and doesn’t smell like cedar. Actually, it doesn’t even say cedar on the box. Where’s the US flag on the box? Hmm…

    Made in China? OH NO.

    Another one bites the dust.

    Still emblazoned with THE WORLD’S BEST PENCIL.

    Gua yang tou mai gou rou:
    Hanging out a sheep’s head to sell dog meat.

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