For the review of the California Republic Stationers Prospector pencil, we have our Comrade and veritable pencil hero Frank C.
Material: Specially-treated Basswood.
Finish: Natural/Glossy grass green.
Ferrule: Brass on the natural/Silver metal on the green.
Eraser: Soft rubber, pink on natural, green on green.
Core: HB (#2) graphite.
Markings: XXX. â€œCalifornia Republic Prospector.â€
Packaging: Varies. Packs of ten and tubes of fourty.
Origin: Manufactured in Thailand by California Republic Stationers, a division of Cal Cedar.
Availability: In the US, exclusively through the Pencil World Creativity Store.
Before reading any review, I believe its important to know what a reviewerâ€™s biases are before you read one of their reviews. With pencils, my biases are simple. I like pencils that write a dark line, pencils such as the Blackwing, GRIP 2001, California Republic Palomino and Forest Choice pencils. These four pencils are my favorites, and any new pencil I buy has to compare favorably to them before it enters my regular rotation.
Since thatâ€™s out of the way, hereâ€™s a review of the California Republic Prospector Graphite HB pencil. In the California Republic line, the Prospector is their â€œvalueâ€ pencil. In this case, thatâ€™s â€œvalueâ€ as in good value, not â€œcheap.â€ While not made to the standards of the Palomino or the Forest Choice, the Prospector holds its own against the high standards set by those two pencils.
Interestingly, though, is that, although the Prospector is an â€œHBâ€ like the Palominos, it writes a fairly light line. Given my bias toward pencils that write a dark line, you would think I would immediately disqualify the Prospector from consideration. However, itâ€™s hard to dismiss a pencil thatâ€™s as well made and doesnâ€™t need to be sharpened every few lines (unfortunately, this is the one and only fault I can find against the Palomino). While the finish isnâ€™t the equal of the Palomino, itâ€™s fairly close and better than most pencils on the market. The eraser is top-drawer, too, one of the best I have tried. Regarding the lighter line, itâ€™s not too light and sets a decent balance between too light and just right. Given its other strengths, I can live with the lighter line.
So, if youâ€™re looking for a well-made pencil with a great eraser that writes a relatively light line but doesnâ€™t need to be sharpened every few lines, consider the Prospector. This pencil has been a pleasant surprise, and has actually made me reconsider my biases. Maybe I do like pencils that write a lighter line, after all. Well, if theyâ€™re as good as the Prospector my bias towards pencils that write a dark line just may change, after all.
Many thanks to Frank!
[Images and text, Frank C. Used with very kind permission.]