Review of California Republic Prospector.


For the review of the California Republic Stationers Prospector pencil, we have our Comrade and veritable pencil hero Frank C.

Material: Specially-treated Basswood.
Shape: Hexagonal.
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. “California Republic Prospector.”
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 reviewer’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 that’s out of the way, here’s a review of the California Republic Prospector Graphite HB pencil. In the California Republic line, the Prospector is their “value” pencil. In this case, that’s “value” as in good value, not “cheap.” 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 “HB” 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, it’s hard to dismiss a pencil that’s as well made and doesn’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 isn’t the equal of the Palomino, it’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, it’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 you’re looking for a well-made pencil with a great eraser that writes a relatively light line but doesn’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 they’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.]

6 Replies to “Review of California Republic Prospector.”

  1. I can’t resist seconding Frank’s positive response to the Prospector.

    I have some of the green ones, and the paint job is very nice. It’s vibrant, smooth and very well-done near the ferrule. One of my biggest biases is that I hate when pencils have the paint chipped up near the ferrules. The top of the Prospector is perfect.

    This pencil is supposed to be geared toward the less-expensive pencil market. Considered in that light, I think it’s top-notch. The attention to detail in a lot of modern pencils and quality control leave me wanting. I’m tired of tearing open a pack of Black Warriors and finding that the paint is flawed on half of them, and the ferrules don’t always fit properly. But the Prospector, like it’s slightly more expensive brethren the Golden Bear and the Palomino, is just a darned well-made pencil. Although geared to the school/office setting, I think it would be more at home in the same pencil cup as a Faber-Castell or Dixon, for sure.

  2. Thanks for the positive review Frank. Actually the timing turns out that it couldn’t be better as just yesterday we received a replenishment shipment that includes an number of these other Prospector items. I’ll try to get these all added to the Pencil World store in the next couple of days.

    Also coming soon to Pencil World will be our newly arrived Palomino Aquarelle pencil sets, a couple new Spangle decorative pencils and a unique new Palomino WoodCrafter Kit.

    And finally I just listed a very special auction item on our new “Vintage & Collectables” Page. This item is one of our limited edition Palomino Cedar wood ballpoint pens. For more on this item see my most recent Timberlines post Wood Cased vs. Mechanical.

  3. Not a comment, but a question, IF anyone has ever thought about it or can answer it.
    Has anyone ever noticed if girls have a lighter touch with pen or pencil than boys, when they write or draw?
    I wish I knew a teacher I could just call, but I don’t, so thanks to ANYONE who might be able to answer me.
    Thank you sincerely for any help/info,
    Dianne Acosta

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