Review of PaperMate Mirado Black Warrior.

It has been a long time since we posted a review of a pencil, and that is one of the purposes this site was meant to serve when I started it. Among the pencils that keep popping up on the list of what Comrades would like to see reviewed is the Mirado Black Warrior, the pencil which will lead the charge in this resolution to a more consistent program of posting reviews.

Material: California Incense Cedar.
Shape: Round.
Finish: Glossy black with gold lettering.
Ferrule: Red-banded brass.
Eraser: Genuine Pink Pearl.
Core: Waxed-ceramic/graphite composite. Available in #1/B, #2/HB, #2.5/F, #3/H.
Markings: “USA/Mirado Black Warrior/HB/[two hearts].”
Packaging: Varies from open-stock, to packs of eight or ten, to boxes of a dozen.
Origin: Made in Lewisburg, Tennessee, United States by the Sanford Corporation.
Availability: Widely available in office supply stores, art supply stores, university bookstores, department stores and online.

What the Mirado Black Warrior has over other pencils that are as widely available is that it is obviously of a higher quality. It is not nicer than the Mirado Classic, but the latter’s yellow color does little to set it apart from cheapos you might find discarded on the sidewalk. The Black Warrior, with it’s black finish, banded brass ferrule and rounded shape, stands out among American pencils when on a desk or sticking out of a shirt pocket.

The obviousness of its quality does not end with the appearance. PaperMate bills the Mirado pencils as the smoothest writing pencils in the world. While that is certainly a matter for debate, the core of the Mirado is smooth, due to being impregnated with wax. This has its ups and downs. On the bright side, you get the above-mentioned smoothness and a superior strength of point that resists breakage and lasts long between sharpenings. On the not-so-bright side, the ultra-smoothness has the price of leaving a very faint line, even for an HB pencil. As a partial remedy, you could try the #1/B grade, which maintains the legendary smoothness and generates a darkness of line that runs a little darker than a Dixon #2/HB. Personally, I prefer this grade for writing and the HB for underlining and marginalia in books.

There is debate over whether “rough” erasers like the Pink Pearl damage paper too much compared with something like the Staedtler Mars plastic eraser. With the pumice in the Pink Pearl, this may very well be the case, and I would never use one on watercolor paper or the like. But that is not the purpose of the Pink Pearl or the Mirado. While one can certainly sketch away with a Black Warrior (and I have attended boring lectures where people did just that), the primary purpose of Mirado pencils is writing. A new Mirado with a semi-soft Pink Pearl will not burn holes through the pages you write on. It might remove a small layer, but only an overly heavy hand or inferior paper will cause ruin for pages of writing with a Pink Pearl. If one is concerned about the microscopic flaws such a rough eraser might cause on writing paper, one might not like a Mirado. Not caring about that myself, I prefer the eraser on Mirado pencils to the eraser on any other Sanford pencil, by far. The eraser does what it should do, while managing to last far longer than softer erasers. They are a bit on the messy side, but no one said this Revolution was going to be a tidy one.

Writing with a Black Warrior is a new experience for someone used to hexagonal pencils. With the glossy finish, even only slightly damp hands make getting a good grip a bit difficult. On the other hand, the round shape allows for holding the pencil in different positions, and I imagine that Comrades who have had the corners of a pencil embedded into fingers will appreciate the gentler shape of the Black Warrior. They fall right off the desk, so angle them carefully.

Of course, the Black Warrior smells heavenly because of its cedar construction, and sharpening a rounded wooden pencil is a breeze with any quality sharpener. And there are always some times that a very sharp and light-marking pencil is exactly the tool for the job, such as writing in precious LOA volumes. Still, with the softest grade, one can enjoy the smoothness and the darkness of a fine American pencil. Considering their relatively inexpensive price tag, wide availability and impressive quality, the Black Warrior is a formidable tool to have in a Comrade’s graphite arsenal.

[Text and images, J.G.]

122 thoughts on “Review of PaperMate Mirado Black Warrior.”

  1. I know that the Papermate hearts on the barrel do not affect the quality of this pencil, but ever since they appeared on the Black Warrior, I have not been able to regard it with the same degree of respect. I suspect that I am not alone in this (granted, irrational) feeling. Papermate might do well to remove their tasteless logo from the Black Warrior and restore the cursive Mirado name. I notice that they do not put hearts on their top-of-the-line Mirado yellow. The Black Warrior is a better pencil than the Mirado yellow and should be treated with the same care.

    1. You are not alone, my brother. Though we may be separated by many years, I too, believe that the Black Warrior is disrespected by the Papermate logo.

    2. I’m with you there. My Dad passed in 2002 at 75. He always had a box of Black Warriors handy. He had his hands in so many artistic endeavors and he always sketched them out first. I’m carrying on his tradition…at least as far as pencils. I have found that when I’m drawing all I need is a sharp Black Warrior. I get my ideas down in brisk lines and by the time I need to shade the point has worn off and I get wonderful soft shadows. Warriors are not easy to find out here in West Texas so I load up when I can. I don’t ever want to be without them!

  2. Yeah this pencil could use a disheartening, but amen to the point about sanfords erasors. They could learn something from PinkPearl but they stick with crap on the Americans most of the time. Why????? Granted idealy one would want a mini magic rub up there or nothing at all (for those who like balance)but this is closer than their usual fare. Nice review and cool site.  It is so nice to find some people who share my interests…er…obsessions. By the way when are you going to get around to some sort of pamphlet? The Pencil Manifesto perhaps? Adieu Comrades

  3. Good comments. The Black Warrior was a disappointment, at least for me- being used to writing a bold black line. This one writes a bit too grey. I wind up carrying a white Staedtler eraser to go with the Sanford Draughting pencils I use daily.
    A suggestion as an alternative to the Mirado (if you can find these) is the fabulous Helix Oxford HB. It actually has a white eraser on it- and writes bold line. These are terrific, but very hard to find.

    1. the 2.5 was always a superior black when I found about them around 1985. Haven’t been able to find 2.5 in the Toledo area, but I will keep looking.

  4. I prefer the darker line of the Paper Mate American, but the erasers totally suck. I find putting one of those cap erasers works pretty well. Having said that, I’ll take the Dixon Ticonderoga over any Paper Mate even though the line isn’t as dark…

  5. The Musgrave HB Natural Finish pencil has a white eraser and it’s available at Pencil Things. I just got some so I haven’t had much chance to try them but it seems like a pretty nice pencil.

  6. I like the twin hearts logo!

    I used to like the Black Warrior, but after trying several other pencils, it seems very, very scratchy relative, so I actually gave three or four boxes away in favour of others, including Palominos (expensive) and ForestChoice (more economical). I probably won’t go back.

  7. For writing, the softer grade Mirados are very nice, but they are hard to find offline.

    My biggest gripe is that the finishing of Mirado pencils has gone downhill. The paint overlaps the ferrule, and I regularly pull them out of the box chipped, scratched or with otherwise bad paint jobs. While I still use Mirados sometimes (I never stick to one kind for long), if Sanford cuts any more corners, I won’t be using them any longer.

  8. The paint job on these Black Warriors is a definite mark against them. I have a box of twelve, five of which have chipped paint and/or divots in the wood itself. One actually fell apart as I sharpened it. The #1s are the only Mirados I can write with. The others write entirely too light.

  9. I guess that’s why there’s chocolate and vanilla. I like the Black Warrior in grade 2.5. But I hate the hearts. Papermate totally screwed up sticking their ugly logo and those STUPID hearts on the Mirados–especially the Black Warrior. Who puts teenage anime love hearts on a Warrior?!

  10. Thanks for the tip about the #1’s. I stopped by my local stationer and grabed a box. Interestingly the Sanford were labeled as 2B and the Papermate as B.
    unfortunately i only was able to grab the papermates as i wanted the full dozen.
    Good pencils but two gripes. The finish doesnt hold up and it needs a diheartenig desperatly. if i were less economical i would have grabbed the incomplete sanford dozen.

  11. I stumbled across the Mirado Black Warrior when I asked to borrow a pencil before a meeting. I was handed a Mirado Black Warrior and liked it immediately.

    The round shape feels better than the more common hexagonal type. I thought it wrote well, and most importantly (to me) it erases very cleanly. No matter how nice the lead writes, if the eraser is poor, it’s a bad pencil IMHO.

  12. I have written with pencils with worthless erasers for so long. The main thing for me was that with my mistakes being rare enough to just cross out i wanted to be able to see the writing. Dark lead was the
    prerequisite for penciling to me. for a time I was exclusively using 2B art pencils or the ocasional 4B. these pencils had no eraser whatever but 5 years down the line i can still read those worthless essays written with them.When i swithced over to doing mostly notation the eraser again became more nessesary. For the last week now the Black Warrior and I have completed about 10 pages and i still end up reaching for the Magic Rub. Old Habits die hard eh?

  13. After a bad experience on a standardized test with an Office Depot special, I swore I’d never buy anything but Dixon Ticonderogas. We just got the supplies list from the school, and my daughter’s 4th grade teacher has specified only Mirado Blacks. Thanks for the review! I feel much better about buying these things now.

    (The teacher insists we send 3 dozen of them, but that’s another rant.)

  14. I love this Pencil. I know what you said about how these pencils are good for writing, but I feel they also have great merit in the drawing world as well. Also, I guess I can say this is the answer to the previously posed question “Who puts teenage anime love hearts on a pencil?”. Who cares? Even if it had tufts of pink and yellow feathers coming out of it I’d still use this pencil. The fainter lines are great for drafting and if you intend to go over it with ink is just a breeze. Being a tad bit heavy handed, I like the fact that it doesn’t leave such an obvious mark after being erased, using the eraser the pencil comes with or not. I didn’t understand why before, but I think the comment about the smooth marks and strong tip answer why all of my best artwork has been done with Mirado Black Warriors, cushy hearts or not.

  15. Black Warriors are the gold standard by which all pencils shall be judged. Having first realized the distinctives of this instrument back in 1982 I have been satisfied with nothing less since. Do not buy or use a Black Warrior unless you are willing forever more to use nothing less. Otherwise, they will only break your heart.

  16. you guys are nuts! bring on the hearts, i would prefer to see at least seven on any given pencil. seriously, in this day and age we need to spread the love.

  17. Excellent piece, and an excellent site. One comment about the Black Warrior: before Papermate bought them out the lettering on the pencils was meaner, more warrior-like. Then Papermate screwed that up by adding pretty hearts to the design. I happen to have a small cache of the originals, but they’re basically impossible to find otherwise.

  18. I went to browse OfficeMax last weekend and ended up buying a pack of Mirado Woodtone pencils, an 8 pack for $2.50 including tax. The finish on these pencils seems to be much better than on the yellow Mirados and the Black Warriors but YMMV. These pencils look really good, but suprisingly the erasers in the ferrules are really really horrible. I have a few Sanford American pencils at home with erasers that are much better than the Woodtone’ eraser. It’s wierd, I know – but it is what it is.

    Another thing I noticed was that while the pencil cartoon says they are made of cedar wood, I do not get the fragerence of Cedar from these pencils. The Dixon Tikes smell so Cedarish, fresh and woody when sharpened, but not these Mirado Woodtone pencils. I wonder…

    While the Mirado Woodtone writes reasonably well, I think I still prefer Dixon Tikes..

  19. To Abraham,
    Your comments are the most intelligent. I can’t comment on hearts, paint jobs and other minutia. Gray line, black line. Lets keep the discussion on the line quality as Abraham put it. Both graphite and carbon fibers are rigid materials that are resistant to stretching and compression. They are also chemically inert or unreactive materials. This is critical because it means that carbon fibers don’t react with the outer part of a bicycle frame or a tennis racket and graphite pencil leads don’t react with paper. I think that settles this matter. Bravo Abraham!

  20. Went thru the drive-thru to get some grub. What’s that sticking out of the grass below the place where you give your order? A shiny black mirado! Bad paint job but a great pencil.

  21. A couple days ago, I saw a beautiful black shiny pencil laying on the floor of my school. I decided to pick i up and use it. I then found out that there is a god. The Mirado Black Warrior is god. The smoothness of its lead is amazing. The way it glides across the paper is just fantastic. The Mirado Black Warrior is the perfect pencil that was ever made. I recommend it to everyone!

  22. Actually, the Mirado Black Warrior is now just as bad as its competitors… I just threw one away that had no lead in more than half of it!

    Is this a sign of a dying civilization… when no one can produce a decent pencil!

  23. I have had a box of Mirado Black Warriors that i got quite a few years ago, more than 5, less than 10, and I finally used the last one up recently. For most of my writing I use Ticonderogas, but that’s because I live in a small town and pencil quality is a low priority here, I can’t get Black Warriors. I just purchased 3 dozen online, and i’m hoping that the quality of them hasn’t gone down in the meantime. My old ones were dependable, long-lasting, bold(in appearance, not in line color), and tough, like any warrior should be. This is a cool site, because everyone I know thinks I’m crazy with how picky I am about any writing or drawing utensil.

  24. I bought a dz Mirado Black Warrior HB2.
    Would the #1/B grade or the 1S give me a darker image. I use the pencils mostly for accounting entries I want to read next week, ie nice an dark.

  25. I am a carpenter by trade, and probally use my pencil more in a day than most folks do in a week. I like the Mirado Black Warrior for its durability and true wood composition. They are easy to sharpen with a pocket or utility knife, mechanical or manual sharpener. The 2HB version widely available works well for most of my applicatiions. However for the darker grains and pressure treated lumber I have begun a search for a darker lead. Most of the manufacturers and suppliers of these pencils need to package them in larger quanties. I go through a twelve pack from Walmart every two weeks at a cost of $2.24 per pack.
    Very informative web-site, THANK YOU!!!

  26. wow, i never knew people had so much appreciation towards the pencil like i did so this is a very nice discovery. nice review by the way.

  27. We use this pencil when we go to do field work, one of our co-workers like this class of pencil so much that we decide to call him “MIRADO” and he loves it.

  28. I was looking at Wal-Mart when I stumbled upon some Black Warriors with a matte black paint job!!! What the heck happened?? Was it a paint flaw? Who knows. They were actually really nice with the matte though.

  29. I love this pencil, it kicks ass comparied to the cheapo OfficeDepot brand pencils my mom trys to buy me. I’m an *artist*, and I’ve found the Mirado Black Warrior the best, although it is hard to erase lines completely.

    I dont know whats the problem with the people who dislike the hearts, I think it adds a girlish touch, and I enjoy it!

  30. The Black Warrior does rule.

    I just bought a few packs of Mirado Woodtone pencils. They most definitely DO smell like cedar, at least the ones I have. Probably the best aroma yet, even more so than the Black Warrior.

    The Mirados do seem to wear down quickly, and the eraser does suck, but nevertheless, I seem to find myself hooked on this pencil already. Must find more. OfficeMax does not have enough in stock.

  31. I can’t believe there is a discussion going on about the pros and cons of different pencils. Excellent site. I stumbled onto it while researching Blackfeet pencils. Now I’m torn between trying the Helix Oxford HB and the Mirado Black Warrior.

    As far as Papermate having to mark its territory, they need to give it a rest. Putting the hearts on the barrel is like Oral Roberts putting his face on the bible.

    The Mirado Black Warrior shouldn’t do “girly.”

    Bring on the Revolution.

    (This site makes me want to make my own pencils and sell them. I wish I had all that Blackfeet machinery that is now long gone.)

  32. I seem to be allergic to something in the eraser. Does it have Cancer-causing petroleum or other chemicals in it? I get little headaches and sinus stuff everytime I’m within smelling distance of the pencil. Other than that, it’s a good pencil.

  33. I needed pencils one day, and after browsing a while I found the Mirado Black Warrior pencil. Three years later and I still won’t use anything else. They are the pencil equivalent to a god in writing or art, the latter of which I deal in. The erasers are good, but I truthfully prefer a cap eraser. Now that my local Walmart has stopped carrying them I’ll have to order them, which will drive my dad insane; he just dosen’t grasp the concept their being differences in pencils.
    Also the rumor is that Stephen King writes with them, but don’t hold me to that.


  34. I’ve always loved the Black Warriors. I guess the name and look are a part of it, but the ones I have used have always been good quality. Ticonderogas are pretty good too, but I have a soft black one that I was just using and the eraser came off. Nice eraser, but it’s hard to use when it’s off the pencil. The Black Warrior, however, has never lost its eraser. And never lost me as a big fan.

  35. Regarding the question about whether this can beat a Berol? No…and yes…because it is the same thing. The pencils that are shipped to Europe and other markets are marked Berol while the ones sold domestically are marked Paper Mate. They are the same pencil made in the same factory. I learned this the hard way when I paid a lot of extra money for an “imported” box of Berols only to open them and find “USA” stamped on the pencils. I am not complaining about the fact the pencils are American made, I like that, but about the fact that Paper Mate would have cost much less and still would have been the same pencils made in the same factory.

  36. I’ve been a supporter of Black Warriors for the past 9 years. It seems that the stores in my town randomly have shortages of them, so whenever I start getting low I make sure to stock up on at least 8 packs. Being a mechanical engineer, a pencil is very important to me. I will continue to support these pencils, and their erasures (I recently began using the Black Pearls) until I die.

  37. I Found out about Mirado black warriors when I was two years younger because there was a group of guys at my school who pretty much had a cult(although only like three or four people were in it.) and they would go around picking up pencils that were not Mirado Black warriors and breaking them “sacrifically”.
    and ever since I met them I started using Mirado Black warriors and the only other type of pencil I use now are none.
    Also great review, This site is pretty much the best thing ever.

  38. Hey!

    The mirado black warrior is totally awesome.

    In fact, its supa awesome.

    I’m so glad there is a website like because I just don’t have time for websites that aren’t really important!

    Thanks for everything, girls!

  39. I have been a huge fan of these pencils for years. In high school, my entire group of friends used them (and yes, we were the coolest kids in school.. hehe). I’ve never met a pencil that writes so smoothly, erases so cleanly, and lasts so long. Three pencils (in rotation) last an entire semester of heavy writing for me at William & Mary. I’m glad to find a group so enthusiastic about its writing tools — write on!

  40. I love the warrior.
    It is the only pencil I use when I draw comics and write stories. Every morning when I get dressed I take one out of my cigar box and slip it into my sock for the day. I have it whenever I need it but never use it for unworthy things like math. I’m obsessed, I know.

  41. I am not alone! I can’t believe that there are other people out there who are as weird about their writing instruments as I am; love the internet.

    I am a fan of these; could do without the hearts, but it’s not a deal-breaker. These are so much better then the cheapos.

  42. I found one of these pencils on the floor at school and I read it and saw that it was a black warrior, and I thought, “Wow, that would make a great story… “The Life and Times of a Pencil in the 21st Century.” Who knows?

  43. I love Mirado pencils and this review is like a breath of fresh air! I haven’t seen any of the black warriors in stores but I’ve picked up several dozen of the number two yellow Mirado pencils in my travels. Thanks to this review and useful comments, I will be on the lookout for the black warriors. Thank you very much!

  44. I stumbled across MBW #1s in a stationers in Manhattan about 10 years ago. For crosswords, sudokus, and the like, I can’t picture using anything else. The point doesn’t disintegrate. The writing is smooth. The intensity is consistent. As far as the paint, the hearts, and the olfactories, who cares? I’ve never seen another pencil that writes like the MBW.

  45. RoxyWolf, you may be right- as I read this article (great one, btw!) I remember reading “Thinner” by SK and his character wrote with Black Warriors, so it might be safe to assume SK did/ does as well.

  46. I’m a writer looking for a small pencil that can be easily carried at all times. Maybe even something on a key chain or something. I’d like to stay small. Anything out there other then small “golf” pencils. Suggestions?


  47. After the Ticonderoga the Black Warrior is one of the best true wood case pencils on the market today. Thirty years ago, when I entered the contract stationary industry, the Berol Mirado was a distant forth in quality to the EF Mongol, the Dixon Tic and my all time favorite, the FC Venus Velvet. (I am still writing with the Venus Velvets I set aside from inventory when they were discontinued.) Still, that was before consumer taste, problems with cedar availability and industry consolidation racked the commercial trade as a whole.

    As a bit of trivia, about 1983 an old salesman handed me a “Mikado” pencil. Judging by the eraser it was very old and the type face was the same as a Mirado. He said that the pencil was originally named the Mikado to take advantage of the play, but subsequent lawsuits caused the change in name. I can’t vouch for the story, but I did see the pencil.

  48. I am so disappointed with this once great product. Being down to the last pencil from a box ordered years ago; I recently purchases new 12 count box at the stationary store. I was shocked when I opened up the new box revealing the poor quality of the new matte pencils with the double heart.The graphite is not nearly as smooth as the older one; and the banded brass ferrule is cheaper. What a shame !

  49. the best pencil ever. i use it all the time on & off the job. sometimes hard to get a good sharp poing when sharpening, must be my sharpener. have always admired and used excellent Papermate products. that’s what the 2 hearts stand for.

  50. I’m not a pencil afficionado like the rest of you, but you might be interested in how I stumbled on this wacky site. I just read a mystery novel called Angel’s Flight by Michael Connelly. The Black Warrior pencil is mentioned in the book, with (I believe)symbolic significance attached to the name. I Googled “Black Warrior Pencil”, and here I am.

  51. I used to do aluminum soffitt and fascial and would write messurements on the soffitt and fascial. In the sun you can not see what you have written even on paper. So in looking for a darker lead I found Black Warrior. I have seen other people writing with other pencils and get upset because they can’t see what they have written. I give them mine to use and they are amazed. Still think it should be an Indian dude instead of hearts. But MY heart will always be true to Black Warrior. Jan

  52. Just getting ready to order some of your pencils thru Office Depot for the first time. If these are made in the USA, they’re good enough for me. Help put our country back to work and buy Mirado!!

  53. So I’m really confused as to how I can get the TRUE black warriors. Or what that even means any more. I am by no means a pencil connoisseur, but Black Warriors have held my loyalty since I first started using them! But where I live, NOBODY sells them in stores. So I found some online that claimed to be legit. But when I got them in the mail, the finish was matte as opposed to the nice shiny finish, and they did NOT have USA on them. However, they were stamped with the hearts. The barrel seems a bit larger as well. These pencils certainly are NOT the Mirado Black Warriors that I have always loved, but they came in paper mate packaging, are stamped with the iconic hearts, and have the red band and say the “right thing”. So is this just how they are being made now? Or did I get gipped? I really miss the old black warrior! ESPECIALLY the cursive lettering. If they aren’t produced that way anymore, where I can buy some?

  54. Great review and interesting blog!
    Recently I bought a pack of very similar pencils here in Canada, but instead of “Mirado Black Warrior” the imprint reads “Mirado Classic Black”. They also have the hearts, yellow ferrule with red band, though the paint is not glossy, but more like the black warriors in the pictures from officesupplygeek . The package has “2004 Sandford Bellwood IL” on it while the address under ‘guarantee’ is “Oakville Ontario”.

    I wonder, are these Mirado Classic Black and your Mirado Black Warrior the same product? The difference in paint, I think, is just an evolution of the product with time. The classical blacks also have the heavenly cedar smell and they write indeed quite smoothly. Other aspects of these pencils however are quite different from your description in the post: 1. the classical black HB (no.2) lay down lines as dark as a general layout, I’d say it’s a common 4B 2. the lead breaks in sharpener, not frequently though 3. the pink eraser that comes with the pencil doesn’t erase the lines (then again they are quite dark) while a mars plastic erases almost completely.

    Are these differences the result of locale or are they simply two different lines of products, what do you think?

  55. If you go to they still have some usa black warriors by papermate in stock. I ordered 5 packs of 12 and they are shiny black with usa stamped on them. I gave them a call before I ordered and made sure they were made in usa like in the picture on thier website.

  56. Do they produce these with Microban now? I’m gonna pick up a pack, and will probably prefer them to Ticonderoga Blacks, unless they’ve likewise been micobanned (inundated by carcinogenic chemicals that only preserve the appearance of the pencil, which obviously is unnecessary anyway).

  57. I’m elated to find out the Black Warrior is made of California Incense Cedar!! I fell in love (really, couldn’t leave it’s side for half hour) with this tree while hiking near Half Dome two summers ago. I’ve been in love with the Warrior for about ten years. So, to learn my favorite pencil is crafted with this beautiful smelling tree… near heaven. Never knew there were other pencil lovers declaring their preferences on the web. Thanks for your site. love. Oh yeah, and I love the hearts. What you people got against love? Peace. Kay Dee Did.

    1. Cripes, I hope that’s a blog draft that somehow got published by accident before whoever is writing it finished it and used quotation marks and attribution, etc. That’s pretty bad, especially after all the bad press with the Blackwing event stuff. Thanks for pointing that out, Brodie.

  58. I just picked up a pencil to make a quick note at work, and was stopped in my tracks. This pencil was so smooth, and somehow so unique, that I immediately came and looked it up online. I don’t know about other people, but for me and the way I write and how much I prize smoothness, this is the absolute perfect pencil. I also love the way it looks. The matte black, the roundness, the typeface, and yes, even the hearts (I’ve never read such a heartless indictment of this historically classic symbol!) Anyway, I am a huge fan.

  59. I feel somewhat late to the party but here goes. Ive been a Black Warrior fan for many, many years. And while as a magazine editor in LA – in the days of magazines- I made many BW converts, I too have been derided by friends and lovers concerning my BW pencil loyalty. I recently came very near to the end of a stash of a gross ( thats 12 dozen BTW) vintage BW’s I purchased a garage sale. This afternoon while out and about I thought about my now dwindling supply and ducked into Office Depot to score some backup. Odd, as I looked at the packaging…Papermate?…a dull matte finish to the barrel?…hearts…?…pre sharpened?…a blurred Black Warrior stamp?…made in …Mexico? WTF? What happened? Have I been RipVanWinkling while someone has been messing w/ the Mirado Black Warrior? I tried it out and sure enuff its a nice write, smooth on a yellow legal pad…somewhat dark …but different still. I write this note with a heavy heart. Another great bites the dust. What a shitty world.

    1. Want a real kicker:
      Dangedest thing is, they write really nicely, too.
      It’s been sad to watch the veritable decline of this pencil. I have a dozen or two of the USA runs from around 2003-4 put aside for my kids, in grade #1/B. I have noticed a slight up-tick in the quality of other Mirado pencils lately. Maybe a slightly improved BW is out there somewhere.
      They do pop up on eBay pretty often, in their older form. But sellers are asking more and more for vintage pencils these days.

  60. I have used the Black Warrior as an English teacher the last 5 years. One of my graduate school professors graded in pencil, and it was soothing. I fell in love with pencils, especially round ones. However, I had to dig around to find them, going to flea market type places where old political campaign pencils or school branded pencils given at an event could be found. Then I discovered the Black Warrior at the local Rite Aid. Now, it doesn’t carry them, and I special order them from an office supply store. I got curious about what others might be saying about the Black Warrior and came across your review, truly a piece of art–a masterful prose rendering worthy of the Black Warrior. You must be a Black Warrior caliber person yourself. Brian Coatney

  61. Yes the mirado black warrior and the mirado classic black are the same thing but in Canada paper mate released or sell them as the mirado classic black

  62. I just accidentally walked out of my boss’s office with a pencil. I scribbled a line with it and immediately thought, “Okay something is obviously special about this little guy” and then went hunting for reviews.
    Of course it was a Black Warrior and I found myself here reading comments and…
    Well… I gave the pencil back.
    There’s probably a reason we don’t have these in the supply cabinet. I draw a lot but never really notice the pencil quality, so I’ll leave the special ones to the people who DO notice (Obviously my boss must be one of them)

  63. I can’t find these in the glossy finish any more. Are they only produced in the matte finish? I find the matte finish ones less comfortable to hold and write with for some reason I don’t understand.

  64. Digging the comments…

    I tried the (current?) version of these pencils, made in Mexico. While the lead is smooth and reasonably dark, they are not cedar anymore (despite what they state on the box), but basswood (I think).
    Also they are now thin, so thin! You can barely hold them to sharpen them…and you will have too, because most of them in my box seem to have issue with the way the lead is glued to the wood :(

    It’s sad to see another great pencil fallen, for the sake of profit. Sandford…thank you. I guess…

    1. I just re-found an old Mirado BW that I had snagged from the stacks in a library eons ago. I had forgotten how wonderful it is, and since I’ve been looking for an equal to the Wolff brand hb (that is only sold in sets, trust me, I even contacted the manufacturer), I figured I’d look up the Mirado and see where it stood after the fall of quality in almost everything. I was not surprised to see that Paper Mate had bought it and most likely ruined it. Your comment here just cemented it. aah, well. the search continues.

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