Today’s review comes from Comrade Elizabeth, from Little Flower Petals! (Many thanks to Liz!)
Material: Genuine Incense Cedar.
Finish: Raw cedar with black lettering.
Ferrule: Aluminum — black painted band.
Eraser: Black [rubber?].
Core: Ceramic/graphite composite. Available in B, HB and H.
Markings: “USA — GENERAL’S CEDAR POINTE — #333-2 HB”.
Availability: Cedar Pointes can be a little tricky to find. All grades are available at General Pencil’s website. Dick Blick sells HBs in their on-line store, but shipping costs are steep. If you have a Dick Blick in your neighborhood, they may be worth a look, along with any other art stores that sell General’s more sketching-oriented pencils. Also, for the Northwesterners in the US, I serendipitously found Cedar Pointes in the art supplies section (not with the regular pencils) at my local Fred Meyer. They came in a package of ten along with a plastic, but quite decent, pencil sharpener.
General’s Cedar Pointe pencils are made of raw, unfinished natural wood: incense cedar, funnily enough. Some natural finish pencils have a coating or seal — the Forest Choice, for example, seems to have a very thin coat of sealant. The Cedar Pointe does not. The smooth unfinished wood has a pleasantly grippy feel, and it has a tendency to become…seasoned with time. I swear, I do wash my hands, but still, you can see how this particular example has darkened with use, while the well-used Forest Choice remains as it has always been:
I actually rather like the make-your-own-patina aspect of these pencils. Gives them character.
Fit and finish aren’t up to Palomino standards, but it’s decent. There are a a few less-than-perfect ferrules with wood chips overlapping at the at the edges, but it’s minimal. The text imprint is clear. No glittery, glossy writing here: it’s no-nonsense black and bare wood for the Cedar Pointe. I find the austere look very appealing. I’m a big fan of the understated: for example, on the fountain pen side of the fence, I love the stealth greatness of the Lamy 2000 over some of the more flashy pens. The Cedar Pointe is quietly handsome.
The Cedar Pointe writes a nice dark line, not as dark as a Palomino, but blacker than your average Ticonderoga. Taking pictures or scanning such things is always tricky, but hopefully you can glimpse the subtleties. It also falls somewhere between the two on the smoothness scale: more chalky than waxy, and though there aren’t any major inclusions in the lead, it does give you a bit of feedback. Point retention is a little above average for its class, making it a good choice for general writing.
One last note, which should probably be kept to myself since it reveals just how obsessive I can be: naked pencils sound different on the page. I swear, it’s true! It’s always a little disconcerting for just a moment when I first pick one of these up.
Overall, I really like these. They make my top ten due to the darkness of the lead, the nice feel, and their all-natural good looks.
[Images and text, EH, used with permission.]