Review of General’s Cedar Pointe.

Today’s review comes from Comrade Elizabeth, from Little Flower Petals! (Many thanks to Liz!)

Material: Genuine Incense Cedar.
Shape: Hexagonal.
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”.
Origin: USA.
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.

Few wood chips at the edge of this ferrule…

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.

(Click to enlarge.)

The eraser works quite well. It’s not a Mars Plastic, but it’s a decent size, and it does the job.

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.]

20 thoughts on “Review of General’s Cedar Pointe.”

  1. I find the Cedar Pointe unfinished natural wood to be a pleasant and welcome tactile experience; likewise the smooth dark print it makes. The black ferrule and eraser signals an understated elegance and power that I like.

    Carl L. Williams

  2. These pencils are really nice, and the best natural wood pencil made in the U.S.
    One of the things I like aesthetically, is the low key design: The black on black ferrule/eraser, the incised black lettering, and the wood that ages as you use it.

    I prefer a slightly harder lead for writing, so checking out their “H” Cedar Pointe…don’t seem to be able to order anything but #2 on their store….I’ll check back with what I find.

    I also like the C.H. Hanson Finish pencils, but don’t know how much of the manufacturing is done here.

    -Really enjoy your reviews, by the way. Keep ’em comin’!

  3. I just ordered two dozen of these today due to your and others’ rave reviews. I was looking for a quality all-purpose pencil that was made in the USA for daughter’s schoolwork. Just today, I realized that she was using the same pencil that she started the school year with (and it is now end of 1st semester). It is a Cra-z-art pencil (also made in USA) and only about 3 inches long at this point. And she does a *lot* of writing (and erasing!) for school. I’m anxious to try out the Cedar Pointe.

    Dick Blick has a free shipping sale and a twelve pack of CP’s is only $3.25 — a total bargain if it compares relatively well to the Blackwing. Also tried out several additional General’s products to support this US company. Anyone have comments on General’s Chalk Pastels pencils or the Factis Black eraser?

    1. I haven’t used their chalk pastels, but the black Factis is a nice eraser. It works well and doesn’t get “dirty” looking. I seem to remember it being a little grittier than the white Factis (like a Pink Pearl), but I could be remembering it incorrectly.

  4. Can someone please explain to me why these pencils go for almost $25 per dozen at General’s webstore when Amazon retails them for around $5?

    Are they seriously thinkin someone is going to buy them at that price?

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