Father and Son Pencil Review, Part V.

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[I teased Stephen that I think he’s become a Regular Contributor to Pencil Revolution! We have here, Part V of his and his son’s quest for the Best Pencils.]

Father and Son Pencil Review V (aka Final Review v3.0)

So here’s the thing. Hunter and I were done after our fourth review, but three events totally beyond my control caused a change of plans:

1. A maniacal devotee of the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB convinced hundreds of us, or at least three of us in the Erasable community to try these pencils out.
2. I became so enamored by the Mitsubishi 9000’s slogan “Made by Elaborate Process” it felt like a betrayal not to acknowledge its worthiness of inclusion in a review.
3. I succumbed to repeated testimonials and purchased some General’s Test Scoring 580s.
4. I finally came across Pencil #2 of John Steinbeck’s preferred trio: the Eberhard Faber Mongol 2 3/8 F.

I know, that’s four things, not three. Now you see why this is our third final review. I cannot be trusted with numbers.

Before we continue, let me caution you that if you continue reading, you will be quickly and deeply offended. In previous reviews, I’ve alienated:

Haters of the Staedtler Norica HB 2
People who disliked my repurposing of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act promises into pencil review statements
Lovers of Musgrave Pencil Company’s Test Scoring 100 (spoiler alert #1: they are about to become even more perturbed)
Lovers of U.S.A. Gold Natural 2 HB (spoiler alert #2: their annoyance will remain unchanged)
The Staedtler company
The entire population of Germany
Haters of electric pencil sharpeners
Lovers of Classroom Friendly pencil sharpeners
Australians who resent their flying animals being renamed by Americans
People who like pens
Democrats
Republicans
Comcast
Hand held pencil sharpener fans who don’t mind staining themselves and the world around them with graphite
Lutherans

If you are not a member of one of the groups above and thus believe yourself to be safe, you are wrong. You have been warned. Here we go.

People who are interested enough in pencils to research them and write about them and read reviews of them are insane.

Normal people, inarguably and without exception, spend their free time on pursuits falling into one of the following three categories:

Playing games or watching other people play games
Yelling at things or yelling about things
Fighting, wounding, or killing things or watching people fight, wound or kill things

People who like pencils, on the other hand, are seriously abnormal. Following is what constitutes a rare, heated exchange between two pencil people, hereafter referred to as “PP.”

PP #1: Have you tried a Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood?
PP #2: No.
PP #1: It’s awesome!
PP #2: Is not.
PP #1: Is too!
PP #2: Well, let me try it.
PP #2: (Days later, following receipt of a shipment from CW Pencil Enterprise or Pencils.com): Hey! Not bad!

PP don’t join hate groups. There are no PP in prisons; I’m not lying, you can check for yourself. PP do not sit on their front porches swearing at children who wander into their yards looking for lost toys or sickly rodents. Instead, PP understand and appreciate the differences among pencils in terms of darkness or lightness of the line, smoothness of the graphite moving across the paper, point retention, core thickness, type and scent of wood used, eraser quality and aesthetic appeal of the finished product. And they enjoy learning about these things and sharing their knowledge with other PP.

Clearly, then, PP are mentally disordered. I, too, suffer from this mass hysteria. In one of its manifestations, I obtained a six foot long Dixon Ticonderoga that made an overly reactive grown woman housekeeper burst out of my den into the hall loudly asking, of no one in particular, “WHAT THE F_ _ _?”

25

If you are still reading this you, too, are a victim of this altered state so you may as well continue along with me at least until our respective governments mandate free treatment for our aberrant psyches.

Finally the Final Review: The New Recruits

Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB

I have no idea how long Switzerland’s Caran d’Ache (English translation: Caran d’Ache) has been making the Swiss Wood, but this interloper bulldozed its way into the PP community in a way quite atypical of what has been until now a neutral and relatively passive country. It’s as though the Swiss government decided enough was enough, said, “We’ll show them,” and began an all-out attack led by hyper-expensive, unique and elegant pencils.

To understand the pencil, one must understand the people behind it. Switzerland is a flat, arid island nation surrounded by medieval-era moats. Its reclusive people have been unable to settle on one common language, so they huddle together in groups; some of these groups speak French, some Italian, some a bizarre version of German unrecognizable to actual Germans. Some speak a made-up language called Romansh, and some of the groups are so upset with this whole language issue they refuse to speak at all. For the purposes of this pencil review, we’ll simplify things and just say the Swiss speak Swiss. This will not offend the Swiss because English is not one of the many actual or invented languages with which they are familiar.

The central pastime of Switzerland is yodeling, a tradition handed down from father to son. It originated centuries ago as a duplication of the sounds made by males who have been bitten on their privates by angry cows. The chief domestic product of Switzerland was supposed to be chocolate, but because the Swiss keep and eat all their chocolate, they then tried to make cheese. This was an absolute failure due to the nutritional deficiencies of their cows who subsisted primarily on males’ private parts. The resulting chemical imbalance in the milk caused the cheese to bubble profusely and the Swiss found themselves surrounded by huge mounds of catastrophically failed attempts at cheese making. In a burst of inspiration, they seized on the idea of marketing this defective cheese to unsuspecting foreigners who thought the fact there was more air than cheese in the product made it “special.” Thus people all over the world, except of course the Swiss themselves, buy “Swiss cheese.”

As cheese sales leveled out, the Swiss came up with the idea of purchasing cheaply made knives from China, painting their pretty little flag on them and inventing a story about them being prestigious “Swiss Army knives.” The same foreigners who were happy to buy air interrupted briefly by pieces of oddly-manufactured cheese were also delighted to pay extravagant sums of money for “Swiss Army knives,” not realizing the Swiss Army consists in its entirety of three out-of-shape guys whose sole job is to man the moat bridge to the mainland.

Eventually the market for Swiss Army knives plummeted when the inferior products began doing to their buyers what the mutant cows had been doing to their Swiss overlords. Enterprising Swiss entrepreneurs then decided to paint their red flags on a bunch of pencils and market them, too, as premium products.

These things are like nothing else on Earth. The pencils, not the Swiss. The diameter is a little larger than normal (the pencils, not the Swiss) and I’m convinced it was intentional. “Now I can’t use my electric pencil sharpener. Dang, I’ll have to buy a Swiss Army knife to sharpen my Swiss Wood.” All the while those nefarious Swiss are kicking back, munching on good chocolate and laughing with their mouths full while watching us eat their scam cheese and purchase other Swiss-branded products that will enable us to actually use previously purchased Swiss-branded products. I don’t wish to be alarmist, but wake up, people. This is nothing less than a cultural and financial invasion, and that damned Swiss Wood is taking the beach.

Anyway, let’s put aside my distrust of all things Swiss and get on with it. The pencil itself is dark, as in “How did it get that dark?” dark.

You: What kind of wood did they use?
Me: Swiss wood.

I’ve been waiting months to write that. Anyway, “Swiss wood” really is the right answer but we can more specifically state it’s made of beech wood from the Jura forest. Variously, I’ve read the wood is a “natural dark brown color” and that it’s been “stained” to accentuate the white embossed lettering on the barrel. The clear lacquer is “water based” for some reason, I guess so that in a pinch you can melt down the outer finish and drink it. Presumably this water comes from one of the moats.

This water-coated stained or unstained pencil is heavier as well as thicker than most. It’s capped with red paint and the Swiss flag, which might come in handy if you are taken captive in a foreign land that isn’t already mad at the Swiss about the rip-off cheese and inferior knives.

For now, I’ll leave it like this: I did not want to like this pretentious upstart.

Mitsubishi 9000 HB “Made by Elaborate Process”

The Mitsubishi 9000 HB sports perhaps the most spectacular pencil motto ever: “Made by Elaborate Process.” Who could not buy a pencil that was “made by elaborate process?” Pure genius. I didn’t care how it wrote. I just wanted one so I could stare at it and smile. These would make good gifts for the clinically depressed.

None other than one of the hosts of Erasable noticed the editorial error on every Mitsubishi pencil. Look at the curly quotes surrounding the Mitsubishi brand name. The left one is facing the wrong direction. This is a curious flaw in otherwise perfectly rendered Japanese masterpieces. We’ll just treat this as an interesting error for your friends to spot, sort of like “Find the image of a rabbit hitchhiking on the back of a one dollar bill.” (Let me know in the comments if you can’t find the rabbit and I’ll help you, after I’ve given you several weeks to find it on your own. Don’t be lazy. Look carefully before you ask.)

Anyway, this pencil comes in a wonderful shade of green, looks cool and would be worth the money even if ”Mitsubishi” forgot to include the graphite core.

General’s Test Scoring 580

Were the first 579 versions failures? Anyway, I kept hearing good things about the 580. It looks kind of nice in a spare, Skilcraft sort of way; black with no-nonsense white lettering. I hoped the General’s Test Scoring 580 used the same graphite as the Cedar Pointe #333 – 1 which was mercilessly and unceremoniously dumped by The Man. But no. The 580 is what it is, a test scoring pencil.

Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 – 2 3/8 F

John Steinbeck extolled the virtues of three pencils: The Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602, Mongol Eberhard Faber Round 480 2 3/8 F and the Blaisdell Calculator 600, which he said he stole “. . . from Fox Films.” All three pencils preceded my Cedar Pointe #333 – 1 in death. Hunter and I had already inserted a surviving vintage Blackwing into our ranking and when I ran across some Mongol 2 3/8s, I knew one had to join Steinbeck’s original Blackwing in our reviews. Although Steinbeck was partial to the round Mongols which are now very difficult to find in this degree, this hexagonal version almost certainly shares the same core.

Here is the description of our review criteria from our last outing:

We’ve ranked our pencils in terms of the overall quality and darkness of the line they leave, as well as how effortlessly they move across the paper. Our rankings do not take into account aesthetics or how long pencils hold their points. We’ve previously provided thoughts on which pencils we really like once we throw in liveability and aesthetics and will do that again at the end of this review. Finally, we have always tested on both hard and soft surfaces by using legal pads and a couple of sheets of paper on a hard surface.

Our last review left us with this ranking of 21 pencils:

1. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B
2. Tombow Mono 100 2B
3. Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602
4. Tombow 2558 HB
5. Palomino Blackwing 602
6. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
7. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
8. Staedtler Noris 122 HB
9. Staedtler Norica HB 2
10. Palomino ForestChoice #2
11. Faber-Castell 9000 2B
12. Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB
13. Staedtler 123 60 2 HB
14. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 1
15. Palomino Blue Golden Bear #2
16. Field Notes No. 2
17. Dixon Ticonderoga HB 2
18. Musgrave Test Scoring 100
19. General’s Semi-Hex 498-2 HB
20. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 2 HB
21. U.S.A. Gold Natural 2 HB

Hunter and I compared the four new pencils with those in the previous list until we had a firm slot for each. Two pencils shifted from their previous standings. The Tombow 2558 HB slid down below the Palomino Blackwing 602 and the Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB.

The Musgrave Test Scoring 100 (which puts me in a foul mood every time I try to write with it) finally frustrated Hunter to the point, thank goodness, where he agreed to let it slide below the General’s Semi-Hex 498-2 HB and General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 2 HB.

Our new list of 25 pencils is ranked as shown below and is followed by brief explanations for the positioning of the displaced veterans and new recruits:

1. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B
2. Tombow Mono 100 2B
3. Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602
4. Palomino Blackwing 602
5. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
6. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
7. Tombow 2558 HB
8. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
9. Staedtler Noris 122 HB
10. Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 – 2 3/8 F
11. Staedtler Norica HB 2
12. Palomino ForestChoice #2
13. Mitsubishi 9000 HB
14. Faber-Castell 9000 2B
15. Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB
16. Staedtler 123 60 2 HB
17. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 1
18. Palomino Blue Golden Bear #2
19. Field Notes No. 2
20. Dixon Ticonderoga HB 2
21. General’s Semi-Hex 498-2 HB
22. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 2 HB
23. General’s Test Scoring 580
24. Musgrave Test Scoring 100
25. U.S.A. Gold Natural 2 HB

Notice the Palomino Blackwing 602 has risen a notch because the Tombow 2558 HB slipped below it and the Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB. This decision was a struggle for both of us. I felt the Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB and Tombow 2558 HB left essentially the same line but the Palomino moved more smoothly across the paper. Hunter thought the line was better with the Palomino but that the Tombow was smoother. Both of us preferred writing with the Palomino. So the Tombow dropped below it but remained above the Mitsubishi 9850, which leaves a lighter line and is not quite as smooth.

When we came to the Musgrave Test Scoring 100, Hunter relented because we had run out of excuses for the crumbling nature of the graphite and couldn’t live with the near-constant sharpening it required. It dropped past the General’s Semi-Hex 498-2 HB and then the General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 2 HB. As we approached the chastened last-place holder, Hunter’s exact words were “I’m telling you right now, it’s not going below the U.S.A. Gold. I hate that pencil.”

Our mutual dislike of the U.S.A. Gold Natural 2 HB held firm as we quickly agreed to leave intact the dubious honor of dead last for that warped, scratchy, Frankenstein monster of a pencil from the wrong side of the tracks.

Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB

Hunter and I were very interested to see where the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood fell. I wanted to know where it honestly ranked although I was hoping this “My daddy’s rich!” pencil would leave our review humiliated and bowed.

That didn’t happen.

We easily agreed on our one-at-a-time comparisons and the Swiss Wood landed right between the Palomino Blackwing 602 and Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB. The Caran d’Ache leaves a lighter line than the Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB but it is a little smoother across the paper and it just, well, “felt” a little better. Although you can buy two and a half Palomino Blackwing 602s or four Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HBs for the price of one Swiss Wood, neither of those pencils comes with a Swiss flag painted on the end. So there’s that. Due to the slightly larger diameter, it’s also a great ergonomic choice for someone whose hand cramps easily when writing. This didn’t impact our rating, but both of us noticed the Swiss Wood retains its point quite well, and that’s a desirable feature for a pencil that is significantly more expensive than any other currently available item in our list.

This pencil is so good that despite its exorbitant price, you may find yourself quickly forgiving the nation and its people that produced it, run out and buy a Swiss Army knife with which to slice your Swiss cheese so that you can chew on it while writing with your Swiss Wood — all the while contemplating how much those crafty Swiss are enamored with the word “Swiss.”

Mitsubishi 9000 HB “Made by Elaborate Process”

We threw in the Mitsubishi 9000 HB just because we had it and we felt an obligation to permanently enshrine within this list a pencil with such a phenomenal motto. We guessed it would land somewhere in the middle of the pack, in the “hard graphite” territory of the Faber-Castell 9000 2B and Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB, and we were right. It’s just below the Palomino ForestChoice #2 (I’m beginning to dislike writing “ForestChoice,” it’s a pencil, for crying out loud, not 1990s era software) and just above the Faber-Castell 9000 2B. The Mitsubishi 9000 HB is not as smooth a writer as the ForestChoice but is smoother than the Faber-Castell and both of us enjoy using it.

General’s Test Scoring 580

General’s test scoring pencil landed right next to the Musgrave. It took some discussion to decide which would place higher in the list. We agreed the Musgrave was more crumbly, but the General’s wasn’t exactly innocent in this regard. Hunter preferred the line left by the Musgrave, which was too thick for me. In the end, we approached the decision with the question “Which would you rather write with all day long?” “Neither one” wasn’t an option; so we picked the General’s Test Scoring 580.

Hunter had used his Musgrave on Scantron test forms and said they truly are perfect for that purpose. Unless you like blowing graphite crumbs off your paper and love sharpening pencils until Switzerland’s cows come home, you might want to pass on by these two. To get an idea of just how frequently they must be sharpened, look at the accompanying photo. The General’s Test Scoring 580 has only been used in one review and the Musgrave in our five reviews.

Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 – 2 3/8 F

At last I had scored another of Steinbeck’s favorite three pencils (at least the same brand, core and degree of hardness as his favorite) and we would see where it landed when pitted against a sizeable selection from his future. Mr. Steinbeck preferred the round Mongols, but this was the closest genetic variant and presumably contained  the same core as the round Mongol 480 – 2 3/8 F. Starting from the top, we watched it slip further and further down until it came to rest right between the Staedtler Noris 122 HB, which is a bit smoother, and the Staedtler Norica HB 2. Now we know what it takes to separate those cliquish Staedtlers: John Freaking Steinbeck. Differentiating the Mongol from the Staedtler Norica required fuzzy language: The Mongol felt “surer” on the paper. The Norica was smoother, but wasn’t as satisfying to write with. Admittedly this is weak reasoning, but life is like that sometimes.

Obviously John Steinbeck’s taste in pencils varied because the Mongol 2 3/8 F isn’t like the Blackwing 602. Out of our list of 25 pencils, what would John Steinbeck pick today? Based on my complete lack of knowledge and armed only with a keenly honed gift for wild speculation, I think he’d still go for the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 but spurn the Mongol if given a choice between it and the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB. This guess is based on the assumption that John Steinbeck possessed the ability to forgive the Swiss people for having ripped him off with that trick cheese. Another stipulation for him might have been that it must fit in his electric pencil sharpener, and that could be a problem for the wider Swiss Wood.

Let’s see if Hunter’s and my top picks for daily writers has changed. We limited ourselves to currently available pencils:

Hunter, before:

1. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
2. Palomino Blackwing 602
3. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
4. Tombow 2558 HB
5. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B

Hunter, now:

1. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
2. Palomino Blackwing 602
3. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
4. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
5. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B

Hunter has grown to love the Mitsubishi 9850 HB even more. It’s a smooth writer; the lighter line isn’t much of an issue for him; and he loves the eraser. We see that presumptuous Swiss Wood has waltzed right into Hunter’s top five and displaced the Tombow 2558 HB.

My list, before:

1. Palomino Blackwing 602
2. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
3. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
4. Palomino ForestChoice #2
5. Tombow Mono 100 2B

My list, now:

1. Palomino Blackwing 602
2. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
3. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
4. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
5. Tombow Mono 100 2B

That swanky Swiss Wood scooted its expensive red hiney into my list as well. The ForestChoice fell out of my top five not just because of its refusal to break its name into two logically separate words but because something about that clear lacquer finish has caused it to feel a little too slippery in my hands. I still like the pencil, but it’s now my sixth choice.

Despite their unrestrained addiction to pencil sharpeners, their superior writing characteristics along with their unusual and classy designs keep the Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B in Hunter’s top five and the Tombow Mono 100 2B in mine.

Finally, we asked ourselves if our “deserted island and a gross of only one pencil” picks had changed. Both of us stuck with the Palomino Blackwing 602. Hunter said if he were going to tough it out with just one option on a deserted island, it had to be fun and cool, and the Palomino Blackwing 602s fit that bill.

You know I never lie about these things. So believe me when I tell you that this is the end of our pencil reviews, unless and until I happen across a Blaisdell Calculator 600, that most rare of Steinbeck-sanctioned pencils. If that day comes, Hunter and I will sign ourselves out of the nursing home, come back to my den, blow the dust off the old computer and we’ll let you know where the third of Steinbeck’s favorite pencils falls in our list.

Until then, as they say in Switzerland, “Caran d’Ache” (Swiss for “hand over your wallet”).

Appendix
(removed in emergency surgery circa 1974 but reproduced here for your pleasure)

Previous ramblings:

My Journey to Pencil Sharpener Satisfaction

Update to the pencil sharpener review above, and this is NOT to be shared with people who rushed out to buy the Mitsubishi Uni KH 20: I’ve been using the compact Carl CP-80 exclusively at work. I might actually like it better now . . . the point is a little bit longer than the Mitsubishi and has more of that preternaturally long Classroom Friendly-like result. Shhhhh . . . .

Father and Son Pencil Review IV: What? IV?

Father and Son Pencil Review III: The Final Chapter

Father and Son Pencil Review II

Father and Son Pencil Review I

Act now! Here is how you can contact the General Pencil Company to innocently ask if they’ll reanimate the General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 1:

Snail mail (to be written in pencil, using a Palomino Blue Golden Bear #2 because the General’s Cedar Pointe #333 -1 is – have I said this before? – no longer manufactured):

General Pencil Company, Inc.
PO Box 5311
Redwood City, CA 94063

Email: Info@GeneralPencil.com

Online contact form: http://www.generalpencil.com/contact-us.html

11 thoughts on “Father and Son Pencil Review, Part V.”

  1. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all your reviews, especially the recent one on pencil sharpeners. All very well researched and written, and equally entertaining and informative. However, I need to add to your list of alienated factions. Heretic that I am … Palomino pencils — yes, including their much-ballyhooed Blackwings. Good pencils, won’t deny it, and better than many out there today, but overly rated and overly priced in my opinion (especially the new Volumes series…yuk!). I own a stash of all three Blackwings and have tried their Palomino minions, but I find myself reaching more for the “meat ‘n potatoes” Staedtlers, Castells General’s, Musgrave TS100s, and the various Japanese brands than the boutiquey Blackwings. What can I say, I come from humble beginnings.

    Anyway, thank you for being a deranged PP. As am I. Oddly enough, I do enjoy my Comcast service. Cheers!

    1. Dean, thanks for the note! The subjectivity of pencil fandom merits a write-up all on its own. Considering how few of us there are, it’s surprising and telling how widely a lot of us differ in our likes and dislikes.

      Going by Hunter’s and my criteria, ones that I didn’t want to like, like the Tombow 2558, ranked pretty high, and ones that I wanted at the top (but still love), like the Cedar Pointe #333 – 1, scored fairly low. I really didn’t want that dastardly Swiss Wood to do so well, but our criteria put it where it landed. And as much as we both liked the Palomino Blackwing 602, it would be down there by the Cedar Pointes if we didn’t honestly like them. Price wasn’t a factor; if it was, the Swiss Wood would be way down on the list.

      But back to the subject of subjectivity, you have a lot of company in your love of Musgrave Test Scoring 100s. Again, it’s absolutely fascinating to me how far apart we can be as a group. That’s what makes it interesting!

  2. If you enjoy “Made by Elaborate Process”, the Apsara Platinum has an imprint that says “For Good Writing”, and the Apsara Beauty used to say “For Beautiful Writing”, which you might like also. I feel that it’s a bit much to live up to, but I do my best.

    RE: those wrong way round quotation marks, there’s an interesting discussion on “Pencils and Other Things” about them. I think the conclusion reached was that they’re that way around because the German pencils being emulated had them that way around.

    (https://pencilsandotherthings.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/the-roman-alphabet-in-asian-design/)

    Anyway, can I say again how much I love these posts? Excellent work, once again.

    1. Thanks John – and THANK YOU for pointing me to the Pencils and Other Things post. I’d scanned through it when it was published but never went back to read the comments. I have to agree with their take on emulating the German pencils; that strikes me as a very well-founded theory.

  3. What a great series of posts… Thank you! I’d like to get my daughter to appreciate pencils as much as your son Hunter does.

    Although it’s obviously legitimate to make these kind of comparisons between high-end “drawing” pencils and cheaper writing pencils (they’re all pencils, right?) I would add that as someone who uses pencils daily for writing, sketching, planning and notetaking (I’m an artist and university professor), one of the great appeals of wood pencils is their inexpensiveness. I have $2 “drawing” pencils (in quotes because you can draw fine with $0.15 pencils, too), leadholders with Uni and Staedtler leads (some vintage, too – Typhonite!), mechanical pencils, etc., but since it’s not unusual for me to misplace 1-2 pencils per week, I’m mostly drawn to the high bang-for-the-buck lower-priced models, like the Tombow 2558 and the Norica. Nice lines but no worries if 6-8/month disappear down some black hole.

  4. I really enjoy this series of reviews you two have done. I like the detailed look at pencil quality and characteristics, and also the fun and humor in your writing! Thanks for an enjoyable experience. As a result, I have bought and tried out most of the pencils on your lists!

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